CARP, TENCH AND SPANISH CATS

Since my last feature, I’ve been back for one last session at Horseshoe Lake, reverting to one of my favourite swims, Choppy’s on Winter Bay. Once again, though, my timing was poor. Why is it that I’m always told that, “you should have been here last week etc?” I know I couldn’t have fished any more effectively, having carefully located a nice clear gravel bed in the middle of silkweed and baited it accurately. Although I did catch a couple of tench, they again were only average fish up to just over 6lbs. My searches for a really big tench have been constantly thwarted this season.

I’ve also been back to my local carp fishing water for a day session, taking seven more lovely carp, all good doubles and had several exploratory sessions on the upper Warks Avon, which is close to my home. The signal crayfish situation on my beloved Great Ouse has now reached plague proportions and I have to say that the fishing is no longer enjoyable at times. Summer fishing is now a real trial, the damn crays are on the baits in minutes. Even the usual tricks of encasing in mesh or trying to lure the crays away with tins of cat food or tethered fish are not working very well. There are simply too many crays. What the river needs is an injection of a few catfish in each affected section. They will soon thin down the crayfish population!

On the Avon though, I can still find peaceful fishing. I’ve been on the extreme upper reaches, which have no real form for anything other than average chub and barbel, but I do feel that there may be a big fish or two to be discovered. Apart from one very accessible section, the river receives little pressure and I’m very hopeful of uncovering something exciting. So far, barbel to only 8-12 and chub to 4-10 have rewarded my efforts, but I do know of genuine 11 and 6 pounders respectively. so, the search continues, which is great fun in itself.

Early August saw me back on the Ebro system in central Spain, fishing the river’s tributary the Segre at Mequinenza with Catmasters Tours. The fishing was as much fun as ever, although a little slower than previous trips. Apparently, a combination of an extreme heat wave and late spawning had resulted in many of the bigger fish not being in the usual areas. Fran and I were joined by two father and son combinations, Paul and Patrick Reed and Paul and Zach Sparrow. Patrick, who is 21, had never before landed a catfish and on the first night landed one of the biggest cats ever caught by a Catmasters customer, in fact one of the biggest cats ever caught anywhere, at 224lb. For good measure, Zach, 15, also had his first ever cats, his biggest being 182lb! Both lads were teased about their golden appendages for the rest of the week!

Compared to those two monsters, my catches this year were quite modest. My best was 126lb, well short of my personal best of 186lb caught last November. I also fluked a 28lb common on a catfish rod, as well as dropping a carp in the margins that looked every ounce of 40lb plus. That was the only 100lb plus fish I had this year, although I did manage two very hard fighting fish of 83lb and 84lb.

If you get the chance you must give it a go. You do not need to be an experienced big fish angler, as the guides do all the important work of selecting the swim, rowing out the baits, baiting up and so on. They also are on hand to advise on playing these immensely powerful fish and landing them for you. As Pat and Zach proved this year, anyone can catch a monster, even the most inexperienced. So you cannot take it too seriously as it is certainly no measure of angling skill. What it is though is bloody good fun and I can thoroughly recommend it.

 

The Dog Days of Summer

I love these conditions. Low, clear water, the fish are hiding in the most out of the way places and are reluctant to move far to feed. Conditions like this can be really challenging whilst coarse fishing but, with a little thought and flexibility in your approach, you can still find consistent sport.

Take a session I had last week. I arrived at the river to find it quite busy with people in the usual swims but all catching very little. I took some time to wander and soon found a spot where a few elips pellets tossed into the margins from a high bank, were taken on the drop by a group of chub. I kept the feeding going in little and often and soon those chub were preoccupied and joined by others from downstream. Inevitably they were then joined by a couple of barbel, looking pale compared to the chub and blending in with the gravel as they drifted across it. Now was the time to plot their downfall.

My fishing rod was already rigged with 10lb line, a 2′ long coated braid hooklink with the last couple of inches peeled back and a size 10 hook at the business end. I’ve gone over to coated braid for the time being as there is some evidence that barbel will spook to fluorocarbon if they touch it whereas they tolerate brushing against the more visible braid. Whether its a fact or not I don’t really know for sure but I’m catching on braid so it’ll do for now.

The lead is coated to blend in with gravel and a lump of plasticine is wrapped 3′ or so above it to act as a back weight. Pinning the line down is essential in fooling wary fish in shallow, clear water. To this end I also put a couple of rig putty blobs on the leader, I don’t want it wafting up in the current. The bait is a single elips pellet, broken in two then glued together over the hair.

I waited, the fish left the area having eaten every item of loose feed. I lowered the rig exactly where I wanted it, close to a nearside ledge. Here the line up to my rod would be less visible against the stone than it would in open water, another bonus in this stealth war. Having got everything where I wanted it, I recommenced loose feeding and immediately the fish returned. I kept the free pellets falling through the swim as the chub were taking mostly on the drop, this increases the chances of it being a barbel that takes the bait – and it worked. The barbel headed straight for open water and I was quickly on top of it, guiding it to the waiting net.

Having spent my time building this swim up I thought I’d get a bait straight back in and await the fish’s return in the hope of a second success. I figured it would take half an hour or so to settle and sat back playing with my new camera but was surprised when, after just a couple of minutes, the rod jolted down and a chub headed for a sunken bush. I was too slow, the fish went into the snag and the hookhold failed. Damn! My fault, sometimes the fish don’t respond in the usual manner and I had spooked the swim.

Not to worry, there’s plenty more water to explore. I found a couple more ‘flashing’ barbel but could not induce a take so ended the day at an old favourite swim of mine. Its been largely ignored for most of the summer mainly due to the distance from a car park but that suits me just fine. Here I put my lead into a pva bag of pellets and broken boilies and cast it into a deep run. Having the lead inside the pva bag ensures that it hits the bottom before breaking up rather than wafting in the current and spreading your bait far and wide as often happens when you simply put it on your hook.

I was joined by my old mate Tommo who declined the offer to share my swim and headed off to a spot that has given him some good results in the past. It was another deep run of well oxygenated water and close to an overhanging tree. As we chatted my rod sprang into life and I landed a barbel. I followed this with another fish of a similar size, about seven pounds or so, and a couple of chub. But it was Tommo’s excited whistle and shout that signalled the high point of the day. As I got to him he was just netting a beautiful barbel that turned the scales to 10.4 and was in mint condition.

Not bad for a difficult day.

Written by Dave Burr

Orchard Lakes

Situated in the heart of the Thames Valley, just south of Oxford approximately one mile from the delightful and historic village of Dorchester-on-Thames, Orchid Lakes has a long history and fine reputation for providing carp angling which is second to none. Set in delightful surroundings, there are two well stocked, mature gravel pit lakes both of which are maintained in perfect order with purpose built swims.

Facilities on offer at Orchard Lakes
Disabled access: Yes
Tackle Hire: No
Toilets: Yes
Refreshments: Yes
Day passes: Yes
Phone: 01865 341810
Web:http://www.orchid-lakes.co.uk/

Highway Farm Fishing

Two established and sheltered spring-fed lakes well stocked with plenty of strains and sizes of carp to 12lb, also lots of roach, rudd and goldfish. Locatede in a secluded valley and the perfect place to relax and reflect away from the hustle and bustle. Enjoy the tranquil Dorset countyside and view the wonderful wildlife at first hand. You may see our two kingfishers or the regular heron visitor and fox, rabbit, and deer if you are really quiet! We have identified 4 species of bat that feed near water at night-time.

 

Facilities on offer at Highway Farm Fishing
Disabled access: Yes
Tackle Hire: No
Toilets: Yes
Refreshments: No
Day passes: Yes
Phone: 01308 424321
Web: http://www.highwayfarm.co.uk/lakes.htm


Heron Lake

Heron Lake offers members unlimited hours carp fishing in a secure six acre estate type lake. Set in the Bedfordshire countryside with three islands and fourteen top quality swims, stock consists of around sixty mirror and common carp with weights into the mid forties. Please see the Carp Fishing and Heron Lake galleries for a taste of what this attractive lake has to offer.

Facilities on offer at Heron Lake
Disabled access: Yes
Tackle Hire: No
Toilets: Yes
Refreshments: No
Day passes: Yes
Contact: carpcatcher@heron-lake.co.uk
Web: http://heron-lake.co.uk/

 

Emerald Pool

Emerald pool is with out doubt one of the best coarse fisheries in the South West of England. Emerald Pool Fishery comprises of four pools set in eight acres of grounds located within the scenic Somerset levels.

The coarse fishery is a family run business with excellent all year round angling. Angling times are set from day light until Dark.

Facilities on offer at Emerald Pool
Disabled access: Yes
Tackle Hire: No
Toilets: Yes
Refreshments: No
Day passes: Yes
Contact: 01278 794707
Web:http://www.emeraldpool.co.uk/index.html

Darenth Big Lake

Warren Farranc believes Darenth Big Lake is the best Carp fishery in the UK.

Warren has been fishing Darenth Big Lake since the age of fourteen,  and is still as passionate about Darenth Big Lake today as was when he started Carp fishing here with his Dad back in 1981.

Take a look through the site to check out the lakes and peg infomation.

Facilities on offer at Darenth big lake
Disabled access: Yes
Tackle Hire: No
Toilets: Yes
Refreshments: No
Day passes: Yes
Contact:info@darenthbiglake.com
Web:http://darenthbiglake.com/

Burn Valley Fisheries

Burn Valley fisheries is based in the idyllic location of South Creake just outside Fakenham in North Norfolk.

We pride ourselves on our fast growing strain of Common and Mirror carp which are all bred from our own brood stock, and then grown on in our lakes in and around Norfolk.

We also offer other course fish such as Roach, Bream, Rudd, Crucian carp and Tench. The valley offers its own carp fishing lakes which were created on a natural spring from the river Burn.

We have excavated the ponds and landscaped the area to create ideal fishing locations stocking it with our own varieties of fish.

Facilities on offer at Burn Valley Fisheries
Disabled access: Yes
Tackle Hire: No
Toilets: Yes
Refreshments: Yes
Day passes: Yes
Phone: 01328 823790 / 07771 660437
Web: http://www.burnvalleyfisheries.co.uk/index.php

 

Beaver Farm Fisheries

Beaver Farm fishery consists of 10 differnt lakes and feature a wide aray of angling opportunities, from Goldfish to Sturgen and everything in between!

Take a look throught he website to find out more about each lake and what is on offer.

Facilities on offer at Beaver farm Fisheries
Disabled access: Yes
Tackle Hire: No
Toilets: Yes
Refreshments: Yes
Day passes: Yes
Phone: 07710 656041
Web:http://www.beaverfarmfishery.co.uk

 

 

MBK Leisure Fishing lakes

MBK Has it all, Pleasure and match fishing for everyone!

With a choice of five Match, one Specimen or seven Day ticket waters, there is something for everyone. MBK is a family run fishery and strives to bring you the best in match and specialist fishing.

Facilities on offer at MBK Leisure Fisheries
Disabled access: Yes
Tackle Hire: No
Toilets: Yes
Refreshments: No
Day passes: Yes
Phone: 07885 754365
Web:http://www.mbkleisures.co.uk/home.html