In early July 2020 I decided to turn my attention to the popular day only day ticket venue 80+ acre Durleigh reservoir in Somerset. The venue has a large stock of carp to over thirty pounds and is predominantly commons with a few nice scaley mirrors.
Tactics on this venue tend to be mainly long range fishing at ranges over 100 yards. The carp can be caught close in but in my experience the long range baiting approach is the most successful.
I've fished Durleigh for the past few years from September through to December and caught some nice carp to 36.08, but this year was different.
The level had been brought up to the maximum level opening up the 'no fishing' shallows and giving the carp a safe haven. This also increased the area of water massively making location more challenging.
I'd never fished 'the res' as its known in July so this was a new challenge for me and like most of us post lockdown I was keen to flex some carbon.
The fishery owner's Wessex water had re opened the water with strict social distancing rules and a new swim booking system which had it's pro's and con's but suited me. The fishery is very well run and the staff are friendly, helpful and approachable.
The weather in early July was mainly warm so I figured the carp would typically be spending a lot of time in the shallow 'no fish' area of the res. and would be moving out into the main body of the res later in the day to feed in the evening and through the night as is often the case on Durleigh.
So my tactics were during these warmer sunny days to fish up the shallower end of the res. picking off carp moving around so I had a chance of catching though the day and not just the evening period before the gate closes.
The theory was to feed little and often for one bite at a time. No putting out 5k of bait straight from the off giving the carp the opportunity of waiting and cleaning it up later. There would be no free meals here. It was 'take it or leave it' for someone else to eat if you dont get in quick.
Having decided on the above tactics bait for a day sesh was typically 2.5k of 18mm DNA baits SLK soaked in matching hydro SLK spod syrup for a few days. I added a few tigers, corn and pellet to this, but the mix was 95% boilies to minimise bream interference with baits.
I normally wash my baits out, but as I was feeding little, I wanted high attract bait to make the carp make a choice. Take it or leave it.
Over the baited area I fished mainly 18mm SLK bottom bait and 15mm PB pop up snowman presentations. Again, high attract and high vis. These were presented on size 4 Scorpion Crank hook IQ2 D rigs.
My first session was fishing at 100 yards range and resulted in 5 bites. I landed 3 and unfortunately lost two. I never really felt I was on the fish that day and saw quite a few showing way out of range on the far margin trees.
Anyway, I ended up with three nice doubles including a nice two tone common.
A few days later I returned to the same swim and decided to fish at 120 yards range into a strong westerly wind. Casting was difficult but I managed to hit the clip most of the time. My spot was just before an old stream bed at about 130 yards which I believe the carp use as a patrol route moving down the lake.
I put in about 10 spombs of 18mm SLK, corn, tigers and pellet soaked in SLK hydro spod syrup. I had 4 quick fire double figure commons in the morning. It went quiet for a while however the bites started to come again.
Anyway, by closing time I'd had a great day resulting hooking and landing some 14 carp. These included 5 x twenties topped by a 25.04 common and a lovely 23.08 fully scaled mirror. Here are the best five.
A couple of weeks later I was fortunate enough to book the same swim and went on to land another 8 carp including three over 25lb. The best being 26.12 . All were caught using the same tactics.
So if you get the opportunity sometime. Book a swim on Durleigh reservoir in Somerset. You might end up with some cracking day ticket carp. I for one will be returning.