• carp fishing hollybush day ticket campaigning

After having had the target fish that I wanted from Church Farm, it was time for me to move on and find a new venue to fish. I had a few options open to me, but one that caught my eye was Hollybush Lakes, a fishery steeped in so much carp fishing history. I had been told by a couple of people that I would love the place, so I excitedly sorted out some dates and got myself down there for my first session in a while.

The next couple of days were meant to be very hot, with average temperatures of about 30 degress, so not the best of conditions. Notwithstanding the forecast I stuck with it. As I arrived and saw the lake for the first time I instantly felt a buzz about the place. There are so many different marginal spots and islands for the fish to use and to hide out in, with big weed beds, shallow corners and islands.

As I thought, the fishing turned out to be very hard going, but I did manage to winkle one out on the floaters. The rig was tied with 12lb Zig Link with a size 8 Covert Dark Chod hook to 12lb GT-HD mainline. The fish was a known one called ‘Cluster’ which is one of the old Leneys that live in Holly Bush so I was absolutely over the moon with just the one fish.

The next session was a couple of weeks later. The weather had changed for the better and was perfect for some surface fishing again, so I made sure I had more than enough dog biscuits with me. I decided to fish a swim with plenty of water in front of me, hoping the fish were holding up just enjoying the sun. Hopefully, I would tempt a couple to take a few biscuits with the aim being that this would lead to the fish competing and hopefully giving me the opportunity to winkle one out.

The first thing I did when I arrived in the swim was get a big bed of dog biscuits out there that I had already soaked in a very fishy attractor we’d been given by Geoff at ABS, just to give them extra pulling power. It didn’t take long before there were a couple of fish taking but I wanted to get a few more in the area. I started seeing a more fish down along the left hand margin so I put in a couple pouchfulls of dog biscuits and almost instantly there was fish taking. As I had only put in a couple pouchfulls I decided to get a rig out quickly. The hookbait was a custom bait pop up that I glued to the chod hook.

With everything ready I cast past the fish and slowly reeled the hook bait back towards the bed of dog biscuits where they were feeding. It didn’t take long until I was into my first fish of the session. The fish powered off and went straight into a weed bed and then another weed bed, but finally I had a stunning scaly mirror in the bottom of my net. As I looked up the fish where competing over the remaining dog biscuits so I put a couple of spombs out while I was dealing with the fish in the net. The fish was over 23lb and was another known old warrior.

The fish had really started to compete now and I was confident of another one off the top. With shaky hands I made a new rig up and got the rod back out again. The fish were a bit weary around the hook bait so I decided to leave it for a bit but they were shying away from it. I reeled in the rig and trimmed the hook bait down even more and quickly got the rig back out to see if that made a change. It did! After only a minute of being out there I was into my second fish of the session and it wasn’t long until another lovely old looking mirror was in the bottom of my net. I got all the pictures done and slipped the fish back. After that action I got the rods out for the night. The night produced nothing, but I did have a few more out during the day off the top.

The next time that I went down was just for the day; mainly to just walk around with minimal gear and try to catch one or two off the top. The trip went well and I ended up with 3 fish up to 23lb+.

On one of my most recent sessions the weather was bang on for putting out some rods and setting traps on the bottom (something I haven’t down a lot on this venue). After leading around, I found 2 spots and put a kilo and a half of bait over each rod straight away – but having set the traps it wasn’t long before I reeled in as I had found a couple of fish milling around on the surface! I put out a couple of pouchfulls of biscuits and managed to nick a fish quickly, which was once again a lovely scaley mirror.

After that fish the others disappeared and it was time to get back to the main swim and see if there was any activity over the baited areas. As I arrived back to the swim there was fizzing all over the bait so I cast way over the fish and reeled the rig across the surface, back to where I was fishing, to prevent spooking the fish away. Nothing happened throughout the day so just before dark I put another half kilo out over each rod.

In the morning I had a small common, around the mid double mark. The rig I used was my usual hinged stiff rig using one of the super sharp (new) size 6 Covert Dark Incizor tied to 20lb Tripwire. As usual the boom was made with 25lb Ultra Skin and the leader was the nice supple Camflex Leadfree that was tied to 15lb GT-HD.

Nothing happened during the day and I couldn’t find anything on the top either(despite looking hard) so I decided to put another kilo out and get settled down for the night ahead. Later on the next morning the same thing happened; with a bite at around the same time as the previous morning. This one turned out to be slightly bigger than the first common. After a long hard battle the fish was safe and secure in my net. The fish was an upper double and I was over the moon. I put the rod back out and as I only had a couple hours left I put the rest of my bait out over that one rod – which was about a kilo.

After that fish it went very quiet so I reeled in and went to go find some fish on the top, but that plan failed as I couldn’t even see one fish milling about so I went back to the swim and fished the last couple of hours on the bottom. About 10 minutes after putting the rod out it screamed off and this fish felt big! It took about 30yards of line straight away and just wasn’t giving up. Eventually, I started to gain some line back and get control of the battle. The fish was starting to get very tired and it wasn’t long before she was just in front of me and as she rolled over I could see it was a lump and I reached as far as I could and I had the beast in my net!

After I got everything ready and hoisted her out and placed her on the mat. I carefully lifted the beauty up on the scales and it spun the needle round to over 32lb making it a new PB. To say that I was over the moon was an understatement. We got the pictures done and slipped her back and it was time to pack up. My dad came to pick me up and whilst I was packing away (the rods were the last thing packed away, naturally) suddenly the right hand rod roared of and I was into another fish. I got it over the cord of the net and this one weighed 23lb and now it really was time to go home.

Hollybush has been transformed into an amazing day ticket venue and is being well looked after by Stuart who is extremely passionate about the place. I really like angling there and look forward to the next time I get to wet a line there for the cracking carp live there…

Brandon Butler