Right lads, I can’t say that this write-up will be anything like my usual slog of a session (I was limited to one swim on a social after all), but it’s a great opportunity to review the venue which was the island on W1 South Lake. Let me start by saying it’s hands down the best social venue I’ve fished. Absolutely brilliant place. It’s not cheap so not best suited to regular trips, but as a special occasion or a bit of a treat it’s awesome.
Me and five of my pals arrived at midday as required by the venue rules and crossed the bridge to the island. First thing we did was take a tour of the island which holds a fire pit with benches, an undercover area with BBQ, tables, worktops, electric points, a fridge, wood, and coal. About as luxurious as you’ll find in the UK. There are 5 swims around the island, well-spaced to avoid anglers interfering with each other. Three of the swims offer open water fishing, one has its own bay, and the other faces another island. All of them have access to funky margin spots so between them you have access to all types of fishing. Something for everyone.
We did several laps in preparation for the swim draw and spotted the odd fish round the whole island. Numbers were drawn from a hat and 1st place really struggled to choose. All the swims looked good, and the consensus was that we’d all be happy in any swim. I came out of the draw 3rd and got my first-choice swim which was swim number 3, an area of open water facing southeast. As there were 6 of us, 2 had to double up which isn’t so much of a problem in that 3 swims are double swims.
The afternoon was spent leading around to find spots and this did take time. It’s a very weedy lake and I’d say not suited to anyone that’s not seasoned in fishing heavy weed. With all those leads flying about we kind of knew that a take on day 1 was unlikely and so it proved as the carp we were seeing went to ground. Hardly any sightings for the rest of the day. With all that said, I was lucky in that my first cast found the spot I wanted to fish. A bit deep for this time of year at ~13ft but nice and solid, and surrounded by weed. Line lay was brutal due to fishing over a bank of weed bigger than my house but hey, needs must.
So, with rods sorted we open the beers, chill out, crank up the bbq and light the fire. As the sun goes down, we do the odd lap to soak in the atmosphere and check for signs of carp. I did spot one off the back of my spot, so I was confident. The night was tricky for some of the group and a couple of takes got lost due to hook pulls in the weed. The sun came up and tbh I couldn’t believe I hadn’t had a take, such was my confidence the previous night. It was 08:30 by the time my right-hand buzzer finally told me a carp had made a mistake, so I consequently picked up the rod and beasted this carp over the majority of the weed and played it out under the tip where I could keep an eye on it.
After 10 mins plodding about in the margin, I scooped it up and had a quick peek. It was a minter, black along the back, chestnut flanks, with half linear scaling. I secured the net and called for my mate but as soon as he came over his buzzer went into over-drive, and he had to leg it back to swim number 1 to have his moment. His was another cracking mirror with irregular linear scaling, and we got to share the moment with the lads as we held a photo session in the morning sun.
Brekky time so we got the BBQ on and let rip. Another pal lost a fish in the weed at 11am which was disappointing, but it meant that every swim had done a bite which was promising for the next 24 hrs. We chilled for the day, redid the rods, and swim number 2 did the next fish at around 7pm. Another dark coloured linear. The quality of these fish is right up there.
As we headed into darkness, I was a little concerned that I wasn’t seeing anything of interest in swim 3, and I was kind of expecting a blank night. So it proved but the action continued elsewhere with one more lost and 2 more banked by the lads. One was a nice fat black linear mirror and the other a gnarly little fully scaled mirror.
By 10am we were due to leave, and we were already planning next years trip. Action had been consistent (although I do think that now we know the swims/spots we’d probably have quite a few more on the next trip). All swims did bites, and the fish were well spread out. Not great for competitive feeding, but great to give everyone a decent chance of a take. The quality of the fishing is good, but it’s the quality of the fish themselves that really sets the place apart. The majority of the fish are quite young but to look at you’d think they’ve been there forever. All black and scaley and awesome.
So, to summarise: excellent place, great facilities, pretty swims, nice and secluded, good fishing and GREAT fish. Too pricey for a regular venue, but as a treat: awesome.