Near to my home in deepest Berkshire resides a 5-6 acre park lake that has undergone many environmental changes over the few decades. It’s truly an urban gem, sandwiched between a housing development and large business park.
Way back in 1972 it was used in a film called ‘The Offence’ starring Sean Connery. Some years ago it was drained and massive ecological change took place. Many parties were involved including the Environmental Agency, Local Council and Angling Club to name but a few, in turn all the existing king carp were removed or so people thought!…
A few commons found refuge in the deeper holes within the lakebed, sheltering in the pools until the lake underwent its major makeover and was re-filled. Many years on, amongst the dense Canadian pond weed, carp would be seen basking in the sun, and they could often spotted taking bread with the ducks off the cafe front. They all appeared to be commons and 1 or 2 of respectable size. This was quite remarkable seeing as it was widely reported that only crucian carp, tench, bream, roach, rudd and perch were re-stocked into the venue as part of the redevelopment programme.
As the years went by with barely anybody ever fishing it just a few locals, the carp were left alone to just do carp things like grow and recruit. For many years I flirted with the idea of fishing it seriously, to see what it held, but as I was already very involved with waters in the Yateley area, with a well known stock and not just hearsay and sightings, I just continued to just keep an eye out when I would walk the dog.
A couple of years back, in the autumn, I dabbled on the local lake for a few weeks, fishing here and there around the pond. I’d pre-bait two spots most days and fish with one rod and minimal gear, just fishing for a couple of hours as darkness fell in the evening after the ‘park life’ had gone home.
This resulted in a handful of commons to about 18lb and a bream, they all looked pristine and were obviously rare visitors to the bank, if ever at all. This was OK, but my attention soon got taken elsewhere, until a few weeks ago when I was driving past and I got the urge to have a proper go again.
So I set about the lake with my ‘Seeker’ marker float and mapped out a bay that I thought would be a great place to ambush these ‘nomadic’ carp during the winter. After a little feel around I discovered a 6 foot silty depression or gully that runs half way out, parallel to the nature reserve island with 4.5ft depth either side.
I set about transferring the distance allowing for the drop onto my rods and marked the line in preparation. Next step was priming the area, giving the carp a reason to visit and come away from the vast section made up of the nature reserve and bird feeding area. Virtually every night I would walk the dog and pre-bait with Mistrals ‘4S’ boilies. When it came time to angle the decision rig-wise it was an obvious one. This was my variation of the ‘Hinge Stiff’ comprising a size 6 Covert Incizor tied on a 20lb Trip Wire hook section, with a 15lb Disruption boom section. This was fished on 3 feet of Heavy Plummet leadcore and attached to 16lb Mirage fluorocarbon. Once again the fluorocarbon main line came into play as this lends itself so well to this approach and lake bottom.
So after a week of applying the bait I fished my first session which resulted in 4 pristine double figure Commons. This was a right result, since the general consensus is that there are only 30 to 40 carp present and it’s early January!
I continued to introduce bait for a week in preparation for my next session that was to culminate with the capture of my ‘urban target’, the ‘Chop-Tail Common’ which is the lakes largest known Common. My mission had concluded in unbelievable quick time as I was more than prepared to fish up until March.
The scores on the board were 6 bites and 6 fish landed on the Incizors (once again).
It’s believed to be a large Mirror that has come from reliable source, but I’ve not seen it, but if I do and it is the true leviathan it’s believed to be then there may well be another part to this story.