It was an hour before dawn and I was going fishing at Roadford Lake to take part in South West lakes Trust carp removal project. A fox dashed across the road as I drove through the quiet undisturbed Devon countryside. These early mornings often offer glimpses of creatures as they head for cover after their nocturnal meanderings.
I was fishing with my good friend Bruce Elston who like me is just an occasional carp fisher. Roadford is a vast lake of over 700 acres and offers great sport fly-fishing for brown trout. https://www.swlakestrust.org.uk/roadford-lake
At some point carp have got into the lake and have thrived providing South West Lakes with a problem for there has never been any intention to have coarse fish within the lake. The lake is the main source of water for North Devon so it can never be drained and netting the fish is not a viable option. SWLT have therefore open up a limited carp fishing removal project. Anglers paying to fish for these carp over a limited period are funding game fishing improvements for the future. The health checked carp are being carefully relocated to waters across the South West lakes portfolio where they will provide improved sport.
Following its introduction in May, we are excited to announce the return of carp fishing at Roadford Lake for September
Just off the A30, Roadford Lake is a naturally beautiful location perfect for anglers living in both Devon and Cornwall and this unique opportunity should not be missed!
Throughout the month, we’ll be removing carp from the lake for restocking purposes elsewhere, and we ask that all fish caught are placed in the floatation pen situated in the water, where they will be collected each morning.
Carp fishing will only be available in a designated area of the lake and all anglers are advised to bring a pair of waders.
Find out more and book: https://www.swlakestrust.org.uk/roadford-lake-carp
Bruce and I arrived at the lake as the sun rose in the eastern sky bathing the entire scene in a rich golden glow. Some anglers were already bivvied up and it looked like they were enjoying some early morning sport.
We hurried to the water’s edge and started to set up. The normal process of plumbing the depth was undertaken using a marker rod and float. After deciding what contour to fish over we both embarked upon the task of spodding out a bed of bait. I was using a mixture of pigeon conditioner, sweetcorn and maize.
Hook baits of maize and tiger nuts were fished amidst the particles on standard hair rigs. This process of getting fishing took well over an hour and it was good to eventually sit back and take in the view. Swallows and martins swooped above as the early autumn sun heated the day. It seemed a little spiteful that as many children returned to school a heatwave was forecast and due to last at least a week.
We didn’t know what to expect as each day is different and the lake has not been extensively fished for carp. We knew that some outstanding catches had been made with fish to over twenty pounds.
There is always an added excitement when fishing a water for the first time and with a water as big as Roadford you just don’t know what will turn up, if anything?
At around 8:30am my right had rod was away the alarm screaming as line was torn from the bait-runner. I jumped up and grabbed the rod disappointed when no contact was made.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait too long before another screaming run resulted in a hard fighting common carp of around 7lb. This was the start of an exciting mornings fishing for me with four more carp banked to 12lb 8oz. I also lost two fish to a hidden snag that I assumed was a tree long since submerged when the valley was flooded back in 1989.
During the morning Bruce had only hooked one carp, a small common of around 3lb.
It is always frustrating fishing with a friend if all the runs seem to come to just one of you. The rest of the day panned out much as expected with the carp going off the feed and neither of us getting any runs after early afternoon.
We were curious to witness Ashley Bunning and fellow ranger Mervyn Beale arrive to remove some of the carp already residing in the retaining enclosures close to the bank. The carp were pristine full tailed fish that will provide welcome stockings across South West lakes Trust Coarse Waters.
Ashley Bunning Head of Angling at South West Lakes Trust displays carp destined for other waters.
It was relentlessly hot for early September and I was glad that I had brought along a brolly to provide some welcome shade.
I was due to leave at 7.00pm and as the day drifted past I envied Bruce who had extended his ticket to allow a night of fishing. At close to 6.00pm Bruce had a screaming run to a bait fished in the margins to his right. After a good tussle I slipped the net under a stocky common carp that pulled the scales to 15lb.
I left the lake as the sun started to sink beneath the horizon. Bruce went on to bank another dozen carp overnight to mid doubles. He told me of a tropical night sleeping under the stars. Shortly after the break of dawn he was thrilled to watch an osprey gliding majestically over the lake.