Stuart Gardiner

The Redbridge Return

While we all enduring our current frustrating fishing time I have been reflecting on my own personal return to this great pastime after a 25 year break 3 years ago. Thinking back I am scratching my head as to why I left fishing for so long but easily done with life turning different corners like career change, running a business, marriage etc.

My inspiration for my return to angling was watching Matt Hayes and the Duke, Mick Brown in their various shows on TV and thinking yes why not I have missed the whole fishing experience. I still had all my fishing gear gathering large amounts of dust etc in the garage so of course first stop was to a large national fishing store to get more of what I do not need, walking in and being absolutely swamped and overwhelmed with yards and yards of boilies and carp end tackle etc after 20 minutes of head scratching a rare occurrence of myself walking out of a tackle shop not having spent a penny.

Frustration level to maximum conceptual meter , 3d rendering

Then by luck mentioning to my father I was going fishing again he mentioned Redbridge Lakes, Woodford Green in Essex which is on my doorstep so off I went to check out this 2 lake complex. I was greeted by Gordon & Dave who could not have been more friendly and accommodating and an extra bonus of having a well stocked shop on site full of stuff I understood with the great benefit of buying bait also making it a easier for even spur of the moment trips. I did not hesitate upon seeing on first impressions to join as a member for £50.00 which pre covid was a £5.00 per day saving on a day ticket as well as discounted food and drinks in the superb licenced cafe on site.

What struck me is that Redbridge is one of the most un-commercial ‘ commercial ‘ man made fisheries I have visited to present, the fishery is 12 years old now its previous life was a frequently water logged unused sporting ground in the Roding Valley, this has to be the ultimate environmental recycling project turning this area into a now thriving natural area supporting a vast array of wildlife with a large area of the lakeside left for beehives ( the end product available to purchase ) nature trail, bug hotel, tadpole pond and kingfisher pond. The non fishing nature parts of the complex that again pre covid was utilised by schools and disabled groups being able to enjoy nature and the great environment in a safe easy accessible way.

One aspect that the owner Gordon needs much praise for is setting up fishing platorms near the cafe that go out into the lake this is enabling many youngsters and older alike to sample an hours fishing with all bait and tackle required on site for a small outlay supervised by Gordon or David to deal with tangles etc and helping first timers to catch there first fish and then hopefully into the full time addiction angling is if you catch the bug. The platforms too I have fished off may times and are ideal for a quick couple of hours fishing with minimal tackle and enjoying a nice coffee at same time with good fishing too.

So a few days after visited for my first session on a bright and mild march afternoon, Gordon gave me some good advice on a few swims to try setting up a waggler and feeder rod half way across in 6 feet of water, it did not take long to catch with a steady stream of quality ide, roach, skimmers, perch and plump 12oz goldfish, using simple tactics of loose feeding few maggots each cast with odd ball of groundbait. I was definitley hooked again into fishing. For me the lake set up with the superb natural man made swims with each one having a set of lily pads to the side of each swim and rushes going out approx 5 metres the other, making great spots to alternate giving lots of different options to fish to during the warmer months which makes for great pole and margin fishing. feeder fishing towards the central rushes too on the opposite bank another great way to catch. This unique swim set up even when busy still gives you peace and quiet with out the hassle of people encroaching into your swim, and in the last year making it very covid secure on this 2 lake complex. There are regular matches each week on one of the lakes ( when covid rules permit ) so there is always a swim to found for a leisure sesson.

The lake boasts an impressive 25 assorted species to be had it is not a carp focused fishery like far too many now in my opinion, but they are there to be had up to 18lbs and more. It is perfect if you enjoy like I do not knowing what species you can catch. If you like old school coarse fishing then Redbridge is a great go to place using pole, waggler and feeder tactics.

Since that first visit I have spent many many enjoyable hours there catching quality fish and enjoying the surroundings and nature that surround you in this well kept complex. check out the lakes very informative website

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