I have now returned home from University at Loughborough back to the joyful north-east of England near Middlesbrough - hence the blog name change.
I have a job lined up beginning in July in Hertfordshire, which will lead to another blog name change in the next month.
Today I thought I would try out somewhere new, and decided to give the Hilton fishing lakes at Hilton near Yarm a try. It is a relatively new man-made venue, only open a few years, so there are no monster fish in there yet, but supposedly a good amount of young carp.
|Hilton fishing lakes|
There are 2 lakes - both roughly circular with a central island, about as wide as a canal. There aren't really set pegs as such, but there would be plenty of space even if the venue got busy - which it wasn't today for good reason; it was blowing a gale and thunderstorm showers forecast.
However, pitching a wind break upwind of the chosen peg made the trip much more pleasant than it could have been. Wind breaks are cheaper, more versatile and much bigger than umbrellas which makes them a much better option.
As I was hitting a totally new venue to me, I decided to keep the method as simple as possible - with bog-standard float fished sweetcorn. I was using a 13ft Maver carp rod, a small cheap reel as it was loaded with the lightest spool I have (4lb main line) and a waggler float. I used a size 16 Drennan wide gape hook to nylon hook length connected to the mainline with a size 14 swivel. I prefer swivels to loop-to-loop knots as I find hard fighting carp can really twist the line up during a fight and cause tangles after unhooking.
I spent a good amount of time plumbing the depth of the peg, and found that a slope dropped away from the nearside bank down to about half way across to the island and a depth of around 7-8 feet. The bottom was then flat up to the edge of the island. Fishing against an island always seems an obvious choice but there was just too much wind for float fishing at that distance.
I chose to fish toward the bottom of the slope, setting the float to the full depth, and then dragging the bait up the slope a little way with an anchor shot 6 inches above the bait to indicate when the bait was resting on the slope. The thinking on this method was to loose feed the slope with corn, hemp and groundbait, which would fall down the slope and settle toward the bottom. Patrolling carp would then scour the slope for particles, see the hook bait, take it and then move back down giving a clear positive bite indication.
After fishing for around half an hour, the first bite came and after an extremely good fight turned out to be a beautiful 2lb 3oz mirror carp.
|First carp of the day|
After this came a 14 oz common bream:
|A common bream|
And a couple of juvenile tench:
I increased the groundbait/loose feed rate to try feed off the smaller fish a bring the carp into the swim. This resulted in the smallest carp I have ever caught, 7oz:
After this the bigger carp moved in resulting in 2 common carp of 2lb 1oz, 1 common of 2lb 5oz and finally the largest fish of the day a common of exactly 3lbs:
|Biggest carp of the day|
These carp were all in pristine condition and fought well above their weight. Without the heavy showers and thunderstorms I'm sure there would have been many more quality fish caught today.
I will definitely be returning to Hilton lakes before I move down south, and if you live in the north-east of England you should definitely give it a go, just be prepared for your arms to ache when you get home.
Hilton fishing lakes website: http://www.hiltonfishinglakes.com/