The weather during July was for the most part beautiful with long hot days and mild nights, what I would call a proper English summer. Although it was lovely these conditions brought a few problems, especially for those anglers wanting to target the carp that love to sunbathe just as much as we do. On nearly all of the Park lakes the carp spent most of their days cruising round the surface completely ignoring anglers bait.
‘The Park Grapevine’
The Ski Lake continued it’s below par form. There were some reasonable fish caught, but most anglers were having a bit of a hard time of it with the bigger fish. Young Jacob Harris persisted with his carping and was rewarded with some nice fish into double figures (see picture below). His dad Gary enjoyed some really good sport taking some lovely roach. Gary initially used maggot, but this only produced little fish. It was when he changed to pellets of bread on ‘the lead’ that Gary started taking some superb fish to nearly 2lb.
One notable fish this month was a 9lb tench for John Gammons who took the fish on a boilie. Interestingly although the fishing has been up and down for most John has had his best season ever in terms of numbers of good fish taken. I believe that the wind direction has played a big part in this. For the most part the wind direction has not been in the ‘prevailing’ south westerly direction and has in fact spent most of its time with some east in it.
I do have one very big gripe regarding the Ski Lake. I have it on very good authority that two anglers that looked to be in their late teens were seen fishing at the top of the lake where the road narrows and there are no caravans one weekend during the middle of the month. The person reporting this witnessed these so called anglers catch a good pike, then promptly hit it over the head with what looked like a brick and walk off with it towards Heronsfield like some trophy. If ever I catch anyone doing this there will be trouble – you have been warned.
The Residents Lake fished quite well for all species. There were some big carp caught with Paul Hickson taking a big ‘20’ on halibut pellet. Graham Johnson had a ‘22’ on boilie. There were also a lot of nice bream taken, in fact for a few anglers they started to become a bit of a nuisance especially during darkness.Kingfisher continued its consistent form with lots of fish being taken. Top match angler Neil Kilsby had a cracking session early in the month taking some good roach on soft pellet. He then started taking this year’s stockie carp before the big boys muscled their way in. Neil went on to take several double figure fish still on pellet, but fished shallow!
Fountain View 1 continued to produce plenty of fish especially small carp in the 5 to 6lb class.
Fountain View 2 had an upturn in sport during July with lots of carp being taken to mid-double figures. Apparently quite a few good fish were lost in the snaggy tree swims and the upshot of this is that one or two fish are showing a bit of mouth damage.
Willow Banks was in good form with lots of small to medium sized carp. tench and bream taken to all methods.
Canada Lake was in very consistent form with lots of carp and tench showing, but a lot of carp were lost especially by those anglers that insisted on using completely inadequate tackle. As I’ve said before the carp in this lake are turbo charged and now especially as the sub-surface weed has grown up you need adequate gear to get them out.
Heronsfield Lake has been a little inconsistent. Early in the month Sharon Pickering was happily catching lots of small roach and perch on light float tackle when her double maggot on a 14 and 4lb line was picked up by a carp. Sharon played the fish for 45 minutes until it was netted and a 14lb mirror carp was her prize (see below picture). I did hear a report of an angler catching a ‘20’ and a ‘16’ but this was unconfirmed. Most of the regular anglers caught plenty of fish, but had to put some time in to do so. Michael Dodds had a ’15’ and a ‘12’ one weekend and several tench over another.
The back lakes or as you might know them Mallard, Grebe, Lilly and Teal fished quite well. John Blair continued to take some nice Teal Lake tench on pole fished pellet. Pole angler, Chris Brownsword had taken 6 good carp and lost 3 in a 3 hour afternoon session. Chris found the carp in peg 6 were “fizzing like a Jacuzzi”. The Grebe Lake carp were particularly frustrating during the hot spell as they were cruising the surface, but most of the time refused to take any surface baits. I had several frustrating sessions ‘floater fishing’ - but got my own back on a two night session later (see below).
The River Gt Ouse was in good form not so much for big fish, but for numbers of fish. I had a lot of small chub up to 2lb on floating crust and there were some nice catches of roach and dace taken on stick float and trotting tactics.
'The Sixth Match’
The sixth match held on Saturday the 13th July. Very hot temperatures greeted the 17 anglers fishing on Grebe and Mallard Lake’s. This hot weather together with angler pressure form the week before meant it was always going to be hard and hard it was.Tim Jolley won the match (his 3rd in a row) from peg 12 on Grebe Lake. Tim pole fished pellet to the island and took one of the small stockie carp and a few silvers to weigh in 2lb 7oz.I was 2nd with 2lb 4oz. I drew peg 14 on Grebe Lake which I was pleased with as I had won one of our earlier matches from this swim.
I was hoping to catch some bigger fish down the margin and baited up accordingly. One problem I did have was that I plumbed up a swim out in the bay then at the start of the match found it was full of sub-surface weed. I managed to find a hole in the weed using pole tactics at 11m and took 30 or so small roach, rudd and perch. Despite careful feeding I couldn’t buy a bite from my margin swim.Paul Hickson took 3rd place with 2lb-1/2oz. Paul drew peg 2 on Grebe. Paul had nothing feeder fishing to the island, but had fish fizzing close in and used waggler tactics and pellet to take 2 small stockie carp.
My own fishing this month was OK. I had plenty of fish, but nothing really to write home about. Because of the hot weather I decided to target the carp on the surface and this proved to be very frustrating at times. I fished Grebe Lake all day one Friday in the middle of the month. I could get them feeding on dog biscuits, I tried everything from free-lined floating crust to hair rigged pop-up boilie whittled down to look like a ‘mixer’, but they refused to take it. I did manage to take 2 off the top later in the month the best being a stunning 9lb mirror (see below) that took a mixer shaped tutti pop-up glued to the shank of a size 10 hook.
I had a very successful session with a friend Mike Martin fishing Grebe Lake. We had originally intended to fish the Ski Lake, but with it being in pretty dour form I suggested we tried Grebe as I had been doing some work over there and there were loads of nice fish showing. Now I haven’t night fished Grebe Lake for over 10 years but the last time I did I took my pb for this lake, a 16lb common. Although I was working on the Thursday I decided to fish with Mike on both the Wednesday and Thursday nights. We chose to fish pegs 17 and 18. I didn’t get set up until 8.30pm on the Wednesday evening, but I had taken 5 nice carp to exactly 10lb by midnight. The night was quiet for me which is just as well as I had to be at work for 8.30am, but Mike had been busy taking 4 nice commons through the night. I then had a 9lb common as I sat eating my Weetabix before going to work. Because it was very hot that day I suggested he try floater fishing or fishing ‘Zigs’ as they would be cruising on the surface. He rang me later saying what did I know as he couldn’t buy a bite on the surface, but he’d had a 15lb 7oz mirror and a 12lb common on normal bottom baits during the middle of the afternoon! Later on the Thursday evening the fishing remained as good and I took my best of the session a mirror of 11lb 8oz. All my fish came on a 14mm bottom boilie with a plastic corn ‘topper’ fished tight to the island. Interestingly I couldn’t get a bite away from the island, but Mike had most of his fish out in open water on would you believe 20mm boilies! To cut a long story short by the time we packed up on Friday lunch time we had taken 18 carp between us, nothing massive, but good sport none the less.
I had a couple of over-nighters on Heronsfield which were OK. No carp on the first one but I had 3 nice tench during the morning all about the 5lb mark and pulled out of a couple more then on my second night session I had a 10lb 4oz carp that was very nearly a ‘leather’. This carp only had one scale down near its tail so it was close. I have only ever taken one true totally scale less leather carp, a 16lb-er that I took from Lakeside at Duncote about 20 years ago, anyway I also had 3 nice tench including a male that was exactly 6lb a very fit hard fighting fish. All these fish were taken on 14mm bottom boilies with a plastic corn topper fish on a short braid hook length presented over the heavy weed in a solid PVA bag. The biggest issue on Heronsfield at the moment is the crayfish. We have always had them but this year seems to be really bad especially when using boilies, particularly for some unknown reason fruit flavoured pop-ups.
If the weather stays warm I will continue to try and catch some carp off the top. You need to be stealthy and try to find the fish at quieter time of the week, but any decent fish taken off the top is a right result.