Big perch fishing in the Lea Valley and River Stort – winter 2017

What follows is a short article that covers my winter of 2017 perch fishing in the Lea Valley on the River Lea and the River Stort. Last years perch fishing had been fantastic and I was more than ready when October came round, the temperatures started dropping and the lure rods started calling!

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Pike fishing in the Lea Valley

This article is about a couple of months spent pike fishing in the Lea Valley. As time goes on I’m becoming more and more fond of lure fishing. It kind of suits my lifestyle very well. My time is very limit but if there’s a window I’ll grab it with both hands. I’ve been known to go fishing for 45minutes. A limited amount of kit and zero bait preparation makes lure fishing an ideal option for me.

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Carp fishing on the River Lea

I love my carp fishing on the River Lea. There’s a certain mystery when it comes to fishing for river carp. Unlike a lake you really don’t know the stock. Fish can swim for miles which can make it tricky at times but also means that you never know what you might catch.

Most of my carp fishing is done in spring, summer and autumn. Obviously on the river we have to wait until the 16th June before we can fish. There’s something really special about 16th June and last year I had a great first day, which included a stunning carp.

The carp in the River Lea are quite nomadic. Whilst a few areas hold resident fish, I generally find myself walking reasonable distances in order to find them on any given day. They tend to pop up in various locations and are not too hard to find with some decent walking boots and a pair of polaroids.

carp river lea
Above: The River Lea around Hertfordshire, plenty of carp if you look properly.

The river has plenty of weed, which the carp love. The banks can sometimes be wild and slightly overgrown. It’s not unusual for me to take clippers and a few gardening tools in order to trim back bushes and create gaps where I can fish effectively.

river lea in hertfordshire
Above: Wild banks and overgrown bushes. Often you can find carp right in the edge.

The fish tend to patrol up and down the river on warm, sunny days. My time is usually very limited and my sessions are frequently less than an hour or so. I’ve not got time to sit behind buzzers and so I find the fish and basically try and stalk them.

River Lea Carp
Above: Probably one of the nicest looking carp I’ve had from the river.

No flashy baits or techniques are needed. I mainly fish with bread, which they struggle to resist. I use this because that’s what they are fed all the time by people intending to feed the birds. I also sometimes feed mixers but general a crust of bread placed in just the right spot will do the trick. It’s all about timing. Often the bait is in the water for less than a minute.

carp fishing river lea lee
Above: Jungle warefare. A lovely dark common. I sat in a bush and watched it take the bait less than a foot away!

I’ve had a lot of success creeping up on these creatures. I sit behind reeds or sit in a bush! They simply don’t know I’m there – until all hell breaks loose! It’s the most exciting way of fishing for carp in my opinion. I’ve stalked loads of carp this way, including some very big specimens!

carp fishing river lea leeAbove: An absolute torpedo!

There’s a lot of stunning commons which are built to fight! Not overweight, boilie guzzlers like their stillwater counterparts. Hook one of these are you know about it! Not all my fish have been taken stalking or off the top. I’ve had some really nice commons fishing on the deck. Setting little traps with pellet and corn. A number of times I’ve had takes within minutes of the bait being in the water. That’s probably because I move around a lot. If I’ve not had a take within 45minutes I’m on my toes!

river lea carp

Above: An absolutely awesome looking, dark old common carp of 17lb 10oz from the River Lea.

Do not underestimate the power of these fish. You need very strong tackle, thick line and strong hooks. There’s plenty of snags and weed so you can’t mess about. When it comes to fishing for river carp (on the Lea or anywhere else) keep you rigs simple and strong!

river carp fishingAbove: Like a bar of gold.

I’ve started to question the size of the fish in this local stretch. I have an office on the river and so I tend to pop here for an hour before or after work. I think I’m probably going to have to go further up river if I want to catch bigger fish. Maybe I’ll stretch my legs and head up there next year. For now I’m having fun catching these corkers.

carp fishing on the river lea
Above: Not massive but great fun. Almost ‘bonus fish’ taken before work. Some have even been caught in my lunch hour!

If you want a challenge and something a bit different then why not try carp fishing on your local river. It’s a very different prospect to your local club lake, day ticket or syndicate. The fish are not as pressured, there’s always loads of swims free and it brings back some of the mystery in carp fishing.

river lea lee carp fishing

Above: Another dark, mid double common taken when poking around boats and barges.

River Lea Carp

The river contains loads of carp and they’re all characters. They fight like crazy and provide great, affordable, fun sport – so get out there!

Barbel fishing on the River Lea

I’ve never really done any barbel fishing on the River Lea. I had a bit of a go towards the end of last season on Kings Weir but to be fair that was a bit of a baptism of fire. The stock levels are low and the fish are very tricky indeed. In August of 2017 I decided that I needed to target a part of the river that offered me a better chance of a fish or two – before then returning to Kings Weir or Fishers Green once I’ve gained a bit more experience with this awesome creature.

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Short sessions fishing the Old Lea Loop

I’ve kind of been forced to become a bit of a short session expert. I run two very busy web design companies and time is precious. It’s not a coincidence that one of my offices is right on the River Lea in Ware. I’ve been doing a few very short sessions, either in my lunch hour or after work fishing Old River Lea at Tumbling Bay.

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Near disaster strikes – wrong rods at Lavers Syndicate

It was late August and I decided to pay a visit to the Lavers Syndicate in Essex. It’s got some great looking carp and it had been very kind to me on a couple of short visits in June. This was going to be my first full night on the lake and I was very much looking forward to it!

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Hello again – the Roundtail Common, Fryerning

It’s July and I’ve been enjoying myself catching carp at the Fryerning Essex. I’ve been travelling light and moving around all the lakes picking off fish including some good ones too. I’d had a number of decent fish doing this and even managed to bag the Valley Lake record at 41lb 3oz. I had turned up at the lakes at around 5pm and was planning to do the night but then pack everything up in the morning apart from a stalking rod and a few bits and go for a wander.

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Farlows Lake 2

Just about every carp fisherman has heard of Farlows. It’s kind of become part of carp fishing history. Indeed, I first fished it over 25 years ago. A hell of a lot has changed since then. One thing that’s changed from back then is the introduction of Farlows Lake 2. This article covers an overnighter where we tried to unlock some of the gems in Lake 2.

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My first 40 from Fryerning, Essex

The main lake at Fryerning can be tough. 20 acres is a lot of water for just 50/60 carp. I had a blank night on left hand point on the main lake so I took a wonder. I found most of the lakes stock spawning in the shallows so I decided to look at the other lakes on the complex. The Valley Lake Fryerning has some nice fish and I found a few in a quiet corner at the bottom end of the lake. All the gear was packed away on the main lake and the stalking kit came out!

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