Baits & Tactics.


'Cornish Ken'  Townley.



Fletchers Lake.

This is the main ghost carp lake on the complex, containing at least three twenty pound plus Ghosties. The fish are in wonderful condition and can be quite obliging at times. However, I would suggest that you keep an open mind about how and where to fish for the carp of Fletchers Lake as they can change their habits almost overnight. Certainly if the weather is hot, still and sunny the fish will readily come up to the top and floating baits stand every chance of a take. Bear in mind however, that these fish have seen it all before so they are not easily fooled. If you can see the fish cruising amongst the tall stems of the rushes you can often intercept them with a single Chum Mixer. I suggest that you keep all the main line off the surface of the lake by draping it over the stems themselves, allowing only the hook-bait to touch the surface.

If you spot the fish cruising on the surface in the middle of the lake you may need to scale down your main line so that it doesn’t spook the fish. Try using a bubble float to add casting weight, with a large floating trout pellet as bait. This can be attached to the hook using a rubber bait band. Try to get the fish feeding on floating pellets by firing out a large PVA bagful into the middle of the lake. It won’t sink thanks to the buoyancy of the pellets inside, and when the bag melts the floating pellets will spread out on the surface. You can order floating pellets directly from Haith’s Supercatch (see the links page), or why not ask John and Wanda to pre-order you some before your holiday?

While the fish love to come to the top, they also like feeding on the bottom. I suggest a carpet of small baits such as Trigga chops or Big Fish Mix boilie crumb. These fish really respond to good bait so why not ask one of the bait rolling companies such as Rollin Baits of Rotherham to make you a few kilos of small (10mm) baits. Any of the top base mixes will do, but Trigga seems to take bigger and better fish.

Major John’s Lake.

The biggest carp on the complex lives here, along with some of his very impressive mates. The fish are pretty cute but if you are prepared to try something a bit different by way of bait and presentation, you should get your string pulled!

My usual approach on this lake is to try to get the fish feeding in the corners of the lake rather than concentrating on the islands. I am not saying they don’t hang around the islands – they do – but they also like to cruise the margins, especially in the right angled corners at the far end of the lake and on the point of the Monk Bay.

I like to introduce chopped and crumbed bait in a line leading out from the margins a distance of about four yards. This intercepts the fish are they cruise the margins and the deeper water just off the bank.

One area that has always produced for me is the first corner on the north bank (looking up the lake with the guest house at your back).

I usually fish a paste-wrapped boiled bait over the top of the bait carpet, but if you are prepared to put up with the attentions of the smaller fish in the hope of a big ‘un, try floats fishing trout pellet paste with a steady trickle of free paste as groundbait.

Natural baits such as maggots, worms and even bread flake are always in with a shout and are worth a try when standard tactics seem not to be working.

Tanners Lake.

This is the hardest lake on the complex. It’s seen it all and because of the particle ban you can really only use boilies, pellets and/or The Method. One Method Mix that has done really well on this lake is the Haith’s Supercatch mix, SuperRed (see the links page). Try moulding this around a Fox In-Line Carp Feeder in conjunction with a small high attract hook-bait. Fire out a carpet of Trigga pellets to get the fish interested.

For many years the standard approach on Tanners has been small baits, light leads (1oz), slack lines, back leads etc. Naturally such a confidence-inducing approach has been successful but after six or seven years of steady pressure the fish have started to wise up to this method. Last year I caught more fish on big baits – 24mm Trigga – than I did on small, and by changing to shorter hooklinks with three and four ounce leads I managed to change twitches into full-blooded runs. All the best active baits work here – NRG, Assassin-8, etc. – but again Nutrabaits Trigga seems to be the boss bait at the moment.

Clawford Lake.

This is a real runs water, the ideal place to stir those jaded buzzers into life! Literally crammed with fish, the lake fishes brilliantly throughout the summer and autumn months, so you are guaranteed action while on your holiday. The fish hit surface baits, with great enthusiasm, while bottom baits are devoured with equal gusto.

Just about anything goes as far as bottom baits are concerned but I suggest a really dense carpet of Trigga Pellets with a few 15mm Trigga boilies over the top.

On the surface Mixers & Floating Carp Pellets will bring you results.


Ken Townley.