CROWSHEATH CATFISH

Article by Tommy Flower – Totally Awesome Fishing Show

stunning sunrise

Stunning sunrise over the Main lake.

There is some exciting things going on over at Crowsheath fishery, not only have the fish really started getting on the munch with multiple catches being reported but Nick the fishery manager has acquired a new lake within the complex and is going to turn it in to a real exclusive syndicate. The stock which is intended for the lake is truly a story of beauties and the beasts! But before I go into too much detail let me fill you in on my latest session on one of my favourite venues.

I had planned to do a review for the catfish canal but just before my trip a call from Nick reviled the catfish canal was to be no more. But all was not lost and I was still able to fish my planned session and start my search for the huge monsters that stalk the murky depths. For the session I was to be accompanied by my dad and good friend Andy Phillips and we all dreamed about catching one of the huge catfish.

Catfish Canal

Catfish Canal

We were greeted by Nick the fishery manager on a glorious Friday afternoon and we soon had his trailer loaded up with our tackle. The trailer is a brilliant extra on the lake and saves you from a lot of huffing and puffing pushing a heavy loaded barrow around the venue. My dad and Nick soon set off in the direction of the catfish canal leaving me and Andy to walk. Strolling along the manicured banks of the main lake we found it extremely hard to drag ourselves past the large black shapes which were gliding along just under the surface of the lake. Some of the carp looked very big but however enticing they seemed, we were here in search of their much larger neighbours. We eventually arrived at the catfish canal and straight away we were welcomed by the sight of THE ONE everyone wants. The Manderin! The catfish was cruising under a marginal bush and it was truly a sight to see and most definitely wet our appetites. We flipped a coin as to who got first swim choice and me being lucky got first pick. Then it was Andy. Leaving my dad with last choice, although his swim was still being haunted by the manderin. Andy and I set up at either end of the lake leaving my dad in the centre and all 3 swims looked so good for a fish or two. All manner of baits and tactics were employed by my Dad and Andy but I decided to go down the live bait route fished as a dumbbell rig with the live baits suspended 6inch to a foot from the surface. The first evening as I stood in Andy’s swim all we could hear and see was carp crashing out in the main lake and I tell you that it was extremely hard not to switch the rods to the main lake but a plan was hatched and we decided that a couple of hours stalking the next day was in order and that night we was going to concentrate on the cats. After a lovely dinner and a bit of a social in the middle swim we retired to our bivvys in hope of a late night meet with a giant pussy.

A huge eruption on the surface followed by the screaming alarm signalled a savage take and I was soon attached to a monster of the deep. Not long into the fight the fish found sanctuary in a snag and we came to a standstill. I managed to give Andy a quick call and soon he was on hand to help. The fish was stuck fast in a snag on the far margin and Andy managed to get hold of the line and we soon had a new angle but we could still not move it although the odd jerk on the line reviled that the fish was still attached. Unable to gain any line and UNWILLING to pull for a snap and potentially leave a fish tethered there was only one thing to do. It was time for a late night dip. Entering the murky, snaggy water was rather nerve racking and I was worried about meeting one of the giants that inhabit the lake. However, I didn’t need to worry as on the first attempt I managed to lift the fish out of the water and place it in the net which Andy was holding out.

catfish

Wrestling the catfish free from the snags

A true battle and one I was glad to have won. On the mat the catfish wasn’t massive weighting in at 19lb but I was more than happy.

 

This was my prize for going for a dip. A 19lb Cat!

This was my prize for going for a dip. A 19lb Cat!

It wasn’t only my alarms that signalled a take that night because in the early hours Andy was awoken by a screaming run and upon hitting in the fish he realised that it was an unstoppable beast and not long after first contact his line was parted by an unseen snag.  Before long daylight had broken but with it brought heavy downpours and we were left bivvy bound watching lightning strike in the distance.

The rain subsided and my mind drifted back to the main lake. The open water end of the lake was barren from anglers and with the lack of pressure the carp had stacked up down there and I wasn’t going to miss this chance. Andy and I crept around the banks looking for likely spots to place a little solid bag and soon we found a few nice carp drifting in and out of some reeds and lowered our rigs into position.

Stalking stealth style

Stalking stealth style

It didn’t take long for a carp to fall foul to my trap and the rod slammed round and the spool whizzed off as an angry carp made for open water. Although the fish wasn’t massive it certainly gave me the run around and turned out to be a stunning little mirror carp.

Quality Crowsheath mirror

10minutes in the right place is all that’s needed. Quality looking Mirror

Being a Saturday the banks started to fill up and put an end to our stalking session but I was more than happy with my capture and we was off in search of the cats once again. No more action came our way until early hours on our last night when Andy hit into another powerhouse of a fish and once again the catfish found sanctuary by burying into a thick weedbed and that’s where it stayed put. Andy attempted to go in after the fish but found the margins sloped off rather quickly plus deep water mixed with thick weed and a large powerful fish is not a good recipe, so we soon changed our approach and went out in the boat. Even though we were directly above the fish it still held fast and then one hard kick of its tail popped the line and the fight was over.

Although our session was over, the journey for Crowsheath fishery is just beginning and with Nick at the helm it’s going to go from strength to strength and really has the making of a very special venue.

The catfish canal is currently in the process of having all of the catfish removed and rehomed in the new

Andy entering the big cat lair

Andy entering the big cat lair

syndicate water which is a lot bigger than their current home. The lake of around 3acres is set within stunning surroundings. Every where you look you are met with unspoilt country side that’s brimming with wildlife and is somewhere where you could just sit and lose yourself for hours on end. As well as the huge catfish that will inhabit the new lake there will also be 30 brand new stock which will range from upper doubles to 30lb, plus there are 5 20lb+ carp which already reside in the lake. So if you’re lucky enough to get to fish the stunning lake then you can be sure that when your buzzer is screaming at you, you’re going to be met by something large and outrageous or something large and gorgeous but either way you’re not going to be disappointed! The syndicate lake is set well away from the day ticket waters and has access only by a separate gate which will be locked and only members will be allocated keys. Once in, there will be enough parking in safe and secure surroundings.

syndicate lake

syndicate lake

With the catfish removed Nick is planning on turning the canal into a dads and lads water which will be ideal for pleasure anglers and match fishermen alike. The stock will be made up of all your usual coarse fish and have carp ranging up to double figures.

If you want to find out any more information on the lake or how to secure a place for the exclusive syndicate water then please contact Nick Kearsey on  07402 298218 and he will be able to help you out. If day ticket waters are more your thing then look no further than the main lake, it’s an absolute Gem and holds some truly stunning carp.