Last week i was lucky enough to get out to a new fishery with good friend Tony Delaney, to a complex known as 'Wetlands'. The site is actually an Animal park, but is also home to two cracking looking lakes and it was The Specimen Lake we had our eye on. We met up with Bailiff, Dave Wilson on the Tuesday afternoon to have a good chat about the lake. Dave was very approachable and friendly, so we got to know a little bit about the place, before choosing our swims and getting sorted. Recently re-developed, the Specimen lake has had a mountain of work done on it, to open it up to Carp anglers, with massive swim developments and also lots of snag removals, to create what i can only describe as a veritable Carp Anglers Paradise. Looking around you can imagine what the lake would have looked like beforehand, so the place is a real credit to the Owner, Richard and the other lads who have grafted to make it in to what it is now.
If we weren't already impressed enough by the set up and Richards infectious enthusiasm for his project, when we were invited around for a social and a BBQ with a few of the other lads that were on that evening, courtesy of the man himself, we were totally sold! Outstanding hospitality and we had a good laugh too. So, on to the fishing itself. The lake is around 9.5 acres and has loads of nooks and crannies, with literally dozens and dozens of features to fish to. The water level was actually down a bit while we were there, but the lake is quite shallow anyway, with average depths around 3ft, although there are bars and deeper areas too. The swims themselves were quite literally some of the best i've ever seen to be honest, with acres of space, all spotless and each having its own Car Park close by. After the BBQ/Social, it was actually dropping dark in to the first night, but we had already found or spots earlier, so it was just a matter of casting back out and baiting up. Left hand rod was in a channel a couple of rod lengths off one island, fishing an Xcel Baits Prototype hook bait and the right hand rod was on a Hinged Stiff Rig, presenting a 16mm KSC Pop up, out to a separate island. I then spread a mixture of KSC and VNF Food Sourced bait, that i'd glugged in KSC Bait Soak, over both areas. I did have some action pretty quickly, with one aborted take and another that came off, but i'm not sure if it was a Carp!
As Dawn broke, we were greeted by a beautiful, misty, atmospheric scene that gave way to bright sunshine and we knew at this point it might be difficult to get a bite until the following evening. Once the main heat of the day had passed, i found a few fish basking in the corner near where i was fishing and the only way i could really fish for them was on a zig, as they weren't interested in anything on the deck. So i hatched a plan and decided to free line a zig, fished just under the surface, so i could see what was happening. The weight of the tubing and lead clip was enough to sink the hook bait to fish effectively. Plopping a lead on them would have spooked them, so i ran with it to see what happened. Unfortunately we couldn't surface fish as it's prohibited to safeguard the water fowl. Unbelievably after a short while a fish came and sucked in my trimmed White Xcel Baits KSC Fluoro and i was in! The fish fought well and gave me a bit of a beating out of the water too! Only 13lb 8ozs, but it was a start and my first ever Carp on a zig too!
After this i got the rods sorted for the second night, we got sat down for a social and all of a sudden the Hinged Stiff Rod went nuts and i was in again. Turned out to be a scraper double of 10lb 6ozs, but it gave a good account of itself and was welcome all the same! I anticipated a take might be on the cards as the fish had started to move a little more.
Shortly after this, Tony was in also, but unfortunately the fish came off. Bit of a gutter, but you win some and you lose some. The second night was fairly quiet and long story short my rods remained silent until pack up, but in the meantime Tony was rewarded with a nice Mirror of around 14lbs, taken on Xcel Baits VNF. So the session had been a success for both of us, in tricky conditions, which we were pleased with for a first session at a new fishery. The lake holds fish to over 30lbs with a good number of 20's, but these were probably lapping up the sun somewhere beyond our reach. A 29lb Mirror did come out while we were there, but at the other end of the lake.
Tony and I can't wait to get back to have another go. As mentioned, the lake is an absolute credit to Rich, the owner and the lads who've worked hard to develop in to what is definitely a Fishery to watch. There are plans to stock the lake with a few bigger fish in the not too distant future and there have been fish sighted which have not yet been caught, which could prove very interesting indeed! (If you know what i mean)