Hor­ton Com­plex Spe­cials

Stu­art takes a fond look back at his time on Hor­ton. In amongst the mon­sters of the Church Lake and Kingsmead 1, there are some truly SPE­CIAL fish...

Carpworld - - CONTENTS - - Stu­art Higgs

Stu­art takes a fond look back at his time on Hor­ton. In amongst the mon­sters of the Church Lake and Kingsmead 1, there are some truly spe­cial fish...

OOver the few decades Hor­ton has been a fish­ery, it has been through a num­ber of changes. From the Church’s changeover from a trout fish­ery to a carp syn­di­cate, along with its ac­com­pa­ny­ing group wa­ters, to its takeover by RK Leisure in more re­cent years – yet it has con­tin­ued to grow from strength to strength. Em­brac­ing change is some­thing many lakes and their mem­bers have had to do in re­cent times. In the case of the Hor­ton Com­plex the changes have been very pos­i­tive and have sup­ported the growth of an es­tab­lished fish­ery. These are based on tra­di­tional fish­ing val­ues, and now pro­vide a more con­tem­po­rary set up with noth­ing short of five star fa­cil­i­ties for an­glers and their whole fam­i­lies to en­joy. It re­ally is the theatre of dreams for most an­glers, or for me and a few oth­ers at least.

The Hor­ton Com­plex is without doubt one of the most iconic, his­toric and fa­mous fish­ing venues in the UK, with the Church Lake prob­a­bly be­ing the most writ­ten and talked about of the lakes on the com­plex. Its spring fed, crys­tal clear, deep and weedy wa­ter, which is full of nat­u­ral food, pro­vides a ban­quet for the fish that re­side there. So it is no won­der that the carp in Church, and in the other lakes on the com­plex, have thrived over the years. It has seen a loyal fol­low­ing of an­glers and bailiffs who care about the venue and its stock, and most sig­nif­i­cantly had been in the care of the late Del Smith for many years – who was al­most as iconic as the lake it­self. Del led by ex­am­ple with his fish­ing eti­quette and way the venue was main­tained. It all gave a sense that no an­gler is big­ger than Hor­ton it­self and never will be.

The venue has seen an in­creased fo­cus on its in-house stock­ing pro­gram over the last few sea­sons, and what it is now pro­duc­ing is noth­ing short of su­perb. Carp are be­ing raised from the spawn pro­duced in the lakes and the grow­ing pro­gramme is be­ing con­ducted pro­fes­sion­ally. The re­sult­ing carp com­ing through are some of the most unique and spe­cial in the coun­try. There is noth­ing else quite like them. From the poly­tun­nels to the grow­ing ponds by the lodge, the man­age­ment re­ally have got it just right. The fu­ture is bright and Del’s le­gacy is clearly in ev­i­dence and will live on now for years to come – and for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions to en­joy.

There is now a sig­nif­i­cant head of very large carp in all the lakes in­clud­ing many 45lb-plus fish, and a num­ber of 50lb­plus carp that are reg­u­larly sought by the cur­rent mem­bers. It doesn’t sur­prise me though that the venue has been get­ting tar­nished with the ‘full of Sim­mos’ brush and yes, there are some very large fish to be caught of the Fish­ers Pond strain (Sim­mos) – but be­liev­ing that these are the only strain of big fish to be caught would sug­gest that a bit more home­work might be re­quired!

There are some very spe­cial fish scat­tered amongst the lakes on the com­plex – some old, some new – and ev­ery an­gler that comes to fish there will have a tar­get or two in mind, whether they be the larger 40lb and 50lb res­i­dents, the older Thorpe Park or Long­field stock­ings, or even some of the Back Lake and Fridge Lake fish that have been moved across. Some of the more re­cent stock­ings are start­ing to pro­duce some re­ally size­able, scaly fish and there are stun­ning and unique fish in all the lakes – some­thing for ev­ery­one ir­rel­e­vant of your an­gling style, de­sir­able fish or fish-strain pref­er­ence.

There are some smaller and larger res­i­dents that I per­son­ally see as ‘the spe­cial ones’ that might have been over­looked more re­cently, over­shad­owed by some of the 40s and 50s that have been in the lime­light – and I have been lucky enough to catch one or two along the way.

TOP The late Del Smith with a Hor­ton carp

BOT­TOM The fu­ture? Carp be­ing raised in the poly­tun­nels on the Hor­ton Com­plex

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