A brace of carp on the fly rod

A warm breeze with high clouds drifting across the late Spring sky. Bird song filled the air and the countryside has reached that moment in time when everything is lush, fresh and vibrant.
It is always good to escape to the water’s edge and a few hours was all I could manage for this visit to Bideford Angling Clubs carp lake. Karen’s lake opened in June 2019 and has matured into a wonderful lake in the three years that have followed.


Steve Bailey, Jude Gubb- Bideford Town Council, Paul Carter E.A, Karen Slade, Pete Skinner

Bideford Club Opens – Karens Lake

In fact, looking back at the opening day pictures it was a similar day to that on this recent visit.

I had visited the lake a week previously and caught one carp on the surface and with limited time and warm conditions I hoped that surface tactics would again bring rewards.
I catapulted out a few floaters on arrival and set up two sets of gear. A modern floater set up with an artificial dog biscuit and a 7 weight fly rod, floating line and a deer hair dog biscuit imitation.
I sat back and poured a coffee watching the surface for signs of feeding carp. It wasn’t long before there were a few swirls.
With the fish within range of the fly rod it was this option I chose putting the fly out just past the weed where several carp could be seen slurping down the floating baits.
This was exciting visual fishing as the carp cruised in the clear water clearly visible with the help of a good pair of polaroid’s to reduce the surface glare. A couple of fish moved into the left of my swim and I put the fly in amongst the free offerings. A good sized carp swam slowly towards the baits slurping down several of the free offerings before treating my fly with disdain.
Another carp swam purposefully towards the fly. Its orange lips opened, the fly disappeared and I set the hook! The surface erupted as the carp surged away diving for sanctuary. With large weed beds all around I was determined to keep the fish on as short a line as possible and piled on as much pressure as I dared. The 7-wt rod was straining as the reel spun as I attempted to slow the carps first run. It’s surprising just how much pressure you can apply with a fly rod if you have the confidence.
A few tense minutes followed as the tussle ebbed and flowed. The carps bronzed flanks gleaming in the sunlight as I coaxed it towards the waiting net. I breathed a sigh of relief as the fish came over the net cord. I secured the net and ensured that the unhooking mat was wet along with the weigh sling. The scales recorded a weight of 21lb 6oz my biggest carp on the fly.

21lb 6oz Carp on the fly

I was grateful to see two club members arrive at the entrance gate opposite and called them over to capture an image. It is always good to share the joy of success.

After a short break to savour and reflect upon success I continued to put out free offerings. By now the carp were a little more wary and I missed several chances as the fish managed to eject the fly before I could make contact.
I had a few tries with the floater rod further out but by now the Canada geese had got an appetite for floaters and each time I cast the heavy float headed straight for my set up.

The fly rod could be wielded without attracting the geese and I switched back to these tactics partly because of this and because the fly rod was far more exciting and rewarding.
My time was running out as early afternoon arrived and last cast time was approaching and had in fact gone when a couple of fish appeared slurping down a few floaters to my left.
The fly disappeared; the reel sang its song the rod took on an alarming curve and a few minutes later 12lb of mirror carp lay safely in the net.

A brace of carp on the fly is a great morning’s fishing and a reminder that fly fishing is not just a quirky tactic but on its day a very successful one.

Hacche Lane Forty

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Steve Pinn has banked Hacche Lane fishery’s first forty a stunning looking fish in pristine condition. Well done and well deserved.

“A massive milestone for us all here at Hacche and what a fish to have as our first 40 plus..probably for me the most special fish on site as it was one fish amongst the hundreds of tiny leney fingerlings that were here on site when we started nearly ten years ago. It’s also very fitting that the captor was none other than our very own Steve Pinn…Steve has been invaluable with his help around the fishery whilst I was trying to juggle a full time job and the running of Hacche…I think Steve was a bit disappointed it wasn’t the bullet tbh but personally I’m over the moon as it means there is probably two 40s not just the one!”

Quay Sports – New Opening Hours

Quay Sports are amending their opening hours to offer an even better service. This friendly tackle shop boasts a vast range of tackle for all disciplines with good solid advice available from experienced local anglers.

Mon-Wed 8:30am-5:30pm

Thurs 8:30 – 6pm Late opening

Friday 7:00am – 5:30pm Early opening

Sat 8am – 5pm

Sun 10am – 1pm

“We are condensing the hours so we can have 3 or 4 members of staff in the shop more of the time at the busier periods. This will mean we will have more time to offer advice, demo products and serve customers more efficiently.”

Stafford Moor Carp Fishing

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(Below )A Lake booking up on lodge lake social organised by Gavin Lynch saw the guys bank a total of 37 fish  with a total weight of 770lb ! This included several new personal bests  Including Chris larners new pb of 30lb 3oz.

(Below) Charlie O Connor who smashed his personal best  with a 33lb 4oz beauty from the inlet swim on Beatties lake , Charlie was using Mainline cell, Sticky baits Manilla and our house pellets.

Stafford Moor – In Fine Carp Form

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(Below) Oakley Hunt and his dad Warren fished on beach 1 on lodge lake. They banked 7 fish with dad Warren having a new personal best of 27lb 12oz.
All fish were caught on Sticky baits krill and Manilla boilies.
(Below) Michael Stevens, Ben Palmer & Sam Reed  had a few carp out from swims 12 and 13 on the spit up on lodge lake. All fish caught on CC Moore live system and LDM baits.
(Below) Ross Mckee who fished up on the dam wall on lodge lake. Ross had 5 fish out which included 3 new pbs up to 26lb 2oz. Ross caught on Mainline cell and Essencial cell boilies and Sticky baits krill boilies.
(Below) Steve West banked 12 fish from the inlet swim on Beatties lake up to 26lb 8oz all fish caught on 15mm Mainline cell boilies & yellow pop ups.
(Below) Adam Gunn and Lee Jamesfished up on fraggle rock (swim 8 up on lodge lake) Adam had a fish 28lb 1oz caught on Stucky Baits Krill boilies and house pellets, Lee James had 2 fish up to 25lb & caught on Sticky baits Manilla boilies and house pellets.
(Below) Harvey Chmberlain who had 28 fish out from the silver birch lodge situated on Beatties specimen lake All fish caught on mad baits Wicked White and Asbo up to 29lb 10oz.

Kracking Thirty

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Callum Regan banked  a 34lb 10oz Mirror from Nirvana’s day ticket Kracking Carp Lake.
Callum shared –
“After seing a fish show on the wind I quickly set a trap consisting of a multi hinge rig paired with a munch baits citrus pop up. Introduced a scattering of approximately 50 munch baits bio bottom baits generously dusted in bio liquid food and bloodworm complex with a dusting of bio stick mix”.

Stafford Moor – Carp Catches

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(Below)  Kamil Wos who had a few fish out up to 25lb from swim 7 (The nook) up on lodge lake , Kamil was using Sticky baits krill boilies

 (Above) Debbie Stevens who had 8 fish out from swim 2 (The Triangle) on Beatties Lake. All fish were caught on DNA secret 7 boilies and Remix wafters over pellets and boilie mix.

Anglers await the opening of new carp lake near Barnstaple

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North Devon’s anglers are looking forward to the Opening of new Day Ticket Carp Fishery at Bulldog Fish Farm Ltd

Richie Eaton was lucky enough to be invited for a nights fishing at the new carp lake which is soon to be opening to the public for day tickets  this common being the biggest of a couple fish landed.

I will announce full details of opening as soon as I receive them along with a full report on my own visits to water.

(Above) Father and son team Nigel & Tom Early