Shaun Thorne continued his run of success at Anglers Paradises Day Ticket Eldorado Catfish lake. Returning to venue after catching carp to over 29lb Shaun set up in heatwave conditions that are known to suit the predatory catfish. During the tropical heat of the night Shaun hooked into a huge catfish that battled hard before being coaxed into the waiting net. Weighing over 60lb the beast is a new personal best. Shortly after day break a 40lb catfish was also tempted to round of a never to be forgotten night with a brace for 100lb+
It’s a monster! I’m still shaking, what a crazy chain of events! It was very warm sat here, never known it so warm in September. Then it started persisting down! 5 minutes into the rain and I had a run. 25 minutes later after a series of unbelievable runs and getting in some tree roots it came to the net fairly easily. It’s got to be over 60lb!
Shuan Thorne enjoyed a succesful session at Anglers Paradises El Dorado Carp and Cat lake 2. Shuan banked six carp in 24 hours including a 29lb 8oz mirror a 26lb common, 19lb 12oz mirror an 11lb fully scaled a 13lb common and 12lb catfish. The venue hold catfish to well over fifty pounds and carp over thirty.
Midsummer is a time to savour when the longest day arrives the English countryside is at its luxuriant peak. The foliage is lush and green with an abundance of wild flowers adding both colour and a perfumed aroma to the long days.
I joined my good friends for a third year targeting the catfish that lurk within Anglers Eldorado’s Cat and Carp Lake 2. With rumours of fish stocked to over eighty pounds anticipation of harsh battles with giant fish were on the agenda as we plotted our campaign over breakfast at team cat leader’s house. Swims were chosen with a mixture of choice and a random draw that pleased all present hopefully giving everyone the chance to put their baits into a known hotspot.
We pulled into the car park shortly after 8:00 and started to offload the ridiculous mountain of gear required for a forty eight hour session. Before going to our swims, we took a group picture for the memory files.
I don’t fish long sessions very often but always relish that anticipation of a couple of days beside the water. The Lakes at Anglers Eldorado day ticket complex have certainly matured since I first visited many years ago. I first looked into the complex whilst driving past when the lakes were still recently dug holes in the ground. At that time characterless waters that I had no desire to fish. The lakes have now matured with nature allowed to weave its magic with the lush green vegetation surrounding the lakes a home to abundant and varied wildlife.
We all set up in our swims and set about deciding where to cast our traps. Each of us having our own slightly different approach. The basic plan being to put out a bed of baits and pellets to bring catfish into the swim. Fishing boilies or bunches of worms on carp style bolt rigs.
It was around 11:00 by the time I had my baits in place close to features on the far bank surrounded by a liberal sprinkling of pellets and boilies. I made a fresh cup of coffee and sat back savouring the hot sun whilst contemplating the prospects of hooking a catfish.
I watched large dragonflies hover and dart above the calm waters, vivid blue damsel flies settled on the rods. A calm anticipation hung in the air as with traps set the wait began.
Set up an waiting, traps set.
The weather forecast predicted the chance of thunderstorms and heavy showers. And as the afternoon passed dark clouds gathered and rain fell. Later afternoon without warning my righthand rod was away the Delkim bleeping and the bobbin dropping back. I grabbed the rod and lifted into a solid feeling fish. After a good tussle I was pleased to secure a light lemony flanked catfish of just over 15lb. Blank avoided at least.
A short time later Tony fishing to my right was in action banking a good catfish of 32lb 7oz.
The session proved to be a successful one with Bruce topping the scoreboard at close of play banking half a dozen or more catfish to 41lb. Bruce’s tactics of heavy baiting contributing to his success along with pinpoint accuracy in putting his bait into hotspots.
John Hughes also enjoyed success with several cats to 27lb 12oz.
Sometimes you wnder if you want a run?
Another battle commences
Not the prettiest but they have a certain allure and pull very hard.
I banked two carp a mirror and a common both giving screaming runs on consecutive nights at around the same time in the fading light.
We had all caught a catfish by the end of the 48 hour session. Several powerful fish escaped along the way adding frustration and increasing the desire for a return trip.
In the longer term it is perhaps the bigger picture that soaks into life’s rich bank of memories. We fished from June 20th until June 22nd absorbed in the natural world.
Hot sunshine, dark clouds, thunder and rain followed by rainbows. The descent of darkness and that wonderful depth of colours and reflections as the day drifts away.
As the light faded from the long day I was still able to scribble a few notes in my notebook long after 10.00pm. At 11.00pm I lay back and listened to the sounds of the summer night. An unfamiliar evocative call drifted in the night air, an almost out of this world alien sound. I recognized it as the call of the nightjar, a bird that had featured on BBC’s Springwatch a few weeks ago.
In the early hours I left the bivvy to answer natures call and gazed up at a night sky of vivid twinkling stars. There was something deeply profound in the vastness of the universe.
Dawn came shortly after 4.00am each morning. The sun climbing slowly its rays cutting across the calm lake as mist lifted from the water. Intricate cobwebs glistening with morning dew and sweet songs of the dawn chorus filling the air. There is far more to this fishing lark than catching fish.
At the end of the session six friends brought together by a love of fishing said warm and cheery goodbyes vowing to do it all again next year if we are spared.
Spring into Fishing – Get into fishing this April, May and June with FREE fishing from the Angling Trust
The Angling Trust’s Spring into Fishing campaign returns for a fourth year with FREE fishing sessions to re-awaken your love of the outdoors
Come and Spring into Fishing at free, fun, outdoor activity events for families around the country that are the perfect way to discover the wonderful world of angling. Everybody is welcome, to come and try fishing – whatever your age, ability or experience level.
Never been fishing before? No problem – tackle, bait, instruction and info on fishing clubs and places to go are all included for everyone at Spring into Fishing events.
Already a beginner? Great – come back and continue your introduction to angling, refresh your basic fishing skills this spring and discover some new fishing tips to help progress your angling to the next-level!
Spring into Fishing beginner sessions are quality assured by the Angling Trust to give the best possible experience of fishing to children, families and anybody who wants to find out what you need and where to go fishing. Funded by the Environment Agency and Sport England, Spring into Fishing gives everyone the chance to get outside, try fishing and learn new skills.
Free fishing events like this let you experience first-hand how fun, inexpensive and accessible fishing is, and how it’s good for your wellbeing to get outside next to water and simply tune-in to the peace and quiet of nature.
Spring into Fishing events are happening all over the country from April right through to June at fishing clubs and venues in partnership with friendly, helpful coaches and volunteers who will show you and your children what fishing is all about.
I arrived at Anglers Paradise’s Eldorado Day Ticket complex shortly after the start of the morning session of the 2023 Spring into fishing event. It was a perfect late Spring morning with warm sunshine and a gentle breeze. Wispy white high clouds drifted across the blue sky with the water of the mixed general lake reflecting the lush green surrounds of the flag Iris and bankside trees.
The vibrancy of the Devon countryside in late May and early June is certainly to be savoured. The lake was surrounded by families sharing in an introduction to the joys and tribulations of fishing. The coaches were certainly in for a busy day as they explained the setting up of tackle to the eager pupils. The brightly coloured wriggling maggots always fascinate children who are often eager to touch and feel the writhing mass within the bait tub.
The coaches set up a selection of tackles some putting out self-hooking leger rigs whilst most opted for the simplicity of pole tackles and float. I always think that the simplicity of float fishing is perfect for beginners. A float offers a point of focus; giving delight in its disappearance and buoyant optimism whilst watched.
I wandered around the lake with my camera chatting with coaches and pupils whilst trying to capture the essence of the day. It is always a joy to witness success as the fish were lifted from the water their jewelled flanks glistening in the sunshine. Beaming smiles abounded as floats dipped frequently during the morning session.
The coaches were kept busy carefully unhooking the fish and explaining the importance of correct handling procedures. The use of unhooking matts, wet hands and correct unhooking tools was explained.
A variety of species were caught including golden rudd, perch, carp and a stunning koi carp of close to 10lb caught by Lewis Jones.
The coaches talked about each fish and pointed out its characteristics, the golden flanks of rudd with scarlet fins, the stripy flanks of perch with their spiky bristling fins and the bronze chain mail flanks of carp.
During my walks around the Lake I caught sight of a bent rod on the cat and carp lake below. I dashed down to witness Paul Hockam land a pleasing catfish. Later in the day his fishing partner Tasha Caunter banked a stunning common carp of 17lb.
The pupils ranged from families who travelled from across the South West to individual anglers rediscovering the joys of angling. I hoped that some of the young would become hooked by the fascination of angling and follow a journey through life enhanced by days in nature that can nurture mental health. It was also good to share the rediscovery of angling with a man who recalled fishing with his Grandad as a child.
Angling is a passion that can be enjoyed in many different ways. I have commented before how an angling journey can often be plotted with beginners wanting to catch fish, they then wish to catch more fish, bigger fish or maybe more than their fellow angler. At some point they perhaps rediscover the simple of joy of just going fishing.
By the end of the morning session most pupils had caught a fish and hopefully most will want to return to the water’s edge again.
During the short dinner break between the two session’s I chatted with Dean Asplin Angling Development Manager for the Angling Trust. Dean works with the trust and its volunteer coaches to organise these valuable events at participating fisheries across the country.
Dean told me that they are very busy at present with many eager to sample fishing. Zenia Gregorek of the Anglers Paradise complex is a passionate supporter of the Angling Trust and thanked Dynamite baits and Shakespeare Tackle for their generous support. Anglers Paradise continues to grow and there are many exciting plans for the future that I will continue to share here on North Devon Angling News
Before the afternoon session commenced I called for a quick group photo as another group of budding anglers converged on the water. After the busy morning the fish seemed less inclined to dine and action was less frantic. With coaches having to explain why it is called fishing and not catching.
Despite the slower fishing there were plenty of smiling faces as I departed for home with a camera full of the days images.
The Angling Trust are always at the forefront of events to promote angling ensuring its future for generations to come. Anglers Paradise was founded by Zyg Gregorek over forty years ago and has undoubtedly sowed the seeds for many anglers who have visited the venue with their families. On Easter Sunday 2022 I attended a family fun fishing day at the day ticket Eldorado complex that was supported by Anglers Paradise, The Angling Trust, Shakespeare, Angling Direct, The Environment Agency, Dynamite Baits and Nash Tackle.
Zenia Drury Gregorek was undoubtedly the driving force behind the event that attracted over seventy eager participants. Coaches from the Angling Trust were joined by keen local anglers to introduce families to the joys of angling. All tackle and bait was provided at this free event with a wealth of expert advice on tap for both total beginners and the more experienced angler. All juniors who took part earned a Get Fishing Certificate Award and badge from the Angling Trust presented by Dean Asplin who is Angling Development Manager for the South of England and South West Angling Development Officer.
I arrived at the venue shortly before the start and enjoyed chatting with the coaches who had travelled from far and wide to assist and support on the day. Amongst the coaches were Roly, Tony King, John Thompson, Andy Payne, Joe Drury, Hassan Khan, Steve Manley, Dan Murrell, Joe Dietrich, Callum Regan and Mark Thorneycroft.
It was to prove a busy day for the coaches with families descending on the venue from far and wide. The event was blessed with warm sunshine during the morning session with the sounds of children’s laughter and adults banter filling the spring air. A few swallows swooped over the water as the coaches explained the finer details of fishing. The majority of families gathered around a lake stocked with a wide variety of smaller fish with whips used in conjunction with float tactics. The young anglers were fascinated by the brightly coloured wriggly maggots and soon focussed upon the brightly coloured floats that bobbed optimistically upon the water to disappear delightfully from time to time as a bejewelled fish from another dimension was lifted from the cloudy waters.
Many caught their first fish and it was great to see the joy and fascination upon so many faces. The coaches gave guidance on how to unhook the fish carefully and return them to the water with minimal harm.
On the lower Lake Hassan Khan of Nash Tackle was joined by Steve Manley and Dan Murrell of Catch to explain the complexities and technicalities of carp fishing. During the morning session the carp showed on the surface in abundance allowing Hassan and his friends to demonstrate the frustration of carp fishing as the carp ignored the carefully presented hook baits. They made up for this in the afternoon session helping a young angler to bank two fine double figure carp.
The event proved a huge success with many families being introduced to angling for the first time. For some this could prove the gateway to a lifetime spent in the great outdoors gaining an in depth appreciation of nature. Angling is recognised as providing a great deal of well-being with significant benefits for mental health.
During the day I attempted to capture a few images of the fishing that will hopefully do more justice than words alone.
Oli Dietrich decided to give Nirvana’s day ticket Lake Xanadu a go at the weekend and landed this stunning 25lb 4oz Mirror. Oli used a Crafty Bait and Tackle red alert boilie over a bag of pellets in the margins.
Chris Haydon and Kevin Dobson from On The Bank Angling, both from Exeter and have been testing out the Deeper Smart Sonar which is the world’s first wireless cast-able lake feature and fish finding device. They came back to Eldorado in search of catching their Personal Best Cats, and that they did! Chris managed to land the Biggest Cat from the Bottom Lake at 45lbs!! This Cat hasn’t been reported to come out for at least 2 years but Chris found it and landed the Beast on Popped Up Worms giving him a New PB Cat to his name! Kevin joined in on the action and also landed himself a PB 23lb Cat on a Big Chunk of Luncheon Meat.