Carp Fishing On Crowsheath Fishery Essex

Gareth Morris, our resident sea fishing sales adviser at Fishtec tries his hand at fishing a commercial carp venue in Essex for a few days. Take a read to see how he gets on with his first attempt at landing some hard fighting carp.

I visit some family members each year in the South east of England. This occasion I had decided to combine the trip with some carp fishing, having never really done any serious carping or any overnighters before. I had heard my destination, Essex, is basically the birth place of modern carp fishing- where Team Korda began their epic journey, as well as Nash and Mainline Baits. I packed the car up with the carp fishing tackle and began the long drive from Brecon in South Wales, to fish a fantastic well established Essex fishery called Crowsheath.

Crowsheath Fishery Essex

Rods out on Crowsheath Fishery Essex.

Crowsheath has been established for many years and is actually within the Essex greenbelt making it very peaceful, you can’t even hear a car go past and the only view you have is pleasant greenery and the only sound you will hear is the birds and bank side wildlife. Nick who is the onsite bailiff and owner of Crowsheath is a great character, who constantly strives to improve the fishery.  As well as the main carp lake that is situated here there is also the ”cat canal” which boasts some of the biggest catfish in the UK, with some knocking over the scales at 100lb+ and also including the unique ”mandarin” breed. There is also a predator lake on site with pike to  the high 20’s, and a new match lake is in the pipeline.

We arrived at the fishery with very high expectations of that dream big double figure carp, our hopes were somewhat dampened by the news from other anglers that had been there all weekend. Nothing was coming out, and even if it was something it wasn’t what they wanted… Myself and my brother in law Sean moved quickly to get settled into our bivvys and pre-baited our swims ready, and got the rods out onto the pods- eagerly awaiting that first run to the alarms. My chosen set up was a TF Gear Compact 10ft 2.5lb matched up with DL Speendrunner 6000 reels, with 12lb TF Gear Nantec Gunsmoke Mono Line. This set up is perfect for the size of carp we were looking to encounter this week.


TF Gear Lok Down bivvy - home for the next few days

A TF Gear Lok Down bivvy – home for the next few days.

The baits that I had selected were the Mainline Frozen Cell 15mm boilies– a perfect all round bait used all over the country with great results. I used a Korda DF size 10 Barbless rig, with PVA bags fully loaded with mainline Cell Stick Mix and hempseed. It wasn’t until the next morning we had the first run, but here she is, a nice little common to start off the day.


8lb 6 oz Nice little common carp

8lb 6 oz Nice little common carp.

After a nice start the weather was soon on the change from ideal cloudy and mild fishing conditions to heavy rain and extreme winds! The lake soon turned choppy and it felt like I was sea fishing on the South Wales sea coast and not on a lake. Everything just switched off. A few hours later watching the rods and with a break in the weather it seemed the perfect opportunity to try a bit of stalking a few other swims closer to the main island on the lake. With my brother In-law pulling another 8lb carp out from there earlier that morning. As the sun was staring to come out the fish were on the rise, but they were not interested in the bait, even if you dropped it in front of their nose. We tried the new Korda Ready Tied Zig Rigs, but absolutely nothing was happening.

The next day things picked up somewhat, after a night of heavy rain and wind.  The Lok down bivvy thankfully kept me bone dry all night, and at 4.30 am the alarm was screaming once again. After tripping over the bivvy door and stumbling over the bait bucket I was quickly into the second carp of the trip. Again not the biggest but a nice welcome after such a horrid night!

Another mint condition common carp - 12lb in weight.

Another mint condition common carp – 12lb in weight.

The weather had really picked up and this was out perfect opportunity to rove around the lake before other anglers had arrived later that day. Moving up a few swims with the rods in hand I wasn’t long before the carp were jumping out the reeds. After carefully putting the two rods in just before the reeds it was time to sit back, relax and wait. Less than 30 minutes of the rig being in the spot the rod almost got pulled off the deck. This fish was a proper rod bending, drag running carp! Having picked up the net to safely get the carp it darted into the reeds near the deck and bolted, this is when I knew it was over, he got off the hook. Gutted wasn’t the word that was used. It had a lovely dark colouration to it and it felt a really nice fish.

A welcome 10lb carp

A very welcome fish.

After relocating back to our swims it was back to the drawing board. I got out out the spod rod and baiting up a large area not far off the reed beds, and placed the rods over it. It wasn’t long before I had a run, It was a double figure carp but only tipping over at 10lb 10oz. Things were going well for Sean too, with several nice double figure carp to 12lb also gracing his net. We didn’t have long left to fish, and the rods where still out and fully loaded, whilst we packed up to make our way home, but I was still hopeful of latching into a bigger carp before time ran out. The bivvy and kit were packed away, with the rods of course being the last thing you bring in. Looking at the reel closely as I was just about pick up the rod, I saw the line twitch… and suddenly the TF Gear Magrunner alarm screamed off with the spool releasing line at a rate of knots! The hard fighting  carp was welcomed to the net after a strong fight.. After letting her settle down in the net it was weighing time. Sean announced it was another PB, 15oz 2lb! Not the 20 I was after but it was a very welcome fish after a difficult fishing session with challenging bankside weather.

15lb 2 oz Common Carp

15lb 2 oz Common Carp.

We were very happy to leave the fishery with ten nice Carp landed between us – no giants but it had been great fun on balanced fishing tackle. Being an experianced sea fisherman  this is the very first time I have been proper carp fishing- and what a buzz it was! I had well and truly caught the carp fishing bug, and hope to return to Crowsheath next year. Many thanks to the bailiffs Nick, Darren, Connor and Jason for a very memorable trip, and advice given over the few days.

For more information and catch reports please go and follow them on their face Facebook page. If you are in the area, pop in and have ago. There is a good head of carp at this venue and it’s worth every moment!



Early Spring Carp Fishing On Celtic Lakes

It is now mid March so spring must have arrived by now.. right? With the weather seemingly on the change for the better, our resident carp and coarse fishing adviser Simon Howells decided It was finally time to break out the carp fishing tackle, and head out for the first fishing trip of the year!

Celtic lakes fishery map

Celtic lakes fishery map

My truck was packed to the brim with fishing gear for the three day outing from Tuesday until Thursday,  and I headed off on a journey to deepest rural Wales. The chosen venue was Celtic lakes resort, near Lampeter. Celtic lakes offers superb fishing on 6 waters of varying sizes, all heavily stocked with carp to 35lb+ and catfish to 85lb as well as a mix of coarse fish including tench, roach, rudd, perch and bream. I reached the lakes about lunch time, and after speaking to Janet the fishery manager had a good look around the lake and picked my swim for the few days fishing.  During the setting up of the bivvie and the rest of the fishing gear it was a really nice day; sunny with hardly any clouds at all and even though it was mid March it was fairly warm. Indeed one or two fish were spotted on the surface, so a mental note was made of where they were, so a bait could go out in that area!

Everything set up and ready for a run

Everything set up and ready for a run!

I decided to fish a three rod set up. I placed my left hand rod out tight to the island with mainline cell as a hook-bait over a bed of robin red pellets. The middle rod was for the catfish into open water, so on went the large halibut pellets, with  mainline halibut syrup to give them some extra zing. The right hand rod was going out on the right side of the island where there was a large cut between the two islands. On this rod I would be using the new Nash TG boilies. To attract the carp I put out a bed of Nash TG stick mix and chilli hemp, then threw in some white chocolate and coconut ground bait, Nash TG flakes and finally tandoori shrimp liquid to finish off! I have to say it smelt really nice and if I was a carp I would definitely be trying some. It made me hungry anyway!

Carp bait all ready to use

Carp baits all ready to use

Well I didn’t have to wait that long really as the left hand bite alarm started bleeping and the swinger started going!  After a short fight a small but lovely common carp at 6lb – 2oz graced the net. The light started to fade and the night drew in. Nothing happened for a long time until my left hand rod went again just after I had got into bed and turned the light out for the night… I shot out of the bivvy lifted into the fish and once again it didn’t feel very big. After another brief fight I landed a common carp of 6lb – 9oz at about 1.20am. After putting the fish back it was straight back into the bivvy to get some shut eye.

6lb 9oz common carp

6lb 9oz common carp

In the morning I was woken up by very high winds at about 5.30am, it was seriously blowing a gale and chucking it down with rain and sleet, the temperature had dramatically plummeted. Poking my head out of the bivvy door I could see fresh snow dusting the hills!  What a change from Tuesday and this would really affect the fishing if the temperature didn’t go back up slightly! Unfortunately nothing happened all day Wednesday, but hey that’s carping for you! Thursday was here before I knew it. There was no change in the weather but the wind had eased a little and to be fair I was thinking of jacking it in early. While pondering this I put the kettle on for a brew and a quick bite to eat, and lo and behold my left rod screamed away with another common carp that weighed 8lb – 3oz.

The final carp of the trip goes back

The final carp of the trip goes back

Sadly this was the last carp of the trip and it was time to pack everything down in the pouring rain, and head home! I will be returning soon as I really want to get one of the specimen cats from the lake and some bigger carp… so in the words of Arnie.. I’ll be back Celtic lakes!




Carp rod salute: famous fish of the past

There are carp and then there are famous carp. Some fish have risen to take a place in the hearts of carp anglers everywhere.

And it’s about more than just size. To be a real star, a fish has to be a little bit different…a character. Here we celebrate the lives of just a few of the most famous fish ever to be captured by carp rod.

Benson (1984 – 2009)

Benson: The people's fish

Benson: The people’s fish
Source: Rhinoreach

Known as, ‘the people’s fish’, Benson was a common carp without equal. At 64 lbs she was simply enormous – but her gargantuan proportions never made her easy to catch.

In fact, during her 13 years in residence at Bluebell Lakes near Peterborough, she is reported as having been brought to the bank 63 times – less than five times a year.

Her death at the age of 25 was suspicious since carp can live considerably longer than that. A quantity of uncooked tiger nuts was found at the scene, prompting speculation that Benson was inadvertently poisoned by thoughtless anglers.

The Black Mirror (deceased 2010)

The Black Mirror

The Black Mirror: one of carp fishing’s greatest prizes
Source: Fishing Magic

To capture the Black Mirror was regarded as one of carp fishing’s greatest prizes.

A denizen of Colnemere, a former gravel pit near Heathrow airport, Black Mirror was first caught in 1992 by Jason Hayward. At that time, the fish weighed 46 lb – not far shy of the British record.

A classic looking fish, Black Mirror enjoyed wide regard as one of the hardest carp to catch – particularly after the water became a SSSI and a SPA (Special Protection Area), making fishing illegal. It was last landed just a few weeks before it died – at a whopping 51 lb 12 oz.

Black Mirror was found floating amid a large number of dead fish. Cause of death was thought to be as the result of an algal bloom or possibly a disturbance to the thermocline.

Two Tone (deceased 2010)

50 Anglers mourned the passing of Two Tone

Fifty anglers mourned the passing of Two Tone
Source: Colinmaire

Over 50 mourners attended the memorial service and unveiling of a plaque to commemorate the life of the irreplaceable mirror carp, Two Tone.

The name was a reference to the fish’s distinctive colouring, rather than ska – but the mere mention of the moniker was music to the ears of many a carper. Indeed so special was this fish that some spent years in pursuit of the elusive giant.

Two Tone was one heck of a fish. It was last caught at 67 lb 14 oz – a specimen and a half – this fish was fiendishly difficult to catch. Many tried and most failed. Two Tone was generally brought to the bank just once or twice a year.

At 45, the carp is thought to have died of old age. RIP Two Tone.

Heather the Leather (1960 – 2010)

Heather the Leather: one of the UK's oldest carp

Heather the Leather: one of the UK’s oldest carp
Source: Advanced Carp Fishing

She has her own headstone and memorial bush – a fitting tribute to a fish often regarded as the most famous carp in all the land.

At 52 lbs, she was a big old girl, but it was her wily way of avoiding being caught, and her great age that rendered her one of the most desirable catches of all time.

Thought to have succumbed to old age, Heather was found at the edge of a lake in the Yateley fishery in which she lived. The press claimed at the time that Heather had been landed over 1000 times, but the claim is a heresy. Heather was far cleverer than that – the real figure is closer to 75.

Are there any other legendary carp that we’ve missed? And which is the most famous living carp? We’d love to know.

Fishabil – The sleeping giant is being awoken!

Fishabils aim is  to make this legendary fishery into, once again, “The Premier” carp fishing venue and establishment of France. Ensuring quality fish stock, a well cared for lake and great value accommodation, Fishabil has what it takes to provide you with the ideal location for a holiday or short fishing break.

This angling centre has incredible pedigree and prestige with over 500 years of history associated with it’s grounds.

In the past it has held: 6 major European matches, 2 World Carp Cup and 2 European Carp Cup Tournaments in recognizing the lake’s excellent fish breeding conditions, Fishabil intends to maintain and nurture the very high standards of previous years.

And what more to entice the most hardcore of anglers than 8 previous world records which have been set and approved by the international sport fishing association. Lake Fishabil is something special.

Website –

Mid Kent fisheries

Mid Kent Fisheries provide some of the best carp and coarse fishing available in the South East with an excellent range of fishing venues covering over 25 lakes available for our members.

Mid Kent Fisheries (MKF) is among the three largest fisheries in the country

The Stour Lake

This lake was created in the late 1960s and covers some 20 acres. MKF stocked the venue with Carp to just 9lb in March 1992.
To date, Stour Lake has produced seven different 30lb+ Carp and over 150 different 20s.
The venue also holds a few very large Tench with the best being a 13lb 3oz monster. The lake has many features including a multitude of gravel bars, islands and reed fringed margins.

Mill Pool

This mature gravel pit, dug in the late 1960s, provides good all round fishing with multiple 20lb Carp captures possible and good Bream, Tench and Roach fishing.
A good venue for both specimen and pleasure anglers.
Size: 10 Acres
Stock: Carp 30lb, Bream 9lb, Tench 7lb, Rudd 1lb & Roach 2lb

These are just a few lakes that Mid Kent fisheries own and run. Details for the other 23 complexes they run can be found on their website.

Facilities on offer at Mid Kent fisheries
Disabled access: Yes
Tackle Hire: No
Toliets: Yes
Refreshments: Yes
Day passes: Yes




Sapphire Lakes

This picturesque fishery is one of the regions oldest established coarse fishing waters. With 3 lakes set in more than 11 acres Sapphire can cater for all anglers, from the carp angler looking for that personal best to the match and pleasure fisherman hoping for that huge net full at the end of the days session, Sapphire Lakes won’t disappoint!!

Check out their Website for more information

Facilities on offer at Sapphire Lakes
Disabled access: Yes
Tackle Hire: No
Toliets: Yes
Refreshments: Yes
Day passes: Yes
Phone: 01636 821131

Celtic Lakes

Choose from 6 well stocked lakes, each landscaped to perfection with stunning native and tropical plants and waterfalls. Each lake is brimming with coarse fish including bream, perch, roach, rudd and tench, as well as carp to 40lb and catfish to 80lb. Celtic Lakes Resort is one of the few fishing holiday destinations in wales to stock catfish so if you can handle a huge cat, Celtic Lakes is where you’ll find it.

With the continued stocking of specimen carp catfish throughout 2008 and 2009, Celtic lakes Resort is fast becoming one of the premier “big fish” waters and fishing holiday destinations in the whole of the UK.

Facilities on offer at Celtic Lakes
Disabled access: Yes
Tackle Hire: No
Toliets: Yes
Refreshments: Yes
Day passes: Yes
Phone: 0777 999 0925


Spring Rock Fishery

Spring Rock is a carp fishery built for carp fishermen by carp fishermen it really does have everything to offer what ever your carp angling needs or abilities. From pleasure anglers to serious carp fishermen. Spring Rock has all the makings of a great venue.  The Lake is roughly 2.5 acres in size with depths to 15 foot, which gives for the best fight even with the tiddlers and awesome margins to 6 foot in places with high reeds ideal for stalking!

It is fully designed underneath with features such as plateaus, gravel bars and pits. So whether you like to spend your time baiting up a central spot and waiting for that big boy to come looking or you like to stay mobile stalking amongst the tall reeds, it all here!  Stocked with well over 350 carp to 25lb, consisting of mirrors, commons, crucians, ghosts and koi.

Facilities on offer at Spring Rock Fishery
Disabled access: Yes
Tackle Hire: No
Toliets: Yes
Refreshments: Yes
Day passes: Yes
Phone: 07970092160.

Rainbow Lake

Rainbow Lake is situated within Burstwick, just past Hedon on the Withernsea road in East Yorkshire, it’s well stocked and has a large selection of fish for all types of anglers.

John and Linda have owned this well stocked lake and have a re-stocking plan to make this one of the best fishing lakes in the area.

The fish in the lake are Common, Grass, Mirror, and Ghost Carp, Bream, Roach, Tench, Rudd, Chubb, Perch, Eels, and Gudgin. Some of the largest fish caught was a Mirror Carp at 29lb, Commons to 22 lb and the Grass and Ghost carp to 18 lb.

Facilities on offer at Rainbow Lake
Disabled access: Yes
Tackle Hire: No
Toliets: Yes
Refreshments: Yes
Day passes: Yes
Phone: 07867918976