With the weather on the change, I decided that this week’s fishing adventure – again re-introducing Guy to angling, should be spent targeting F1’s and the other species that we had caught previously on Lamby Lake. After a bit of research and a few phone calls, I decided to fish Woodstock, one of Newport Angling Associations’ waters just off Bettws Lane. The lake was heavily stocked with “everything that swims” and seemed to offer a good all round mix of fish without it becoming a glorified stock pond.
|All the pegs around Woodstock looked fishy!
After arriving at the lake and a quick walk around, I was pleasantly surprised by the features of the lake. It was well established and every other peg seemed to have a feature! This was going to be great. I had already spoken with Newport Angling’s Treasurer Martyn Truman, who told me the pegs 26, 27 and 28 were the “fliers” and to aim to fish them if possible. Our walk showed us that these pegs were already taken, so we continued down the bank to the far corner of the lake. We both quickly set up and before long Guy was reeling in his first roach of the day. I plumbed up 2 swims, one in the margin to my left and the other 9 meters out into open water. Shipping in, my plummet was generously coated in silt, so today I would aim to fish just off the bottom, targeting the fish that were grazing through my offered groundbait.
Not having a bite instantly was a curious, as there were lots of fishing moving in the upper levels of the water. Lifting my rig of out of the water and re-positioning my hookbait to the right of my feed area (a slight pendulum swing with my rig) resulted in my float vanishing and I was into my first Roach of the day. I found that the fish were taking on the drop, so before shipping back out I adjusted my rig length accordingly. Fishing shallower resulted in more positive bites and less time between fish, and with the introduction of loose feed, my float was getting the tell tale “line bites” that I had been waiting for. The fish however, still weren’t coming in vast numbers and after 40 minutes of intermittent activity our swims quietened down considerably. The bailiff then arrived and informed us that we were fishing 2 of the worst pegs on the lake. Great stuff, especially as we had spent the best part of 2 hours feeding our swims. With an hour until midday (lunch!), I chose to fish my margin swim with 8mm pellet to see if I could snag one of the F1 carp the lake held, while trying not to feel frustrated about my peg choice. Bites registered on the float immediately, and within 2 minutes I had my first Woodstock F1 Carp in the net.
Sticking on the same method of attack I shipped back out and waited. Despite my best efforts and many bites, I couldn’t connect with any of the fish, and foolishly 8mm pellets were the smallest in my holdall. Frustrated with my lack of success I began to consider other options. The bailiff must have sensed my frustration and suggested that we move to the School Pond. Normally I would have stuck with my original peg, and duked it out, but frustration had also crept into Guy’s mind, and feeling guilty about taking him to a fishery which wasn’t fishing great, I thought we could at least have a look at the other lake which was apparently stuffed full of fish.
The School Pond is a fenced off section of the original Morgans pond. It has a huge Lily bed in the middle of it and, like Woodstock and Morgans, it looked incredibly fishy! This was confirmed on our brief walk around, seeing 2 of the anglers reeling in carp between 1 – 2 lb’s. We’d seen enough and without delay we headed back, packed up our gear and re-positioned ourselves on the School pond, both fishing pegs on the 40’s bank.
As before, Guy was first away and cast straight to the lilies while I continued arranging my box as to not topple into the lake! 30 seconds had past and Guy was into a fish – an F1 Carp of just under a pound. A quick feeder refill and he was back out and back in with another F1 of a similar size. The move was already worth it! I quickly followed suit and shipped out double red maggot. Fishing at 11.5 meters meant I was a meter short of the lilies, but for the time being I wanted to avoid such a snaggy hazard.
My float zipped under the surface and I too was into a F1 carp of just over 1lb. Shipping back out, and lowering my rig into the water, the elastic came out of my pole and I was in again. These fish were taking high up in the water! Another nice fish – a perfectly scaled F1. It’s no wonder that match anglers prefer to catch F1 Carp, they go off with such gusto, when you get them in the net you feel you have achieved something by landing them. The 3rd fish I caught was considerably larger than the previous 2 and had no intention of coming quietly. On striking it made a beeline for the lilies and my 8 elastic did nothing to stop it. This fish carried on, taking my hook with it. Switching up to new 14 elastic, I decided to be brave and fish close to the lilies. Hair rigging a pellet I shipped out and began to wait. The time between bites increased, but as I was hoping for something more substantial, I sat hands at the ready to heave any fish away from the lilies.
My next 2 fish were nice Bream both well over the 2lb mark. The 3rd fish also decided to make a break for freedom, and dived headlong into the lily bed. Spitting the hook while under tension from the elastic meant my rig was well and truly tangled. Switching to my 16 elastic I re-started my carping campaign and felt assured that I could bully them out with this elastic! To cut a frustrating tale short, Guy and I caught a number of carp all up to the 3lb mark, but anything larger than that always ended up in the lilies. It was clear to see why all the other anglers around the lake were on the feeder.
|Thousands of F1 Carp this size in the School Pond
We decided to call it a day at half 3 after we both lost substantial fish to the foliage. All in all I was glad we moved, and Guy seemed pleased to have caught a good number of Carp but we both agreed the fish in the School pond all know how to evade capture, especially when we were fishing so close to the snags!
I really liked the ponds that we fished. As they were established lakes rather than the “featureless carp puddles”, they offered a lot more features and a lot more wildlife, which always helps. I will be returning the fish both of the lakes in the not so distant future, so for the time being I will reserve a rating for either. Switching mid way through a session also wouldn’t do a rating any good. I would however encourage anyone who wants a busy days fishing to visit the School Pond, it is so heavily stocked with fish that you will bag up with a number of species and see a variety of wildlife (this includes a coot who was quite happy to stick his head right into my holdall!). Also for £5 it is the most reasonably priced fishery that I have visited in south Wales yet.
Ratings… To be confirmed at a later date.