Mention commercial fisheries to some people and you can see the look of horror on their faces. They imagine circular, featureless pools with anglers all huddled together side by side, hauling out poor conditioned fish who have no option but to eat their baits because their are so many of them.
Don’t get me wrong, I have seen those places and even fished a few but when I was asked to cover the Hants and Dorset area for the Angling Gazette for their new commercial fisheries feature, I leapt at the chance.
You see, like many anglers, I don’t get the time to fish 2 or 3 day stints or even many overnighters, so to be able to go to well stocked lakes, designed with the angler in mind, is appealing to me, especially when they are well run. So for my first feature, I’m off to Whitemoor Lakes near Wimborne in Dorest, on a very busy bank holiday Monday.
On Arrival, the first thing I noticed about the main lake at Whitemoor, is that there were features in every swim. The design of the lake means that you are never too far from one of the islands, an overhanging tree or some margin reeds or lilies.
I settled for a swim on “the point”, which had a submerged, tree lined island about 30 yards straight out in front of it, as well as some sunken trees in the adjacent swims. The idea was that if nobody else moved up to this part of the lake, I would have the option of 3 or 4 stalking swims, later in the session.
I put out a PVA bag, with a Cultured Carp Baits SOS boilie, on my left hand rod and cast it tight to some snags just to the left of the submerged Island. I was about to set up my second rod when I noticed a few carp already cruising the upper layers of the water in front of the main reed bed.
This was the invitation I needed. It was only 8.30am but if the Carp are going to move up in the water, then so will I. I set up my Fox 1.75 TC Stalking rod and with just a controller and a piece of bread, mounted on a size 4 hook, I cast towards the reed bed. If I’ve learnt anything over the years, it’s that if you want to catch carp that are cruising in a certain area, then you have to be able to get right in to where they are comfortable to patrol, that place where they think they are safe.
My first 2 casts, fell about 6 inches short of where I wanted and with a slight drift on the water, were short of the where I though the “strike” zone would be. Third cast however and I was tight up against the reeds, surely it had to be a dead cert?
Within 30 seconds, one of the cruisers couldn’t resist the bread and I was into my first fish of the day.
Not a monster by any account but when you’re playing Carp, caught on the surface, on rods under the 2lb TC and light tackle, they will give you a fight you’ll enjoy. Not bad, half an hour into the session and a fish was on the bank. A nice looking mirror with no damage at all to mouth or fins, which is always a sign of a well run fishery.
It was still early but the sun was already up and warm .
I’d been flicking a few bits of bread under an overhanging tree, a few yards to my right, and had almost forgotten about them until I noticed a swirl coming from around some of the trailing branches. Being no more than 2 feet from the bank, I simply lowered the crust into the area and waited. Just as before, the wait didn’t last long and I was into fish number 2.
The lake by now was starting to get busy, but that didn’t seem to put the Carp off. I switched to one of the other swims on the point as it had a big overhanging tree and I’d already seen a few carp cruising the area. Again, as before, the secret was to get as tight to the tree as possible. If I could put my crust into their sanctuary, there was always a chance. This time, the drift was with me, so although my cast wasn’t perfect, my piece of crust was soon in the strike zone.
I’m not sure what it is about stalked fish. Maybe its the fact that they are in that perfect state of comfort, just before you hook them, but for some reason they go off like wild animals. And the little chunky common that sucked up my bait from within the branches, was no exception. Without doubt the smallest of the three fish so far, it tore off like a lunatic.
These fish at Whitemoor are not going to get you into the record books. They will not be paraded in the gallery section of your favourite Carp magazine, and they will impress neither your family or friends. But to be able to catch a few fish in just a couple of hours, on the surface on a hot bank holiday Monday, is reward in itself.
It’s a very social fishery with anglers of all ages and abilities and for £8 for the day, I think it’s good value. You can catch fish on the bottom there and they do have Carp to 26lb but it is definitely a water where it pays not to just sit behind 2 rods and wait, its a proactive water and one worth exploring.
I enjoyed my morning at Whitemoor, would certainly recommend it and would definitely give it the “Commercial Success” Thumbs Up! Join me soon as I’m off to explore Orchard Lakes in Bashley, Hampshire.
Keep an eye open for more from our “Commercial Success” feature as our team of anglers roam the commercial fisheries of the UK in search of the good, the bad and the incredible.
If you’d like to do a feature on a commercial fishery in your area, please get in touch via the contacts page.