Sunday, 31 January 2010 17:14

Crayfish conundrum for angling

Carefully placed bait, a perfect cast; all to be ruined by a brazen crayfish sweep the bait from the line. More likely than not it is one of the North American crayfish that are rapidly spreading through our waterways. This species is affecting fisheries, rivers and lakes all over the country and has contributed to the devastating loss of British white-clawed crayfish which play an important role in healthy rivers.

White Clawed Crayfish How do signal crayfish affect fishing?
Although signal and native white-clawed crayfish are similar to look at there are significant differences between the two species.  North American signal crayfish grow larger, produce more offspring and are generally more aggressive.  Native white-clawed crayfish are a keystone species and an important part of the food chain in the clean, healthy rivers they are traditionally found in.  Signal crayfish can often lead to an imbalance in freshwater communities, over predating the aquatic invertebrates that many fish species feed on and even eating fish eggs.

Not only do signal crayfish affect fish stock directly, they can also have an impact on the quality of river and fishery banks and have even been known to cause severe damage to fishery dams.  How?  Both signal and white-clawed crayfish are burrowing species, however, signals create much deeper and more extensive burrows which cause banks to become unstable and can undercut dams. 

Trapping myth
As we become increasingly aware of the havoc that signal crayfish are causing, there has been an increase in programmes and articles recommending catching them for free food.  Read the fine print though – many people do not release it is illegal to trap for any species of crayfish without a trapping licence from the Environment Agency.  Casual trapping might seem an obvious way of reducing signal numbers, but this is not the case.  Large crayfish feed on smaller individuals, so casual trapping for food removes a natural predator. This may potentially result in a rapid growth in population.  Illegal crayfish trapping can unintentionally affect other wildlife, demonstrated recently by recorded cases of otters drowning in illegal crayfish traps.  Trapping for signals also greatly increases the risk of accidentally spreading a deadly disease that is wiping out native white-clawed crayfish.

Deadly disease
Most anglers’ are aware of the large number of waterway diseases that can affect fish stock and the importance of disinfecting equipment and boots appropriately.  The crayfish plague can easily be carried by fish or people and although harmless to either, it is lethal to white-clawed crayfish and can wipe out entire populations in a matter of weeks.  This fungus-like disease rarely affects signal crayfish, which can act as carriers.  It releases spores which travel through the water and attach onto anything they come in contact with.  A waterborne disease, the spores require moisture to survive so please wash off all you equipment and most importantly dry it out before changing your fishing location.  If you are able to disinfect equipment please do, if not make sure it has dried completely before use.

Stop the spread     
North American signal crayfish and the crayfish plague are wiping out native white-clawed crayfish populations and with up to 70% lost in the south west and no native crayfish left in some parts of the UK at all, if we don’t act now it will be too late to save this species from extinction in the UK.  Simple steps can save this species.  Do not trap for crayfish without first consulting the Environment Agency and obtaining a licence and never remove crayfish from a waterway or use any part for bait, these actions are illegal.  Do wash and dry all equipment and footwear after use and if possible disinfect appropriately.  Finally protect native crayfish habitat, which is also beneficial to other animals such as invertebrates and fish and report any sightings to your local Environment Agency office.

If you need advice on North American signal crayfish or crayfish legislation please contact your local environment agency, information can be found at:

North American Signal Crayfish

Save a species:
The South West Crayfish Project is a partnership of organisations working to prevent the continued loss of native white-clawed crayfish in the south west.  Operating the largest strategic translocation, or re-homing programme, of native crayfish in the UK to date they work closely with the local angling community. 

If you want to know more about the plight of the white-clawed crayfish and how the South West Crayfish Project is working to conserve the species through re-homing and breeding programmes and education please visit the websites below and search for ‘South West Crayfish Project’: or

Source: South West Crayfish Project

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Linear Fisheries fishery report
15 Oct Ben Buchanan had two smaller fish and a 16lb mirror during an over night session using pop-ups.
15 Oct Nine year old Jordan Davis landed an 18lb 10oz mirror whilst fishing with Jake and Greg Taylor who also got amongst the fish with Jake landing 12 fish to upper doubles using hemp and Baitworks chopped boilies and Greg five up to 14lb.

Pete Booth from Derbyshire had a number of fish during a 48 hour session with the biggest two weighing 14lb 09oz and 17lb 08oz.
15 Oct **NEWS UPDATE**

Our apologies for the lack of news and photos over the last couple of weeks but we've been having a few system problems - The PC has now been replaced and "touch wood" everything is now back as it should be!! Due to this the following news is made up of catch reports from the last two weeks.
15 Oct ****Important Info****

This is just a reminder that from Thursday the 1st of October we will revert to our Winter Locking Times.

As of this date and until spring next year all fishery gates will be locked at 6PM and will be opened by 8AM.
15 Oct *****PIKE MATCH*****

The Next Linear Pike Match will be held on Sun 22nd November – The lake will be closed all day.

Below is a list of the remaining pike matches to be held this year - Please contact Basil Hopkins for further details on 01993 704880 or 07773210590.

Pike Match Sunday 13th December 2009 - LAKE CLOSED
Pike Match Sunday 7th February 2010 - LAKE CLOSED

Pike Match Sunday 22nd November 2009 - LAKE CLOSED
Pike Match Sunday 17th January 2010 - LAKE CLOSED

Linear Junior Pike Match 14th November 2009 - LAKE CLOSED
Pike Match (FINAL) Sunday 28th February 2010 - LAKE CLOSED
15 Oct ****Junior Pike Match****

We still have a few places remaining for the annual junior pike match to held on Manor Farm Lake on Sat 14th November. All juniors must be 16 or under and accompanied by an adult.

Top specimen anglers Martin Bowler, Tim Norman and Terry Lampard will be there all day to give help, advice and award the trophies.

For further details or to book please contact Basil Hopkins on 01993 704880 or 07773210590.
15 Oct ****Stocking Info and Dates****

Over the next two weeks we will complete this years stocking on the syndicate. We have 70 fish ready to move from one of our own stock lakes ranging from 6lb to 15lb and 80 C4's (average size 9lb each) being delivered by from VS Fisheries.

On top of these fish we have already stocked 148 carp into the syndicate over the last three months ranging from 5lb to 31lb from our own stock lakes.

If any current member would like to see the remaining fish being stocked into Unity and Yeoman's Lakes then please feel free to come along. If you can’t make it then don’t worry as we will be placing photos of all these fish up on the Linear Web Site at some point in December.

**Our own stock fish will go into Unity Lake from 11am Tuesday 20th October**

**Fish from VS Fisheries should arrive between 10 & 11am Saturday 24th October**
15 Oct Whilst fishing Yeoman's Lake Darrell Smith landed a 20lb mirror along with a 34lb 02oz common during a four day session.

On Unity Lake Simon Hughes had a 32lb 08oz mirror and then about ten days later landed the lakes big common at 41lb 11oz, Simon's new PB.

Guy Lakes Bailiff Jason Rudge has had a number of fish during his last few sessions and have included mirrors of 27lb, 27lb 09oz, 24lb, 27lb 04oz, 27lb 12oz and the lakes biggest mirror "Moonscale" at 38lb 01oz. Jason has also landed a 27lb 07oz ghostie and a 31lb 11oz common during this time.
15 Oct Ryan McGill landed mirrors of 15lb 08oz and 30lb exactly using Richworth KG-1 and pineapple boilies.

And Richard Mellor from Crewe had the "Big Tail Common" his new PB common using two pieces of fake corn fished on their own.
15 Oct *****Winter Ticket*****

This year the "Hardwick Winter Ticket" will once again be available priced at £170. The ticket which will be limited to 30 anglers will run from Nov 1st until the end of Feb 2010 and will allow fishing on Hardwick Lake and Smiths Pool only.

Anyone interested in joining needs to send their name & address along with a passport sized photo and cheque for £170 to (Linear Fisheries Oxford, Accounts Dept, Enslow, Kidlington, Oxon, OX5 3AY). A laminated ticket will then be posted back to you which you will need before you can start fishing. Alternatively tickets can be purchased on the bank (Mon - Fri only). They will not be available from our weekend staff.

Please Note: Hardwick Lake and Smiths Pool will be closed to all anglers (including winter ticket holders) on Sunday 22nd Nov and Sun 17th Jan for two of the Linear Open Pike Matches.

**Look at the "2009 Hardwick Gallery Page" to see a selection of the fish caught this year**
15 Oct During a four night session Kristian (Paddy) Oflaherty landed mirrors of 10lb, 13lb, 28lb and 31lb 05oz using A1 baits squid and necter boilies.

Alan Layton from Great Missenden in Bucks used Nashbait scopex squid red boilies to tempt mirrors of 22lb and the lakes largest resident at 39lb 04oz.

Roland Pacey broke his PB twice when he landed mirrors of 16lb 03oz and 24lb 06oz.
15 Oct Andy Croxford had a 17lb common along with a 27lb mirror using boilies at about 80 yards range.

Stuart Bowles had four doubles along with mirrors of 21lb, 26lb and a new PB weighing 38lb - All Stuart's fish fell to Mainline Cell boilies over pellet.

James Ward from Thame had a 23lb 02oz mirror using scopex squid liver plus boilies.

John Player had a 12lb 04oz pike from the swims near the fishery office.
15 Oct Linear Bailiff Ivor Peachey had mirrors of 24lb 12oz and 21lb using particles and pellets.

Clive Turner from Didcot Angling had three doubles using various hookbaits.

Ian Fletcher had a new 26lb PB mirror using Richworth KG-1 hookbaits and stringers.

Mik Cork from Oxford landed a 29lb mirror during a 48 hour session using M2 boilies at 70 yards range.

Karl Brown from Manchester had mirrors of 24lb 02oz and 27lb 05oz. fishing with Karl was Matt Brown who had mirrors of 18lb and 33lb 02oz on Mainline Pulse boilies.

Also from down from Manchester was Matthew Jenkner who had mirrors of 20lb, 19lb 02oz and a new PB at 31lb using pulse boilies.
15 Oct Jake Wilkerson had a 22lb 04oz common using mixed particles and Sticky Baits bloodworm dumbells.

Dean "Pob" Fellows had a 31lb 08oz common using Mainline NRG boilies.

And a couple of weeks before Matt Brown and Matthew Jenkner fished Oxlease they had a few out of St. Johns with Matt landing four fish up to 26lb 12oz and Matthew landing a 20lb 02oz mirror which at the time was his new PB.
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Published in Fishery Reports

Here is the latest fishing report for Nineoaks Fishery near Aberaeron, Ceredigion in West-Wales.

Nineoaks Fishery Society Fishery ReportTrout Fishing:-
Although July and August, as everywhere has been, were slow and difficult months good fish were still being occasionally caught (see Trout above). Since then as we moved in to September, buzzers, nymphs and Damsels have been the best flies to use. Sinking lines with Orange Buzzers fished really slowly have produced some excellent bags. Fishing still continues to be slow and is expected to improve greatly as we move into cooler times with breezes producing some surface ripples.

Coarse Fishing:-
Local angler, Jason from New Quay caught the above superb 12lb Common on the last cast of the evening. Meanwhile James Chisholm, Penrhiwgaled Arms, New Quay caught another lovely 10lb 'ish Grass Carp after stalking the fish for a while on floating bread. Good fish have been coming out regularly nearly every day as shown by the lovely Mirror of about 10lb from the Main Lake.

Plenty of quality 1lb+ Roach have been caught from the House Pool and the Main Lake and both lakes have produced some superb Roach sport on a variety of baits, including luncheon meat (and not always small cubes), small black slug, pellet, paste and Bread.

The cool, damp mornings have produced plenty of black slug on the banks of the lakes and what a superb natural bait it makes fished on a #10 Barbless Hook. Plenty of good Carp have been caught using this free bait along with floating baits such as pre-soaked dog biscuits and bread. Using a dog biscuit on a short ledger as a "pop-up" has also produced some excellent sport. Biggest fish has been a 19lb Mirror with several 12-15lb'es being caught too.

Some skimmers are showing in the Mail Lake and plenty of slabs in the House Pool with the biggest being around 4lb. Most Tench have been caught from the House Pool and the odd one from Main. The Novices Pool has consistently produced some great fishing, not huge fish, but plenty of fish all day mainly on sweetcorn and luncheon meat from the margins.

Night Anglers have had consistent sport with most landing 2-3 dozen of good carp and taking their rods out of the water about 1am 'ish in order to get some sleep!

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Published in Fishery Reports
Saturday, 07 March 2009 13:01

Bury Hill 30s on the move

Following one the coldest starts to the year anyone can remember, the past few weeks have seen a steady flow of thirties reported from both the Old Lake and Temple Lake with yet another Temple thirty reported this weekend.

Bury Hill Mirror carpIndeed, it will come as no surprise that Temple regular Sean Howard had another cracking session on Temple lake this weekend catching 4 fish to 33lb 11oz. Fishing peg 13, Sean fished a single grain of glugged corn to the both the bank and island margins catching a stunning mirror weighing 33lb 11oz as well as a 27lb common, and two smaller Temple residents, the Parrot at 19lb 12oz and a small common at 18lb 8oz which must be about the smallest fish in the lake!

This great winters catch follows Sean's brace of thirties two weeks ago when Sean caught ‘The Ghost’ weighing 37lb and Italian 2 weighing 31lb 6oz. This superb brace was caught from peg 14 when Sean fished a small section (corn size) of a sweet cream pop up singularly to the open water to both his left and right rods with no additional feed around his bait. Sean’s first fish, ‘The Ghost’ weighing 37lb was caught at around mid afternoon Saturday from just in front of peg 15. This is the second time Sean has caught ‘The Ghost’ having last caught her in April last year when she weighed 35lb 9oz. Sean’s second thirty of his session came mid morning Sunday when his popped up bait was taken just in front of the island to Sean’s right resulting in Italian 2 being landed at a new record weight of 31lb 6oz. Both fish were in stunning condition and without doubt would have been a fair bit heavier if it were not for the freezing conditions over the past couple of months

Bury Hill Common carpRobin Ellis was another angler to bag a Temple thirty last week, this time a plump 31lb mirror. Fishing a very similar method to that of Sean Howard, Robin fished small pieces of chopped up white pop up to the open water in front of peg 10 with no loose feed catching his first Temple fish of the year around mid afternoon. Carrying tag number 141609, this stunning fish, which is also at a record weight was last caught in May 2008 weighing just over 30lb, but at the time was full of spawn. Returning two days later and fishing similar tactics and baits, Robin, also caught one of Temple’s prettiest fish, ‘Raspberry’ weighing 27lb.

Kicking off the Temple action earlier this month was Bury Hill regular Mark Savage who despite freezing conditions managed to bag not only a new PB but also Temple’s first fish of the year, a stonking 36lb 2oz mirror known as Italian 1. Mark fished peg 4, fishing a number of different methods and baits before settling on a light running rig and a balanced Questbait RahJa Spice boilie tipped with a fake corn which had been glugged for 3 months in a trick glug. Fishing a size 10 long shank blow back, Mark decided to try something different by using a 12” of Korda super natural hook length which he pinned down. With tag number 138134, the big ‘Italian’ is a new PB for Mark beating his previous fish, Temple’s Ghost which Mark caught last year.

Bury Hill 30Not to be outdone, the Old Lake has also seen some good fish reported these past few weeks with Bury Hill regular, Gavin Campbell catching 'Shoulders' at 31lb 4oz. Fishing peg 24, Gavin fished a single piece of popped up corn on a sinking snowman rig over a bed of crushed hemp and particle mix just short of the right hand margin into approximately 6' of water. With water temperatures just above 3 degree's, Gavin not surprisingly had no runs and was about to pack up at 4.20pm when his right hand rod tore off. As the big mirror kited in front of the boat house, all hell broke loose when Bury Hill's best known lady passed in front of the aerators prompting her to make a very strong run up the long bank taking 100m or so of line before Gavin could turn her, eventually landing his prize at 16.40 just as it was getting dark. Gavin's end rig was a size 8 curved shank hook tied to a super natural hook link with 2oz dung lead fished with a 6 feet lead core which he fished as a helicopter set up. Gavin used a Terry Hearn Mark 2 12' 9" 3 1/4 tc rod with a Daiwa SS3000 reel loaded with 10 lb Nash Bullet line.

Source: Bury Hill Fisheries

Published in Fishery Reports
Wednesday, 31 December 2008 10:48

Monk Lakes Fishery

"Pads Army" is now associated with and sponsored by MONK LAKES FISHERY in

Monk Lakes, KentThe Lakes now have 80 swims for Disabled Anglers.

Pads Army and Monk Lakes' owners are hoping to have nearly all swims done by April 2009. Monk Lakes Fishery is still the best fishery in Kent and its going to get better.

Our Charity Fishing Match details for 2009 will be avilable soon so please watch this space. We are Planing a young Anglers session for those who have not fished before ... the details are being sorted out.

Paddy of PADS ARMY
Paddys Angling Disabled Support Group. Charity No 1118422.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008 14:31

Anglers Conservation Association News

The ACA held its EGM in Birmingham on Monday 8 December and agreed to change its name to Fish Legal and to join forces with the Angling Trust in England, with a proxy vote of 1,484 in favour to 67 against the change. This resounding vote opens an exciting new chapter for the organisation.

Anglers Conservation AssociationWe have sent new membership forms to all English individual members and club packs to all English clubs, riparian owners, commercial fisheries and trade members are being sent out at the moment. Members in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will continue their membership with Fish Legal. There will be more information available at and when these web sites go live early in January.

The office will be closed over Christmas, but will reopen on 5 January when we will be happy to answer any questions members might have about the changes.

News from the Legal Department…

The ACA are delighted to have won damages for the Grantham Angling Association following the shocking pollution of the River Witham back in 2002. In the early hours of 3 April, 25,000 litres of chemical fertiliser poured from an agricultural storage tank, made its way into a nearby ditch and flowed downhill into the Witham. The chemical pollution moved slowly along the river, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake, with dead fish obvious for up to 15 km downstream from the point at which the pollution entered the watercourse and raised ammonia levels detected as far as 38km away. Brown trout, chub, roach, grayling and barbel all perished and near to the source of the pollution the chemicals were so concentrated that a dog died within minutes of jumping into the river for a swim. The valve on the tank was allegedly forced open in an act of vandalism and those responsible were never found. The Environment Agency prosecuted the suppliers of the agricultural chemicals, Omex Agricultural, who had supervised the siting of the tank on high ground, in an uninhabited farmyard, with inadequate security. In bringing a civil claim, the ACA won £6,000 in damages for the GAA and also recovered costs.

In an additional case, the ACA defended a spurious claim brought against the Grantham Angling Association by one of its ex-volunteer water bailiffs. The bailiff - now banned for life from the club - claimed for £700 worth of damage to his vehicle after allegedly driving over a loose bit of concrete on the access road to club's fishery. The claim was heard at Grantham County Court on 8th December 2008 but was dismissed on the grounds that the GAA was not liable for the alleged accident.

We are also celebrating a settlement on behalf of the Common Bank Angling Club based in Chorley, Lancashire. On two separate occasions in March 2006 usual suspect United Utilities allowed raw sewage to spew into a feeder stream that led to our member's lake, the Common Bank Lodge. The two spillages were attributed to a failure at a poorly maintained pumping station. Damage to the lake was compounded by a simultaneous diesel spill, allegedly coming from a nearby hospital. Several hundred perch, roach, gudgeon, bream, carp and a few pike were killed - the majority dying slowly from lack of oxygen, with flocks of gulls visiting in the days that followed to pick off the dead fish floating on the surface. Despite this pollution effectively destroying the fishery the club were surprised and disappointed with the Environment Agency's decision only to send a warning letter to the utility company with no further legal action. The ACA took on the case and won £4,000 for the club.

In mid-Wales, the ACA has secured £10,000 for the New Dovey Fisheries Association from Network Rail in recompense for embankment works on the River Dyfi that re-directed the watercourse, leaving precious sea trout pools in an old meander loop shallow and unfishable.

In Alfreton, Derbyshire, we have taken on a new case on behalf of the Excel Hatchery. A pipe owned and controlled by Severn Trent Water burst in September this year polluting our member's fishery, killing a large number of fish and leaving a large amount of deposited sewage in the lake. The club approached the ACA following a lack of response from Severn Trent Water and the Environment Agency. Meanwhile, three months after the burst, the sewage remains in the lake.

In other legal department news, we are pleased to announce that both Guy Linley-Adams, head solicitor here at the ACA and our man in Edinburgh, Bob Younger are both now qualified to practice in Scotland having studied for and passed the Law Society for Scotland's qualifying exams. This will remove the need for the ACA to instruct private agent solicitors in Scotland in order to issue proceedings and will mean that we operate more efficiently and can recover costs more easily following successful settlements north of the border.

Finally, we would like to thank two clubs for very kindly donating funds. Methyr Tydfil Angling Association donated £5,000 and Grantham Angling Association have given £1,000 following the successful conclusion of cases on the Taf Fechan and the Witham respectively. We are extremely grateful for these generous donations that will be ploughed back into our work to protect fisheries and the freshwater environment.

All that remains is to wish all our supporters a very Merry Christmas and a united New Year.


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Published in Latest UK fishing news
Tuesday, 11 November 2008 08:51

ACA News Update

November 2008

The ACA has secured a settlement for one of its commercial fishery members. After terse negotiations, insurers have paid out £3,500 to compensate Cuttle Mill Fishery in the Midlands for the damage they suffered following pollution with milk over the Christmas period back in 2006. The milk, which spilt from a tanker in a nearby haulage yard, entered the fishery via a feeder stream. The oxygen levels in the receiving water fell dangerously low and, despite the best efforts of the fishery owner to limit the damage using bunding and aerators, large specimen carp and a number of roach were lost. The timing could not have been worse for the fishery which had to close at what is usually one of its busiest times of year with anglers hoping to escape for a peaceful days fishing over the festive season.

In Wales, the ACA continues to fight for damages on behalf of the Islwyn & District Anglers following the devastating chemical pollution of the River Sirhowy, in Gwent, by a private company situated on the banks. The ACA has now issued a claim in court. In May 2007, whilst decommissioning a chemical treatment plant, the company emptied treated effluent onto the floor of the treatment plant building which subsequently found its way into a surface water drain that discharges into the Sirhowy. Despite being successfully prosecuted by Environment Agency Wales for breaches of the Water Resources Act 1991 and the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975 the company is determined to defend the ACA civil claim in court.

In Leicestershire we are representing the Gopsall Fishing Club after illegal in-river dredging on the River Sence. It is thought that the dredging destroyed spawning grounds and also altered the river width due to the excavation of the river bank which affects the river flow. The Environment Agency decided not to prosecute for the offence, even though those responsible were forewarned that any damage caused as a result of their works could result in criminal prosecution.

In further Scottish news, the ACA has been forced to refer another case to the Scottish Information Commissioner following the Scottish Government's refusal to release fish farm inspection reports relating to rainbow trout farming operations in Loch Lochy. The Scottish Information Commissioner will decide whether the Scottish Government is justified in withholding dive reports, mortality reports, grid plans and a containment audit report that relates to recent escapes of rainbow trout into the loch. The ACA represents the Lochaber District Salmon Fishery Board in this matter after escapes of farmed fish into the Lochy system from the floating cage farm operated by Kames Fish Farming Ltd.

Other news...

The ACA will be holding an EGM on Monday 8 December in Birmingham to vote on a resolution for the ACA to take part in the unification of angling and conservation organisations. There is much more information about these plans in the autumn update which will be arrive with all members this week and on the temporary web site for the Angling Trust:

If you can't make the EGM, please complete the proxy voting form included with the mailout in the postage paid envelope. You could send back your raffle books at the same time...

Thames21, a charity working in the London area, is organising a free training day for anyone wanting to organise river clean-ups at Fishmongers' Hall on Monday 24 November. Please go to for more information.

The Artist Richard Bramble is donating 10% of profits to the ACA from members' orders of his new Brown or Rainbow Trout porcelain 30cm dinner plates at £35 each, which are from a set of Trout and Grayling designs available on plates, mats, boards and clocks by the artist. When ordering, either by telephone 01935 815236 or online at Just mention 'ACA' for the donation to go through.

Finally, Hugh Miles is hosting a 'sort of world premiere' in Dorset of his new series of films "Catching the Impossible", with stars Bernard Cribbins and Martin Bowler present, but with red maggots instead of the red carpet. All proceeds go to the ACA and the Wimborne Angling Club. The films will be screened on Tuesday 25 November and Tuesday 2 December at the Barrington Theatre in the centre of Ferndown, near Bournemouth. Tickets are just £5 from: Bob Simmons, 1 Cuthburga Rd. Wimborne, Dorset, BH21 1LH Tel: 01202 889283 Please make cheques payable to Wild Wise Ltd. and enclose an SA

Source: Anglers Conservation Association

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Published in Latest UK fishing news
Thursday, 14 February 2008 00:00

Priory Farm Lakes, Surrey

Priory Farm Fishing Lakes, Surrey

Fishing Diary February 2008A quick jaunt down the M25 and I was soon driving down quiet country lanes just outside Reigate in Surrey, on my way to sample the excellent fishing at Priory Farm Fishing Lakes. The sun shone through the window and I was full of the joys of spring and looking forward to some well earned time away from work.

Priory Farm Fishing Lakes offer superb coarse and carp fishing on four lakes, all well stocked with crucian carp, roach, perch, tench, rudd, bream, and of course, stunning carp to 30lb. A mere 20 miles from Central London, Priory Farm Lakes are within easy reach and members only fishing means the lakes remain under fished and the quality of the fish is always second to none.

Priory LakeI met up with Ian Ford, the Fisheries Manager at Priory Farm who drove me up to the car park. He suggested I try out Priory lake, as despite the recent cold weather, it had been fishing reasonably well.

The fishing on Priory Lake offers great year round sport and according to Ian, the carp, which are close to the original wild carp, will definitely give you a good fight !!

Most baits had been working well Ian remarked and taking his advise I set up two rods, one with a method feeder and single boilie cast as near to the island as I dared and one with a waggler fished hard on the bottom with pellets for hook baits. I offered only a few morsels of loose feed as I expected that bites might be hard to come by after a cold night.

Bites were indeed hard to come by, in fact they were pretty much non existent. I was also troubled by the resident swans who were certainly in feeding mood, even if the fish weren't. After a couple of hours on Priory Lake with no action whatsoever, I decided enough was enough and moved the short distance to Hogtrough Lake where I hoped for better luck.

Hogtrough lake is the youngster at Priory Farm although the lake is maturing nicely with the island and bank side vegetation growing rapidly. Apparently the fishing can sometimes be a little harder than the other lakes although the rewards are well worth putting in the extra effort, especially if targeting the resident hard fighting carp which go to 30lb.

As I neared Hogtrough Lake, I noticed there was one other angler trying his luck so I decided to pick his brains about what methods and baits worked well on Hogtrough. The angler in question turned out to be George, a regular at Priory Farm Lakes for many years. George was fishing the pole at 4m and because of the cold weather, with water temperatures not much above 0 deg c, he was using extremely fine tackle and tiny baits.

George, a regular at Priory LakesHe explained that he always fished a different swim at Priory Lakes, still keen to learn as much about the fishery as he was when he first fished the lakes over 16 years ago.

Although he was keen to pass some of his knowledge onto a newbie like myself, he certainly wasn't going to reveal all his secrets that he had amassed over many years of studying and fishing and the lakes at Priory Farm.

He was keen to retain a certain edge over everyone else ... and who can blame him.

George estimated that a crowded day at Priory Lakes would see a maximum of around 10 anglers on each lake. Compare this to a day ticket commercial fishery and you can see why this members only fishery is so attractive.

I could have stayed talking with George all afternoon but I had come to sample the fishing, so decided I had better get back to it. Using the same two methods I had started with on Priory Lakes, I recast my rods and hoped that as temperatures had risen slightly from the morning session, I could tempt a few fish to have a quick meal.

Unfortunately, this was not the case and the net stayed dry all day. George did manage one perch of around an ounce but I'm sorry to say that was all. Strangely though I was not too disappointed. For a townie like me, being in such stunning countryside with only the sound of the trees rustling in the wind and the odd bird singing was pleasure enough. Of course I would have liked to catch some fish, but that can wait until next time.

So what are my first impressions:

  • Stunning location
  • superbly maintained lakes and pegs
  • un crowded and under fished
  • easy to find and get to (even for me in West London, the drive was only around 45mins)
  • really friendly and helpful fisheries manager (Ian Ford)

I can't wait to get back to Priory Farm and try my luck once more.

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Published in Diary
Tuesday, 13 March 2007 00:00

Lizard Fisheries, West Drayton

I had heard on the fishing grapevine that Lizard Fisheries in West Drayton, Middlesex had been fishing well of late, presumably due to the mild late winter weather we have been having. I decided therefore that my first visit of 2007 to Lizard was in order !!

I arranged to meet by buddy Steve there and decided to start on lake 1 and see how the fishing was, before possibly moving on to Lake 2 later on. For those of you who have not fished Lizard Fisheries before, Lake 1 is the "match" lake and holds huge stocks of fish with carp to 10lb+, tench, bream, perch and huge shoals of roach and rudd. Lake 2 is primarily a carp fishing lake, much harder to fish but with carp to 20lb+ being the reward for those who like their fishing a little more challenging.

The conditions were bright and definitely "gusty" to say the least. When I pulled into the carpark after a "leisurely" start to the day, it was clear that the choppy conditions were not going to make fishing especially easy.

Depsite this I adopted my usual tactic at Lizard, waggler fishing, this time slightly overdepth, to try and hold the waggler in place against the stong wind. Unlike my usual summer tactics of using pellets or meat, I thought conditions favoured the good old maggot, so I loaded my size 16 hook with four maggots and loose fed a small handful of maggots every third cast of so.

No sooner had my float hit the water for the first time, it dipped boldy under the surface and I was soon into my first fish of the day, a hard fighting mirror carp around 4-5lb. What a great start !! To be honest I was expecting a tough day and was delighted to catch on my first cast.

The afternoon continued very much in the same vein and I ended the day with 9 carp, the best topping the scales at just under 11lb, plenty of small roach and rudd and a bonus perch late on. As the sun went down behind the trees around 5pm, the weather reminded me that we were still in fact in the winter, and I dediced that having had a great day it was time for home.

Lizard rarely disappoints - fishing is relatively easy on Lake 1 and the fish will take most baits. Bear in mind that it can get very busy at weekends, escpecially in the summer, so get there early. There are quite a few bait bans on Lake 1, so don't take groundbait, boilies (ok on lake 2), oily pellets (such as halibut pellets) or sweetcorn with you. If you are caught using any of these banned baits, expect to be thrown off the fishery. Don't let this put you off however, as Lizard is a great no frills fishery where you are sure to catch.

Lizard Fishery is loacted on Trout Road, Yiewsley, West Drayton, Greater London, England

Til next time, happy fishing!! Paul @ UK Fisherman

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Published in Diary
Friday, 13 October 2006 00:00

Lizard Fisheries, Cowley

An afternoon session at my "local" Lizard Fishery tempted Jim and I on a reasonably mild, early October afternoon.

common carp just shy of the 10lb markLizard wasn't really on it's best form and we both found the fishing hard going, despite some early success for me in the shape of a quality looking common carp just shy of the 10lb mark.

There were few signs of fish being caught by the handful of fisherman at Lizard and when the roach and rudd aren't in feeding mood, you just know things are going to be tough.


good condition common carp which weighed in at 9lbA couple of skimmers and roach were the only reward over the next couple of hours, followed late on by another good condition common carp which weighed in at 9lb, which is a decent enough fish for lake 1 at Lizard Fisheries.

So, like so many of my fishing adventures, an OK day with a couple of nice fish despite the fishing being generally hard going.

Til next time, happy fishing!! Paul @ UK Fisherman

Submit A Diary Entry: UK Fisherman would be delighted to here from you if you would like to comment on any of our diary entries. To do so, please use the comment box below.

If you would like to submit a diary entry of your own , please visit the CONTACT page.

Published in Diary
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