Commercial fisheries aren’t everybody’s cup of tea. Featureless, joyless ponds overstocked with hungry, deformed carp. Or even worse, F1s. Has there ever been a more depressing way of describing a fish? I know it’s a scientific term from the genetics world – but couldn’t we at least call them something, anything more interesting than F1s. Crarp? Crommons?
I’ve fished a few places not too far from this particular version of piscatorial hell. I remember one such place that the husband of a friend of my partners sister (!) recommended. Third-hand details were relayed of big fish in wild surroundings and that I should definitely get down there next time we visit.
Wild it was. In amongst the crowds were a group of burly blokes drinking lots of lager – their casting getting more and more ‘adventurous’ as the day wore on; a large group of yoooves who spent the day alternating between shouting into their mobile phones and taking it in turns to spod seemingly endless piles of pellets into their swim; and even an over-amorous couple in a budget bivvy – all this on a lake not much bigger than half an acre.
The most amazing part of the day was when the Environment Agency turned up to check rod licences. One of the lager swiggers, upon realising who the new visitors were, grabbed his rod and seatbox (still half full with Stella cans) and disappeared over the verge at the back of the pond.
His mates soon cottoned on and made an equally hurried dash for freedom.
Of course not all commercial fisheries are like this. After the close season was abolished (I can’t remember the year it was scrapped – anyone?) I started fishing a new day ticket lake at Foxearth in Suffolk during the spring.
Although the place was relatively new, it was surrounded by woods and the lake had a central island, established lily pads and rushes,
gravel bars and a healthy, mixed stock of fish. It was usually pretty quiet on weekdays and worms fished down the edge could normally be relied upon to tempt the resident tench, bream and odd carp.
The place was sold on a few years ago and has since developed into a proper commercial ‘complex’ with all the trimmings. The lake I fished became a picturesque carp syndicate and I often wonder if the carp I had from there went on to become the 30 pound-plus monsters that inhabit the venue now.
My favourite commercial fishery at the moment is the wonderful Lake John in Essex. It’s a very well-run day ticket pool, set in the picturesque surroundings of the Epping Forest. Despite the fact it’s only minutes from the M25, it’s a peaceful and attractive place to fish. It does get quite busy at peak times and understandably so – but the pegs are nicely spread out and with bushes and trees running along the banks and rushes by the water,it’s certainly far from a claustrophobic experience.
Perhaps the best thing about the pool is the great variety of fish that reside there. I visited Lake John again with an old mate, Meechy, last week. We always plan to meet up and go fishing more regularly than we ever actually do, but by the time we actually do arrange a time and date we’re raring to go.
We both float fished in the margins, using little waggler floats dotted right down. Baits included corn, maggots, little hookable expander pellets and some larger halibut pellets. We had plenty of super-strength tench – rewarding us with some epic tussles close in, countless skimmers and bream, some clonking roach, perch and rudd and a tubby crucian carp each. I managed to find a pair of carp later in the evening and tempted a long, lean common off the surface using floating crust. Great fun. Long live commercial fisheries.