Bob Roberts’ Angling Notes: Wonderfully balanced fishery will delight the thinking angler

Bob Roberts at Springvale Lakes
Bob Roberts at Springvale Lakes

It is hard to go fishing without developing a competitive edge. Unless you fish on your own all the time it is always with you. You might only be fishing with a mate but the urge to outperform him (or her) invariably creeps in. I guess that’s human nature. We want to excel. Be the best. Top dog.

It is said that when an angler takes up fishing he just wants to catch something. Anything will do. Then he wants to catch the most, after which he wants to catch the biggest, followed by the most difficult, and eventually, when you have got all that out of your system, you are happy once again to catch anything.

Some complete the game, some get stuck along the way, but we all evolve and what we each want from fishing changes with time and personal experiences.

When a non-angler says I can’t see what you get out of fishing, they don’t understand. It’s a journey we are on, not a destination and let’s face it, fish tend to live in nice places. We witness the natural world up close and personal while spending lots of time in the fresh air minding our own business. Honestly, what’s not to like? Commercial fisheries have changed the playing field dramatically. Man-made lakes stocked heavily with carp have been the equivalent of doubling the width and height of the goals in football.

Even moderately skilled strikers might score 20 goals a game and anglers can now catch hundred pound bags with monotonous regularity.

Not every pleasure angler wants to do that. Be in no doubt, catching a hundred pounds of carp using a carbon pole is physically demanding. The alternative used to be relaxing by rivers catching roach, skimmers, chub and dace but the impact of unregulated predation on wild waters has had a severe impact on stocks. Natural fisheries have been decimated which is a real tragedy.

The saving grace of some commercial fisheries is that they contain huge stocks of silver fish that no-one really fishes for in the warmer months because it’s not possible to remain competitive against huge weights of carp.

In the colder months carp can switch off completely and targets change. Fishing is fun again and you will find anglers who’s personal journey has taken them beyond the ‘catching the most’ stage coming into their own, able once again to employ lighter, more delicate tackle safely while catching nets of quality silver fish.

Only on very rare occasions do you come across a fishery where the balance of stocking, in other words, more silvers, less carp, allows catching silvers to be competitive all-year round. The finest one near us, without doubt, is Springvale Lakes at Bevercotes.

Here, technically proficient anglers can catch 100lb bags of silver fish but those who lack the finer skills can still catch carp. It’s a wonderfully balanced fishery where the thinking angler succeeds.

I enjoyed a fabulous pleasure session on the First Spring at Springvale Lakes last week catching quality ide and chub on the pole. A frost slowed things down meaning bites had to be earned. It was far from the fish-a-chuck fishing you may encounter in the warmer months and it was the challenge that made the day all the more pleasurable.

Of course my travelling companion fished the next peg and we spent the whole day trying to beat each other. It’s what we all do, isn’t it? As the fish fed closer, or further out; on the deck or up in the water, responded to lighter rigs or smaller hooks, it was a day of constantly chopping and changing our tactics as we did our utmost to fathom out what was going on in front of us. These are the best days when you have to work hard and nothing is taken for granted. The fish tend to take charge, not you. We just play catch-up.

It was a fascinating day’s fishing with honours pretty much even in the end though I would have won by a country mile had I included the half dozen or so carp I had late on, but we both agreed to rule them out as cheating!

If you would like to enjoy a fabulous day targeting quality silver fish then you could do a whole lot worse than to visit Springvale Lakes. The owners are extremely welcoming, you can park behind every peg and these are well-spaced out to allow you plenty of room to work your magic. A few pints of maggots is all you need to catch fish like these.


n Address: Bevercotes, Newark NG22 0BT

n Phone: 07720 581292