Angling: Yorkshire Carping

Common carp (Cyprinus carpio)When considering having a go at some Big Carp Fishing, without having to travel to some far-flung destinations of our green and pleasant land, I could be forgiven for thinking; Yorkshire is a forgotten corner of the UK but is that correct?

When you live up here you kind of get used to that pompous but commonly held Southern perception; nothing actually exists (or matters) North of Watford Gap. Yes our wages are usually lower, our broadband may be slower and our public transport (in many areas) is almost non-existent but surely our Carp fishing can’t be that different, can it?

From watching any video or the majority of written media on our chosen sport you get the impression that Big Carp fishing is (apparently) a southern phenomenon. Anglers with southern roots rattle in southern lilt from the comfort of their massively expensive bankside hotel bivvies. All the while bigging-up their monster catches with cries of “kushty”, “sorted” and “mint”.

Many of the cheeky chappies of British Carp fishing incessantly extol the virtues of the “biggest and best” southern fish, caught from the “biggest and best” southern venues and all of them captured with the “best” (aka most-expensive) tackle from the “best” southern based companies.

The problem is that many of these Crafty Carpers (not dissing the namesake magazine) also continually appear as the public face of British Big Carp fishing. Often to the almost total exclusion of anyone originating from the north. Incidentally and at the time of writing, the Crafty Carper Magazine only has one Northern Carp venue listed on their website which probably says a lot.

In reality, the prevalence of big Carp angling in the south probably has more to do with the Geology of Britain, rather than any prominence of the Arthur DaleyTerry McCann and Del Boy Trotter types in Carp angling. In any case, most of them are simply minding respective nice little earners then stopping off at the Winchester Club for a post-fish celebratory Double VAT before wandering home to ‘er indoors.

The geology of Great Britain is renowned for its diversity, mostly due to its eventful geological history. Great Britain shows a rich variety of landscapes across the constituent parts of England, Wales and Scotland. It’s all to do with the makeup of our bedrock and the superficial deposits formed during our geological history.

In simple terms, there are far greater deposits of sand and gravel in the south than there are in the north. Subsequent excavation of these deposits by humans created pits, many of which subsequently became the Carp lakes of today, hence the proliferation of southern shandy drinking southern Carpers. That’s my theory and the one I’m sticking to, if only to minimise the effects of the great north-south divide battle!

Thankfully I’ve always been grateful for people like Jan Porter, Matt Hayes and Mick Brown, at least they’re all Northerners (more or less). Indeed, most of these guys, along with a few others can be credited for doing their little bit to promote angling in the North.

In addition to the anglers I listed above, I’ve also recently become aware of another pro-angler who is something of an ambassador and champion for Carping in the North. That person is Simon Crow, he provides a great deal of information about Yorkshire Fishing and Simon’s website, along with his blog are both worthy of a read.

Six Yorkshire ‘Big Carp’ Venues

Pool Bridge Farm Fisheries, York (YO19 4SQ): Predominently a coarse fishery, PBF also boasts a members only specimen Carp lake. The cost of membership requires a very reasonable one-off payment and all money from is put back in to stocking the lake. The venue was fished by Mark Pitchers and featured in the November 2012 issue of Crafty Carper magazine. Mark, a Mainline Baits consultant (see bio), concluded his review by saying; Pool Bridge Q Lake reeally does tick all the boxes for anyone looking for a winter venue.” Best pack my car and give it a try then!

Welham Lake, Malton (YO17 9QE): a beautiful 4.5 acre spring fed lake set in 18 acres of woodland. The lake itself is an old estate lake set in the middle of Malton and Norton Golf club therefore is unrivalled in its peace and tranquillity with an abundance of wildlife on view.

Selby 3 Lakes Complex (YO8 8NB): This fishery is a combined day-ticket coarse and members only syndicate venue. The (32 members) syndicate fishing comprises 2 lakes joined together to make one large 8 acre fishery. They contain over 150 carp including ‘Clarance’ at 35lb+ and ‘Rosie’ at 34lb+ as well as quite a few mid to upper twenties as backups. Predator fishing for Pike is also available.

Raker Lakes, York (YO19 6BW): Situated just south of York and set in 28 acres of landscaped countryside, Raker Lakes has 4 coarse lakes and the Kingfisher specimen lake. A recent catch report for September 2012 showed 21x twenties and 41x doubles banked at the fishery. The lake Carp record stands at 31lbs 8oz for all Carp with the record Common being banked at 30lbs 8oz.

Fairview Lake, York (YO8 3RB): originally a clay pit, dug in the 1800’s, the fish are an original English strain and are made up of around 70% commons, these wise old fish provide the carp angler with a challenge. The estimated fish stocks are approximately 100+ and half of the stock are 20lb+ with a few 30lb+ carp.

Majestic Pool, East Yorks: The lake covers three acres of water and lies within 10 acres of surrounding fields and woodland. The clear but weedy waters contain over 160 of the finest hand-picked English carp, sourced from one of the top suppliers in the UK. The exact location is not advertised on the internet; to make a booking call the owners on 07787 171918 (Phil Sainty) or 07904 079647 (Danny Fletcher).

So there is ‘Big Carp’ Angling North of Watford Gap, all that remains is the availability of time to get by the water. Enjoy your fishing and Tight Lines!