Three Lakes – spring 1986


Al­though I had some suc­cess at Drax it was clear that it was still tough for a carp noddy like me and I felt it was per­haps a step too far for me to con­sis­tently fish it. I was hav­ing driv­ing lessons at the time and hoped to pass my car test and, in or­der to raise funds, had sold my beloved XL185 – and hor­ror of hor­rors would bor­row my sis­ter’s RD50 moped if I couldn’t per­suade my dad to run me to fish­ing venues. Three Lakes near Selby had a rep­u­ta­tion of be­ing a good ‘night’ wa­ter and as all the books said carp fed bet­ter at night, I de­cided that is where I’d do a mid­week night after work and be­fore work, if that makes sense? Al­though you couldn’t le­git­i­mately fish for carp in the tra­di­tional close sea­son, as the wa­ter had been stocked with trout you fish for the trout us­ing hair­rigged boilies or par­ti­cles and catch carp ‘by ac­ci­dent’! The owner cer­tainly wasn’t go­ing to stop you. He wanted the money and if a daft old carp hooked it­self then what a pity. It must have been a good ‘any method’ trout fish­ery as we had an­glers from all over the coun­try trout fish­ing it in the close sea­son with what looked sus­pi­ciously like carp rods and reels.

With the moped my form of trans­port for my first ever work­day overnighter, I re­ally had to cut my gear right down. Two rods, a brolly and as much gear as I could pos­si­bly fit into a ruck­sack, which be­lieve me was not a lot. I’d been told that the go­ing ‘trout’ bait was maple peas, flavoured in tomato soup – so a flask of those ac­com­pa­nied me too. Al­though the com­plex was three sep­a­rate lakes at that time, I chose lake three as I had been told that one was mainly carp... or should I say trout? I don’t re­call much about the fish­ing but I do re­call get­ting a run just be­fore dawn and manag­ing to ex­tract a carp from the snags and, whilst it wasn’t a trout, as a carp it looked pretty im­pres­sive. Well you win some, you lose some. Sadly it wasn’t all sweet­ness and light in those days as the poor old moped (or rather, my sis­ter’s moped) was look­ing the worse for wear when I got back to it. A bright green boilie nee­dle was stuck in the back tyre with a note on the seat say­ing ‘Stick to Drax or else’. With no mo­bile phone or road­side cover I de­cided to cut the nee­dle off at the exit point and hope for the best. Look­ing back it was mad­ness, but I had carp fever and needed to go home and get changed for work.

With only five miles to get home it was worth a punt and fully laden I crept home at an em­bar­rass­ing 15 mph max­i­mum. The closer I got to Cam­bles­forth, the softer the back end got and with less than 500 yards to go it was game over, as the last bit of air ex­ited the back tyre. And of all places it was next to the school bus stop and I had the shame of push­ing the bike past a line of jeer­ing kids in what felt like a scene from The In­be­tween­ers. Thank god for full face hel­mets, al­though it cooked me. No more trout fish­ing at Three Lakes for a while I thought!

Postscript. In 1992 I per­suaded the own­ers of Three Lakes to merge all three lakes into one and to syn­di­cate it. I ran the syn­di­cate for a num­ber of years and it pro­duced its first 40-pounder dur­ing that pe­riod. When it went back to day-ticket sta­tus the fish­ing went badly down­hill, but in later years a re­turn to syn­di­cate days has seen Roger Hind turn it around and its fu­ture now looks a lot brighter.

BE­LOW It wasn’t a trout but it will do. My FIRST PROPER ‘OVERNIGHTER’ CARP

I could only carry two rods on the moped ABOVE

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