Caught by the River

The Deep Hole

6th February 2011

by Adam Chetwood

All anglers, me included, seek great pleasure in mapping out their favourite spots with names. Similar to street names, suburbs of a city or the names given to roundabouts in London, it is these that give the small patch of land to fish from its character. The shape of the landscape, surrounding objects, or topography of the body of water will normally influence the names of these spots used by many, however, any single angler in belief that they have been responsible for conquering a spot may choose a neutral name so as to not give away its exact location in conversation to potential opportunists. I am certainly a culprit of this. Some names may be describing an area of a lake, a carrier, or side stream of a river beat, or in most cases a pitch with decades of piscatorial history. ‘The Fence’, border of the garden of the manor-house, ‘The Reid’s’ home of warblers, ‘The Chalk Pit’ a dugout for extra patient fishermen, ‘The Causeway’ an ancient weir, ‘No Carp Bay’ don’t believe it, ‘Twenty’s bay’ selective fishing, ‘Mandy’ the name of the towering Bastide,’ The Old River’ before man manipulated the flow, ‘The North Bank,’ best fished on a southerly wind, ‘The Swamp,’ watch your step, ’The Beach,’ freshwater paradise ‘The Roach Pool,’ a sanctuary away from cormorants, ‘The Spit’ a bar out of water, ‘The PB Swim’ home of monsters. These spots form some of my fondest angling memories.
My all time favourite spot is situated, somewhere, on the middle reaches of the mighty Hampshire Avon and is known to by myself and a small group of friends as ‘The Deep Hole’. ‘The Deep Hole’ is a classic old looking pool, and with the likes of Longford Park close by, comparatively un-fished. It is 12ft deep with a gravel floor and has margins lined with watercress that has made its way into a celebratory soup or two. All summer swarms of mayfly hatch and housemartins dominate its airspace, and on every arrival to fish this spot my first knot of the day is hindered by my hands trembling with excitement. It is a perfect swim; it screams ‘specimen fish’. I have played a midday performance at the End Of The Road festival and fished the deep hole by dusk the same day, I’ve sipped Summer Lightening in its local pub to raise a glass to Tommy Tinca’s success with a bronze beauty from its depths and I have waded chest deep in its flooded meadows to roll meat around it on a turbulent day. As a consequence of packing up at dusk I have gifted a lucky sweater, countless bank sticks and a wallet of cash to the next angler to take it on, I have trotted the deep hole with loafer, Avon and waggler, I have ledgered it with bread flake , sweet corn, lob worm and sprat. For the twentieth season I find myself back, lying low on my chair so as to not spook the barn owl and my heart is, as ever, racing. This time at the sight of the great grandson of the first fish I ever caught from ‘The Deep Hole.’