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34 CARP LAKES you must fish before you die

34 CARP LAKES you must fish before you die

34 CARP LAKES you must fish before you die 3.4/5 (68%) 49 votes

Carping is all about the experience of it all, catching is a bonus and as anglers we all know that the venue itself is one of the most important parts of the whole experience of angling.

Whether you like a particular venue because of the carp that live within the murky waters or whether its because of the quiet, tranquil and solitude of the lake or river itself.

We have put together the ultimate guide to those places that mean the most to all us anglers, it doesn’t matter if you love the venue because it has some huge carp or whether it is the wood carving type fish it holds, we want to know about it.

Below is the list so far, all these places are held dear to the anglers who suggested them, they may not hold monsters or be the most prolific waters in the country but they hold a certain ‘something’ that keeps anglers returning time after time.

If you want to suggest a venue to be added to this list, get in touch via the comment form below, more details of what to do are in the last paragraph.

Monks Pool, North Wales by Jamie Robertson

Monks is a flooded spring fed clay pit, its 6 acres and the margins drop off to around 10ft to the depths of 40ft+.

The water is gin clear and choked with weed, it’s well-known for its difficulty factor and most anglers join fish once and never seen again. The pool is club run water which is owned by the members.

The pool is situated just outside of Wrexham just off a busy main rood, It’s completely surrounded by trees and a lot of people don’t even know its there. As soon as you lock the gates, you get lost in the tranquil surroundings and forget where you actually are.

There are around 50 member’s but I’ve only ever seen about 10 actually fish, a busy weekend is 3 anglers that have 42 pegs to choose from, more often than not I’m the only one there.

While the depths and the weed keep anglers away so does the fish stock, I am yet to witness another carp on the bank except the two small mirrors I have landed so all I have is photos and stories to go off.

I was lucky enough to witness the spawning earlier in the year and it was an amazing experience to watch and see some of the big girls up close in the margins so I do know I’m not just chasing myths. It’s an all-round specimen pool with Carp up to 30lb, Bream to 15lb+, Tench to 10lb+, Roach to 3lb+ and some big pike.

Its a water that defiantly knocks your confidence but that’s to be expected with only around 20 carp to go at but I just love being there. It’s nice to be a part of something and be involved in its future. I will one day unlock its secrets and get amongst some of the elusive old warriors that are there to be had.

Redmire Pool, Herefordshire by Wayne Box

Redmire, a stunningly beautiful pool, with fish that need no introduction, steeped in history and arguably the home of British Carp Angling.

Being smaller than 3 acres, Redmire is very intimate but has captured the hearts and minds of carp anglers worldwide, this historical venue is steeped in angling tradition.

More Info: Tucked away in the rolling hills of Herefordshire, Redmire’s life as such started in March 1934 when the then owners of the estate instructed a fish supplier by the name of Donald Leney to stock the pool with 50 small Carp (5.5″-8″) in a bid to combat the extensive weed in the pool. These fish since known as ‘Leneys’ along with the Redmire stockings and stockings he carried out elsewhere around mainly Southern England have produced most of the known big Carp in England today.

These fish lay untouched until 1951 when a local angler by the name of Bob Richards managed to get permission to fish the pool. On the 3rd October on a dull foggy day Bob was to re-write the record books by capturing a magnificient Mirror Carp of 31.4lbs.

The following year saw the famous Richard (Dick) Walker on Redmire, and on September 13th he caught the famous ‘Clarissa’ at a new record weight of 44lbs. ‘Clarissa’ spent the rest of her days residing in London Zoo.

Dick’s record stayed intact until Chris Yates once again stunned the angling world by capturing a massive 51.5lb Mirror.

Redmire has been fished by all the famous names in Carp Fishing over the years, including:- Jack Hilton, Tom Mintram, Bill Quinlan, Len Arbery, Kevin Clifford, Peter Springate and Kevin Maddocks to name but a few.

In those days Redmire was very much a ‘closed shop‘ and the fishing was kept very private and secretive, but now thanks to the present owners the magic and mystery of Redmire is available to all.

Commonwood Fishery, Wrexham by Jamie Robertson

I have recently started fishing this place and it’s going to be somewhere I’ll be targeting a lot more in the future, it’s a very well-run day ticket fishery with a specimen lake with carp to low 30s and a runs water with carp up to 20lb+.

At Commonwood I love the fact there’s water for both my needs, if I need to boost my confidence or try new rigs and bait I can drop on the runs water and test my skills against a good head of carp.It’s the specimen lake that got me interested in this fishery as its almost impossible to find a day ticket venue close to me that has a good head of big carp that will no doubt produce a 40lber in the near future. It’s not easy water and will test the skills of any angler but has the opportunity to produce anglers PBs at any time and more importantly my goal a North Wales 30lber.

More info from their website: Commonwood Fishery is a coarse fishery set in 60 acres of beautiful Welsh countryside near to Wrexham Town.

There are match and pleasure lakes plus a specimen Carp lake. There are lots of underground features to fish to. Pegs on the specimen Carp lake are larger than usual pegs and can take bivvies. Several pegs have their own private entrance with a gate that can be locked. There is also a Runs Water which is proving to be very popular with some good size carp coming out. There are car parks near to the lakes so no walking long distances with all your gear.

Day tickets are available. Matches and the specimen pool can be booked in advance.

Whilest we realise that Commonwood Fishery is a new fishery which will take time to mature, so far all the work that has gone into making this fishery has had the angler in mind. The clubhouse where baits will be available to purchase, plus drinks and snacks is also available and is now open. 

We at Commonwood Fishery believe this is an ideal venue for experienced, competition, novice and junior anglers.

The Common, Buckley by Jamie Robertson

The common is a small one acre duck pond located right next to a busy public park, the best thing is its FREE. It doesn’t get pressured by carp anglers but you do get a few match lads. It’s underrated and anglers including myself doubted there was anything decent to go at in there until a friend of mine banked some cracking high doubles.

I now fish it from time to time and have had some lovely carp and the buzz of not actually knowing what’s in there makes every take special. The only downside is the inconsiderate dog walkers throwing sticks into the pond and audiences you get as soon as they see your into a fish but with it being free you can’t complain.

Sherrington Pits, Newport Pagnell, Northampton by Danny Chapman

I love this place, tranquil, out of the way and next to empty even in the heights of summer. 7 over-grown, weedy, snaggy pits with only a handful of fish in each, all of which are a joy to catch, proper English fish and some huge commons!

Sherrington pits consists of half a dozen lakes, only one is not really worth a look for carp fisherman and thats the car park lake. Personally the Swan lake is the one for me, 6 acres in size, very silty and almost untouched for large parts of the year. The other lakes, like Swan all contain carp to over 40lb, with rumours of bigger lurking in its depths. Big Pit is 60 odd acres and has a handful of carp in it, but all the complexes residents are stunning fish and rarely caught. The scenery is also brilliant, many parts of the lakes have never been fished so there is plenty of scope for stalking, traveling light and pursuing a dream common!

More info from their website: Newport Pagnell Fishing Association is proud to offer its members some of the finest stretches of river and some of the most natural still water for miles around.

Fishing on our association waters will give you the chance of catching a large variety of specimen fish, including but not limited to, Carp to 32lbs 4oz, Pike to 30lb, Barbel to 16lb, Catfish to 39lb 7oz, as well as plenty of Chub, Bream, Tench, Roach, Perch and Rudd. So there really is something for all anglers.

Nettishead dyke by Nick Mcfc Cunnell

 Nettishead dyke is a small peaceful offcut on the norfolk broads i fished it with my father for a large bag of real quality roach. This was 25 years ago but never forgotten as large roach are hard to find nowadays, its well worth a visit to see if these colossal roach still exist.

The tidal River Ribble by Tommy Kirkby

Although this is a hard water, when things go right the rewards are well worth the effort.

The stretch is situated in Preston, Lancashire. It runs from the Tickle Trout hotel bridge and runs behind Fishwick golf course up to another bridge which is adjacent to the Shaws Arms pub (London Road).

Tactics- keep things simple! A running lead on a 12 lb main line with at least a hook length of two foot, (7-10lb line). Hair rigged 14-18 mm halibut pellet with pva bags of different sized pellet does well but also fresh boilies with same set up can also score.

Don’t ignore the margins at one rod length out from your feet as you will find that early baiting with particles and a scattering of bait to match your hook bait can bring you the fish. Stay very low as the banks are particularly high.

Other baits to try are very very large roughly torn chunks of meat. I find Tearing the meat off rather than cubing it, makes for better takes.

If its silvers your after then take a large/ heavy maggot feeder and plenty of mags too and as always fish a long hook link.

White Acres by Josh Weaver

I am an avid carp fisherman and went on a fantastic family holiday to White Acres and caught all sorts of fish, small and some decent size carp.

I was fishing on one of the specimen lakes where nobody was catching, so I tried a bright coloured snowman rig using a pineapple pop up and 16mm pineapple boilie, cut and shaved to a sweet corn shape, worked like a dream!

Bagged up on nice mid doubles, I was the only one on the lake catching, so my theory is that oddly shaped, bright boilies work, possibly down to the fact the fish are too used to normal shaped baits, also, cut- shaped cell boilies also work, paired with a pva bag of pellets and crushed cell boilies, so I find on the specimen lakes at white acres, cutting your baits to a different shape works exceptionally well.

The quality of fish, from all lakes are absolutely exceptional! Beautiful carp and even some stunning ghosties.

The quality of fishing is outstanding, no matter what time of year, would definitely recommend white acres for a fantastic fishing holiday. For carpers and course fishermen. Whilst I was there, there were 3 massive catfish out, one weighing 74lb, another that weighed 86lb, and a 40lb, all from the same lake, the 74 hadn’t been seen for over 3 years.

Ladywood Lakes, Huddersfield by David Chapman

Ladywood lakes is situated in Mirfield on the border of Huddersfield. It has a day lake that is stocked with plenty of good quality fish and has well spaced pegs. On the other side of the road is the carp lake which is an old gravel pit. It has over 700 carp varying in size from single figures upto mid 30lb stunning fish. The carp are very well kept and the lake is very clean.

The pegs are large and have wood chipping floors with plenty of room for a bivvy and your set up.

The fish will feed on most baits, I’ve had great success with boilies and a friend of mine has fished well with spodding and pellets. I fish using hair rigs and safety clips, usually fished off the bottom but zig rigs have proved successful in the past when its windy.

There’s a small village and a pub close by, so you won’t run out of supplies. Its £20 for 24 hours on the carp lake, its a good idea to book in advance because its a busy lake due to the great fishing. The bailiff Gus is a top class bloke, he will tell you the best spots to fish and he also sells bait. You won’t be disappointed if you fish here, stunning fish! Great lake!.

More info from their website: Ladywood Lake Fishery has two lakes.  The specimen lake covers 10 acres; the gravel was extracted up to 2003 and filled with water in 2004.

The lake remained empty of fish until 2010.  We now boast over 700 Carp up to mid 20’s. There will be a further stocking this winter (2011/12) including Commons and Mirrors over 30lb’s.

Cottington Lakes, Kent by Kyle Thacker

Cottington lakes is based between Deal and Sandwich (kent) easy to access.. its formed of 8 lakes 2 of which are specimen lakes, one being called lake Christine witch is roughly 3 acres Christine Lake holds a good head of common and mirror carp to over 30lbs plus grass carp into double figures. The lake record now stands at an impressive 34lb 8oz an even some stunning koi, I would highly recommend this lake if your new to specimen fishing as this is the easier out of the 2.

And lake Pepper which is about 7-8 acres Pepper is known to have a stock of between 190 – 220 carp, with some even topping 40lb plus.

Christine is a really soft silt bottom so choddys are the main rigs on there fishing yellow or white, but bottom baits do work if you find a hard patch.

Pepper is different all together as the bottom varys from silt, weed, gravel and clay so rigs on there would depend on your swim. Summer time on both specimen lakes zigs are well worth a go even the new zig bugs, make sure to phone and book if your planning a visit as this is a very popular day ticket venue.

More info from their website: The fishery is set in 45 acres of delightful wooded Kentish countryside and offers facilities for touring caravans and camping; a well-stocked tackle shop (left); the Kingfisher Cafe which serves hot meals, snacks and a variety of hot and cold drinks; and the Kingfisher bar (right). There are also modern and clean toilet and shower facilities for visitors.

On site there’s the choice of five mixed coarse lakes, two specimen carp lakes and a snake-shaped match lake which is about one-and-a-half miles long and stocked full of fish.

Its delightful setting – matched only by the quality of the fishing – makes Cottington an ideal venue for individual day-ticket anglers or those looking to spend a few days fishing with their family or friends. Indeed, Cottington must rank amongst one of the most attractive and varied fisheries in the country.

Because restrictions are placed on the number of anglers allowed to fish the specimen carp lakes at any one time it is advisable to telephone in advance to book. However, once on site anglers are not limited to which peg they can fish.

Poplar Docks by Michael Wilson

Poplar docks is quite a big water it has two big basins joint together by a 25/30ft wide canal section about 100ft long.

If you fish the canal section, the water is about 25ft deep so I use an open ended feeder to get the ground bait and freebies past the smaller fish.

Maggots work well for the small silvers and for the bigger bream and carp use corn or worms. The most important thing over there is to keep your baited area as small as possible and fish down the side (right under the rod tip) a normal day in the summer is a full keep net, the carp are alot harder to catch prebaiting is a must and using bigger baits to stop the small fish cleaning it up, pellets and boilies, there’s also pike to over 20lb lures and spinners work well around the barges anywhere else fish a dead bait on the bottom.

Shalfords, Wasing estate by Sam Matthews

I’ve been fishing on a beautiful six acre lake surrounded by reeds. It’s a hard lake due to its low stock and at one end it’s 21ft deep.

I had already done a season on there already with not a lot to show really other than a 18lb mirror and a 30lb 14oz common, but on shalfords they have a 2 month closed season, so with that in mind I had a plan put together.

Walk it, find the fish and bait heavy for them, as I work close to shalfords I have the advantage of being able to walk it on my lunch break. So I walked it until I found that they favoured the shallow end of the lake in a corner right by a tree, which did come in handy as I could bait up and see if the fish had eaten the bait.

After 3 weeks of baiting I had noticed they where really loving the bait, as I was baiting up against a reed bed in about 4/5ft of water, I could notice a gravel patch starting to appear.

I got into a routine of getting to the swim putting the bait In first then going and sitting up the tree to see if they would come in to feed. It wasn’t until the 6th week I got to the swim, put the bait in and got up the tree as I was sat there I could see my target fish (meg) in the area I was so excited I rang my mate to tell him.

The next couple weeks went the same really she just sunned herself it was great to see it all so close, but I was so confident she was eating my bait as the sun dropped. Well I had a week booked off work so I was down in the swim on the 31st July waiting for mid night to come so I could cast in.

By 3am I had my 1st take a 17lb common, I chose not to recast as I had all 3 rods cast in a line really tight so chose not to spook any other fish in the area, by 5:30 I had a small double in the net so I recast both rods. By mid day I wound in the rods put some bait out and sat in the tree again this time I had not seen meg and was worried the lines had spooked her out, I sat up the tree for 2 hours on and off and only seen smaller fish but still no sign of meg, I got the rods back out at 3ish. I was sat there starring at the spot for what felt ages.

I was making a cuppa when my left hand rod ripped off, the battle was epic and she kited so far right It was time to get in the waders and go in after her. A 20min battle she eventually gave up and took her 1st gulp of air on the surface. I didn’t realise what fish I had until I had a look and realised it was meg.

I had done it.I had my target fish on the 1st day of the season result. She spun the scales round to 30lb 14oz she was down in weight by 3/4lb but I couldn’t care she is a beautiful carp and 1 that will stay with me for life, I used a snowman set up with a 10mm white pop-up with a red nut bottom bait, I used a Korda Kure shank hook with n-trap.

Shalfords has some great target fish, its an awesome mythical water and one where you can really pit your wits against some great rewards.

Cuttle Mill, Wishaw, Sutton Coldfield by Chris Wilson

Cuttle Mill is a beautiful place and has been open for years but there’s a very good chance that it will be closing soon. Very very sad times. The main reason I love it is that a lot of people in the midlands area cut there teeth there and had there first 20.

The quality of the fish is second to none, fin pefrect commons and big dark mirrors.

Bait wise i would have to say that boilies come out on top, but never ignore worms in the margins. The rigs i’ve found work best are fluro rigs about 8-10 ich’s for boilie and zigs ranging between 12-18inch with black foam on.

There are a lot of silt and dead leaves on the bottom so what ever bait your using a wafter that settles on the silt seems to nail the bigger fish.

Its a big shame that its just been bought by the goverment as the HS2 rail link is planned to go almost straight through the fishery. Cuttlemill has been an amazing fishery for many years and its very sad that it may be filled in for a train line.

Rainbow Lake, Hull by Mara Fantastic

Rainbow lake in Hull is a very special place to fish, set in the countryside a small distance outside of Hull it’s a very quiet and beautiful lake.

The lake and it’s grounds are immaculately kept, spacious swims and a few little hidey holes for a spot of stalking. There is a road all the way around the lake making it easy to drop your kit off at a chosen swim, and toilet facility’s are being built.

Apart from the stock the lake has to offer the lakes other best asset has to be its owners Jon and Linda the welcome you receive is second to none, and if I had one tip for people who visit it would be to listen to Jon and what he has to say. When I fished my first night there on a lovely August weekend two years ago I’m not sure if I would have landed my p.b. 23lb mirror if it had not been for jon’s advice. Rigs wise i kept it simple and fished snowman rigs 90% Of the time or Stiff hinge rigs For the deeper middle section of the lake.

Let’s talk fish stock, jon’s lake is full of old and young English carp, and he only restocks with English carp, due to the high naturals in the lake you do have to work for your bites. But the challenge is why I go. I never fished over big beds of bait preferring to fish boilies/pop ups with a pva bag of crumb or pellets, I also found fruity flavours to work well like pineapple.

Jon has taken steps to produce a bait for the lake and you can also buy pellets and glugs on site, and a menu for food is available. A lovely lake run properly, by nice laid back folks! Jon also runs monthly prises like a free session to the biggest catch per month and a hoodie if you are lucky enough to catch a 20 lb + on your first visit.

More info from their website:  John and Linda have owned this well stocked lake and have a re-stocking plan to make this one of the best carp lakes in the area. When we purchased the lake in 2003 we inherited plenty of small fish for the maggot angler and a reasonable head of carp consisting of mirrors, commons, ghosties and a few grass carp. Since then we have introduced approx 8,000 roach to help reduce the abundance of natural food in the lake.

We only re-stock with the finest quality British Carp. For this we selected Mark Simmons Fisher Pond strain, originally bred by John Paton, also Andy Parker, who is known for his stunning mirror carp which are a combination of old English strains. Both Marks and Andys strains of mirror and common carp are well known for their weight gain and settle well into Rainbow.


Heritage Lake, Cambridgeshire by James Morgan

Heritage lake, Is small cambridgeshire gravel pit that contains 50- 100 (my estimate) stunning English carp. There is a real varied species of carp to catch, some a lot more illusive than others. I know myself from capture and sight that there are many mirror carp and common carp present all with real varied characteristics. There is also 3 ghost carp, 2 grass carp and a koi. I have also seen crusion carp in the margins.

The lake itself is around 3-4 acres in size and roughly 5 acres including the surrounding land. The lake averages around 4-5 ft in depth with many features to fish too. Like the island, points, gravel bars, Lilly beds reed lined banks ,over hanging trees and so on .

The lake cannot be described as easy, even tho of its small size but you will see fish in most conditions. For nearly 10 years I have enjoyed the delights that this little gem has to offer and the biggest fish to my knowledge is a 28lb common carp which one of my mates caught while we were fishing together, I’m sure that fish is now a 30lb carp, considering the size of the water thats a big fish.

I have fished using many different rigs and have tried many different approaches in this lake all with good success. I would say that as long as you fish well using a good quality boilie you will catch carp .

CC Moore live system seems to work well for me. My favoured approach would be to use a snowman set up (bottom bait boilie with a pop up on top to counter balance the bottom one). I normally use a choddy type hook tied KD style with a coated braid hook link. I use an inline lead set up with heavy tubing above the lead, all gravel coloured which suits the bottom of this particular lake .I will always offer at least half a kilo of free offerings around my hook bait .

The lake in general fishes well all over , casting towards the island and other bank points is always very productive in spring and summer. Also fishing on and at the bottom of the numerous gravel bars is a good option to catch a quick patrolling fish .In the late summer the lake gets extremely weedy then its looking for the holes in the weed and tidy little margin spots for the feeding areas.

Through the winter the fish seem to stay out in the open deeper water and don’t seem to move a lot. I would highly recommend this lake to anyone who is new to carp angling or looking for a nice session off there challenging syndicate water, with such exceptional value for money this lake is a must fish.

Be warned that the track to the Lake can be very challenging at times especially when its been raining for a couple of days! But there is some very good sport to be had at this lake

More info from their website: A peaceful venue set in the heart of the Cottenham Fen, Heritage Lake is a freehold acquisition purchased by CFPAS at the end of 1998. The site is approximately 5 acres and the lake itself, a former gravel workings, is around 3 acres. Its depth varies considerably from a few inches to 5 ft.

Heritage lake has proved to be a good lake for natural breeding, with Roach, Rudd and Carp all successfully breeding. We supplemented the Carp population with a few Common Carp and added some Bream. The Bream seemed to have done less well, but sometimes this species do not show for several years and then suddenly people start catching them. Our aim is to provide a variety of species here and, interestingly, we found some small Tench in the lake. None have been added so we believe they may do well here.

Heritage Lake is an important venue for us. We have noticed that quite a few families enjoy the lake and so what we are aiming to develop the lake into a fishery where everyone can catch something, and with the occasional big fish not out of the question. Fish stocks are predominantly Rudd, Roach, Carp, Bream and Tench. Best match catch is 37 lb. Best Carp of the season is 22lb, sweetcorn tends to sort out the bigger Rudd.

Horseshoe Lake, Lechlade by George Gibson

Horseshoe Lake is an ex gravel pit approximately 62 acres in size and is situated in a beautiful area of the Cotswold’s just out side of Lechlade. The lake is owned by ‘The Carp Society’ who also own Farriers and Langholme.

As given away in the name the lake is in the shape of a huge horseshoe and consists of mainly 2 sectors, summer bay and winter bay. Summer bay is the shallower part of the lake with an average depth of 5 feet.

Throughout the summer time there is a lot of weed growth and fishing too clear spots is generally a good option as fish like to get there heads down on them. From my experience’s the night is definitely a prime time for managing one off the bottom as throughout the day the fish make them selves very visible on the surface and aren’t shy from taking floating hook baits.

It is usually a good idea to have a look for the fish in the warmer months as they give the good spots away and where you see one there is usually others within close range.

Baits are a personal choice on the lake but don’t be shy to try out different baits and methods, small amounts of spod mix is a good bet alongside your hook baits, but this can also attract in the tench and bream due to the small particles being easy to eat, little and often is definitely a good tip when introducing it to your spots.

Winter bay is the larger side of the lake with the depths being an average of 11 foot it can be quite hard work to get the fish on to your spots, using bright hook baits with a distinctive smell would definitely be a first option of mine.

At the bottom end of winter bay there is a small section that is roped off and that you are not allowed to fish this is usually a hot spot for the carp in the colder months as they know they are safe in there with no chance of being caught, there is a tree line that runs across the far bank running right up to this section which usually has fish travelling up and down so is a good spot for catching the big scaly’s out as they travel in and out of the area.

The quality of the fish in horseshoe is outstanding and it is renowned for its beautiful fully scaled mirrors, the current lake record is an impressive 46lbs 1oz with a fish known as ‘patch’ a big plated mirror. There is quite a large fish stock in the lake with an average weight of around 18-20lbs and a high amount of 20lb+ fish, the general maintenance of the lake is brilliant and I am still yet to find a lake that is as well kept as this one. The on sight cafe, shop and shower blocks are brilliant and definitely help your stay to be more enjoyable and easy as the shop sells brands such as korda, nash and gardner and also bait for any things you may of run out of over your stay.

More info from their website:Horseshoe is renown for the quality of its fish, including stunning fully-scaled mirrors. Access is easy. 

The lake consists of two main ‘arms’ or ‘bays’ known as Summer Bay and Winter Bay. Depths vary from an average of 4ft in Summer Bay to an average of around 11ft in Winter Bay. It is a weedy water, which is managed as necessary throughout the year. 

Fish stocks are approximately… 30lb+ estimated at least 80 – 10025lb+ estimated in 100smid-doubles to low-twenties – running into several hundred. An average weight would be around 18 to 20lb.

Opinion is that there are generally 2 or 3 large shoals, plus many small pods of fish, thus location is the main factor to success. 

Alongside the carp swim huge fish of all species. Bream in excess of 14lbs, tench in the 6-9lb bracket are now common, and they go to over 12lb. Roach recorded at 3lb with large catches of fish 1-2lb are there for those that want them, beautiful rudd with 2lb fish recorded every year and a 3lb fish always a possibility. Winter though good for carp angling is also popular for pike into the high 20s, along with perch to 4lb.

Embley Park, Test Valley by Gary Moore

Embley Park is on the Test Valley Angling Club books, its a mature estate lake of around 6 acres.Its cigar shaped and it has a island at the the dam end towards the other end as it shallows off there are large sets of pads. Theres a good stock of carp with a few 20s.

There are lots of ways you can fish the lake. Floaters in the summer, float fishing in the edge using hemp and corn or standard carp tactics on the bottom fishing to the island, pads, far or near margins. Lots of boillies of all shapes and sizes including XXX and Live System have all taken there fair share of carp here.

Ashmead, Somerset by Jon Richardson

Ashmead in the heart of the somerset levels, one of the most beautiful lakes around, stocked with some of the finest fish in the southwest. The waiting list is dead mans shoes and i’d give a 10 years fishing to fish it once!

Car Park Lake, Yateley by Dave Strong

The carpark yateley. Covered with mystery and attraction at the same time. A magnificant place to vist. Lovely big carp and my favorite lake in the country.

Yateley is another of these historic fisheries, of which their are only a handful, this lake offers mystery, intrigue and fish of a lifetime in one package.

More info from their website:A gravel pit of around nine acres that needs no introduction. This lake is probably one of the most famous carp lakes in the country. Holding six very large mirror carp up to 50lb+, with back-up common carp to over 30lbs.

Some large tench are present, but the potential of this water for other species, remains untapped.The Car Park Lake has the reputation of a dedicated anglers’ water, where perseverance is needed to attain a capture. A real old English carp anglers’ water where the thrill of the chase is amplified by the prestige of your quarry. This is carp fishing history brought to life!

To prolong this piece of carp fishing history, the decision was made to stock up to 10 hand-picked fish of the Leney / Dink and Italian strain fish in spring 2009. The fish have been caught at well over 20lbs in weight and are female in gender to ensure that the current stock do not suffer unduly in the spawning season.

Although Italian in name the aforementioned fish have been bred from a strain of fish that have been in this country for over 30 years and when stocked really throw the weight on, producing some stunning-looking carp.

No introduction is really needed for the Leney / Dink strain fish. This cross has the classic lines of the Leney strain with awesome scale patterns to match but unlike pure strain Leney’s, by introducing genes from the Dink strain ensures a good growth rate as that’s what the Dink strain is famous for – eating!

Rookley Country Park, Isle of Whight by Harry Teasdale

A little bit of inside information on Rookley.

It has two ponds firstly on the small pond my top tip would be to stick with marginal fishing flat on the bottom with a single live system hookbait with freebies round it, don’t be afraid to put bait in and just sit on your hands !

Moving onto the specimen lake, I would advise to stick to the top end of the lake, in the deeper water. Fish mid range either tight into the reeds with a small PVA bag with a few crumbed up boilies in it, I found that live system is a really good bait in there.

Single hookbaits are the key keep them small and simple! Just a 7 inch blowback rig with a size 6 wide gape and you will be doing them.

Another top tip is to always keep an eye on the water and spot the fizzers, when spotted pop a rig past them and bring it back towards them and sit and wait, this can produce a lot of takes.

The stamp of fish in both lakes is remarkable, well looked after and sought after fish. Pegs are very good at the venue big enough for the average 2 man bivvy, tackle shop on site which has everything in.

I couldn’t ask for a better more relaxing place to fish than Rookley.

More info from their website: Situated at the heart of the Isle of Wight, Rookley Country Park offers unrivalled on-site accommodation and facilities, and easy access to all the great attractions the island has to offer. Our well stocked fishing lakes and bait and tackle shop are ideal for experienced anglers, with personal tuition available for enthusiastic beginners.

The small lake is around 3/4 of an acre and is a general coarse fishing lake containing a variety of species including Roach, Rudd, Perch, Tench, Golden Tench, Mirror Carp, Common Carp and, Perch, Tench, Golden Tench, Mirror Carp, Common Carp and large Crucian Carp to 3lb 12oz. The lake record is now over 20lbs.

The large lake is around 2 acres. This is the specimen lake, containing mainly Carp. The Carp total around 130 double figure fish with over 100 20lb plus fish and 20 over 30lb, all with good growth rates. Most of the fish are from the fast growing Fishers Pond strain and are predominantly Mirrors. The lake record is at present over 40lb.

Wraysbury One by William Cox

Wraysbury One has to be fished by everyone, obviously the history speaks for itself, but also the element of the unknown, uncaught monsters. At one time, it was called ‘a water to retire on to’ Pete Springates writings on it in Carp Fisher in the 1980′s blew me away as a 16 year old.

More info from their website: Steeped in carp history, Wraysbury 1 still inspires carp anglers! Currently it is unknown how many carp top the 40lb mark: Mallin’s and the Redmire strain King Fungus to name but 2, backed up by a few original fish with a number of younger carp, the best of which are now reaching the 38lb mark. This pit is an angler’s paradise and offers quality big fish of many species for the specialist. It has produced a record tench and huge bream as well as large eels. Piking in the winter months ranges from good to superb!

This water although being sparsely stocked has made carp history in the past holding not only the British tench record but British carp record as well.

On a venue this expansive location really is the key to success and like some of the other huge waters CEMEX Angling controls, boats can be used by the anglers to reach the spots and to aid fish detection.

Some of the most famous anglers in the country have graced its banks to catch that elusive ‘whacker’ so why not take a leaf from their book and have a go. If it’s 100% pure-bred English carp with heritage you wish to catch, then a season on W1 is a must. With 120 acres of crystal clear water to hide in, the fish take some finding but once found can be put onto regular baiting applications. Come and see for yourself, you won’t be disappointed.

Stanwick Lakes, Northants by Peter Holmes

Stanwick lakes Northamptonshire is where I started fishing the owners Phil and John are excellent, they take time to sit with you and have a laugh and a tea as well as discussing tackle methods, best fishery I’ve ever been too.

More info from their website: Located in Northamptonshire, the Complex consists of 6 mature lakes, including two  day ticket specimen carp lakes. One being Elsons, with fish to 39lb, and the other , Mallard Lake. We also have a syndicate carp lake, which is Roman Lake. There are a further two Syndicate Lakes at Kislingbury, located just off junction 15A of the M1. Our aim is to cater for a variety of anglers, from pleasure to serious matchmen and specimen anglers, whether you want to fish for a few hours or all weekend.  Back in the 80′s, Elsons was run as the Mid Northants Carp Fishery, one of the premier carp waters in the country, and fished by the top Carp Anglers at the time.

Now, 20 years on, it has matured into a beautiful lake, surrounded by large trees. The lake is around six acres in size, with depths ranging from 69ft. Surrounded by reeds, the lake features several gravel bars, sunken and overhanging trees, and lily pads.There are quite a few large carp in the lake, and at the time of writing, there are at least 6 known fish over 30lb, the biggest being just over 39lb, and many more over 20lb. There are a maximum of 12 anglers allowed on at any one time so booking is advisable.

Redesmere, Cheshire by David Crouch

Redesmere in Cheshire, true history water where many a northern carper started. Still lots of the history fish alive in there, a real pleasure to fish there and catching one of the ‘a team members’ is a real buzz.

Milton Abbas, Dorset by David Crouch

Milton Abbas Dorset. Something very special about this place, it’s like going back in time. Absolute cracking fish in the place, just lovely fishing there, I hope one day I can pay it another visit.

More info from their website: Three acre day ticket lake. Please note lake is adjacent to 8 acre syndicate lake – no fishing permitted for day ticket anglers. Three acre day ticket lake. Carp 10lbs up to 18lbs, Grass Carp to 16lbs, Tench to 6lbs, Roach to 2lbs, Crucian Carp, Bream, Tench, Perch & Eels and Pike to 20lb.

Stoneacre Lake by Paul Bricklebank

Stoneacre lake, it holds stunning looking fish to over 50, and is accesible to everyone on a day ticket, (plus I had my first 30lb common, scar, there, in 2000)!

More info from their website: This awesome 47 acre lake is home to a commanding number of Linch Hill record breakers. January 2012 saw a 33.3lb Pike come out! while our famous Bitemark Carp weighed in at a WHOPPING 50lb 8oz in July 2012. Chocco Carp weighed in at his heaviest at 50lb 3oz. Largest Bream caught out of Stoneacre is 20lb 2oz. Other fish sharing the lake with these giants are Roach, Perch and Tench at 12lb+.

With the small number of syndicate places and only 33 swims you can be assured your peace and tranquility on this beautiful magical lake. This year anglers will also be able to row their baits out.

River Trent by Jimmy Paskin

The carp in the trent really are a mixed bag you’ve got everything from your topical bullet shaped commons, scally mirrors and quite a lot of fish that have found their way into the river in floods.

You will find yourself wading through some real stunning mid doubles (and chub and bream ) to get to the bigger carp but when doubles look this good it’s not a problem and they really scrap too.

The mirrors are the icing on the cake for me, big scales randomly dotted all over and just seem that bit more special when you’ve had them from a river. However when I fished the Trent a few years ago finding the stretches with carp in with no internet was a lot different than today. There is loads of clubs, day tickets and don’t neglect the free stretches as these are some of the best.

Once you Have found the stretches and areas with some carp in it can seem a little daunting but it really is just a case of hard work and persistence.

When you have found the stretches it really is a massive edge to prebait,when I baited the Trent it was a couple of times a week making sure the last baiting up was done a couple of days before actually fishing. I found the best way to go about pre baiting the Trent was once i’d got the stretch sorted find the furthest swim upriver and loosely bait quite a long section and bait heavier on spots I’d seen fish or likely looking spots as walking down river.

The carp in rivers are pretty much always on the move and generally more active than still water fish so will find the bait and grow almost accustomed to it being there.

Regarding the type of bait, any good quality bait will be fine, I tend to think fishmeal’s in rivers work best. Your bait will always be moving so what I do is soak the bait in water and liquid attractant’s overnight before fishing.

Liquid liver, kelp, lz30 basically any liquid that leaks out attraction freely, years ago we would use marmite, still use it now on lakes! Its best to use and fish with chops, the combination of the chopped shape and extra wait from the liquids means the bait will get to the bottom quicker.

Although your bait (and rig will always be moving to some degree or another) it will settle easier and move around slower. Pre baiting like this often means a move of swim 50 yards down the bank will quite often get you a bite, if you think a move is on the cards, travel light and you will make the most of pre baiting a stretch not a spot.

As for rigs think MEDEIVEL, .40/18lb mono, big hooks, heavy hooklinks and big leads.

My set up and rig is pretty simple its based around the above. My main line is 18lb -.40 mono as the trent is very snaggy (you can’t see half the snags) so strength is key. This runs down to 2 to 3 foot of leadcore, lead clip, 4 ounce flat pair lead.

Then the 2 basic rigs. My rig is a supple coated braid straight through, 8 inch’s, knotless knotted to a size 6 straight pointed hook, with a supple hair and a 18 mm boillie  threaded on the hair then the sides cut off to form a thick disc shape that will stop too much movement and hold bottom better.

The second rig is as above but with a real stiff coated hooklink  and a size 5 straight pointed hook ( bigger hook is to help it to sit flat with the stiff coated braid) remember everything is moving in rivers including your freebait  and hook bait so the flatter you get the rig to sit the less movement.

Carp feed very different in rivers compared to lakes, the way they suck the bait in is in a firmer more positive way, I’m not saying we don’t get done on rivers, we do but sensitive and  subtle rigs really aren’t  needed. Al l I want is strength, anti-tangle and camouflage.

Chestnut Pool, Langford by Jonny Beardall

Chestnut Pool is possibly the number 1 runs water in the UK.  It’s been an eliminator for the British Carp Cup for the previous 2 years, breaking the record weight on consecutive years. The winning weight for 2012 was 769lb 3oz with 2nd and 3rd places weighing in at 525lb 15oz and 489lb 15oz, that’s a lot of fish. Eliminator rounds last for 40 hours, so the winning weight was averaging 3 carp every hour.

The current lake record stands at 27lb, which i can see breaking the 30lb mark in 2013. There’s also an ambundance of other 20′s and a huge back up of doubles to keep you busy.

The lake is 3 acres in size with 2 islands creating a figure of 8 look.
The 28 swims are generous in size. The carpark is secure and within a 2 minute walk from any swim.

Some of the biggest names in the sport have visited Chestnut Pool including the likes of Simon Crow, Julian Cundiff and Mark Pollard.

Personally i’ve never fished for any longer than 24 hours at Chestnut Pool, my body just can’t handle the non stop hauling. If you want a full body work out, don’t bother joining a gym get down to Chestnut Pool.

Billing Aquadrome, Northampton by Tomm Betts Causebrook

Why? Because its a huge buzz , the site has a few challenges and the river at the back is mega if you’re ready to try your luck and put up with blanks and boat struggles. The history of the place and the atomosphere is like no other place. If you can put up with bailiffs who are full of it, loudness and countless late night drinkers you will love it. Amazing place full of old carp.

Big Lake, Ecton Lakes, Northampton by James Smith

A truly magnificent venue with every feature a carp angler can dream off, the stock which inhabits the water can only be described as awesome – plenty of fish to mid 40s including stunning Commons and Linears as well as a few whispers that lurk in the shadows.

If you walk the banks on a summers evening you cant help but look on the stunning surroundings in awe, if I was suggest one venue to anybody then this would be the one although I do warn you once you are down there you will never want to return to the real world.

More info from their website:  Ecton Lakes is a complex of outstanding natural beauty set in 100 acres of peaceful countryside, in the Nene Valley.

The site boasts three picturesque lakes and a 1.5 mile stretch of the famous River Nene.

The untapped ‘jewel’ of Northamptonshire has produced carp over 40lb, tench to 11lb 2oz, double figure bream and 5lb chub. The pike fishing is as yet unknown but we are sure that in time there will be a few suprises, there are also some big rudd in the complex which are sure to provide some good sport.

Ecton Lakes is a well run fishery with sensible rules and lots of bank space, there is lots of land and features to concentrate on making Ecton the perfect fishery for the contented angler

The River Nene by James Smith

A lot has been written about the river in recent times, its common knowledge that the river holds some stunning fish and in healthy numbers too, unfortunately due to otter problems among other things the rivers future look uncertain unless something is done about it, which is a great shame.

Linford 1, Linford Lakes by James Smith

One of several lakes on the complex which boast a very impressive stock to 40 lb+, the Pit is full of features and has plenty of weed in abundance, the lake does get very busy due to it being easy to gain a ticket for as well as being very competitive in price but if you are happy to battle the crowds the rewards are there to be had.

If Linford 1 doesn’t take your fancy then there are plenty of other options on the complex, from catfish waters to carp runs waters as well as a stretch of the River Ouse which holds Barbel well past the 16 lb mark – There really is something for everyone.

Specimen Lake, Hawkhurst Fish Farms by Jake Carling

The reason this has to come top of the pile for me is because of its incredible facilities, the big head of carp and stunning surroundings.

With an immaculate on site shower block for anglers and a well serviced cafe which has the best food I have ever tasted at any venue in this country. A large tackle shop also ensures that you will never run out of the essential items needed when fishing. The carp in this lake run up to 50lbs as well as catfish to the same size. The fish are truly stunning and when you catch one, you won’t be disappointed.

The tranquillity of the specimen lake and the abundance of wildlife makes this a wonderful venue to visit whether it’s a short overnighter or for a week on the bank

Prairie Lake, Elphics complex by Jake Carling

Now this lake is a great runs water and holds carp up to the low 30lb mark. Spodding has proven to be very effective for me as it is a high stock water. Hemp, buckwheat and Balachan with live system and the Mini Ultra Mix is my spod mix and is what has done the business on previous trips.

The lake has no predominant features except the island which holds a large number of fish through the warmer months but in the colder months when a bite may be a bit harder to come by, an onsite cafe is there if you are feeling cold.

There is also a tackle shop with an array of different products to help any anglers who are in need. This complex used to hold the BCAC qualifiers which is testament to its success as a brilliant fishing complex.

Oxlease, Linear Fisheries by Jake Carling

This lake is truly stunning and has a great head of fish in it. With crystal clear water and big fish to go for, it makes a great venue.

I really like this place for many reasons. The swims at this lake are brilliant and you will never have any trouble getting your pegs or bank sticks in. They are also very evenly spaced out which guarantees no cross words with your neighbour about whose water is whose. Also, there is not just one method that catches which can make the fish quite picky, more or less everything works but maggots tend to pick up more of the fish. The third reason is that the fish are incredible. They range from short, dumpy simmo’s to dark, scaly, hard fighters.

All three of these lakes are great and I would recommend them to anyone.

Have your say…

Do you have a venue that is close to your heart, one that other people should experience during their fishing career? Whether its a lake, river, stream, reservoir, canal or puddle we want to know. Comment below with your venue, tell us why you think it deserves to be on the list and we will add all those that are worthy!

Your choice doesn’t have to have huge fish in it or be full of carp, it just has to have that ‘little something’ that keeps you going back!


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