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