As part of the Angling Gazette’s commercial success series, they have asked me to cover the day ticket commercial fisheries in the Norfolk area.
Day ticket waters play a massive part in today’s carp fishing scene and as a result the fish are under huge amounts of angling pressure with some venues being open all year round.
What I hope to do is travel to as many lakes if not all in Norfolk and catch at least a double figured carp, giving you hints and tips that you yourselves can apply within your own angling. This will be by no means an easy feat and certainly will challenge my angling abilities but after all that’s what makes fishing fun.
For the first session of this series, I have decided to fish Shallow Brooks Lakes which is situated about 4 miles North West of Norwich. The complex offers a variety of fishing from the three lakes.
The first of these, Meadow Lake is an all-rounder. Carp, match and pleasure anglers alike can tap into the lakes good fish stock and have a day’s fun fishing. The carp run into the upper doubles and there are plenty of silver fish.
Secondly you have the Carp Lake which is a designated carp lake with residents into their upper twenties and last but not least you have Snipe Lake which is designated bream and Tench Lake.
They offer an onsite burger bar serving hot food and drinks and an onsite toilet. The bailiff Robin is friendly and approachable, as well as being more than happy to chat and point you into the right direction of the fish.
For this session I chose to tackle the Carp Lake, hoping to bag a chunk for the beginning of the series. My set up consisted of my fox warrior rods in 3lb TC, windcast z reels spooled with 15lb d-cam and my ever faithful delkim ev’s and stow bobbins. A set up I have full confidence in and is more than capable to adapt to most angling situations I’ll be confronted with on day ticket waters around Norfolk.
As my fishing time can vary between sessions, I tend to have the majority of my rigs pre- tied at home, so I can turn up at the lake select a rig and I’m fishing. As my two favourite methods are solid pva bagging and zig rigs I always have plenty of rigs tied.
I also pre tie my solid pva bags so I can just attach one to the rod and put it out in position for a bite. This way, if I catch, I can just attach a new set up and put the rod back in place, whilst I’m sorting the fish out.
This is an effective tactic on day ticket waters, as it allows you to maximise bite time. If you want to take a look at how I prepare my PVA Bags, take a look at my previous article.
On this session I used my favourite solid pva bag mix, red crustacean boilies from gulp carp and yellow foam. Foam hook baits in my opinion for zigs cannot be beaten as you can remain confident that the foam won’t take on water during long sessions.
I arrived at the lake early in the afternoon, having had a look about, I chose my swim next to a bay area with the option of fishing to the island central to the lake. There were no signs of carp, so my first port of call was solid pva bags, often a quick effective method on day ticket waters. If fish are proving troublesome to locate, a well presented PVA bag set up will often draw one or two in, so it’s a good starting point.
The bailiff came around and told me of the recent events on the lake with a young man having three fish during the previous night. I was confident that I would see some action during my session but I still had a shadow of doubt that I might draw a blank as the lake is the hardest of the three waters.
Like many commercial fisheries, Shallow Brook has 24 hour fishing. With this added pressure the carp do not tend to feed during the day, with dawn, dusk and night being bite time. Never the less I continued scanning the water for signs of fish and after a few hours, I saw one carp milling just below the surface enjoying the spring afternoon sunshine. That’s all it took for me to be persuaded to get on the Zigs. So within minutes two six foot Zig rigs were in position.
This is where the advantage of pre tied rigs I mentioned earlier comes into its own. I can have a complete change of tactics within minutes, based on actual fish sightings. This will not only improve my chances but my confidence too, and confidence in fishing is everything as it helps you stay alert.
A further hour passed and I was approached by a couple of anglers who had also come down for the night, asking if I had had any luck yet. After a quick chat they went about their business and I continued to wait for a bite. I sat on my chair, regularly scanning the water for signs of fish, while tying a few more rigs.
As I was doing so I noticed my bobbin move out of the corner of my eye. I watch intensively as my bobbin made ever so slight movement, only to then slowly drop back. I shot up and lifted my rod, reeling in as fast as I could, so to catch up with the carp which was now swimming towards me. When I had finally caught up with the fish it put up the most epic fight I have had on a zig rig. Taking line and propelling off down the margins, attempting to find sanctuary. The carp didn’t surface until it was ready for the net and I have never felt as alive in my angling life as I did at this point.
I had caught a carp and buy the looks of him a good size carp, mid-afternoon on a lake that doesn’t tend to produce fish at that particular time, I was buzzing.
After weighing the beautifully dark common which hit the button at 15lb, I applied all care and sent him on his merry way. This was a significant catch for me as not only was it the first fish I had caught for the commercial success series but it was my biggest caught to date on a zig and my biggest this season. Result!
Shallow Brook Lakes was a definite commercial success and represents a good day out for all anglers, beginner or experienced, and at £6 a day it’s very affordable too.
My tip to fishing this venue is go prepared for more than one eventuality and make sure you have a few different rigs and baits to experiment with.
Until my next instalment of commercial success, tight lines.