A: I started carp fishing after a few years of general course fishing on the rivers and local lakes around Norfolk. When I was 9 or 10 my father joined us both as members to a small reservoir just outside Norwich. It was a farmer’s irrigation pond, but it was well stocked with a beautiful selection of mirrors, commons and a few ghost koi. It was a great place to learn new skills, and I spent whole summers with my dad, floater fishing, totally mesmerised by the carp slurping down mixers from the surface. The fish weren’t tiny either, and I quickly increased my personal best up to around the 17/18lb mark.
Q: Fishing has led you into the job you do now, can you briefly explain what is it you do and how are you helping to secure the future of angling in Norfolk?
A: I have a background in conservation and since studying Environmental Science at university in Bristol, I have always had a close affinity to the natural world. My work and hobbies have aligned in my current role, and I couldn’t be happier. I took up post at Taverham Mill Nature Reserve and Fishery as the site manager two years ago now, and it is an amazing place to work. The environment is stunning and the fishery in particular has a great future ahead of it.
Across the reserve we have 4 lakes and nearly a mile of the river Wensum. The lakes are beautifully mature old gravel pits, which date back to pre war. They are festooned with every feature imaginable; lilies, overhanging trees, bars, plateaus and weed. I may be bias, but in particular, Taverham Mill Lake is the most picturesque lake I have come across in the UK at 24 acres it is an irregular shaped pit with bays, peninsulas and even an island to fish from.
Over the last two years we have re-stocked the Mills Lake with fish from VS Fisheries and Priory Fisheries. We have also returned two other lovely gravel pits into syndicate lakes across the other side of the reserve. These lakes now contain some gorgeous fish up to the 40lb mark. This winter saw the stocking of another 65 fish from VS Fisheries over on the Ski Pit Lake and we are excited to be opening the lake as a syndicate water from April 1st this year.
Q: You must get great satisfaction from your work, but where does your personal fishing take you?
A: My personal fishing is taking me further afield these days. I love the lakes I manage. However, I have to get away from it all in my own fishing, to get the escapism that I enjoy most. This year, I will be heading to the Colne Valley for my fishing, as well as a more local syndicate lake further up the Wensum valley. I also enjoy social trips with friends to the pads lake at Yateley and some of the Cotswold waters. Both of which are in the diary for trips this Spring and Summer.
A: Without a doubt it would have to be single white pop-ups on the ever faithful hinge stiff rig. As the fish are waking up, I am sure that their eye sight is still rather poor. Having shut a lot of systems down for the colder months it makes sense to present something bright and obvious. I am positive that this highly visual approach is a huge edge on the gravel pits that I fish. Having spent hours out in a boat, looking at the dull blackened bottom of the pits I manage… I know why!
Q: Are you an out and out boilie angler, or do you look to use alternative baits such as particles in your approach?
A: Generally, I would say that I am a boilie angler. However, I will vary my approach depending on the water I target. For example, over the last couple of years I have been travelling down to Yateley to fish the Pads Lake with a couple of other friends. Initially, we started out with a boilie approach, but the fishing was slow. I quickly switched to CC Moore’s black tigers, fished over hemp and corn and it turned my week around. I would never arrive at a new water without some particles in my armoury, especially some of the weedier waters that I fish.
Q: You have caught some awesome fish over the last few years, what has to be your standout capture?
A: Recently, I’ve been very lucky and had a great couple of seasons. However, my standout capture would have to be three seasons ago. I was fortunate enough to catch a target fish and a new personal best 48lb 2oz common from the Wensum Valley. I had been travelling back and forth from London to Norfolk to fish the water. Racking up hundreds of miles and putting in a lot of effort. I felt that I really deserved that capture. It made it even more special to have my dad there taking the photos. He got me into this mad obsession of ours, and I owe him a lot for that!
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