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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
Sunday, 10 September 2006 00:00

Gold Valley Lakes

The weather man was right for a change ! Highs of 27 deg c were on the cards and I felt like another fishing trip coming on. I knew jenny would need little or no persuasion to sit in the sun for afew hours and I desperately need to redeem myself after my woeful performance at Lizard last week. [See diary 07-09-06]

After a leisurely start, we decided on a visit to Gold Valley lakes in Aldershot, hants, where you are almost guaranteed some fine sport. It was midday by the time we arrived, the sun was high in the sky and the main lake was almost full. We had little choice of swims, although fortuntely one of the few availble was nearest the car park.

Mirror carp - Gold valley main lakeJenny adopted the "quantity" approach fishing up in the water for the many silver fish using a waggler, alternating between corn and banded pellets. I adopted the "quality" approach and determined to break by PB [15lb common] set up a method feeder, burying a 15mm pineapple boilie in the mix and casting to the central island. It didn't take Jenny long to find the hungry roach and rudd and it wasn;t much longer before I was playing the first carp of the day, a 7lb common which was soon safely in the net. That was quickly followed by a 9lb 8oz mirror. Meanwhile, Jenny continued to heave out the roach and rudd.

As the heat of the day really kicked in, the fish undertsandably decided that a rest was in order and things went very quiet for a while. It wasn't until about 4pm that things started to liven up again. I decided to ring the changes and opted for the splasher waggler approach using a banded pellet and feeding 6 or 7 pellets every cast.

Mirror carp - Gold valley main lakeThis bought some immediate success. Almost immediately by skud waggler hit the water, my pellet was devoured by a hungry carp which hurtled off into deeper water. Over the next hour or so, I couldn't go wrong and banked another 7 carp, the best tipping the scales at 11lb. They then switched off the feed again and I could only manage one more carp of 9lb before we decided to call it a day as dusk fell.

Gold valley had certainly lived up to its reputation once again as a fisrt class commercial fishery. Despite its various drawbacks [£10 for only 1 rod, a host of bait bans, some poor quality fish and a disappointing attitude to disabled access that we once encountered], it is still worth a visit and you probably won't go away with an empty net !!

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

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Published in Diary
Tuesday, 23 September 2008 20:53

Contour Map Fishing

What does your swim look like underwater?

Find out with M & B Contour Map Fishing

M & B Contour Mapping specializes in producing accurate coloured contour depth maps of lakes and Fisheries. The maps show any variations in depth, the position of ledges, holes, sunken islands or any other features. The pegs or swims are shown precisely in the correct position so the fishermen can see exactly what the water depths are like all around his swim.

Sunday, 21 September 2008 19:53

Frant Lakes, Kent

Frant Lakes, Kent

Located just outside the village of Bells Yew Green near Tunbridge Wells, around 40 minutes drive from the South London area, Frant Lakes offers mixed and specimen fishing on eight lakes set in 200 acres of parkland as well as a fifty swim section of the River Teise. They offer disabled anglers more than 20 dedicated swims with adjacent car spaces.

Reader Review - Jel Holyoake, Kent - May 2007

This may sound silly but what planet do some fishery owners live on??

I recently went to Frant Lakes off the A21 in Kent. I arrived at 2.45pm and wanted to single rod surface fish the 'snags' (speciman lake) until the complex closed, 7pm. I was told by the bailiff that I would have to pay for an entire day, £15. I told the bailiff it was only for a few hours but he insisted that the owners would not let me fish unless I paid the full price. As there were only 3 cars in the car park I could quite clearly see that the complex was empty, but my £7.50 wasn't enough.

Are they so detatched from reality that they can't understand that some people only wish to fish for half a day and that on most waters there is a half day ticket policy.

I went down the road to Elphicks where I was sold a ticket for £6 and had 20 fish. I like Frant Lakes, but I think I'm going to struggle to go back there, a place I have intermittantly fished over the last-at least 15 years when Les Bowman (the present owners father) ran it.

How times change. When Les knew I was coming down by train he used to pick me up from the station and chuck my bike in the back of his little white van with his alsation. They were the times when the complex was struggling for anglers and he was consistantly fighting the council for planning permission. I was also the person whom he asked to tell all my friends that Frant was back on it's feet years ago when they had a big fish kill after witnessing the first 20 out, they thought all the big fish were dead.

Sometimes the little £7.50's are better than the no pounds-no pence at all, and us people who get the odd half day off can fish at a fair price.

Score:


Editor: Definitley a lesson for fishery owners to learn there then ! Don't alienate your regular customers as they will vote with their feet. With so many "rival" fisheries in Kent, perhaps Frant Lakes need to re-consider their pricing policy.


Reader Review - Anne - November 2007

Half day tickets are available at Frant Lakes as my sons and I have used them since we first came to the lakes around June this year.

As we have football in the mornings at the weekends we have only ever used the half day ticket and have paid monies to many people in the ticket office. We have found both Mr Bowman and his wife to be most helpful and polite on this our first season of fishing. Bailifs have also taken the time to offer us advice and tips to make the most of our time at the lakes.

We would highly recommend these beautiful well stocked lakes and hope that the previous review has not put people off.

Score:

Editor: Just goes to show there are always two sides to every coin.


Uk Fisherman would love to hear from any other anglers who have good or bad experiences of Frant Lakes. We would especially like to hear from anyone connected with Frant Lakes who would like to comment on this review.
Paul @ Uk Fisherman

Please note the views expressed on these review pages are not necessarily endorsed by UK Fisherman.

Submit a Review: UK Fisherman would be delighted to here from you if you would like to comment on any of our reviews. To do so, use the comment box below.

Alternatively if you would to submit a review of your own or submit an item for review at UK Fisherman, please visit the CONTACT page.

Sunday, 21 September 2008 19:16

Cottington Lakes, Kent

Based in Deal, Kent, 6 coarse fishing lakes make up the Cottington Lakes complex, offering a variety of angling to all levels - two mixed coarse lakes, two specimen carp lakes and a two match lakes, the latest of which was opened in 2005. Main species include carp, bream, tench, roach, rudd, perch and chub.

UK Fisherman was recently contacted by three anglers, all being familiar with the fishing at Cottington Lakes, but with very differing opinions of the place and the fishing on offer there. Just shows you that no two people ever have the same views on matters - well hey, wouldn't life be dull if we all agreed !!

Camo - Read Review

Carl - Read Review

John - Read Review

Carl - Read Comments and view pictures

Clive - Read Comments ** New Feb 08


Reader Review - Paul (April 2007)

Comments removed at the request of the author


Reader Review - Camo (April 2007)

"I cannot agree with the comments made about this fishery as the review sounds nothing like the place I have fished, the welcome one gets from Laurie who has worked in the Tackle shop for three years is excellent, he is extremely polite and a true gentleman."

"I went to the lakes today unannounced to see for myself first hand and the Lakes looked fantastic and as for the maintenance their has been trouble with blocked sluice gates in the dykes but that has now been rectified."

"I spoke to many anglers who love the place and fish were being caught left right and centre - I saw some beautiful fish and in pristine condition too. Aubrey was cutting the grass which he does on a weekly basis, Duane one of the Honary Bailiffs was removing old wooden platforms and replacing with new Galvanised Metal ones, paths were being laid around the match lakes, reeds were being cut back by Tim and weeds were being sprayed."

"The Lakes in my view have never looked better. There are now eight Lakes on the Complex including a silver fish lake, Pepper lake one of the Carp Lakes is being dug out to approximately seven acres and this all in a day."

Cottington lakes - match lake Cottington lakes - Black Lake
Two views of Cottington Lakes - Pictures courtesy of Camo

"The facilities include toilets and showers which are cleaned on a daily basis, Cafe and Bar where the food is well presented and spotless and the tackle shop which is under new management and is very well stocked and caters for all Match, Pleasure and Carp anglers. Security Cameras safeguard your property and well being, each lake has its own car park so its never too far to your favourite swim. I took countless photos of the Lakes and fish etc, hoping to put pictures to my words so all could see first hand how beautiful this place is and its going to get better. There is a huge Caravan and Camping site which is open all year, with electric hook-ups and water etc."
Camo

Score:


Reader Review - Carl Harris (May 2007)

Last week myself and 7 work colleagues hired the exclusive use of Lake Pepper. We spent 48 hours, in glorious May weather, at the lake. We found the local bailiffs and staff very helpful, and although the fishing was not prolific, everyone caught fish.

Five of us had British PB's, myself having 3 fish over 20lb, biggest 25 1/2lb mirror. All the fish were in pristine condition, and put up very good fights!!!

I would definitely return to Cottington and will recommend it to others.

Score:


Reader Review - John (Sept 2007)

Your reviewer Paul gives a low assessment of his visit to Cottington Lakes. Whilst I do not doubt that he reflects his own experience mine is somewhat different.

I have visited Cottington on three occasions this year with my young son and friends to camp and fish. We have been treated courteously and in a friendly and helpful matter. There was no problem with distractions from other anglers, indeed we engaged in several pleasant conversations with others using the lakes, most of whom were more than happy to volunteer information gained from their experiences. We caught a variety of species as well as larger Tench and Carp.

Score:


Reader Review - Carl (Oct 2007)

On a recent trip to Cottington Lakes which is in Deal, kent, I beat my PB twice in one day on Lake Christine. My PB stood at 16lb but when I struck into a 23.8lb mirror carp I was over the moon and made the trip well worth it.

But then shortly after, I stuck into a 26.8lb mirror carp on my other rod.

Cottington's is a nice and friendly place which has all the amenities that you could need for a short or long stay. The lakes are peaceful and are kept in good condition and the surrounding areas.

As the fish go they all put up a nice fight as I have fished all lakes apart from the match lakes and caught a range of nice fish which are in an all round good condition. I know some people disagree with paying the cost for the specimen lakes but with all fisheries that have specimen lakes they charge more so if you don't like it then go some where else and that's my opinion.

Score:


Reader Review - Clive Cook (Feb. 08)

Re Paul's review. I've fished Cottington Lakes over the past 4 years for carp. I cannot agree with him on the quality of the fishing (my specific is carp): over a 3 day @ night period I bagged 17 carp with my pb 29 3/4lb mirror.

However I can fully substantiate his views on the staff, especially the moron on his quad bike who thinks he's the new Richard Walker of carp tactics and specimens caught. When you question monsieur le moron closer, all his specimen fish have been caught in .......yes you've got it France!!! The first time I fished Christine Lake, mons. le m. LEFT HIS BIVVY UP, barring us from that swim.

One funny instance though: he told to leave us alone in his best estuary vocabulary, promptly revved his quad up, went up the bank at the wrong angle and turned the lot over. Please get a life whoever or whatever he is AND KEEP OUT OF OUR FACES!!

Well all the best to Paul in future. Oh yes by the way, Camo is also biased to Cottington, he's a Kentish fisherman through and through

Score:


Very differing views then of Cottington Lakes although the thumbs up seem to be definitely outweighing the thumbs down - guess you'll just have to make your own mind up and check the place out for yourself. If you do and you would like to send us your views, we would be delighted to hear from you.
Paul @ UK Fisherman

* Please note, the opinions shown on our review pages are not necessarily shared or endorsed by UK Fisherman.

Submit a Review: UK Fisherman would be delighted to here from you if you would like to comment on any of our reviews. To do so, use the comment box below.

Alternatively if you would to submit a review of your own or submit an item for review at UK Fisherman, please visit the CONTACT page.

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