2 Men, 4 Days, 20 Species.


Mark Lewis .


I decided to get involved in a charity fundraising event for disadvantaged children, sponsored by my office work mates . If you were going to raise money for charity what would you do?  My fishing pal Nigel and I, agreed that rather than get roped in to the possibly life threatening activities that our colleagues decided that they were going to do, that we would raise money by doing something we actually enjoy doing.

A sponsored fish it was then, with the target being to catch 20 different species of fish in just 4 days - much more relaxing!

The venue where the challenge took place, Clawford Vineyard, is owned and run by John and Wanda Ray down in Clawton, Devon. John & Wanda has a complex of 13 lakes, which are stocked with Carp to 40lb+, Catfish to 60lb+ plus all the usual suspects and some interesting others!! Each lake contains its own bit of interest and allows the angler to try a variety of different methods and tactics.

Day 1 we started our challenge on ‘JR’s’, the Match Lake, on a warm day at the beginning of May,. We had a good session with 6 different species accounted for - but all the easy ones - carp of various sorts plus roach, Rudd and skimmers.

Day 2 was more interesting, We decided to ‘go for gold’ on ‘Gregory’s’ – the ‘Golden Lake’.  All the fish in there are like gold bars.  We tackled up with simple waggler rigs at dead depth fishing corn over pellets.  Out came golden     Rudd, golden Orfe and pink Orfe . We put together about 10lb of these in no time, before the golden Tench arrived and Nigel had 2 in quick succession.  The next time the floats went out they both dipped simultaneously and we both struck into fish that were obviously not the small ones we had been catching and both of us landed golden carp of about 4lb.  Then it was back to the rudd and orfe before Nigel’s float disappeared and he pulled out a fan tailed shibumkin, this left just one species to be caught from this lake - Koi carp. Try as we might we just could not find any.  The schedule we had worked out said that at lunchtime it was time to move and so we did, even though the Koi had eluded us.  

The sun had put in an appearance and so we decided to try ‘Clawford Lake’ home of the mighty king carp (up to 24lbs).  We had noticed them rolling in the margins and thought a floater approach would be our best chance of a quick return.  We approached the lake, with Nigel going to the right, while I went left. We both fired some mixers into the wind to drift towards the rushes and to our delight several big rubber lips soon appeared slurping our free offerings with gusto.

The lips came up and I struck into the first fish - only a small one of about 6lb, but it was another species. This was followed quickly by Nigel striking in to a lumpy mirror just short of double figures.  The weather then turned and a thunder storm we had been watching in the distance, started to head our way so we quickly headed back to the complex and shelter of umbrellas.  Still at the end of day 2 we had some personal bests and we now had 13 species.

Day 3 arrived and we started on ‘Edwards Lake’ in search of blue orfe. We had some nice roach to about 1.5lb, some small ghost carp to about 1lb and some hand sized silver bream, but the blue orfe proved illusive.  We did get a koi and a dace which surprised us, but, they counted toward our quest.  By lunchtime, it was time to move, so we decided to go and try ‘Wandas Lake’.  Here we had some lovely fish, with Crucian carp, green Tench and Ide. This again threw up personal bests with a 5lb 11oz tench being one for Nigel.

At about 6 o’clock we decided there was enough time and light to go and stalk ghosties on ‘Fletchers Lake’ using floaters.  The fish obliged and we had 7 fish off the top from 8lb to 11lb 6oz.  With the light fading we decided to head off to get some dinner in the complex's fantastic restaurant, and a well-earned beer in the comfortable bar.  The species count was just 1 away from completing the challenge.

The final day arrived and it was going to be a hot one. With 1 species left, we thought the easy target was to go for gudgeon on ‘Emery's Lake’, but the roach and Rudd had other ideas, and  we just could not get through them. So we headed back down the hill to ‘JR’s Lake’ for the remainder of the day, with an option of a last go for the ghosties in ‘Fletchers Lake'. We tackled up and as a quick challenge to each other, we decided to see who could catch the most fish on the same maggot. I managed a lowly 3 before the bait was taken, Nigel managed 18 on the whip, before he lost what was left of his maggot. More important, in that 18, Nigel had managed to catch a blue Orfe. Job done! Then, we were able to relax and enjoy our last afternoons fishing taking 70 carp between us, plus a lot of roach and Rudd. Total estimated weight in excess of 200lb -  not bad for a pair of amateurs!

So, if you would like to catch lots of fish, different species, or simply target large carp, or if you just want to have a very enjoyable fishing holiday with your other half (Bude and the shopping is only about 30 minutes away by car), we can thoroughly recommend Clawford Vineyard.  You can find more details by logging on to the very informative Clawford website at http://www.clawford.co.uk


Mark Lewis .