Now I had a car I wanted to try my luck further a field and for the 1988 season I wrote off to William Boyer and Leisure Sport Angling for information on availability of tickets for their big fish waters. The one that stood out for me was Yateley! Armed with my new Yateley ticket I set out at the start of July for my first session on The Car Park Lake. I remember that very first session a fish was caught (a scraper 20) on the other side of the lake. They said the fish was quite an ugly fish and became known as “Ugloe”
Here is an old video of Ugloe
I didn’t do that many nights myself that year but I did witness an amazing event off Trumptens when I was next door in The Beach. Keith Byatt was fishing on Trumptens that weekend and he was to hook three carp on Tiger nuts. Unfortunately he lost two of them but the one he landed was a cracking 26lb 8oz mirror. This fish was to become named “Chunky” in the future.
Keith Bryatt 26lbs Yateley car park lake July 1988
The Car Park Lake proved a steep learning curve that summer so winter time I moved off although I did have a session up on The Copse during February 1989. To get to The Copse Lake you have to walk past the match Lake and what a fantastic looking lake it was. It was also the lake with the biggest head of carp in (not that there were that many in there either though!). There were no real monsters in The Match unlike The Car Park, North and Copse which were the big fish waters of the time. They were up to upper twenties but that was plenty big enough for me at the time and although I didn’t rejoin Yateley for the summer of 1989 I did for the 1990 season. It was The Match Lake I now headed for. The previous winter Phil Thompson had caught the lakes first thirty and unfortunately on the opening weekend of the season the lake was absolutely packed. The pervious close season I had visited all the big fish waters that I could find on the map, the likes of Wraysbury, Savay again, Harefield and even the infamous Hertfordshire club Lake Springwell Lake. There used to be sign not far from Douglas Lane which had all the lakes plotted on a map of the Colne Valley so they weren’t difficult to find. I even sneaked into Longfield when they were netting it. Once again I didn’t do myself justice on Yateley and I kept flitting about onto other waters to get a bend in the rod when I should have stuck to it. Maybe I just wasn’t ready for it yet. In 1991 a huge carp had come to my attention in a lake just down the road from where I lived. It was a mid thirty and the lake was Heyford Lake or “Newlands” as it was also known as. I caught a few nice fish from there but the big one eluded me and I felt I had unfinished business on Yateley so even though I kept my “Newlands ticket, 1992 was going to be devoted to catching a Yateley carp.
Nice fish from Heyford lakes Newlands
Around this time I read an article by Mike Willmot on bait and it made a lot of sense to me. I remember writing him a letter with a few questions and imagine my surprise when a hand written reply dropped through my letter box with the answers I was looking for. I was very impressed with Mike and started to use his bait company and I still do now more than 15 years later.
Link to Essential baits
Early in 1992 I bought a half season Yateley winter ticket like you could do back then. It ran until March 14th when the season finished and although I didn’t catch one myself I remember one especially mild March morning I turned up to fish the Match Lake at first light and bumped into an angler who was fishing The Copse. His name was Carl and he’s just had a 29lb 2oz mirror! (Slate Grey). Better still the chap fishing just down fro him had just had a 25lb 8oz mirror! (Scaley). That angler turned out to be Rob McGill. They wanted to get Keith Sullivan from over on The Car Park Lake to come and do the pictures so I did my bit and offered to go and fetch him as they were already fishing. After all this was done I was very tempted to fish The Copse but stuck to my plan to fish The Match. As I have already said nothing happened for me at the back end of that season so the season 1992/93 was going to be the season I cracked Yateley! I did stick at it this time and although I struggled all summer I was learning and really enjoying it although a fish would have really helped! I think the reason The Match Lake was so difficult back then was because there wasn’t a strand of weed in there so you had to really get your spots right. I met many more Yateley characters that year, the likes of Cooperman, munchkin, Fat Al and that bunch of lads and also mad Jamie Smith. He was always so energetic and enthusiastic! Finally in September I got my reward. I was fishing from “The Beach” swim and in the middle of the night had a fast take and after a decent fight managed to land a cracking Leather carp weighing 22lb 1oz. To say I was pleased would be an understatement.
My first Yateley Carp 1992
Less than a month later I caught my first Yateley brace with “The Roach” at 24lb 12oz and another 22lb mirror from what became my favourite swim on the lake “Stumps”.
The Roach 24lb 12oz 7.10.92 match lake
Luckily for me I never looked back after that and had many happy years on The Match Lake catching I think 28 fish in total. The plan was originally to fish The Match Lake, catch a few and then move on to The Copse and then over the road onto The Car Park and North. I loved fishing The Match so much though that it was to be the late nineties before I moved onto The Copse. I never had either of The Match Lakes biggest two fish “Thompsons” or “Dropscale” and I think that’s another reason why I stayed on The Match Lake for so long. The best I had was one of the upper twenties with the unfortunate name of “The Zit”.
It was around this time that another local water was coming to prominence. It was throwing up some real good fish and this water was Manor Farm Lake, which would go on to become quite a famous big fish water for a while. A year before I finished on The Match Lake I started to have a dabble over on Manor (this being 1996).
Big thanks to Paul Harris look out for part 4 next week
The Zit 27lb 8oz 25.3.97 match lake
Leather Match lake 23lb 7oz 15.09.97
22lb 9oz Match lake 7.3.94
Scale on the shoulder 24lb 6oz 7.5.96
21lb 10oz Match Lake
Here are some old videos we found on you tube taken from Yateley match lake.