Like most anglers reading this, I only get so many weeks off work a year. I try to use these as best I can. Splitting amongst family holidays and others solely fishing with several day sessions a month but these don’t really count right !!. I always save a week for the back end of the year, usually for a foreign trip or like this year a week on Holme Fen for Rod Hutchinson’s Social.
With this in mind, I’m often looking to hit day ticket lakes in or around Yorkshire with the odd further trip south each year to maximise my chance whilst my working life gets in the way of my angling!!
Over the last few years however there has been a new venue to my hit list right on my doorstep, Tees Valley lakes, a great well run venue owned by Ste Alford with some real lumps to go at spread across 2 lakes approx. 2 acres each, Alpha which contains 56 fish to 31lb and Eagle which contains over 120 fish to 25lb 9oz, by no means are the fish in either of these lakes swimming up your lines however the rewards are there and some big hits can be made if you hit it right especially on Eagle.
This week saw me take the short trip to Tees valley lakes and booked 48hrs on Alpha with the day time temps around 14c however the night time still dropping down to 2c so knew the fish would be on the move however still not quite woken yet and on the munch for spawning. On arrival I took a walk around the lake and spoke to a few lads who were leaving and as I thought there was a few fish showing however with only 1 fish out all week proved they are still waking up.
I opted to jump in the same swim another angler had pulled out of which gave me a margin to go at which soaked up the first sun of the day and an area I expected the fish to be sitting in to soak up as much of the early rays as possible whilst also giving me access to a bar which sat 3ft under the surface should the fish be patrolling the upper layers. My swim was central to the main body of the lake with the far margin only 30 yards away forming the thinner part of a keyhole with an arm of water that run around the back of an island the perfect area for the carp to move out of the main body of water. Knowing the lake had been fishing slow and the temps we had been getting, the swim still filled me with confidence as I had given myself so many opportunities to intercept them should they wish to play ball and feed.
A quick cast about with the marker to find the bar I knew sat only 10-15 yards out rising from nearly 6ft of water. With the fish still not on the feed I kept the bait to a minimum with only a hand full of Rod Hutchinson’s KMG (high in protein fishmeal based bait) on the bar, fished over with a simple stripped back coated braid rig finished off with the ultra-sharp Scorpion Curved Hooks by Carptackleonline with a KMG bottom bait halved and fished back to back on the hair to match the hatch of the chops . The other 2 rods I opted to fish the far margin where the sun hit at first light and an area of only 3ft I knew would warm up quick and if any fish were in a feeding mood would surely visit.
24 hours passed and still no fish on the bank the temps on an evening were cold and with a few days of 10-15c it really builds your hopes up and gives you a sense of spring and a false sense of optimism. Around 1300hrs just starting my last 24 hours, I seen a fish role just off the margin followed by a bow wave a few yards away which was clearly spooked by his mate giving there where abouts away. They were where I thought however a bit further down the slope and not as tight to the margin as I first thought. Keeping things simple and not being one to jump on the latest trend or rig fandango just having confidence in an ultra-sharp hook and bait of the highest quality fished in the right area has proven time and time again to be the winning formula and in this case was no different. An 8 inch rig consisting of 20lb N-Trap stripped back to create a hinge tied off with a simple knotless knot to a size 6 Scorpion Curve again tipped off with KMG halved back to back and a small golf ball size pva bag of chops and pellet. I flicked my left-hand rod on the area I seen the fish create the bow wave from after being disturbed, my middle rod on the area I seen the fish show not 10 minutes ago.
Within 30 minutes my middle rod sprung to life and rather than the line melting off the reel as expected in shallower water the bobbin simply rose 2” and dropped 2” this must of happened twice which was enough for me to get up and stand over the rods after witnessing fish in the margins on my local lake over the years picking up my rig and quite simply staying put and shaking there head trying the rid the hook without hitting the lead clip and bolt rig affect, With this visual in my head I lifted the rod took up the slack and lifted into the fish of which certainly did spring into life upon doing so.
The fish powered off on a 15-yard run hugging the far margin with clouds of mud kicking up as it ploughed the bottom on its war path up and down for a good 5 minutes. It was certainly giving a good account of itself and eventually I had it in the margins and ready for the net. In it went first time, a stunning VS Mirror topping the scales at 20lb 10oz not breaking any PB records but its defiantly the most immaculate fish I’ve ever caught.
Wayne Morgan who was just setting up in the peg to my left came over for a cuppa and a catch up since bumping in to him nearly a year ago on the complex just in time to do the honours with the camera. The rest of the session was really quiet with the wind changing to a Westerly and even the day temps dropping to 6c which I think put them quiet.
With only the 1 fish under my belt in this session I was more than happy with how it went based on the weather conditions. By 1030hrs the next day I was all packed up and on my way home with a few pics of the new luggage range Rod Hutchinson have just released, some decent notes of my session to write up, great pics of a low 20 mirror and the newly gained knowledge of my session
To find out more about Tees Valley Lakes follow the link below;
Tees Valley Lakes began in 2010 with the aim to create exceptional quality Fishery's in the North East and North Yorkshire of England, Stocked with the finest English bred carp. We currently have 4 lakes offering day ticket & 24hr fishing for specimen carp to mixed coarse fisheries. Tees Valley Lakes - Opened 1st April 2017 Alpha - 24hr Day ticket specimen carp lake containing only carp from 18lb to 31lb with 50 x carp already confirmed over 20lb+. Eagle - 24hr Day ticket specimen carp lake containing carp only with a higher stock density ranging to 25lb+. Sangemere - A private Specimen Carp Syndicate with very limited membership, This lake contains Carp only & is a well established old english estate lake. Yarm Lake - a day ticket mixed coarse fishery containing high stocks of English Mirror & Common Carp, Roach, Bream, Tench, Chubb & Perch,