LOOKING for a bit of bonus fishing time but still need to keep the family sweet? Nash consultant Chris Elden finds the perfect solution - Cherry Lake in the Cotswolds.
Having not long become a father to the lovely little Alfie, fishing has had to take a bit of a back seat. But with a little persuasion my other half Cara succumbed to my begging for a summer holiday to Cherry Lake ion the Cotswolds where I could fish and we would be in a lovely wooden lakeside lodge and could still have a great family break.
As I loaded up the car for our first trip with my 4 month old son I scratched my head trying to find any spare space to be able to fit my fishing gear in. Baby toys, play mats and nappies stuck out from all directions. Another benefit of the Scope set up - like playing a game of Tetris it slotted in perfectly!
As we entered the complex first impressions were that it was a beautiful lake. The water had a tinge of blue to it like the Caribbean almost. As we entered our lodge and unloaded the gear I sat on the bench outside and it was a very strange feeling to think that I’d be fishing whilst being in the comfort of a lodge. I was expecting a very quiet week spending some quality time with the family with maybe a few carp, but how wrong I was.
After a quick chat with the bailiff a few spots were noted which I fancied. On the far side was a shallow area to the left of my boundary where it shelved up to 2-3 feet and out in the open water was a plateau at 5 feet, all clean gravel. I baited lightly to the far side with a mix of whole and crushed 4G and TG Active 15mm boilies, but on the plateaux I went heavy with 10kg of hemp, corn and a mix of 4G and TG. The rigs went out with my usual snowman on a size 4 fang twister, 15lb combi link, 15mm 4G bottom bait tipped with a 10mm white Citruz.
Once the BBQ was finished and feeling generally exhausted after the journey and a busy afternoon setting up, I got into a double bed - a surreal feeling when you’re mentally in fishing mode. At 3am the R3 alarm on the open water rod sounded, I jumped out of bed and shot outside in my boxers and Cara and Little Alfie jumped out of their skins. All they could hear was me shouting for some clothes, I was freezing! A short battle produced a clean scaly mid double mirror. The rod was re positioned and I was back to sleep. At 6am the far margin rod rattled off with another high spirited battle resulting in a mid-double fully scaled.
The weed was quite extensive out in front of me with a large wall 20 yards out the every carp seemed to dive for, standing up on the top of the balcony I was able to gain a few extra feet of height, the 9 foot scopes still having enough power to pull them through. It was midday when the same thing happened and I unfortunately lost one, the fish had picked up a big ball of weed and managed to free itself of the barbless hook.
Over the next 24 hours I managed another 7 bites, landing 4 of them up to 25lb 8oz, but with the losses I changed the rig slightly, shortening my links by half down to 6 inches. It seemed to make a difference as within an hour the far margin rod screamed off nearly ripping from the rests, unsurprisingly heading straight for the weed bed and buried in deep, a slow steady pressure got the carp shaking his head and moving, finally coming free from the snag. A few gulps of air and the carp was wallowing ready for netting. A wide back lay in the bottom of the net, a prehistoric looking creature with wrinkly skin. I hoisted the carp on the scales and the needle pulled round to 28lb, the biggest one of the trip, a few trophy shots in the glimmer of the sunlight and the fish was returned home. The bailiff was nearby and came over seeing all the commotion and confirmed what fish it was one of the biggies, usually doing around 34-36lb but they had recently had a very good spawn. More bites came following the change in presentation and another 8 runs added to my tally, sadly losing two this time due to an unfortunate bird’s nest of a tangle between all rods on a double take in total darkness.
The final morning of my three day trip came and I notched up another five bites for a total of 23 runs landing 16 of them up to 28lb. It wasn’t what I expected when I planned for this fishing trip, and we had a celebratory photo of me, Cara and Alfie with my last fish of the session. I managed to get through a 20KG of 4G and TG as well as 15kg of mixed particle. With an average of 4-6 fish per trip advertised on the venue I was praised by the owners for the number of fish I caught which was nice. It was a memorable experience which I thoroughly enjoyed as being able to share the fishing and the time with my family in the comfort of a lodge was the icing on the cake, a very surreal experience but definitely one I would recommend.
More information is at Cherry Lakes website