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Home / Sporting Events / Fishing / Fashion designer obsessed with catching the biggest fish in Edgbaston Reservoir

Fashion designer obsessed with catching the biggest fish in Edgbaston Reservoir

Angler Tadas Pustelnikovas is determined to catch the biggest fish in the city’s famous Edgbaston Reservoir

And judging by the size of the largest pike he’s landed so far, it could be a catch to write home about when he does.

Like the tuna-obsessed character played by Oscar-winning Matthew McConaughey in Steven Knight’s new thriller Serenity, catching the big one has become an all-consuming passion.

Fashion designer Tadas might hail from Kaunas, an industrial city in central Lithuania, but he is now one of four million anglers in the UK.

Throughout each fishing season, he now spends every spare minute by the Edgbaston Reservoir waterside trying to land a wonder of the deep…

 

Tadas with his biggest catch to date at Edbaston Reservoir - but he's hoping there's a fish twice the size

Tadas with his biggest catch to date at Edbaston Reservoir – but he’s hoping there’s a fish twice the size
(Image: Tadas Pustelnikovas)

Tadas talks about his passion for angling in the above video – he respects the aggressive, predatory pike so much he wears a fedora and a stylish combination of scarf, shirt and tie while trying to land the big one.

Even in an industry worth more than £3 billion a year, you won’t find many people going to such sartorial lengths to enjoy what is Britain’s most popular pastime.

But this particular challenge is even keeping Tadas awake at night – the record for a northern pike is 25kg (55lb) caught in Germany in 1986.

On the day BirminghamLive visited him, he’d had just four hours’ sleep before a taxi had picked him up on the other side of town ready to arrive dressed to impress in time for a spectacular sunrise at the Edgbaston Reservoir waterside.

 

Self portrait from a tripod: Tadas with another catch at Edgbaston Reservoir

Self portrait from a tripod: Tadas with another catch at Edgbaston Reservoir
(Image: Tadas Pustelnikovas)

Who is Tadas Pustelnikovas?

Now 27, Tadas left his Lithuanian homeland to study fashion design at Central St Martin’s in London and at BCU in Birmingham. in the hope of one day costuming a movie.

The entrepreneur has launched his own label Tado Vito and dreams up new designs while angling.

Tadas has a Chinese girlfriend, Tianyu, whom he has been encouraging to take up the fishing habit, too.

 

Tadas Pustelnikovas fishes while wearing his lucky fedora

Tadas Pustelnikovas fishes while wearing his lucky fedora
(Image: Graham Young / BirminghamLive)

Why fishing?

Tadas believes there are several reasons why people go fishing.

But his key one is to learn to live ‘in the moment’.

“When I relax after work I want to get inspiration (for my fashion) and fresh air and really enjoy the nature at Edgbaston Reservoir,” he says.

A Tado Vito dress – Alexandrian. Model: Naomi, Supernova Model Management / Picture by Trevor Davies, Phlash Works Ltd
(Image: Trevor Davies, Phlash Works Ltd / Tado Vito)

“(Why people fish) depends on your philosophy – for different anglers it can mean different things.

“For some people they only care about the quantity of the fish.

“They try to catch as much as they want.

Self-portrait by Tadas with a small fish and girlfriend Tianyu, a student from northern China

Self-portrait by Tadas with a small fish and girlfriend Tianyu, a student from northern China
(Image: Tadas Pustelnikovas)

“Others don’t care about how much they catch, they are enjoying the moment.

“For me it’s almost like a camp, but also waiting for something to happen.

“So you take your food, you might take your spouse and you are really enjoying your time.”

 

Tadas fishing by the Edgbaston Reservoir waterside at dawn with Birmingham's cityscape on the horizon

Tadas fishing by the Edgbaston Reservoir waterside at dawn with Birmingham’s cityscape on the horizon
(Image: Graham Young / BirminghamLive)

Why Edgbaston Reservoir?

Tadas discovered there were fish in Edgbaston Reservoir by accident.

The 70-acre oasis close to Five Ways was built in 1827 by Thomas Telford.

Today, almost 200 years later, it is still used to top up the city’s canal system.

Danger: sign next to the Gillott Road entrance to Edgbaston Reservoir warning 'No Swimming', No Paddling'

Danger: sign next to the Gillott Road entrance to Edgbaston Reservoir warning ‘No Swimming’, No Paddling’
(Image: Graham Young / BirminghamLive)

“The first time I came was just to ride a bicycle,” says Tadas.

“I did not know there would be fish here.

“Only a year or so after I started talking to the local people and they said there were some fish here.

“I could not believe it but then they showed me the pictures.

“I wanted to try my luck and on my first fishing trip I was surprised with three big pikes!”

 

Style fishing: Tadas in fedora, scarf, shirt and tie with rods next to Edgbaston Reservoir just after dawn

Style fishing: Tadas in fedora, scarf, shirt and tie with rods next to Edgbaston Reservoir just after dawn
(Image: Graham Young / BirminghamLive)

What can you catch?

Tadas has caught a variety of fish during his time on the water’s edge – but he is only obsessed by one.

“There are big pikes, loads of carp, mirror carp and silver fish,” he says.

“I think I’m the only man trying to catch pike all year round (when permitted).

Silhouette: Tadas by the edge of Edgbaston Reservoir close to its Gillott Road entrance

Silhouette: Tadas by the edge of Edgbaston Reservoir close to its Gillott Road entrance
(Image: Graham Young / BirminghamLive)

“Most people who come here are waiting for the carp.

“The biggest pike I’ve caught was about 14lbs, but I’m pretty sure there’s even bigger ones – 30lbs.

“I spoke with local anglers and they said they witness people have caught 30lb pike in this water.

Land of the rising fun: Tadas fishing by the Edgbaston Reservoir waterside at dawn with Birmingham's cityscape on the horizon

Land of the rising fun: Tadas fishing by the Edgbaston Reservoir waterside at dawn with Birmingham’s cityscape on the horizon
(Image: Graham Young / BirminghamLive)

“Many people go to the reservoir to watch the nature, but they never experience what goes on under the water.”

Tadas is even getting to know some of the fish he always puts back on a personal basis.

“One of the interesting things was when I caught a pike which belly was openly like with a razor, I couldn’t believe it could survive,” he says.

Style fishing: Tadas in fedora, scarf, shirt and tie with rods next to Edgbaston Reservoir just after dawn

Watching and waiting: Tadas in fedora, scarf, shirt and tie with rods next to Edgbaston Reservoir just after dawn
(Image: Graham Young / BirminghamLive)

“Later I researched and find out that this injury was made by a very big pike that fights for territory.

“After less then a month I caught the very same pike but the belly was completely sealed in less then a month, it’s just unbelievable how fast animals can heal themselves.

“Unfortunately for this particular fish, I managed to catch the same one three times in one season – thanks to the scar it’s easily recognisable.”

 

One of the fashion designs by Tadas for his Tado Vito company

Dress: One of the fashion designs by Tadas for his Tado Vito company
(Image: Tadas Pustelnikovas / Tado Vito)

Lithuania and Birmingham

“Being a Lithuanian defines my heritage and everything I do more or less reflects my culture,” says Tadas.

“In my country, fishing is probably the second biggest sport after basketball.

“Almost everyone does fishing or at least likes going fishing.

A Tado Vito leather handbag inspired by a traditional Lithuanian pattern

A Tado Vito leather handbag inspired by a traditional Lithuanian pattern
(Image: Tado Vito)

“It is very popular, there is plenty of lakes, plenty of rivers and people really enjoy it.

“Ice fishing is very popular, too, when the water is frozen in winter.

“We drill the holes, have a little rod and sit on the ice.

Two fishing rods and the Birmingham skyline on the other side of Edgbaston Reservoir

Two fishing rods and the Birmingham skyline on the other side of Edgbaston Reservoir
(Image: Graham Young / BirminghamLive)

“Whether it’s minus five or minus 15 we sit on the ice, that’s what we like to do and that’s our culture.

“I’m really proud and I want more people to try angling because this is a really amazing sport and lifestyle.

“I don’t feel a very obvious connection (with Birmingham) but I feel at home as long as there is water around where I can fish.”

 

Dawn: Tadas by the edge of Edgbaston Reservoir

Dawn: Tadas by the edge of Edgbaston Reservoir
(Image: Graham Young / BirminghamLive)

Fishing in Birmingham

Edgbaston Reservoir is one of 14 parks across the city where you can go fishing if you have a licence to do so.

The others include:

Brookvale Park, George Road Erdington
Cannon Hill Park – Russell Road, Moseley
Edgbaston Reservoir – Reservoir Road, Edgbaston
Fox Hollies Park – Pool Farm Road, Acocks Green
Lifford Reservoir – Tunnel Lane, Hall Green
Manor Farm Park – Bristol Road South, Northfield

Edgbaston Reservoir during the summer 2018 heatwave

Edgbaston Reservoir during the summer 2018 heatwave
(Image: Graham Young / BirminghamLive)

Norman Chamberlain Playing Fields – Pithall Road, Shard End
Perry Park – Walsall Road, Perry Barr
Pype Hayes Park – Chester Road, Erdington

An angler at Salford Park, Nechells in the shadow of Spaghetti Junction

An angler at Salford Park, Nechells in the shadow of Spaghetti Junction
(Image: Graham Young / BirminghamLive)

Salford Park – Lichfield Road, Aston
Shenley Fields Playing Fields – Shenley Fields Lake
Trittiford Mill Pool – Priory Road, Billesley
Ward End Park – Washwood Heath Road, Washwood Heath

Self portrait from a tripod: Tadas with another catch at Edgbaston Reservoir

Self portrait from a tripod: Tadas with another catch at Edgbaston Reservoir
(Image: Tadas Pustelnikovas)

In Sutton Coldfield, you can also fish at Sutton Park National Nature Reserve.

Blackroot, Bracebridge, Powells and Keepers Pools which all have designated fishing areas.

Please contact Sutton Park Visitor Centre on 0121 464 8728 for further information.

 

Fishing tackle: some of the equipment Tadas uses to remove hooks from fish and to weigh them

Fishing tackle: some of the equipment Tadas uses to remove hooks from fish and to weigh them
(Image: Graham Young / BirminghamLive)

When you can fish

Most of the above sites do not permit fishing from March 15 to June 15 each year.

But year-round fishing is available at four of them – Fox Hollies Park, Pype Hayes Park, Salford Park and Shenley Pool, Weoley Castle.

Tadas uses a paid-for app called Fishbrain to keep tabs on his catches and you can also use it to see what others are catching, too.

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He also has lots of fishing tackle to help with the capture of a fish and its safekeeping before it is weighed and then returned back to the water.

The Gillot Road entrance to Edgbaston Reservoir has a Danger Water notice saying ‘No swimming’ and ‘No diving’.

In an emergency, telephone 0121 454 7810 from 10am to 9.30pm (winter) or 10am til 11.30pm (summer) or dial 999.

 

Tadas has an Environment Agency fishing licence which covers three rods for non-migratory trout and coarse fish. The card says: 'You must carry this licence when fishing'

Tadas has an Environment Agency fishing licence which covers three rods for non-migratory trout and coarse fish. The card says: ‘You must carry this licence when fishing’
(Image: Graham Young / BirminghamLive)

How to buy a licence

In order to fish at any of the above sites you must have an Environment Agency fishing rod licence or you will face prosecution.

You can buy a one-day, eight-day or 12-month licence online.

You’ll need a debit or credit card; your Blue Badge or National Insurance number if you have a disability and you’re applying for a 12-month licence; the other person’s details (such as date of birth), if you’re buying for someone else.

Angler's paradise: The Birmingham skyline on the other side of Edgbaston Reservoir from Gillott Road, just after dawn

Angler’s paradise: The Birmingham skyline on the other side of Edgbaston Reservoir from Gillott Road, just after dawn
(Image: Graham Young / BirminghamLive)

You can use the online service to get a junior licence for children aged 13 to 16. You will not need to pay.

This licence can start on any date as long as it’s within 60 days of the day you buy it.You can also buy a licence by calling the Environment Agency or in person at a Post Office.

The Environment Agency can be contacted by telephone on 0344 800 5386 from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday or from 8am to 1pm on Saturdays (March 1 to May 31) or on bank holidays from 8am to 6pm (March 1 to May 31).   

 

Tadas uses an app called Fishbrain to keep tabs on his catches

Tadas uses a paid-for app called Fishbrain to keep tabs on his catches
(Image: Graham Young / BirminghamLive)

How much a licence costs

One day: £6 for trout and coarse 2-rod or £12 for salmon and sea trout.

Eight days: £12 for trout and coarse 2-rod or £27 for salmon and sea trout.

A 12-month licence costs £30 or £82 for the above categories, while a £45 year-round licence also allows you to use three rods for trout and coarse fishing.

 

Net gain: Tadas with another catch at Edgbaston Reservoir

Net gain: Tadas with another catch at Edgbaston Reservoir
(Image: Tadas Pustelnikovas)

A 12-month licence for over 65s / disabled will cost £20 for trout and coarse fishing (£30 for three rods) or £54 for salmon and trout.

A junior licence for children aged from 13 to 16 is free.

You can get a 12-month disabled person’s licence if you’ve got a Blue Badge, or you get Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment (any rate) – you’ll need your National Insurance number to prove this.

You can also get a discounted 12-month licence if you’re over 65. You cannot get a discount for a 1-day or an 8-day licence.

 

The Serenity fishing boat featured in Steven Knight's film of the same name shot in Mauritius

The Serenity fishing boat featured in Steven Knight’s film of the same name shot in Mauritius
(Image: Sky Cinema / Sky Originals / Serenity)

Steven Knight and fishing

Serenity writer and Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight identifies with Tadas’s passion for fishing in his home city of Birmingham.

Having shot his steam thriller in Mauritius, Steven says: “Nobody had ever shot there before and it was a beautiful place.

“I will fish anywhere and, if it’s sustainable, I will eat what I catch.

Steven Knight, the Birmingham-born Peaky Blinders creator.

Loves fishing: Steven Knight, the Birmingham-born Peaky Blinders creator at the Hotel du Vin
(Image: Graham Young)

“Fishing is metaphor for lots of other things. “It’s about waiting for fortune, communication, relations… and Matthew did a great job of expressing that.”

Has he ever been fishing with Chris Tarrant, one of the UK’s most famous fishermen and presenter of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire….? which Steven helped to create?

“No I haven’t. But you either are a fisherman or you’re not – and he definitely is!”

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