I’m addicted to fishing in the UK and I simply can’t get enough of it. Why? Well simply, I just love the experience. Over the last few years I have visited the UK twice a year and 2018 wasn’t going to be any different. During the later part of 2017, a plan was hatched for a spring session with some of the guys from the Gardner Tackle Benelux team. Lewis kindly booked 3 nights (thanks again Michele Gardner) on the historic Yateley Pads Lake. A very popular venue, which is now part of the Yateley West Fishery.

I had previuosly read a lot about the venue and historic captures such as when Ritchie McDonald landed Jumbo and in later years Terry Hearn. Even our own Legend Lewis caught the very sought after Jumbo and I was now going to fish the place myself with some very good friends. The trip consisted of myself, Chris and Rex from the Gardner Benelux team and our good friend Kurt. I have known Kurt for a long time and he is a great guy to go on an adventure like this with. We visited the UK last year together when we fished the Quarry in Essex, so we had a fair idea of what to expect. This was going to be Rex and Chris’ first trip to the UK, so it was very special for them, like it still is for us. Chris is a big fish angler, who frequents Rainbow and Germany, so he was understanably a little sceptical about fishing a very weedy venue. Rex is a young man, who is very keen on doing these kinds of trips and enjoys the UK fishing style.

The plan was to meet at Kurts place as he lived the closest to Dunkerk, where we had the ferry booked. My Mrs kindly dropped me off at Kurts and I was the first to arrive at around 5 o’clock in the afternoon, Belgian time. An hour or so later the other guys arrived and after meeting up we loaded Kurt’s van to the max and hit the road shortly after. After a 50 minute drive and a short wait at the ferry corssing we were soon aboard our two hour crossing to the UK.

When we reached Dover there was a little confusion as Chris and Rex hadn’t driven in the UK before and headed off on the wrong side of the road on a little detour, so we waited for them at the services near the docks. The rest of the drive went smoothly and after one stop we arrived in Yateley, quitely opened the fishery gate and got the bedchairs out for some shut eye as it was the early hours of the morning. Kurt and I were up quite early and we had a peek at the Car Park Lake and Kurt even went and had a quick look around the North Lake. Soon after Lewis arrived and we headed off to the nearby cafe for a full English breakfast.

We arrived back at the lake at 10am (when we were allowed on) and we took a full lap of the lake. We had a quick chat with the guys who were packing up and they had managed to land a few, so it looked good for a few bites over the course of the next three nights. Being the guests we had first choice of swims, so I opted for The Point, Chris went in The End of the Pads, Rex went in Between The Pads, Kurt went in Cornman, Lewis went in Pole position and Alan in Waiting Mans.

We all found some nice spots and Rex was quickly off the mark landing the first fish of the trip and his first UK carp too (well done my friend). Chris landed his first fish during the night and Alan had a right result landing a right lump in the shape of a 43lb 8oz mirror. It was the biggest fish in the lake and his first time using a Ronnie Rig. Well done Alan! It was a great trip and a very good social too. Only Kurt blanked, but he was very happy to tag along, take in the atmosphere and he loved it a lot.

I managed two fish and lost one, but the two I had were awesome fish. One was a double figure common and the second was real highlight and my second ever UK thirty, so I was extremley happy. Rex had 3 or 4 and lost one, Chris landed 4, which were his first fish from the UK and he managed his first Uk Thirty too! Between filming Alan managed three, including the lakes biggest mirror and Lewis landed one. We had a great time and we also got some filming work done for the GT YouTube channel.

The 3 days and nights soon came to an end and after a visit to the cafe for another full English, we headed off to GT HQ where we met everyone in the office and the warehouse and were given the full guided tour. The trip was a huge sucess and one we hope to make every year.

Tight Lines, Tommy de Cleen