I moved onto the no publicity water that summer for my overnighters which proved more difficult because it’s not close to my home. I caught plenty of Bream but no carp. As mentioned earlier my area suffered some serious flooding that summer and I’m afraid Hardwick/Smiths was effected.I was now in limbo again as I still hadn’t found a real home since Yateley and Elstow 2. In 2008 I returned to the Ski Lake. I still had my ticket for the no publicity lake as well so that looked like my plans for that year. I even had a dabble that winter on the Oxford Canal but I just didn’t enjoy it. The river Thames close to where I live is a long term target but I still haven’t got around to targeting the carp in there. I fished on the Ski Lake until 2012 and enjoyed it. The weird thing was I caught quite a few carp during this time but every one was a common! I lost a huge mirror at the net one morning on a before work overnighter which to this day still haunts me as it was the year before the big one died and in the back of my mind I think I know what I lost that day. I had a really good system going on the Ski Lake, I used to drive over there on a Sunday night and then two evenings after work and bait three areas. I was lucky enough to catch off all three and they ranged from 11lb to 22lb. All scale perfect commons. I used to see plenty of carp in there as well, all like peas in a pod. How strange is that! If they had flooded in from Linear, why were they all commons? I can understand all the old leneys’ passing away but I still find what I was catching and seeing really odd. I carried on with the no publicity lake until 2010 and had a few more crackers out of there up to 35lb 8oz.
In 2010 I joined the Guys syndicate, mainly fishing the first lake Yeomans as it was the quietest but it had just been “stockied” so I had a dabble on the next door lake Unity and had a few on short sessions catching fish up to 30lb 8oz. I didn’t re-join in 2011 as the price for the amount of fishing I do was just too much to justify.
2012 was a bit of a landmark for me as I went back to a lake I hadn’t seen since the eighties when Hardwick Leisure Park was on the Gerrards Cross and Uxbridge ticket. This club also had Denham Lake in the colne valley (better known as Pit 3). I remember way back me, my dad and Mark Anderson had dabbled on it. It had a night fishing ban on it at the time and there was also a sailing club on it so the lake I returned to nearly 30 years later was very different! What this lake was and is was a bit of a throwback. It was beautiful, parts of the far bank were difficult to get to and overgrown, no facilities on site. It was like going back to everything I loved about carp fishing when I started. And the fish, wow. Proper old ones, unfortunately probably coming to the end of their lives. I wasn’t sure I was going to just be fishing for the same commons on the ski lake so I bought a ticket for the colne valley. I had a look around in July and the area which really attracted me was the old out of bounds area back in the eighties which for those of you that know the lake is the area between the ramp and swim 1. The south westerlies blew into this area and it wasn’t the easiest area to get your gear to although it wasn’t a long walk buy any stretch of imagination. The road bank I didn’t like the look of at all but it would make fishing easier as you could park your car in those swims! The island swims and pads at the southern end of the lake looked good but it looked like they got a lot of angling pressure and I soon learnt that a handful of anglers did mid week nights off the road bank before shooting off to work. Another reason for me to try and avoid the road bank although at the end of the day it’s the fish that dictate where we should be!
I arrived on 7th August 2012 for my first session. It was raining with a good south westerly blowing. Perfect conditions for the area I fancied. I had a chat with a few lads along the road bank before making my way around the back bank. There was an angler set up in swim 1 and after a brief chat with him in the rain I settled for an area a couple of swims down in bacons pier. That night a torch appeared around my brolly asking n for a hand with a fish he had just caught from swim 1! The fish went 37lb 8oz and believe it or not was the one known as “The Biggun”, the biggest known fish in the lake! She was down to her summer weight (very often a low forty at other times of the year) which mattered not a jot. What a fish and one to this day I am still targeting! The chap who caught this fish was to become a good friend on the lake and did really well on it. He later told me he had had the big common from the lake (known as the PB) a few weeks before this, and it was his first season on the lake as well! His name was Paul Rainford and it later transpired that I knew his dad from my Yateley days who was known on Yateley as “cup of tea Ian” He was fishing on the road bank at this time. Paul had to go the following day but was due back down the following day. The weather changed completely to hot and sunny and I was doing the rarest thing for me. A two night session! It had been years! I fancied a move closer to the area the fish seemed to be in but didn’t want to dive into Pauls’ swim if he was coming back down so moved around to the back of silts. What a lovely little swim this was! I ended up only fishing 15 yards or so out and that night my little PVA bag of chops and B5 pellets near some pads down to the left was taken by what turned out to be an old 24lb 1oz mirror! The fight was nothing spectactular, in fact i thought it might be a Tench! I didn’t know it at the time but found out it was the one known as “The Dunce” It made me a very happy carp angler.
The Dunce 24lb 1oz
I would love to say that was the first of many but the following week I flew off to Turkey for a family holiday and it was September before I could return to the lake. My one night session after work (getting to the lake around 7.30p.m.) and then the following morning before packing up early afternoon to pick my daughter up from school once a fortnight was never going to do myself justice with a lake like this but to this day I still have a go each year. It was to be two years before I got my next one! (although I did lose one from The Royal Box the year in between. As is the way sometimes when I got that second one I hooked another the very same morning but alas lost him in some snags. The second one came from the swim known as the rock was a lovely common that went strangely the same weight as “The Dunce”, 24lb 1oz.
I had another couple in 2015, a double figure stockie and a lovely low twenty scaley mirror, both from right of island. Going back a couple of years to 2013 another complex of lakes came up, a small exclusive syndicate near Thatcham in Berkshire. It was my old mate Greg Richardson who forwarded me for this syndicate, but you also had to go and meet the guy who runs the fishing on there, Pete to see if you are the right kind of angler. I kind of like this approach as it does keep the idiots off. Pete excepted me but made it clear that if I broke any rules it wouldn’t be just my ticket taken away but Gregs’ as well!
I have mainly used this syndicate for my spring fishing since 2013 as Pit 3 being the lovely traditional water that it is still has the old close season (March 15th-June 15th for those of you that know what I’m on about!) The Thatcham syndicate has a front lake which has more fish in up to mid thirties and a back lake with fewer fish but a bigger average size up to upper thirties. I decided to start on the front lake, catch a few and then move onto the back lake. Oh if only life was that easy! I guess I only went down three or four times that spring but I didn’t have a bite! I took my daughter down with me as she started to like to bivvy up down the lake with me, having checked with Pete first of course! She seemed to be my lucky charm as we did a Saturday night in August and I hooked my first carp from the front lake (although I did lose it so maybe she isn’t that much of a lucky charm!) In the half term in October I took her down there again and this time we hooked two! landing a lovely scaley mirror but losing the other one. In 2014 I started on the front lake again but this time I caught on just my second session in March. Amy came down with me in the easter holidays and we had a lovely low twenty from the front lake. In the May half term I started on the back lake, she was with me again and we had one on my first night on there (maybe she is the lucky charm after all!) It was only a small one but knowing how few fish are in this lake I was delighted to get off the mark so early. Pit 3 then called after that. This year I again fished the spring down there, same tactics, front lake to catch one then move onto the back lake. The added attraction of the back lake this year was that the two biggest fish had both gone over 40lb this year, a mirror and a common! I managed to catch from the front lake in April and had a lovely 24lb common from the back lake in May before Pit 3 came calling summer time again. I guess that brings us up t the current day. I’ve been having a dabble on my old stomping ground Marlborough Pool over the last couple of winters but really I’ve just been playing at it, probably six or seven sessions last year between the school run (so fishing time 9.30-14.00) and three or four times this winter. I had one last year but nothing this year as yet. I’m afraid the lake has suffered from otter attacks but fair play to Geoff Waddle the baliff, he and some others have put an otter fence around the place.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this, just for the enjoyment and love of carp fishing. You probably wont have learnt anything from this but it details the reason we all start and do this hobby, and it is a hobby, remember that. I hope that’s what got all of you reading this started with carp fishing(or just fishing!) as well.
Don’t forget, enjoy it!