Friday, 23 June 2017

Burnham holiday village a carp session broken up.

I write this in some respects to put the record straight, as when I was researching this lake before going on holiday I found very little decent information and what I did find was misleading in many ways. So I hope that this true report regarding the fishing at Burnham holiday village lake (Haven) may help other anglers in the future if they are holidaying at this park.

When I first saw the Lake at Burnham holiday village I thought it looked nothing as I had expected it to. Firstly what the internet had lead believe was two lakes; a match lake and specimen lake, was actually now one lake since the owner had dug through the causeway the previous winter. The old match lake half looked pretty much as most commercial fisheries look with manicured banks, stages and oxygenating pumps. The old specimen lake though was intriguing with copious islands lined with rushes and reeds, open swathes of water and hidden bays. This could have been some quiet corner of a syndicate lake rather than a holiday park pool. Through several hours of searching I had learnt that the main target for most people and myself would be carp, which were touted to grow up to nearly thirty pounds. As for the other species present none of them seemed to exist in any numbers apart from eels which did offer me a second target.

Hour 1
After one of the most horrendous journeys down from the middle where the car window screen wipers could barley cope and after hastily unpacking I ventured out to have a mooch round the lakes to see if I could add any info to my already blurred picture of the place. Really I was hoping with it being June and all that I could spot a few fish moving round to give me some areas to target. The wind though had other ideas and ideas that would be around for most of the week. Two laps of the lake and a liberal soaking was nearly all I could take. After seeing naff all I was about to leave until I spotted a still slice of water in one corner of the lake. Watching it for a while in the rain got me totally soaked, but it was worth it to see what looked like a few bubblers mooching along the edge. Seeing this tiny snippet of a sign was all I needed to deposit thirty crab and krill baits loosely all along the bramble lined margin, with the intention of returning for a early foray in the morning.

Hour 2-4
The weather over night went from bad to worse. Ten hours in a caravan bouncing back and forth listening to the wind doing its best to tear up the copse of trees behind our tin holiday home was a test for the whole family, apart from young BB who slept quite well all things considered. After slipping on my slightly damp clothes I grabbed my kit and ventured out into the still howling wind. 

The lake was basically covered in large inland waves. The wind had swung ninety degrees and was now pushing onto the area I had baited the night before. Luckily a bit of bank side bramble at least afforded me a minimal amount of cover for the rods. Trying to keep things simple I threw out another thirty baits onto a slightly tighter area and swung out a PVA bag filled with chopped boilie and boilie crumb into the centre of the baited area. The second for this session was aimed towards eels rather than carp and was rigged up with a free running ledger boom and foot long armour braid hook link, size two hook and baited with two broken lob worms.

The wind was merciless and the only way I could fish in any way effectively was to dip the rod tips under the water, with my bobbins jammed tight up against the indicators. Quite soon the left hand rod which was the eel line kept sounding on the buzzer, but every strike was met by no resistance. This actually kept me busy for the whole session as I tried various baiting arrangements to try and connect with whatever was pulling my chain as the case may be. It wasn't until I threaded a half a lob on sea fishing style that I connected with a tiny eel... Already the reality of the situation was a lake paved with small eels. Not long after this realization the right hand rod which had been stewing away suddenly sprang to life with a subdued yet steady run. I don't think the fish realized that it was hooked in the churning waters until I lifted into it and drove the hook further home. I saw a golden flank roll in the murky water early on the fight which lead me to believe I wasn't playing anything more than a small carp. But the fight seemed to go on for ages in the shallow corner. After several runs and swimming straight through my second line I finally coaxed the fish towards the net and when it rolled over that one last time I spotted a huge mouth gaping back at me. In the net it seemed bigger as well and it turned out to be a really solid mid double that in another water could have been much bigger.

Hour 5-6
After a day of family fun I nabbed a few hours at dusk. Having re baited the same area with more freebies I went back to try my luck and have a proper go at the eels. In short it pissed it down again, my theory that the lake is rammed with small eels was confirmed, I used all my worms catching about twenty small eels, and the second rod was dead as a dodo. I did however spot several shows in a gap between two reed beds that indicated there was more than one carp in the lake.

Hour 7-8
After yet another rough night I went out to try and track down some fish. If the night before had showed me where the fish were, this morning was when the cat and mouse began. I went into a swim where I could see into a bay behind the reed bed where I'd seen the fish the night before. Early on three fish jumped tight to the far reed bed furthest away from me. The problem was with the wind and my under gunned 2.5lb Nash dwarf rods I had no chance of accurately casting to them. Hence the session descended into me watching fish out of range whilst hoping something unseen might find my PVA bag cast to closer reed beds.

Hours 9-10
A day later not a single fish was seen at all. The silver fish were now moving around and all over the lake I could see small roach and skimmers flipping out of the water. Having nothing to go on I targeted the end of the lake where I'd seen the carp jumping, but this time I fished tight to a very tight to a group of close in islands hoping something might move in between them and find one of baits surrounded by powdered boilies and pellets.

Hours 11-12
My final day on the lake and finally the weather had changed. The sun was now out and as my rods sat silently fishing into the big bay I watched a group of three or four carp rooting round under some snags in an out of bounds area behind the spit I was fishing from. At first I was fishing out to the reedy islands again, but after spotting these carp I theorised that the entrance to the out of bounds bay might be a better place to intercept any fish moving in and out of the area.

A quick move later and I had cast dangerously far into the out of bounds area from the only possible point to a margin with deep snags all along it. The other rod was position on the other side of the entrance in a shallow spot at the end of the wind. Time proved my enemy here and with only a small space of time available I don't think I had baits either in the water long enough or specifically on fish on this occasion. My time ran out all too soon, but on the way home for breakfast I did find a group of carp right tight to my own bank in a marginal reed bed. It seemed the combination of the wind and the warmth had pulled them into this reed bed. Thinking I might be able to get one last crack of the whip later that night I split the remaining bait I had left 70/30 and scattered the larger amount along the shallow corner.

Hour 13-14
What a blow out! I knew those fish would be in that area all day as I went about my business with the family and I was sure as hell I could get one or more of that spot. Now it's worth saying that all week there had been three or four anglers chasing carp around the lake who had all got quite friendly and a couple of guys targeting silvers on the stages on the smaller civilized half of the lake as well. But on my return a new group of chaps had turned up. I walked past their battery of rod pods and sprays of rods pointing to the sky as if they were defending their well worn peg from invasion. I was as I always am, polite, and bid them good afternoon as I walked past, only to get a grunt which I assume is hello in welsh as they seemed to be of that part of the world. Three pegs further round I tiptoed behind the weed bed and slipped into the only safe spot to fish the pre baited spot from. After dropping my gear next to a tree I took what was left of my bait and went to trickle it along the reeds. I'd gone no more than two steps when I saw a lead and leader drop lazily through the air and splodosh right into the reeds. Obviously unhappy with the cast three more attempts were made before the rod was settled into the rod battery and the line tightened so much any passing dragon flies were in danger of dismemberment. 

I really wanted to try and catch a fish rather than kick off. So with no other option I went off to spend my last session trying to track down the illusive carp, which I never did.

I find it hard to make a truthfully honest conclusion about the fishing at Burnham on sea holiday village as the time I spent on it was in exceptional weather conditions and that my time was split into very small pockets which is probably not the best way to get the feel for a water. But! My time and the other anglers fishing the lake combined helps see a better picture though. Of four of us actively fishing for carp only three fish were landed and two of those were under six pounds. I suppose the reality is that if there was even half the supposed fish the bailiff insists there are, between us we should have caught or at least seen more fish. Now I would never go as far as to comment on how big the carp grow in this pool as all I have seen is the one fish I caught, the few I watched in the margin, some jumpers and the few on the fishing shop slide show. And that would indicate low twenties in the lake possibly. There did seem to be a lot of small silver fish kicking around even though I never fished for them they were everywhere. Eels there were lots of though! After hearing from a caravan owner on the lake that the lake has some kind of connection to the river close by it explains the large population but would also indicate that once they want to shove of and breed that any sizeable ones probably head of to the Sargasso. So if I had to give a short conclusion to help other anglers it's this. Burnham Holiday Village Lake is not a runs water, it does contain some carp which could go up to twenty pounds, but there's not massive numbers of them. So if you're prepared to sit there all day everyday you have a chance you might get one, but be prepared to work hard for it. I am willing to bet you could catch a few small silvers float fishing and that sooner or later you will catch and eel. If eels are your thing then don't go there thinking you're going to catch a monster as there's tons of little ones that can get back out to see when they mature.

I hope any of this helps.

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