Following a pretty mild winter the weather during early April started out on the cool side. This meant the fishing had a slow start. A few anglers that had been fishing during March continued to catch some nice fish by being in the right place at the right time. For those just starting out as the park opened on the 1st April had to feel there way into it. One or two anglers did very well whereas others blanked!This cool weather continued through the Easter period then there was a couple of weeks of lovely very unseasonable weather with temperatures into the high teens and on some days even low 20's. This upturn in the weather brought a real boost to the fishing.
The Park Grapevine
Big carp dominated the catches on The Residents Lake with several of the regular carpers catching some lovely fish into the high 20's. Paul Hickson took the best I heard of at just over 27lb. I'm sure Paul wont mind me saying that being a senior angler he finds the task of holding and photographing his big carp captures very hard indeed and to do so would put the fish a serious risk of harm, so for the most part quite rightly he weighs the fish in the net and returns them ASAP.Another angler to have a good month was Mick Wilson who is an angler after my own heart in that he loves his mixed fishing. On one day he enjoys wielding the pole then the next he puts out the big rods and buzzers! Mick has taken some superb carp to well over 20lb.
Kingfisher Lake was on great form with carp well into double figures, but it was the lovely mixed catches of all the main species that was so nice. Top match anglers Neil Kilsby and John Hayes enjoyed some really enjoyable fishing using 'match tactics' ie the pole and feeder.
Fountain View 1 was in great form. Again it was the carp captures that stole the headlines with individual fish to nearly 20lb. New resident Trevor Bird enjoyed some lovely carp well into double figures using very simple tactics, some of his fish were taken on nothing more than float fished maggots!
Fountain View 2 was in good form especially in the middle and end of the month with not only carp well into double figures but also some nice mixed catches. Graham Jake and David Clarke both took some very nice fish to over 16lb. What impresses me about David's fishing in particular is that he only uses the pole!
Not much in the way of news from Island View but hopefully following the first stocking of the lake for a number of years the fishing with improve. Willow View/Banks was in good form again not only with carp well into double figures but lots of nice bream, tench and silvers.
The Ski Lake that has now been renamed Swan Lake fished well for the dedicated big carp guys. Despite having to move plots Steve Knight found the carp in his new swim this month taking numerous good fish including a lovely mirror of over 24lb.Phil Moate fishing his plot for the first time this season literally dropped a bait on ones nose and within 30 seconds took a stunning 19lb common!
It wasn't just the carp taken from Swan Lake but some very good tench were taken to 7lb. One visiting angler breaking his personal best of 6lb 10oz following a little tweak of location that I was happy to help him with.
Heronsfield was in very good form. One or two nice carp and bream were taken but it was its tench fishing that showed through.
The nice thing was that no one style of fishing dominated. Despite the lake being as clear as tap water anglers caught using all the normal tactics ie float, feeder, pole and also tactics that were aimed more towards the carp. Neil Carter caught more than his fair share of tench mostly on the feeder with individual fish to nearly 6lb 8oz.
Canada Lake fished very well for those anglers that found them, what I mean by this is that if you were on the fish you caught a load, if you weren't you blanked. An example of this was actually a session my wife, friend Michael Dodds and I had at the end of March. The weather was cold that day with a biting North Easterly breeze. We fished in a line within talking distance. Michael fishing the pole blanked, my wife Claire fishing in the middle with her favourite method feeder tactics took 13 carp to around 4lb and lost a couple. I managed to catch just 3 with one of them 'nicked' from Claires swim after she went off to walk the dogs! Clearly these fish were 'balled' up in a very localised area.
This theory was confirmed a few weeks later when again Claire dropped on them taking 7 carp to just over 8lb while I could only catch small roach in the very next swim.Once the weather warmed a little the fish did start to move around and some big catches were taken.
The back lakes ie Grebe, Mallard, Lilly and Teal together with Richards Pond (the little pool between Mallard and Lilly) were all in strange form in other words despite the stocking of the lakes that I was involved with the fish were very slow to start feeding. By now you may have heard about the first Cosgrove match of the series. I wont go into too much detail but the fishing was atrocious with only two of the twenty four anglers catching fish and more to the point not one angler on Grebe Lake caught a fish! Lots of theories were banded about as to why it fished so bad with most anglers stating the lakes weren't in fact stocked. Whether you believe they were stocked with enough fish is another argument but in March i physically put around 400lb of small carp into each of the match lakes that would have been approximately 300-350 individual fish into each lake! I believe the fishing will improve as the year goes on.For pleasure anglers especially later in the month the fish did start to feed with some original stock as well as a few new stock being taken.
One fish of note was taken by Phil Moate who took a beautiful 14lb common carp from Teal Lake on big carp tactics.
Phil went on to tell me the fish had clearly never been caught before and fought like an absolute demon.
For me April continued on where my winter/early spring fishing had left off but with a different species - let me explain. My winter had been brilliant, taking over 40 carp - mostly doubles from four different lakes on the park. My best day catch was just before Christmas taking four mid doubles and a stunning 20lb 4oz common carp from Fountain View 2.
I even caught fish during a moment of madness when a friend and I fished a 48 hour session in freezing conditions at the end of January. My only disappointment was a couple of blank evening sessions on Swan Lake after the big roach that I believe inhabit the lake.
Because of my success during the winter and spring with the parks carp I decided to target the tench on Heronsfield once the park had opened. During April I took 30 odd hard fighting tench to nearly 6lb by using all different methods depending on my mood. I caught on feeder fished maggots, boilies on scaled down carp gear, pole and even with waggler tactics using my trusty centrepin reel.
I had a couple of good sessions fishing over Easter taking 6 tench on the Saturday morning, blanking on Sunday morning then taking 4 tench on Easter Monday morning and 3 more on Easter Monday evening.Also over Easter whilst trying to entertain one of my Grandson's and my Granddaughter who I promised to take fishing I was delighted because it was to cold to sit out with a float rod but the tench were willing enough to provide sport for them both landing tench with only a little help from me!
The following morning I took another nice catch of 6 tench but ended the session a little disappointed when I pulled out of a nice carp that thrashed on the surface as it came adrift. On examining my end gear I found something that had never happened before. Using a chod rig I found the pop up boilie had turned the 'D' rig under the hook point that meant the hook was laying flat against the boilie. I must have pulled the bait and hook straight out of the fishes mouth - bu--er!
May is one of my favourite months as the weather usually takes a turn for the better. Hopefully I can get amongst the fish before they start to spawn. Now is the time to start putting in some bait. I've said before particularly over the long weekends of the Bank Holidays put some bait out especially if you are not fishing, on most occasions a Monday morning will be best although often I have found the fishing really good on the Bank holiday Monday evening when the crowds have gone home LOL.When I'm using big fish tactics i use my trusty spod mix made up with mixed particles including hemp, pigeon conditioner, sweetcorn, loads of different types and sizes of pellets and chopped boilies. If I am using feeder or float tactics both on the pole and waggler I tend to use more groundbait based feed loaded with micro feed pellets, sweetcorn as well as loads of dead maggots. On 2nd May several of the parks top anglers are doing an 'Angling Teach In' on the Fountain Lake in front of the Bistro. Please come along and have a look at big fish tactics in action as well as match and pleasure techniques such as method feeder and pole fishing.