After participating in the annual Gardner Tackle social in Autumn 2020 at Burghfield Blue Pool, I really liked what this quirky pool had to offer. An intimate 4 acre lake tucked in amongst some of the best carp lakes the Thames Valley has to offer. My fairly short drive from home has me weaving my van between the infamous Pingewood Lagoon, Englefield Lagoon, Farnham Flint and the colossal main Burghfield Lake.

One Sunday evening shortly after that initial trip with Gardner where I managed to tempt one of the larger residents at a smidge over 38lb. I decided to book and organise my own four night trip for early October 2021. After a message around close angling friends, all six additional spaces were snapped up and monies exchanged with Advanced Angling. It was then a case of cracking on with syndicate pursuits while the months ticked past.


Having been to Blue Pool before helped with a general understanding on likely tactics, end tackle and bait. On my previous visit though, the water was absolutely gin clear and approximately 50% of the water’s surface area was laced in thick weed. It still wasn’t an issue presenting rigs, but a bit more planning was needed to ensure you had a decent chance of navigating any bite back across the landing net cord. Although there is a boat on site, it’s strictly for bailiff use only. Whenever I am on weedy pits like this, I always take time at the start of the session to clear as much surface weed as possible using a combination of my Gardner weed rake and my marker rod and a lead.


Stocked with approximately 180 carp and the venue on constant hire all year round, the lakebed inevitably does see a constant spread of bait and lines cutting through the water. It’s therefore no surprise these fish can be cagey as they have seen it all. That said, they are carp who are familiar with the food tap being turned on and will respond given the right placement, quantity, and quality of bait. In equal measure, balanced with simple and reliable rig mechanics incorporating a super sharp hook will catch them.

On the Thursday morning of our trip, we congregated in the car park just off Cottage Lane. After me consuming a finely cooked bacon and sausage sandwich at the breakfast hut, it was time to navigate our way through the four combination locked gates down to Blue Pool. The previous group must leave the venue an hour before the next group arrive, so we didn’t obtain any insights on the previous groups successes or failures. But what was instantly noticeable was the water clarity was completely discoloured from the recent heavy rain and there was no weed visible across the entire lakes surface. It was literally the polar opposite of what I experienced the previous autumn. What was also clearly evident, the carp have tuned in to the transition between groups as there was heavy fizzing across all areas of the lake. It was obvious the carp were quickly consuming all the surplus food with confidence with no suspect traps set.

The weather forecast for our four-night trip was dry, with relatively high temperatures both day and night and higher than average air pressure. It made for pleasant social conditions and no need to set up the large gazebo I had in the back of the van just in case of heavy rain. On the social bank we set up the up-cycled BBQ I bought a few weeks ago for only £10 that I couldn’t resist spraying Vietnam green ha-ha. Catching carp was the priority, but we all agreed to congregate every night early evening for some dinner.

We all walked round and concluded the draw. It wasn’t long before I was flicking around with the marker rod attached to a small 2oz lead to start with. I really quickly found a glass smooth silt area off the back of a blatant gravel plateau in front of peg 3. Gaining confidence from every cast working out exactly where the gravel started when drawing the marker back towards me. I settled for and clipped up the marker around 3ft on to the glass smooth silt area before the gravel started to knock the rod tip. I then decided to keep things simple and planned to fan out all three rods fishing to the same area. They probably ended up about three rods apart approximately from left to right.

With absolute confidence with my spots and a visual marker float on the surface, I set about deploying a midi spomb initially to ensure it was landing within a range of approx between 3-6ft past the marker. I then clipped up the marker and switched to the big brother large spomb. It was then literally spombs away for the next 20 minutes until 4kg of 12mm sticky manilla active soaked in Calanus and 2kg of perfectly prepared buckwheat with a decent sprinkling of rock salt was deposited. Whenever I take the fanned-out approach, I always try and ensure the concentration of bait is applied in an equal line but the majority sitting in the two main gaps between my three spots. This way, I am basically fishing my left and right rods on the outer section of the baited areas and the middle one smack on it. I take a lot more confidence in this approach from a line lay perspective and I am a firm believer carp start feeding on the outer edges and work their way on to the main concentrated area.


I had absolutely no doubt my go to 6” multi rig incorporating Gardner Stiff Link hooklink and a short subtle section of peeled back green Ultra-Skin soft to a size 4 covert wide gape talon tip hook, would be my go-to rig across all three rods. I have massive confidence setting a balanced bait, with the bead moved up 9-10” on a helicopter set to a 2oz lead. It’s not free running, but it’s not anchored to the deck and it doesn’t easily offer the carp the chance to use the lead weight in its favour. I always pay attention to hook holds on all my captures and using these rig mechanics, have really nailed the carp in the perfect placements.

After all six of us causing our arrival commotion, the fizzing literally stopped across the whole pond. It’s was really noticeable and almost instantly after the first couple of leads broke the surface. That said, between us the first 24hrs did trip up a few carp. Not many, but it was nice to get a couple early doors.


The heavy feeding pattern started regularly at the classic last light, but really ramped up from an hour after dark. They were crashing closer to my baited spot, but I was only picking up the odd fish. Luke was trickling carp out down in an area known as Korda corner (peg 12a). Little and often bait approach and good rest periods of no rods in the water after every capture was working a treat across Luke’s 96 hour session. Despite me only picking up the odd fish, I knew it was only a matter of time. All the signs were good. So it was big spombs away again and I decided to repeat the same quantity of bait again half way through the session on the Saturday early afternoon.


On the Sunday morning, I had to leave the lake to manage my eldest sons U11 football team. Thankfully a fairly local home game, so I was only away for a few hours. During that time, the spot was completely rested and I opted not to recast upon my return at lunchtime as I had carp on me. Subtle, but noticeable bubbles bang on the spot. I decided to wait until early evening to position the rods on to the spot. We had our final communal BBQ of the trip while we all watched back Fury vs Wilder III on my MacBook. Epic fight.

As dark descended on the last night, the usual feeding pattern commenced but this time all directly over my spot. It was approaching midnight and the first rod was away. A couple of hours later, I was three carp down already for the night. As I am reeling one in, the carp were literally smashing my spot to pieces. They had the taste for the bait as the torch light and recasting had no effect on the regularity of the bites. The sloshing and crashing was constant and it was impossible to sleep. Another carp followed and unfortunately it wiped out my other two rods. So it’s 4am and I had no rods in the water. I made a tactful decision to only recast two rods on to the two outer spots. As daylight broke, I had three more carp waiting for photos. All three bites coming in a crazy hour at first light. Seven bites in seven hours and all seven landed to 35lb. Crazy times and great fun although a tad exhausting.


The bait and wait approach on this occasion paid off. I knew they would be up for it and they duly obliged literally smashing through 10kg of bait all laced up in around 750ml of Calanus. Roll on September 2022, as I booked another session while on the bank.

Be lucky, Carl.