Dis­cov­er­ing Day Tick­ets

Fol­low Loz as he tack­les Baden Hall’s Mid­dle Pool for 24 hours in the third in­stal­ment of his trav­els around the coun­try’s more pop­u­lar day ticket venues

Carpworld - - CONTENTS - - Loz East

Fol­low Loz as he tack­les Baden Hall’s Mid­dle Pool for 24 hours in the sec­ond in­stal­ment of his trav­els around the coun­try’s more pop­u­lar day-ticket venues

Baden Hall fish­ery is based in Stafford­shire and has 11 lakes on site, which suit most styles of an­gling. The lakes are set out in the cat­e­gories of spec­i­men wa­ters, plea­sure wa­ters and match wa­ters. The venue can be found by us­ing the fol­low­ing ad­dress: Ec­cle­shall, Stafford­shire, ST21 6LG and you can con­tact the fish­ery re­cep­tion on 01785 850313, or al­ter­na­tively by email at fish­ing@ baden­hall.com. The open­ing times for the fish­ery are pretty stan­dard and dur­ing the sum­mer months the gates open at 6am and close at 9pm, dur­ing the win­ter they open at 6am and close at 7pm.

First of all I’ll look at the spec­i­men wa­ters where there are three lakes – the Quarry, the Bridge Pool and Glovers. The Quarry is around 18 acres in size with 18 pegs and each have their own in­di­vid­ual fish­ing cabin – so there’s no need to take your bivvy. This lake con­tains fish to al­most 50lb and for a 24 hour ses­sion will cost you £35. The Bridge Pool is 10 acres in size with eight fish­able pegs and for this lake you will need to bring your own bivvy. Bridge Pool holds fish cur­rently to over 35lb and is £30 for 24 hours fish­ing. Fi­nally, Glovers is 8 acres in size with 8 pegs around the lake and holds carp to over 40lb, and again this will cost you £30 for 24 hours fish­ing. The com­plex holds some huge carp and the thing that makes Baden Hall stand out from the crowd is you have the choice of three ex­tremely beau­ti­ful gravel pits to choose from.

Not only does Baden Hall of­fer the spec­i­men hunter the prospect of some very large carp but there are also three plea­sure lakes on site – these be­ing Mid­dle Pool, Lodge Pool and Dam Pool. These lakes give you the po­ten­tial to make big hits of fish and, if you’re all about en­joy­ing your­self no mat­ter what the size of the carp, then these pools are def­i­nitely for you. With that said though, they all still con­tain carp well over the 20lb bar­rier – so you’re al­ways in with a chance of catch­ing a de­cent fish as well. All three lakes will cost you £25 for 24 hours fish­ing which I’m sure is value for money with the sport you can ex­pect to re­ceive.

Last but by no means least, the com­plex also holds a num­ber of match wa­ters so, if you’re look­ing to give fish­ing a go for the first time or even prac­tice for com­pe­ti­tions, then these par­tic­u­lar lakes are well worth a look. A day’s fish­ing on the match wa­ters, with one rod, will cost you £10. You can ex­pect to catch all man­ner of species and with great sur­round­ings what more can you ask for.

In re­la­tion to the rules for the venue you can go to www.baden­hall­fish­ery.com/rules to check them out. They are clearly listed so there should be no con­fu­sion. From read­ing through them my­self, the only point that stood out to me was in re­la­tion to the spec­i­men wa­ters. The venue pro­vide their own land­ing nets, slings and un­hook­ing mats, so you don’t need to worry about bring­ing your own. Be­fore you start fish­ing you must go to re­cep­tion and pur­chase your ticket, and it’s a max­i­mum two rod limit on all the lakes. The rest of the rules are pretty stan­dard but, be­fore fish­ing on the com­plex, make sure you’re aware of them so you don’t mis­tak­enly get caught out on the day be­cause you haven’t read them.

When my ses­sion fi­nally came around I de­cided to try and make it as re­al­is­tic as pos­si­ble, and I turned up at the venue early on Satur­day morn­ing and fished the week­end like the ma­jor­ity of an­glers. Prior to ar­riv­ing the night be­fore, I made a phone call to Roy who is the bailiff for the com­plex, to get his thoughts and opin­ions on how the lake had been fish­ing and get any last minute ad­vice he could pass onto me be­fore I made my trip down. This is some­thing I tend to do reg­u­larly if I’m plan­ning on fish­ing a day ticket venue. At the end of the day bailiffs live and breathe their lakes and they are pretty much aware of ev­ery­thing that hap­pens. They can be very help­ful and give you the heads up on how many an­glers are al­ready on the lake, what’s been com­ing out and, most im­por­tantly, es­pe­cially dur­ing the win­ter months, where the fish have been hold­ing up. Af­ter a brief con­ver­sa­tion with Roy, he sug­gested that I head for one of the more pro­duc­tive lakes at this time of year called the Mid­dle Pool, as this was the lake that was pro­duc­ing most of the fish at the mo­ment. Roy kindly gave me the heads up that all three spec­i­men lakes hadn’t pro­duced a fish since Oc­to­ber and ob­vi­ously, for the pur­pose of the fea­ture, a fish would need to be caught. He ex­plained there were a few an­glers al­ready set up af­ter work, but ba­si­cally to head for pegs 12 and 13 which are the is­land pegs, as the fish had been hold­ing up in that area for a few weeks.

I ar­rived just as the gates were open­ing. The ther­mome­ter in my car was read­ing mi­nus 3ºc and at this point it was still pitch black. I drove my car slowly around the track and, as I did, I could hear the pud­dles of wa­ter which had frozen overnight crack­ing un­der my car wheels. Sud­denly, I had that aw­ful, sink­ing feel­ing that things were not go­ing to pan out well. Af­ter find­ing my way around to the Mid­dle Pool, I parked my car up and went about find­ing pegs 12 and 13. As you can imag­ine, in the dark it was a task on its own and must have taken me 15 min­utes. By now it was just start­ing to get light as I even­tu­ally found the pegs and, to my hor­ror, there were two an­glers al­ready set up there – a great start! To make the sit­u­a­tion even worse there were other an­glers turn­ing up left, right and cen­tre – and still not know­ing where I was go­ing to fish, I de­cided to get back in my car and drive round to the other side of the lake. I fig­ured from look­ing at the site map, peg num­ber 61 com­manded the same wa­ter area as peg 12 and 13, but from the op­po­site bank. I de­cided that once I’d placed my wa­ter con­tainer in the swim and re­served it, I would sim­ply re­lax for 10 min­utes and lis­ten.

Whilst sit­ting there I heard a strange noise com­ing from the next peg to my right. The noise sounded like some­thing stand­ing on top of ice – maybe a group of birds. As I went to in­ves­ti­gate and walked down to the peg, I turned my head­torch on. What I saw re­ally took me by sur­prise. De­spite the mar­gins be­ing frozen solid, I could see the wa­ter was churned up un­der­neath the ice at my feet. I could also see the dis­tinc­tive move­ment of a carp’s tail as a fish was lit­er­ally tear­ing the bot­tom up. I just stood back for a sec­ond and watched the ac­tion, be­cause I knew there was ab­so­lutely bug­ger all I could do about it – typ­i­cal!

By the time I’d un­loaded the car it was fully light and I could clearly see the Mid­dle Pool was cov­ered in a thin layer of ice, which I’d half ex­pected given the events in the swim next door. What I hadn’t ex­pected was for the heav­ens to open and for me to have to set up my Tem­pest V2 in a hurry. Once I had man­aged to get my house in or­der, I can re­mem­ber just sit­ting on my bed­chair think­ing, “What else can go wrong?”

I just knew it was go­ing to be one of those grind ’em out ses­sions. Now, if I tell you that I then de­cided to go about fir­ing a kilo of Main­line Cell boilies from five yards out to the mid­dle of the lake I’m sure you would think I’d com­pletely lost my way – but there was a rea­son be­hind this. There were a cou­ple of very friendly swans on the lake and they kindly broke up the ice in front of my swim as they went about fight­ing over the

boilies that were sat on top of the ice. Once the wind de­cided to pick up a few hours later, the ice then drifted away from my swim leav­ing me with a chance to get the rods out by mid-morn­ing.

I started my ses­sion us­ing 2½ foot zigs, putting one rod on yel­low and black foam and the other on or­ange and black. I had a lead around the swim and could tell it was a pretty uni­form lake bed, with around 6ft of wa­ter in front of me. The lake has a two rod limit as the swims are pretty close to­gether, and you’re al­most fish­ing the same wa­ter as each other.

The first few hours passed without so much as a liner and I’d worked the wa­ter col­umn with zigs at dif­fer­ent depths and var­i­ous colours, as much as pos­si­ble. The fact that ev­ery­one was fish­ing pretty much the same small area of wa­ter sug­gested to me that the pres­sure might be hav­ing an ef­fect on the fish. It was time to go into stealth mode. I wound both the rods in and de­cided to rest the swim for a few hours. If there had been any fish in feed­ing mode I thought I would have tagged one or, at the very least, had some form of in­di­ca­tion as to their pres­ence.

Around 3pm, when most of the an­glers were set­tling down for the even­ing, I de­cided it was time to set the traps for the night ahead and, no mat­ter what, once they were in po­si­tion that’s where they would be stay­ing for the re­main­der of my ses­sion. Now, if any­one fol­lows me on so­cial me­dia, the rig I’m about to ex­plain will not come as a shock to you, as it’s one of only two rigs I take ab­so­lutely ev­ery­where with me – and it’s the multi rig. I con­structed two multi rigs us­ing 20lb Korda Kamo braid which were both around 6 inches long. The hook was a size 4 Kurv Shank and the bait was mounted us­ing a mi­cro swivel. I tend to use a swivel in­stead of a rig ring for the sim­ple rea­son it gives you a few op­tions on how you can tie your bait on, and I also be­lieve it gives the bait more move­ment. I loaded both rigs with Main­line 14mm white Cell Flu­oro Pop-ups that had been

soaked in a Toasted Al­mond and Rasp­berry Rip­ple flavour. I cast both rods just over 30 yards out, and around two lengths apart, be­fore cat­a­pult­ing a dozen chopped Link and Cell boilies around the rigs. I de­cided not to go mad with the bait to start with and fish for a bite at a time. I wanted to build the swim up as I went along be­cause I could tell with the way the ses­sion was pan­ning out that there was only a bite or two in it. Just be­fore I cast out I put three small pieces of Dark Mat­ter putty be­hind my lead clip just to en­sure ev­ery­thing was nailed to the bot­tom and, to fin­ish off, I added a cou­ple of small back-leads to the equa­tion.

With ev­ery­one around me cast­ing spombs or us­ing tight lines at short range, I knew if I could keep as quiet as pos­si­ble the fish would even­tu­ally move into the area they thought had the least amount of lines.

Af­ter around an hour I started to re­ceive some quite sav­age lin­ers and, as you can imag­ine, I was up and down like a yoyo ex­pect­ing one of them to de­velop into a take at any mo­ment. Even­tu­ally, I did re­ceived a take. The bob­bin hit the alarm and I was away but, un­for­tu­nately, the en­thu­si­asm only lasted about 30 sec­onds – it was a bream!

I cast the rod back into po­si­tion and put a few more chops out over the area, whilst say­ing all kinds of ex­ple­tives which I can’t re­peat in this ar­ti­cle. Once I’d put the ket­tle on, I sat down to mull things over. I de­cided to take on the pos­i­tives from the bite – my rigs were work­ing and if a bream can pick my bait up so could a carp.

As the sun set over Baden Hall I de­cided to

The bob­bin hit the alarm and I was away but, un­for­tu­nately, the en­thu­si­asm only lasted about 30 sec­onds – it was a bream!

get an early night. The venue is around a 1½ hour drive from home for me so it was go­ing to be an early start in the morn­ing. Well, what can I say about what hap­pened to me next – am I jinxed, cursed or maybe just un­lucky? Any­way, around 10pm the mother of all storms came in and, de­spite be­ing un­der the cover of some trees, the wind was smash­ing up against the Tem­pest. I’ve fished in some pretty sav­age con­di­tions be­fore but the rain that night was some­thing else. I re­mem­ber lay­ing on my Levelite think­ing, “If one of those rods goes now I’m not get­ting up and go­ing out there.”

I bet you can guess by now what I’m go­ing to say and, yes, at 10.30pm I re­ceived a cou­ple of bleeps which I ini­tially put down to the wind. How­ever, a few sec­onds later the un­think­able hap­pened and it roared off! I fran­ti­cally at­tempted to get my boots on and un­zip the door, whereby I was met with a face full of tor­ren­tial rain. Just get­ting to the rod was an art in it­self. As I picked the rod up and flicked my head­torch on, I re­mem­ber look­ing out over the lake and see­ing waves two feet high and think­ing to my­self, “What on earth am I do­ing here.” Any­way, af­ter a five minute bat­tle, which felt more like half an hour, I landed a clean­look­ing, mid-dou­ble com­mon. Need­less to say, it re­mained se­curely in the land­ing net whilst I took cover back in the bivvy to dry off. Once the stormed had passed and the weather had calmed down, which iron­i­cally was only a few min­utes af­ter land­ing the fish, I un­hooked it and cast a fresh bait back out onto the spot. Again this was fol­lowed by half a dozen free­bies. This time though, in­stead of chopped baits, the free­bies were whole 15mm baits – as the wind wouldn’t al­low me to get any­thing else out there.

Af­ter I’d taken pho­to­graphs of the carp I went back to bed, a lit­tle bit damp but with some sat­is­fac­tion that the ses­sion had thrown ev­ery­thing but the kitchen sink at me and I’d still man­aged to achieve the goal. It just goes to show you have to per­se­vere through the dif­fi­cul­ties that fish­ing can throw at you to get the re­wards.

The rest of the night passed qui­etly. I awoke at first light to watch the wa­ter with a brew in hand but never saw a ‘sausage’ – at least the lake wasn’t frozen, I thought to my­self. Over the course of the next few hours I sat pa­tiently and qui­etly be­hind mo­tion­less rods hop­ing there would be one more fish for my ef­forts.

I was told the venue was a pro­lific fish­ery and, in the warmer months, I can imag­ine sit­u­a­tions where it would be dif­fi­cult to keep a rod in the rests – but, on this ses­sion, with the com­bi­na­tion of the frozen lake and the an­gling pres­sure, even pro­lific wa­ters can be dif­fi­cult. I de­cided to stick it out un­til lunchtime be­fore I started tidy­ing ev­ery­thing away. For­tu­nately, the car was di­rectly be­hind me, so it al­lowed me to lit­er­ally pack the gear and just leave my rods out. I’m a big be­liever in leav­ing your rods in the wa­ter for as long as pos­si­ble and pack­ing them away last – so I’ll al­ways

The rest of the night passed qui­etly. I awoke at first light to watch the wa­ter with a brew in hand but never saw a ‘sausage’ – at least the lake wasn’t frozen, I thought to my­self

lay them on the ground as it only takes a sec­ond for a bite. I was just walk­ing back into the swim to wind them in and as I looked down at the rods the clutch on my left-hand rod was spin­ning – I was away! I picked up into the fish and landed what turned out to be an­other dou­ble-fig­ure com­mon. I kind of felt it was the least I de­served af­ter the 24 hours I’d ex­pe­ri­enced.

I man­aged to snap a cou­ple of pic­tures af­ter un­load­ing the car again as my Sanc­tu­ary un­hook­ing mat was all packed away – but I was well chuffed.

I sent a text mes­sage to Roy the bailiff be­fore I left the lake, thank­ing him for his ad­vice and hos­pi­tal­ity, and it turned out that with 17 an­glers on the lake, they were the only two fish caught dur­ing the length of time I was there. I guess when your luck’s in, even on the cold­est of days, you can still achieve re­sults.

Baden Hall has some su­perb fish­eries, and although I chose to fish the Mid­dle Pool due to the time of the year and the weather con­di­tions we had at the time, I will cer­tainly be back at some point in 2018 to fish one of the spec­i­men lakes which hold some pretty epic carp.

BE­LOW My cho­sen swim for the du­ra­tion

BE­LOW First things first – home for the week­end

Hardly an ideal start to pro­ceed­ings ABOVE

ABOVE LEFT By any means nec­es­sary – us­ing the lo­cal wildlife to clear the of­fend­ing ice Two-and-a-half foot zigs as a start­ing point ABOVE RIGHT

ABOVE Bait­ing up with a few chops – just enough to get them look­ing MULTI-RIG WITH MY FAVOURED FLU­ORO white Cell hook­bait RIGHT

A mid-dou­ble com­mon caught in stormy con­di­tions ABOVE

ABOVE LEFTMy rods are al­ways left un­til the death The re­sult of leav­ing your rods in the wa­ter un­til last knock­ings – ev­ery­thing else was back in the car at this point A nice way to say good­bye!ABOVE RIGHT RIGHT

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