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.
Congratulations to Steve Smart who caught this beast of a Catfish from Day Ticket Nirvana’s Specimen Cat Lake at 60lbs 6oz making it a new personal best.
Caught on double 28mm halibut pellets sandwiched between 2 halves of a big fishy boilie (affectionately known as the dog turd rig, because it looks like a big poo!. He caught it late morning from open water.
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.
Vivid reflections as the stillness descends
I enjoyed a catfish fishing session at Anglers Eldorado with some good friends back in early July and blanked. My good friend Bruce Elston did well during the session and also enjoyed success on several follow up trips to the venue. I was keen to get back to the lake for a last try as summer fades into Autumn.
On August 30th with warm sunshine and a gentle easterly breeze I set off from home to join Bruce at the lake. The road wound through mid Devon countryside showing signs of a long hot summer. I noticed that several trees were already taking on Autumn hues their leaves starting to dry up as the long drought takes its toll. I glanced at the River Torridge as I drove over to witness a pitiful trickle.
I found Bruce set up at Eldorado cat lake with an adjacent swim that had been producing well reserved for me a few yards further along the bank.
I set up my tackles and introduced a few handfuls of pellets and boilies into the area I was planning to cast into. We were both using beefed up carp tactics with boilies and self-hooking rigs.
After an hour it was good to finally have the rods out and the bivvy assembled ready for a 24 hour session. I put the kettle on and looked forward to sitting back with an expresso. Things don’t always go to plan!
I had inadvertently packed the wrong adaptor for the coffee maker meaning the capsules would not fit. As I pondered this issue the bite alarm beeped and rod tip pulled around as what I assumed was a catfish moved away. I picked up the rod and leaned back to feel nothing.
First chance missed and you don’t always get another!
A few minutes later I heard Bruce’s alarm and looked over to see his rod well bent as an angry catfish tried to find sanctuary in the overhanging branches of the Island opposite. Bruce held the fish hard grudgingly allowing line to be taken from a tightly set clutch. The pressure told after a few minutes and large boils appeared on the surface as the catfish fought hard in the silty coloured water.
I stood waiting with the net as the fish came closer. A large tail broke the surface and then a large head and cavernous mouth. The head went into the net easy but its tail caused a few anxious moments as I tried to film the event with my go-pro in one hand.
With the fish safely in the net, Bruce prepared the unhooking mat and weigh sling ensuring they were well soaked with lake water. The fish pulled the scales to 31lb 7oz. A great start to the session.
An hour later my bite alarm bleeped into life and I struck into a hard fighting catfish. The fish powered away threatening to take me into a snag so it was time to give the tackle a good testing leaning back and seeing just how much pressure could be applied using 20lb b.s Big Game main line. After a tackle testing few minutes the cat was wallowing beneath the rod tip where Bruce wielded the net and safely secured my prize. Uncannily the fish weighed in at 31lb 8oz just an ounce different to Bruce’s yet a totally different fish.
The rest of the afternoon passed by uneventfully until a much appreciated Fish and Chip delivery by Bruce’s daughter.
As the evening set in we both topped up our swims with bait and cast out fresh. The sun slowly set illuminating the evening sky as swallows swooped low over the lake. We were both optimistic that the night would bring a further result with past sessions producing well overnight for Bruce.
It is always enchanting to watch the light fade from within the bivvy with expectation of a run at any moment. The wind dropped away to leave the lake mirror calm. Bats replaced the swallows swooping in the night air.
In the early hours I awoke to answer natures call and gazed up into a night sky full of vividly twinkling stars. The valley lay silent with just the occasional hoot from an owl.
I awoke as dawn slowly broke and made a fresh coffee before checking one of the baits and introducing a sprinkling of pellets and boilies. I sat back still optimistic despite the blank night. I chatted with Bruce who was also surprised at the lack of overnight success.
As the sun rose higher in the sky its light illuminated the far bank injecting vibrant colour into the day like an artist working upon a canvas.
We both packed up reluctantly leaving the rods out until the last minute just in case. Whilst there is still time to catch catfish our sights are set on an abundance of other species as autumn descends.
These hot summer nights and days seem to suit the wels catfish that dwell in the lakes at Anglers Paradise. Local angler Bruce Elston enjoyed a session fishing overnight on Anglers Eldorado’s catfish lake where he banked catfish of 16lb, 30lb 5oz, 36lb 10oz and 40lb 6oz.
Joe Dietrich fished Anglers Paradise’s Eldorado Catfish Lake to tempt 5 catfish the best scaling 63lb 9oz. The other cats weighed with a 47lb, 32lb, 27lb and 21lb along with 2 mid double carp! All from an overnight session on Eldorado Carp and Cat 2 (bottom lake) Best fish came at dusk and dawn.
I joined a group of friends at Anglers Paradise fishing the Eldorado day Ticket Catfish Lake. We had booked the lake for the weekend ensuring we would have exclusive use throughout our stay.
The weather forecast predicted high temperatures, unbroken sunshine and light winds, perfect for catfish based on Bruce Elston the groups organisers previous experience.
Due to other commitments I could only attend for the first full day of the session which reduced the need for bivvies and associated camping gear.
We met up on the Saturday morning off-loading a mountain of gear and assembling on the lakeside for a discussion on where to set up. This was based around likely location of fish and the focus on enabling a vital social aspect of the fishing.
By the time we had debated where to fish, tackled up and baited swims it was late morning and the sun was beating down from a cloudless sky upon calm waters. Lush summer growth surrounded the lake with many summer flowers in full bloom.
Five anglers two rods each. The wait began with a steady intake of cool water and snacks. Anticipation was high as we soaked up the sun with the England versus India Cricket match results punctuating the day.
The sight of a grass snake crossing the lake was appreciated by all present an indication of the rich diversity of nature provided by the vast complex of lakes nestled deep in the heart of Devon.
Whilst we all shared a deep passion for angling I think we all appreciate the vital role being with nature plays in supporting our mental health during these strange and challenging times.
It was late afternoon when Bruce’s bite indicator sounded the alarm as something moved off with his bait in the far margin. The rod hooped over as Bruce began persuading what was undoubtedly a good sized catfish to the waiting net. Large swirls in the lake raised expectations as Bruce put his tackle to the test. Eventually a large eel like shape emerged from the murky water and was coaxed over the waiting net to a round of congratulations.
The fish was kept in the net for a few moments whilst the unhooking mat and weigh sling were drenched with cool lake water. The scales were checked and zeroed and cameras switched on in readiness with some thought given to where the sun was and its likely impact with shadows etc.
This first cat of the weekend scaled 30lb 12oz and was one of five catfish to be landed by Bruce over the weekend.
Anticipation grew with the capture of this specimen catfish and it was a happy bunch of anglers who wound in their rods to savour a delicious pizza delivered by Bruce’s wife from the local Inn at Halwill Junction. https://www.thejunctioninnhalwill.co.uk/pizzamenu/
As the sun slowly sank below the horizon it was time for me to leave and head for home. The rest of the party remained and I was sure more catfish would grace their nets over the remainder of the weekend.
The following morning, I was delighted to check my phone and find an array of images showing catfish caught by Bruce and John Hughes. The total catch for the weekend was eight catfish. Bruce landing cats of 38lb 10oz, 37lb 10oz, 30lb 12oz, 22lb 5oz and 21lb 12oz. John Hughes banking three cats the best scaling 20lb 8oz and 15lb 4oz.
Bruce with a fine catfish of 38lb 10oz
Despite Mitch, Ben and myself blanking it had been a pleasure to relax in Paradise with good company beneath a cloudless summer sky. Plans are already being made for a return next year or maybe sooner.