Catch Report – 18 May 2019

45 big carp to 50lb, lots of pike, some perch, some black bass, and, very importantly ; 1 grass carp.  It all added up to a great session for Ian and Tracy and their 2 lads;  Shaun and Liam, and lets not forget Shaun’s girlfriend; Saffron.

I mentioned in last weeks update on the spawning situation that Ian and the lads were going to adopt quite a mobile approach to their fishing as they know that it pays off to target showing fish.  And pay off it did, we have had some nice fish out from every swim on the lake this week.

As well as trying to catch plenty of big carp Shaun and Liam had a side bet on who could catch the most species, so much of their day time fishing was dedicated to spinning and other forms of fishing.  The predators, particularly the pike, were coming thick and fast and were quickly ticked off the list, even if you weren’t fishing for them, Ian!!

Ian was on swim 5 fishing standard boilie-baited rigs for carp and was getting takes which resulted in cleanly cut-off rigs, he soon discovered the problem when he managed to bring a 25 pound pike all the way to the landing net before that rig was also severed.

Despite plenty of predators Shaun could not catch a Perch, but he was confident that the species challenge was a draw because he had managed to catch our one and only Tench, a very nice fish weighing in at over 8.5 lb.

Unbeknown to Shaun, Liam had found himself a Grassie on Tuesday and because no one was around at the time he kept it secret from Shaun right through to Saturday morning just before they left for home.

At 41lb 09oz it was a very nice fish in it’s own right but it also sealed the result of the Species Challenge :


Liam may have won the Species Challenge but he only managed to find 10 big carp to 47lb:


Brother Shaun found our one Tench but he also managed 16 big carp to 48lb:


But it was Dad, Ian, who took the Top Rod award with a very impressive 19 big carp to 50lb:


Despite some very covert and strange spawning behaviour from the carp and the ever-changing weather, the lads have had a very good session, their final tally was :

Numerous Pike, Perch and Black Bass,  one Tench,  zero baby carp,  2 doubles at 18lb a piece,   1 @ 24lb,   1 @ 26lb,   3 @ 27lb,   3 @ 29lb,   1 @ 30lb,   2 @ 31lb,   3 @ 32lb,   3 @ 33lb,   2 @ 34lb,   3 @ 35lb,   4 @ 36lb,   2 @ 37lb,   1 @ 38lb,   4 @ 40lb,   2 @ 41lb,   1 @ 42lb,   1 @ 43lb,   4 @ 47lb,   1 @ 48lb, and 1 at 50lb.

I am at a total loss this week on the subject of spawning, there has not been a sign of normal spawning activity.  By normal I mean the males beating up on the females and groups of them thrashing away in the margins, etc, etc.

Having said that I have been studying the carp in my front stock pond and they have been acting very strangely.  All week they have been shoaled up tightly together in the shallow corner of the pond where the waterfall enters, they have been doing nothing in particular just swimming around each other nice and steadily in the shallow water, every now and again one would do a side swipe along the bottom of the lake and that would be about it.

They have not been coming out in to the sunny areas for a sunbathe as they would normally, they have not been chasing each other nor thrashing about in the reeds, nothing, very, very unusual activity.

Interestingly though the roach and rudd have been mixing it with the carp in the shallows as they would be if the carp were dropping eggs.

I have never seen this behaviour before but if they are spawning then they are doing so in a manner I have never witnessed before.  I would be interested in your comments on this.

Ian did say that they were catching fish that were obviously still yet to spawn but they were also catching fish that he said were skinny as if they had just spawned out.

Interesting !!

We will not be seeing Ian and Tracy next year as we are fully booked, but we do look forward to their return in 2021.  I will have to think of another species to add to the lake before then.  What about Gudgeon ?

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Spawning Update – 12 May 2019

I know spawning is an issue that many of you get concerned about, especially if you are booked on the lake over the next several weeks.

A part of last weeks catch report concerned spawning and I promised an update this weekend if I could workout what the big carp are up to, well the news is not good I’m afraid.

Last week I reported that the fish were starting their chase-me-chase-me game which is always the lead-in to full spawning, I also reported that the weather was getting colder and a drop in water temperature would stop any spawning activity.

Well, true to form, the colder weather continued through the weekend, and cold mornings combined with a lack of sunshine during the day achieved the drop in water temperature required to make the change,  no more chase-me-chase-me, not a single solitary sign of it !!

Monday and Tuesday saw a return to warmer weather but unfortunately the forecast was not good, it started to rain on Tuesday evening and it rained all week right through to Saturday afternoon when the Gaskill family arrived for their holiday.  Nothing too serious but enough to add a continual drop of cold water to the lake thus keeping the temperature down.

I have managed to locate the fish on several occassions through the week and I can confirm that they have completely returned to normal habits, the lake water is still warm but at 18 degrees it isn’t quite warm enough.

On Tuesday afternoon I sat on swim 4 and I was watching a massive shoal of carp feeding away, they were all in the shallower water on the cabin side of the lake, directly  in front of the cabin, some were off to the right as far as the over-hanging tree and some were off to the left, almost as far as swim 5, but they were there en-mass, I estimate that there was well over 100 big carp in that single shoal and they were all doing the same thing in the same place at the same time.  Typical of all shoaling fish.

Had it not been for the sun shining and the lack of any ripple on the surface this shoal would have been impossible to locate and I would never have known they were there.

Remember that next time you see a big carp showing, they live in shoals, generally speaking that is.

Despite being there in huge numbers there was not a single sign of spawning activity, they were noses down, tails up, and they were scouring the lake bed for anything and everything that was edible.  They were moving from right to left at a rate of about 1 meter per hour.

My search on Wednesday found nothing at all, not a single sign of a fish anywhere.

Thursday I found them again and they were ripping up the lake bed along the far bank opposite swims 2 and 3, once again they were shoaled up in large numbers and quite obviously feeding well.

On Friday I found them in the shallow water of swim 1, it looked like every fish in the lake had found a hole to dig-in and the water was like liquid chocolate.

In summary :  there has been no spawning this week. I think!!!!!

When Ian and his gang arrived yesterday I briefed him on the situation and the concern was obvious, we went for a good walk around the lake but because it was windy and there was a large ripple on the water it was impossible to decide where they were and where best to start.

Ian has been here before, and had to do this before, and he knows that when the fish are on the move like this you really do have to study the water and watch for signs.  Once you locate them you can sit on yours spots and pray or you can go to the fish.

I left Ian and the boys on swims 5 and 6 yesterday afternoon but after a carefull study and noting several fish boshing out on swim 2 Ian had already moved when Helen took The Boys out for their breakfast walk today.

So far, so good, and Ian’s tactics are paying off, everyone has caught and the best so far is over 47lb.

The drawback for Ian is that the sun has just come out from behind the clouds (10am) and the forecast for the whole week is; no rain, increasing amounts of sunshine, with lessening amounts of cloud.

Keep your eye out for next weeks catch report, I will let you know how Ian and his boys get on, and obviously I will keep you up to speed with the spawning situation.

If any of you are hoping that they all spawn this week thereby removing that problem for your week further in the season then please think again, my experience is that after the chase-me-chase-me stuff the real spawning can take at least 6 weeks from the first fish to the last.

If we are lucky it will all be finished by the end of June.  But if you can’t catch many of these :


You can always try for a few of these :


or these :



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Availability Update


The season is well under way and peoples interest is already turning to next years holiday and beyond.  I am being inundated with enquiries for 2020, 2021, and 2022, unfortunately I am having to disappoint lots of you as many of the most popular periods have already gone.

Availability as at today is :


Fully booked


July the 25th

October the 10th and the 31st


April the 3rd (subject to a temporary reservation)

June the 26th

July the 10th and the 17th

August the 7th and the 14th

October the 9th, the 16th, the 23rd, and the 30th


In keeping with our normal practise the calendar for 2022 will be opened on the first of December 2019.

If anyone does require more information on any of the above dates please do not hesitate to contact me directly by either telephone on 0033 (0)555 486974 or by e-mail on

Please share this information with any of your friends and family who may have expressed an interest.



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Catch Report and a New Lake Record 4 May 2019

24 big carp and a new lake record of 65lb does not tell the whole story this week.

James and Matt, one of our regular Father and Son teams, have not been able to carry on with the big catches of previous weeks, in fact at times it has been an absolute struggle, but, as usual, they manned up to it and made the best job they could.

And 24 big carp to 65lb is not a bad session by any measure.

The weather started to get nice and warm during the latter stages of last week and it continued for the first few days of this week, the water temperature was rising to bring the big carp to the point of spawning.  But, unfortunately, not quite.

The Guys decided to fish together from swim 5 and share the expanse of water from swim 4 through to swim 6, I would have expected them to have carried on from where Garry left off the previous session but that did not prove to be the case.  There was something different going on.

Saturday and Sunday came and went with not so much as a liner let alone a take, the fish were showing down in the shallower swims, but James and Matt had picked their spots and they stuck to them, thankfully at 3am on Monday morning Matt got the ball rolling with this lovely little Common at 38lb:


The last time this particular fish was out was a full year ago, in May 2018, when it weighed in at 32lb, it might not make a showing very often but if it packs on 6lb in between each catch it will be a fish to hunt for in future years.

Monday carried on well with 6 nice fish.  Tuesday saw 10 on the bank so we all assumed that the fishing was back on, but how wrong we can all be.

I first noticed the strange fish behaviour when watching the carp in my front stock pond on Tuesday afternoon, the sun was blazing and they should have all been sunbathing as normal but there was not a fish in sight.  On closer inspection they were a foot under the surface and swimming quite quickly, they were starting to play the chase-me-chase-me game.

I call it this for want of a proper name for it but basically it is like pre-nuptual courting for carp.  They do it every year just before spawning.

I knew I had got it right when I was walking The Boys on Wednesday lunchtime, I was walking along the far bank opposite swims 3-4 when the sun reflected off a shoal of about 50 big carp, all in a single long line playing chase-me-chase-me.  Absolute typical pre-spawn behaviour.

I mentioned it to the guys and they said that they had caught a couple of males that were silting in the cradle.

It all coincided with the reduction in the catch rate, the fish had something else on their minds.

Wednesday saw 4 on the bank, Thursday saw 2, Friday only 1, and Matt ended the session the way he started with the last one at 6am this morning, a lovely Common  which tipped the scales to 49lb:


Unfortunately the weather has been on the change again for the last couple of days and today it is decidedly cooler and raining, if it drops the water temperature too much then it will put an end to spawning until it warms up again.

If I can figure out what they are up to over the next few days I shall let you all know, we are closed this week for the first week of R and R for the fish so there will not be a catch report next weekend.

Despite the spawning activity though the guys have had some very nice fish, they may not have set a new catch record but they have added a pound to the Lake Record :


The final tally was :

A few Pike and Black Bass,  zero babies,  4 Doubles; 2 at 18lb and 2 at 19lb,   1 @ 23lb,   1 @ 25lb,   1 @ 26lb,   1 @ 28lb,   2 @ 29lb,   3 @ 31lb,   1 @ 33lb,   1 @ 34lb,   1 @ 36lb,   1 @ 37lb,   1 @ 38lb,   1 @ 41lb,   1 @ 42lb,   1 @ 48lb,   1 @ 49ln,  1 @ 50lb and 1 at 65lb

James and Matt will be back again next year, same time, lets hope the conditions are slightly different.

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I sit here writing this and I must confess to being very angry with someone but I don’t know who.  That someone has been fishing with what can only be described as a death rig.

One of my big carp was caught today and it was still wrapped up in this tangled mess :


The fish was hooked in swim 6, in the corner near the over-flow sluice, the angler reported that as soon as he picked up in to the fish he just knew that something was wrong, it was snagged but not like any snag he had dealt with before.

So, rather than pull and risk a break-off he very calmly walked his rod along the dam toward the fish whereupon he managed to pull in the opposite direction and all came loose.  Thankfully the fish was released relatively unharmed.

If that lead weight had snagged in deeper water the poor fish could have been hooked to it with no way of escape and the end result is almost guaranteed to be death.

I spent an hour untangling the mess and this is the set-up that did the damage :


It looks very much like a Korda safe-zone leader that has been used by someone who has no idea how to use one properly, why use a safe-zone anything if you are going to bodge it up end up with a death-rig.

If you take a look at this close-up you will see what I mean, the little green bit hanging down is what is left of the rig and it would have had a short piece of line with a hook on the end :


There is no safety lead clip so how does the lead come off in the event of it becoming snagged ?

If it was meant to be a fixed lead as in a helicopter set-up that would be fair enough but then how would the rig slide off the leader in the event of a break-off ?   The rig has been firmly attached to the quick-clip instead of being able to slide up and down the leader.

There are a lot of questions that can be asked of this rig and none of them would have a good answer.

It is not possible for me to know who this set-up belongs to but someone reading this does !!

There is a wealth of information out there on the WWW so please educate yourself before you go fishing again, if you are not sure then ask, better still invest a fiver in a book so you have a reference while on the bank.  And read it.  I have such a book that people can borrow if they feel the need.

Once again I have learnt another hard lesson and unfortunately it does mean that in future I will be conducting rig checks on the bank, it is not something that I want to do and it is very unfortunate that a very small minority of anglers are forcing my hand.

To all those to whom this does not apply I say:   thank you for fishing safe.

To those of you to whom it does apply I say:  if you cannot fish safe then please do not come back.

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Catch Report – 27 April 2019

This season has started so well it continues to surprise me, I thought that Geoff’s catch of 63 big carp on the opening week was going to be a bar too high for most anglers to reach but that was surpassed this week with an individual catch of 72 big carp to 64lb, that being part of a 2-man catch of 96 lovely big carp.

Here are the culprits, Garry on the left and Dave, both from Eastliegh :


Garry and Dave spent last week fishing at Lac de Villedon, one of the Armfield Angling waters administered by Paul and Carmen, they had quite a good week, Garry had over 20 fish and Dave had around 50, when they rocked up here last Saturday they were expecting a quieter week and thought they would be catching up on the sleep that they had been deprived of.

Now, it is a rare day when I enjoy upsetting someone’s plans, but on this occassion I was more than pleased to do so.  Catch up on their sleep ??   Not this week!!

After a good walk around the lake they decided to fish swims 4 and 5, Dave in 4 fishing 4 into 3, and Garry in 5 fishing 5 into 6.  Good plan, and it soon paid off, Dave was in to fish by early evening Saturday with his first 50, whereas Garry had to wait until the early hours of Sunday morning.  More deprived sleep.

Once they had got the fish on the feed there was no stopping them, particularly Garry who quickly gained an edge.  Dave was very happy with this though as he had the better catch the week before and being such good friends they are both happy to share the good stuff around.

Dave was quite determined to have at least a couple of days of relaxation, he wanted some sleep and also to just chill-out over a couple of beers and enjoy a break, so on Wednesday he decided to call things quits at 24 fish, a commendable tally by most people’s measure.

He spent Thursday cleaning out his van and cleaning all of his fishing kit and then spent Friday relaxing around the lake sharing a couple of beers with Garry.

Garry, on the other hand had got the bug for a good session so he was going to go for it, straight through to Friday evening, whereupon he would call it a day to get a good night’s sleep before travelling home.

By Wednesday Garry had caught his fiftieth and I think he had 14 more on Thursday and a further 8 during the last day session on Friday.  I hate to think how many they would have had if Dave had continued to fish Thursday and Friday, but it would have been well over 100.  What a session !!

They found themselves some very nice Mirrors :



And, they found themselves some very nice Commons :



But the fish of the week must go to Pumba who re-sets the lake record and increases it to 64lb exactly :


Carefull Garry, that’s heavy !

Pumba is a magnificent looking fish, in pristine condition.  He only treats a few people each season but every time he makes a show it is worth the wait for someone.

A fantastic session for Garry and Dave, their final tally was :

Zero Babies,  three doubles at 15, 16 and 18 lb,  1 @ 21lb,   1 @ 22lb,   1 @ 23lb,   3 @ 24lb,   5 @ 25lb,   1 @ 26lb,   4 @ 27lb,   5 @ 28lb,   8 @ 29lb,   8 @ 30lb,   5 @ 31lb,   3 @ 32lb,   4 @ 33lb,   7 @ 34lb,   3 @ 35lb,   2 @ 36lb,   3 @ 37lb,   4 @ 38lb,   2 @ 39lb,   3 @ 40lb,   4 @ 41lb,   3 @ 42lb,   1 @ 45lb,   3 @ 46lb,   2 @ 47lb,   3 @ 48lb,   1 @ 51lb,   1 @ 53lb,   1 @ 55lb and finally Pumba at 64lb.

Well done Garry, well done Dave, and well done Pumba.

The Guys booked this holiday over 2 years ago having no idea about the venue but their interest has been rewarded with a great session and we are looking forward to their next visit, unfortunately due to availability it will probably not be before 2022.

That will fly by, see you soon Guys.

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New Lake Record – 64lb

2 very nice lads on the lake this week for their first visit and they have smashed it.

I will publish a full catch report tomorrow but for now here is Pumba weighing in at exactly 64lb and setting a new lake record :


What an immaculate looking Big Carp and Garry’s face says it all, 64lb is a lot of fish by anyone’s measure.

All the detail tomorrow and there is plenty of it !!

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