When we get new members we always ask them whether they are fishing primarily for the Carp, silver fish or the Catfish, the usual answer is that they are Carp anglers but would like to have a go for the Cats! some have never caught one before and wonder what all the fuss is about, others have caught them abroad or at a different venue in the UK and love the fight that the Cats give and so most of our Carp anglers switch to targeting the Cats all the time.

When we first took over the lake 8 years ago the Carp were pretty easy to catch on pellet, boilies, luncheon meat, bread moulded onto the hook or a bunch of worms and in the afternoon on floating Crust and dog buscuit, most of the catch results came from the margins! We put this down to the fact that for the first 3-4 years we had a match angling syndicate and at the end of the day all of their left-over baits would be thrown into their swims and the carp would come along and mop it all up, When we decided that we would stock some Catfish as we had no known predators at that point and were over run with gudgeon we decided to open the syndicate to all anglers and the match anglers were, to say the least very unhappy about it! and so all but one dropped out. However we now have 3 match anglers in the syndicate ! The first year of the new syndicate (year 5) saw many carp on the banks and most of them had not been caught before and we continue to be suprised each year with more carp coming out that have seen the bank for the first time and all of them in pristine condition. It became increasingly apparent that the carp had become very wary.............this was most noticeable with floating baits where you could see how the Carp approached the bait! Now, in the previous year the carp would come along proper greedy and snatch anything that they could see but in the second year of the open syndicate (year 6)it was noticable that the Carp had become very choosy and would swim around the floaters for a while then they would nudge the bait a few times (crafty eh!) and as if they knew, would leave the hooked bait and go find a freebie!!!!! how frustrating is that! We do know that the lake is alive with natural bait, swan mussels, blood worm beds etc which leads us to believe that the Carp have switched to natural baits and maybe the fact that most of the anglers were only targeting the cats that no other baits were going in for the carp! So that year I decided that whenever the lake was free (most weekdays) I would go out in the boat with bread and dog buscuit to see what came up for them. The first couple of weeks were pretty disheartening to say the least so I decided to put the bait in the water and sit still in the boat till I saw something ........after about 30 minutes I saw carp just within eyeshot, very very wary........I sat still barely breathing .........and slowly they would come just below the bait, eye it up for a couple of minutes and then gently open their mouths and take it from just below the surface (previously they just snatched it) as soon as they detected any movement from me they were off like a bat out of hell! However most of the fish caught on floating baits came from around the reed bed and so that is where the anglers would cast to. This led to another problem however, having seen that the reed bed produced more fish the anglers would cast within inches of the reeds, obviously when a Carp got hooked the first thing that they did was dive into the thick of the reeds and got snapped off, on a few occasions we had to don our waders and go rescue a fish trapped in the reeds all wrapped up in line. So with the fact that fish were getting snapped off and they were mainly in the reed bed left us pondering as to what to do........The reed bed had grown extensively anyway so we decided to get a machine in to remove most of it, we also had a channel dug in front of the pruned reeds in a bid to contain them somewhat so making it easier to maintain in the future and also in a bid to disperse the Carp around the lake. We spent £300 on lilies to give the carp other places to hide and breed but they all dissapeared overnight one week after we had planted them........WHAT!! however over the next few months we noticed that some native lilies were appearing here and there and decided to let them establish around the islands and so we have seen succesfull catches from two of these areas imparticular one of those being at the end of what we called the pier (a long strip reaching out towards the middle of the lake) now we have a new problem!! as news spread that the end of the pier was a new hot spot it was an obvious choice for the anglers who got here first to get that peg! The problem was that it stictched the lake up on both sides of the pier!! so after much consideration we decided to bring in the machine again and remove the strip of land (year 6) but leave the end of it in so creating a new small island, of course this upset the anglers to begin with but as they came and saw the result were all agreed that it was a good idea because it now gave more anglers the opportunity to fish to the pads. As year 7 is almost over we have noticed that the anglers who have done their homework, put in some time and adopted tactics to suit have been pretty successful ........for those who like runs waters this venue would not be suitable for you!
The growth rate is about 1lb and half per year and we do have a lot of fish caught in the 17-18lb bracket the largest Carp to date being 25lb.