Fishing around the houses
An Oxfordshire housing estate is an unusual setting for a top fishery but that’s exactly what you get with Ladygrove Lakes
NEW housing estates are cropping up all over the land and that is giving those looking to get on the property ladder a huge array of options. The amount of choice on offer means that contractors are having to work harder than ever to sell all their plots and rake in the profits, with bricks and mortar just part of the mix on modern estates. Large parks with a variety of equipment and small shopping complexes are commonplace on recently built sites but some estates are, amazingly, even thinking about anglers when the blueprints are drawn up! Seemingly aware of the number of keen anglers there are in the UK, builders are creating lakes as part of the landscape within the estate. Some have been dug and hold nothing more than a few sticklebacks or other miniature species, but there is the odd gem that can compete with the best venues in the land. Hundreds of houses have sprung up on the popular Ladygrove Estate in Didcot, Oxfordshire. The spacious properties draw in the non-anglers but those who love to wet a line will have certainly convinced their partners to sign on the dotted line with the incredible fishing at the forefront of their minds.
One of a kind
Two pools make up Ladygrove Lakes and you can’t help but be impressed by what has been created. Wooden platforms are spaced around the banks, with well-maintained paths making it easy to haul your gear to a peg. But it is what lies beneath the surface that is the biggest draw. Silverfish hauls made up of big roach and skimmers regularly break the 70lb barrier, carp grow to well over 20lb and there’s even the chance of a giant 4lb perch. Dynamite Baits-backed Ryan Gibson has been a lifelong angler and first got into the sport in the East Midlands where he was born. But a move down south for work purposes meant starting from scratch on the fishing front and when he stumbled across Ladygrove he was stunned at what was on offer. “A few friends had told me about how good the
carp fishing was at the venue and my experience told me that good big-fish waters often hold plenty of silverfish,” explained Ryan. “I went down to have a look and I didn’t know what to think at first – it was such a well-kept fishery but it was in the most unique setting I’d ever seen – your pole is almost touching garden fences when shipped back!” A trial session to see whether his theory was correct was pencilled in and it didn’t take long for him to realise he had discovered a true gem, with a huge catch of skimmers and pristine roach his reward during his first session at the venue.
There used to be a time when worms, maggots and casters were all that you needed to catch silverfish but the influence of the commercial scene has changed all that. Pellets and boilies are often fed in large quantities by anglers after the carp and inevitably the silverfish get used to feasting on the leftovers. “You’ll catch plenty of roach on maggots but the big skimmers have been weaned on to pellets and fishmeal groundbaits. “I fish a line about 6m out for the roach and then have another at 13m for the skimmers.”
“He had discovered a true gem, with a huge catch of skimmers and roach”
Two wo big balls of groundbait are fed short at the start with a 50/50 /50 blend of Dynamite Baits Silver X Roach and Frenzied Hempseed Match Black being Ryan’ss mix. The sameame amount is fed long although the blend is different, with dampened micro pellets and Silver er X Skimmer a better option. “It’s s the sort of place where feeding small quantities doesn’t t work. Every peg holds a big stocks and they’ll ’ll hoover up any bait quickly so you need to put in plenty to keep them grubbing around.”” A look on the short line produced an instant result with small roach coming every drop in. As with all bream fishing, allowing the swim to settletle for a period is important. Catching a couple of quick fish wouldn’t be difficult but attack the swim wim too soon and the rest of the shoal will spook at the commotion because they haven’t had time to settle. An hour plundering the short line saw the stamp improve with a big 1lb 8oz roach the pick of the bunch before it was time to go long. Had Ryan waited long enough? Too right he had and in the next few hours quality bream averaging 2lb apiece and running to just under 4lb came at regular intervals. Topping up both lines when bites dried up or the stamp of fish dropped reinvigorated things. It was hard to believe that such top quality fishing was available on a lake in the middle of a housing estate, with over 50lb of silvers going into the net. “There aren’t many places that can provide such varied fishing. Whether you are introducing a youngster and want to catch silv-ers on the whip or a seasoned specimen angler, Ladygrove is the real deal.”
Quality bream to almost 4lb came thick and fast for Ryan Two big balls of pellets and groundbait get the skimmers feeding
An impressive Ladygrove Lakes catch that many waters would struggle to match