I have spent my last few trips out fishing at day ticket water called ‘Hollybush Lakes’ in Aldershot on the Surrey/Hampshire border. The lake is around 10 acres in size and home to some truly stunning old carp that have been resident for many years. The lake is also reasonably quiet in comparison to a lot of the other day ticket waters in the area, so stuck out to me as somewhere well worth having a visit whilst deciding on plans/tickets for the forthcoming year.
My first trip coincided with some really cold weather and not a great deal was happening, although after a move on the second day I did manage to slip the net under a really old one known as “The Italian” that pulled the scales around to 27.02lb. The fish was supposedly the oldest resident on the complex and the bailiff Stu had catch records of this very fish dating back to the 1950’s! I was really pleased to have caught in such harsh conditions and was already planning a return especially after seeing all of the pictures of the fish in Stu’s office.
My next chance to fish was on a social with my good friend Mike (a local trout farmer) celebrating his birthday. I have known Mike since we went to college together and we have stayed best of friends since – although we very rarely fish together as Mike has never been struck by the carp fishing bug like I have. After a bit of ear bashing and arm bending I managed to convince him that a 48hr carp session was in order for his birthday to try and up his P.B., and Hollybush was once again the obvious choice with several 20lb+ fish to go at.
We arrived at the lake around mid-day on the Thursday and decided to spend the first couple of hours just having a walk around trying to learn where the fish were. The weather was fairly drab and overcast and after two laps of the lake we were still none the wiser. It had started to rain a little heavier so we decided to take one last look before making an educated guess as to where they might be if we still hadn’t seen anything. As luck would have it no guesses were needed as we saw four shows in a matter of minutes in one particular area of the lake and were soon dashing back to the cars for the gear. After a short walk with the barrows we arrived back in the swims and another fish showed in the same area to confirm we were making the right decision.
It took a little while to get sorted, as Mike hasn’t ever done much serious carp fishing and needed some guidance with finding spots and rigs etc. but before long and just as the light was fading we were finally sat sipping a brew happy with everything.
Around 9pm Mike’s left hand rod went in to meltdown as an angry fish powered around in the moonlight. It fought really hard in the margins but eventually we slipped a really old looking mirror, clearly over 20lb, over the net cord. Both Mike and I were elated and the fish looked as though it could beat his long standing PB of 22.02lb – which it did – coming in exactly one pound heavier.
The fish was one of the ancient Leney’s that reside in the lake and was known as “Split Pec” and after a few trophy shots she was returned to her home and Mike replaced the rig on the spot and added a little more bait. After a celebratory brew we both retired to bed for the night but after an hour or two Mike’s recast rod was away again resulting in another PB, this time a Bream of 11.06lb!
The rest of the night passed uneventfully and we decided to reel in and have an early walk around to try and see if we could find them anywhere. Apart from one tench showing at the opposite end we didn’t see anything worth moving onto so we got the rods out again back in our original swims. The rest of the day remained quiet and as it crept into the evening I decided to spod a little bit of bait out to see if I could create some sort of reaction. A mix of pellets, hemp, corn and chopped and whole Carp Company ‘Ice Red’ boilies were deposited on a silty spot with a light covering of silkweed out in the middle of the lake and two chod rigs were placed over the top.
I felt confident that fish were still in the area as I had seen lots of patches of fizzing popping up and only an hour after baiting up my right hand rod pulled up tight. The fish put up a really good scrap and an old common was soon coughing water ready for the net. The size 6 Covert Chod hook was firmly planted in the bottom lip and after unhooking we recorded a weight of 26lb before doing some pictures.
Not long afterwards Mike had a tench off his spot before everything went quiet and we settled down for the evening drinking tea and chatting into the hours of darkness. We eventually both hit the sack and the next thing I can remember is an excited Mike stood in my swim saying “You might want to come and look at this”. After coming round I made my way down to his swim where a mirror lay beaten in the folds of his net that looked like it would set another PB for Mike! This was confirmed when we registered a weight of 26.02lb and we identified the fish as one of the old dink strain fish that reside in the lake. Mike was again elated and we got some great pictures once the light had improved.
We spent the rest of the morning hopeful of another take, but this time everything remained quiet so I took the time to show Mike how to tie up the chod rig set-up we were using, including everything from rig to leader. Mike picked it up really well and commented on how he understood why I enjoy carp fishing so much and he was already thinking about when he could go again! It doesn’t take much for the bug to bite and Mike has been a few times since, and with success to I must add!
We both packed up and left around 11am after a thoroughly enjoyable trip with a few nice fish thrown in the mix too.
Next time the rods my rods will be out I will be France and I can’t wait! Fingers crossed for a good trip and hopefully I’ll have a few pictures of enormadons to show you when I’m back!