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In mid July 2016 I managed to get on the syndicate for Fryerning Fisheries. It’s an 18acre lake with around 150 fish it in. That’s a lot of water for that many fish to disappear into. I get lucky and bag a 37lb common on my first night! I’m going to enjoy the Fryerning carp.

The lake is stunning. The effort the owners go to is amazing. Right from the moment you pull up at the gate you can’t help but be impressed.

Fryerning carp lake

Above: The impressive entrance to Fryerning Fisheries.

All around the lake are artifacts, big chunks of rock, benches and a huge old millstone. There’s a lodge for the syndicate members, new toilets and showers and charging points for your gadgets. It really is everything you could want from a first class syndicate.

Fryerning main lake

Above: The view from the Millstone swim.

As I said, there’s around 150 carp. That’s not many fish for the size of the lake and that does make it tricky however the fish in here are amazing. At the right time of year you have 18 carp over 40lb with 2 over 50lb. Quite a few of the remaining stock are over 30lb. So this has to be the most exciting carp fishery I’ve fished so far in about 30 years of carp fishing – but it isn’t going to be easy!

Fryerning carp lake

Above: Quite a sight. Looking down the 18 acre lake from the Double Dam swim.

I arrive at the lake mid afternoon and have a good walk around for about an hour. The lake is looking quite large and windswept making it hard to see anything. Nothing has been out of the main lake for over a week so with only 24hours available I’m not feeling too confident. The two swims that grab me are The Royal Box and The Last Swim. These are right around the opposite side of the lake which is a fair walk. I load the barrow and I’m off.

Fryerning fishing

Above: Fully loaded I arrive at The Royal Box for a quick 24 hour session.

I decide to fish the left side of the Royal Box. You have so many options in the swim, it covers a hell of a lot of water. There are some obvious spots on the island to the left and a vast expanse of open water in front of you. I proceed to check that the island spots are deep enough using a marker float. There’s swans and bird life a plenty and I want to make sure I’m in deep enough water otherwise they will dive down and feed on my spots. I then switch to a bare lead to check out the open water. The left hand rod is placed on the island, the middle rod is fished at 70 yards range and the right hand rod goes out to around 90 yards.

The left and middle spots are baited with around 3kilos of boilies, sweet corn and mixed particle. The boilies are a mix of Nutcracker and Manilla. My plan is to move the right hand rod every hour to try and locate some fish.

urban bait carp
Above: Two types of boilies were fed into the swim. Both were used whole and crushed. I then added hemp, maize and corn. Finally I added some hemp oil just to boost the attraction.

The bottom is a mix of clay and silt. Presentation on these clear spots wasn’t a problem and therefore I could keep the rigs quite simple (Korda N-Trap Soft and Atomic hooks). On the hair itself is a Cell Wafter tipped with fake Slow Sinking Maize.

Fryerning cell

Above: Cell Wafters and Korda Slow Sinking Maize.

I love the Cell and I’ve been using these as Wafters for a while. I decided to also tip the bait with slow sinking plastic maize. The lake has a history of crayfish and I wanted to ensure something remained on the hair should they scoff the boilie. I really like Korda’s plastic maize as I like the stops that come with them. They are constructed in a ‘v shape’ which also prevents the crayfish pulling the hairstop out – something they are known to do. They’re crafty little buggers! Having said that I didn’t experience any issues with crays. The owners have said that these are no longer a problem and that does appear to be the case. There was no evidence of them whatsoever during my 24hours.

It takes a while to get all 3 rods out. Everything was made quite tricky by a very strong cross wind! Once they are sorted I settle down at my own personal picnic table and have a nice cuppa!

Fryerning carp fishing

Above: All settled into the Royal Box. I even have my own picnic bench!

And so begins the waiting game. I’ve done all I can do and it’s time to kick back and enjoy my new surroundings. I watch the water for hours waiting to see showing fish but nothing shows. The sun has broken through and it’s a really nice place to be.

Fryerning syndicate
Above: The swim covers a huge amount of water. 

Carp begin to show just passed the island just as it’s getting dark. I decide to take my right hand rod and land a hinged stiff rig right on their heads. I opted for a hinged stiff rig because there’s no time to lead around or check what’s there. It’s a tactic I often use when casting at showing fish – a hinged stiff rig on a helicopter set up. You can land it on anything – within reason.

I meet a few of the other syndicate members and they are really decent blokes and it feels like I’m going to enjoy my time on here. They are so into their fishing and they share loads of information with me which is very good of them. It really does help when you’re on a new water to try to gain as much information as possible.

As it gets dark I struggle to get off to sleep even though I feel very tired. I’m excited to be here and the prospect of catching one of the bigguns keeps me awake for ages . I had been watching the water and listening out for fish crashing for hours. Eventually I drift off.

At around 3am in the morning the right hand rod has a slow but steady run. The bite alarm is very loud in the quiet of the night. The reason it’s not ripped off is because I set the clutch on the reel to be fairly tight. There is a barbless hook rule here on Fryerning and I didn’t want the fish to shake out the hook when on a semi slack line.

I dash out the bivvi tighten the clutch and bend into a solid weight. I can’t feel it properly at this point as it’s quite a long way out – I just feel a heavy weight. I’m worried that the fish might go around the back of the island to my left and so I dash along the bank to the right and give it some side strain. It’s pitch black and my heart is jumping out of my chest as the fish starts to make some powerful lunges – it becomes obvious that this is a big fish. I know that I’ve got the fish passed the island so move back into my swim and continue to play the fish from there. I’m trying to make sure that the right amount of tension is kept on the line at all times as I run back under the trees towards my swim. I don’t want that barbless hook to come out! My concern now is a large weedbed that I found earlier whilst plumbing with a lead but thankfully the fish is playing ball and doesn’t make a dash for it. Without too much trouble I have the fish in the net and I can’t believe that I’ve manged to get one on my first night. This is not an easy lake and I was expecting a series of blanks and a period of ‘having to work things out’. I couldn’t quite believe it.

Fryerning carp
Above: The Roundtail Common at 37lb on the nose.

As I lifted it out of the water I knew it was big. I strained as I carried it across to my cradle. Another syndicate member from down the bank came to lend a hand. We weighed the fish together, the scales showed 41lb 4oz and then we weighed the retainer sling which weighed 4lb 4oz … so 37lb exactly and a new PB by just over 1.5lb. Get in! What a result!
fryerning carp roundtail common Above: Unbelievable. Completely blown away by this awesome creature. A couple of spawning marks but otherwise in mint condition.

Fryerning carp
Above: An immense carp. 

Remarkably this fish does go over 40lb however it was slightly spawned out. To get any fish on my first trip would have been amazing but a known fish of this size was quite remarkable. The lake has been fishing really quite tough over the last couple of weeks too so I really did get lucky (let’s hope it’s not beginners luck!)


Above: The sun starts to come up over Fryerning after a night I won’t forget for a while!

After the excitement of the fish I cannot sleep. I’m completely buzzing. The sun comes up and whilst I feel exhausted I also feel on top of the world. I pack up at around lunchtime the next day and head for home. Obviously I cannot wait to get down there again. The trip had been short but very, very sweet!

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