So, if you have been keeping an eye on our Facebook or Instagram pages recently you will have seen that Jon had a short holiday at Centre Parcs Sherwood Pines…. And he took his rods with him! Here is what he had to say….
I went to Sherwood Pines about 18 months ago for the first time, and as I hadn’t been before I didn’t expect to see what I did… Our villa at the time backed onto a lovely little body of water, and on site there was a decent size lake. More importantly, the lake was FULL of Carp! I had no idea you could even fish the lake until one day I saw a guy walking round one of the paths carrying a load of fishing gear. This set me off on the research train. But knowing I couldn’t fish this trip was a killer as there were fish everywhere!!
Roll on 13 months and twin babies later we decided to go back with my best mate Pete and his wife Danielle who would also be bringing along a tiny sprog. This time I had to have a go, and I had plenty of time to prepare. The only problem was the amount of time I would have to fish?
Lets start off by running through the need to know bits about fishing at Center Parcs Sherwood Pines first including a nice little map.
- PLEASE ONLY FISH IN DESIGNATED AREAS.
- FISHING OFF THE JETTY IS NOT PERMITTED.
- ONLY USE BARBLESS HOOKS.
- NO LIVE OR DEAD BAIT.
- REMOVE ALL LITTER.
- NO FIRES.
- NO KEEP NETS.
- ALL FISH TO BE RETURNED TO THE WATER.
- SHOW CONSIDERATION TO THE WILDLIFE.
FISHING IS FROM DUSK TILL DAWN. YOU CAN BUY A DAY PERMIT, WEEKEND PERMIT OR A MIDWEEK PERMIT.
TICKETS ARE PURCHASED FROM THE WATER-SPORTS HUT BY THE PANCAKE HOUSE.
I only know 2 of the costs unfortunately as I wasn’t there for the weekend. A day ticket is £12.50 and a whole Midweek Permit is £20.00 (that’s Monday to Friday). They don’t make a whole lot of sense to me but that’s how it is!
Lets take a closer look at the lake itself so you can see where you are allowed to fish from.
As I knew nothing about this lake this was the hard part for me as I have seen countless fish around the Pancake house and all over the banks where there is plenty of footfall. Footfall at a place like Center Parks means food as everyone walking round that sees a carp will throw them some bread, ice cream, pancake, cigarette butt. You name it, they get it! So naturally all of the fish were at that end. This was proven even more last Monday when we arrived and had a look at the pontoons by the Pancake House. There were Carp everywhere, and when they saw you they didn’t shy away, they came towards you with their mouths out of the water like Oliver Twist asking “Please sir can I have some more”.
So… That’s the lake and rules boxed off for you. Now for what I like to title – The Gear, The Plan and the Execution.
I knew I was going to have to travel light; space in the car was going to be tight, time on the bank limited and transport to the bank was going to be tough.
Now when you are a Carp Angler and you need to travel light there is only one brand that comes to mind…. NASH. Their whole ethos is mobility. And already being a big fan of their gear I was good to go. I needed enough gear for two anglers that didn’t fill the car or a barrow! This bit was easy; Here is what I took.
- 2 Nash Dwarf 6ft 3lb rods
- 2 Okuma Pulzar PBZ 4000 Baitrunners
- Nash Black Ops Landing Net
- Nash Scope Ops 6ft 2 rod holdall (for rods, net, bank sticks and alarms)
- Nash Scope Ops Compact Unhooking Mat
- Nash Recon Rucksack (including work box, tackle box, hook bait bag, leads, camera gear, fish care, towel.
- I also had my Nash Stash Pack with me as usual, I could use this for pre-baiting or little bread bomb missions.
By no means do you have to use this gear. BUT it is perfectly designed for this type of fishing, so if you are a mobile angler then get down the the store if you haven’t seen it already! Its phenomenal stuff.
That’s Hardware sorted… the next part was bait. What do I take, how often will I be fishing, what are they used to, how many fish are there, what do people normally use on there. These are all questions that went though my head a lot during the planning phase. There is so little information online about fishing here and no one I knew had been before. So I decided to keep it simple and use what I know works.
- I took a loaf of white bread! How can you go to a park lake without a loaf of white bread!
- Nash Citruz Boilies and flake for the instant action and fruity attraction….
- Scopex Squid flake, syrup and boilies (Boilies were pre-soaked in syrup and dusted with Key cray Meal).
- Token tin of SCOPEX Maize… because Scopex….. and Maize….
- Range of Cultured Scopex Squid and Citrus Cultured hook baits.
- Mulbs……….. because Mulbs.
This was all packed in a separate rucksack so I could take what I needed when I needed it.
…..Now the plan was a big one. I work in a tackle shop, so everyone is always talking fishing. Because of this I had concocted this wild elaborate plan of pre-baiting every day, carrying a rod with me at all times with a loaf of bread for those opportune moments. Manipulating areas of the lake to my advantage, baiting off canoes rented out from the water sports hut and sneaky midnight missions stalking carp off the pontoon. Completely forgetting the part where I was going with my family and time to execute these plans was going to be very precious! So here is how it went…
…..As I indicated earlier in this blog we arrived on Monday, 3pm to be precise. we booked in, went to the villa and did all the usual holiday things including getting our bikes. We then went for a nice ride around the lake and stopped off at a few places to have a look at places to eat…. And more importantly places to fish! The excitement properly started at the Pancake House where, as you have seen earlier there was plenty of fish milling about. The next day passed and we were teased more by the fish having a fantastic time with no angling pressure. There was no time to pre-bait and certainly no time to fish up to this point.
A gap appeared on Wednesday (We were leaving on Friday) where had about 3 hours free in which we could go and do some fishing. So we headed off to the water sports hut, purchased our tickets and then set off! We knew where we were going so there wasn’t much need to walk around and find the fish. We loaded up the bikes and made our way to the fishing area.
Arriving at the fishing area knowing we were leaving all of those fish by the Pancake House was a strange feeling…. “Oh yes I know all the fish are over there, but were going this way!” But we dismounted in full anticipation and saw nothing, I had a stroll down the bank and found a few small carp milling around an island at the far end of the ‘fishing area’ but I didn’t fancy it so we set up in the first swim. There is swim is right by the Fishing / Water sports separation buoys so we couldn’t have gone any further over (not in the middle of the afternoon anyway)! As our luck would have it, the wind that had been hacking down the other end of the lake all week had swung that morning and was blowing right down our end.
We had 2 rods with us so decided to take it in turns on the fish, obviously I had the first bite as it was my gear. I set them both up on Helicopter Rigs with 2.5oz dumpy pear leads (I guessed the lake bed was silt, but I use helicopter rigs for 95% of my fishing anyway so it was no real decision to make). One rod had a Slip-D Ronnie on a semi-stiff hook link, and the other rod had a Slip-d Combi rig with a Fluorocarbon Hook link. The first rod was baited with a Yellow MULB, and the second rod had a Nash Citruz Cultured Pop-Up on it. This is a pretty standard approach for me to a venue I know nothing about.
Location of the rigs was obviously going to be key and the left hand spot to me was an obvious one; strait under the canopy of the island as close the the buoys as possible (depending on the depths of the margin). The first cast was clipped up short so it didn’t snag up and then re-cast just next to the second to last buoy on the line. It went down with quite a good drop in probably 3-4 foot of water, which was nice, as the first clip up cast was a very soft landing. 20-30 Pimped Scopex Squid 15mm’ers were then catapulted over to the tree line as a tasty appetizer.
The second rig didn’t have a home, the spot next to the buoy was to tight for 2 rods and I didn’t want any more lines near them to avoid tethering a fish on them so I fired it right over the far bank where there was a fallen dead tree in the water that looked very carpy, it was a good 60 yards and the 6ft dwarf coped fantastically with it. Once again Scopex Squid was fired over at maximum catty range to the rough area of the hook bait.
……. An hour had passed and a couple of recasts had happened, I moved the right hand rod to the side of the island and re-cast the left rod just to make sure it was sitting right. At this point I was convinced we were going to blank on a water that look so easy.. But thankfully as we were sat on the front of the stage next to the rods the left hand R3 let out a single beep followed by a frantic wail and to the rod wrapped round. I grabbed the rod and quickly submerged most of it under the water to avoid the buoy line. A good scrap later and a lovely little common was sat in the bottom of the net.
The fish were in brilliant condition which shows how often it actually gets fished and after a quick snap and Instagram Story video it was free to go and put a smile on someone else’s face.
The rod went back on the spot again with a fresh bait, but no more loose feed. Within 5 minutes it was gone again! This time Pete got in on the action and landed a pristine, but smaller common that we slipped strait back. Feeling confident on the spot we re-cast the right hand rod to the same sort of area making sure we weren’t going to get into a problem with crossed lines. No longer had the second rod been cast out the left hander was away again! Pete once again took control as his first fish didn’t count…. apparently! A similar frisky fight later and another lovely common was in the net!
By this time we had roughly half an hour of fishing left before we needed to head back. So I decided it was a good idea to get some bait in the water hoping for a return visit before we went home.
There are plenty of decent margin spots close in then I liked the look of so I made up a mix of Scopex Squid Flake, Scopex Squid Boilies and a good helping of the Scopex Squid Syrup. I added just enough of this so I could make a crude ball out of the mix to underarm into likely spots. I baited two spots with about 1.5kg in total. that may sound like a lot to some people, but with the amount of fish in there it will be gone in no time, but the little bits and pieces of the Flake will keep them rooting round and hopefully revisit the spot for more the next day. We decided to pack up at this time mostly because a group of ‘youths‘ had crossed over the seemingly impregnable buoy line in canoes and surf boards and decided to push each other in over the spot….. we weren’t to upset though as we had caught a few fish and it was almost time to head back anyway.
The next day arrived and the time fell away from us, I couldn’t stop thinking about those baited spots and how likely we were to catch from them. But the day disappeared and with it any chance of getting the rods back out before we made the drive home. We left on Friday, a little earlier than Pete and his family so he borrowed a rod and got a loaf of bread from the shop and went back out in search of a last gasp Carp. Amazingly he managed 3! all off the top with a piece of bread on a hook. So top work to Pete.
….Hopefully next time there will be more time!