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UKCARP MAGAZINE 7 SEPTEMBER 6TH 2011UNTAPPED POTENTIALFirst impressions stick in the mind, and my initial look at the seven-acre carp lake on the Dale Pitt complex got me excited. This mature gravel pit is gin-clear, so you can easily see the bars and features criss-crossing the lake, and the luxuriant weedbeds. Even before seeing any fish I knew they were going to be stunners, with fantastic colouring, thanks to that clear water. Fishery manager John took me for the grand tour and filled me in on what the lake contained - well over 100 fish from 17lb to ounces shy of thirty, all growing on well, with a further stocking of larger fish due this coming winter. The fishery is set to open its doors in March next year but a few test sessions will be up for grabs if you get in touch with John. The site also boasts a trout lake, and plans are underway to create two coarse fishing lakes, as well as a café, toilets and showers. With the tour complete it was time to get fishing, and where we needed to head was fairly obvious, since the carp were showing over several visible bars. Explained John: "I feed the fish regularly on a mixture of pellets and boilies, both of which will be on sale to the public. The idea is to get the carp eating and putting on weight, but with the trial weekends coming up it will be a gentle introduction so the fish can get used to being fished for, and we can assess stocking levels and growth rates." The first thing John reached for was the marker rod. Although many of the bars are visible, he also wanted to find a clear area in the slightly deeper water. After five minutes' work he'd settled for three spots - a small visible gravel hump right in the margin, the end of one of the bars that traverse the lake, and a deep silty area at the base of another bar. All these were fed heavily with pellets and boilies, and since these spots are not far out John just used a bait scoop on a landing net handle. "Lots of people see you throwing in bait via a scoop and think that you are spreading it all over the shop, but I want a good area covered simply because these fish travel in groups and several could be feeding on the spot at the same time. If I hook one I don't want it to disturb the others, and that way I can hopefully catch a few," he said. Rig-wise, John uses his version of a helicopter rig with the stop slid several inches up the leader. "Although I'll be fishing over gravel, you can often see fish feeding heavily on baits that have landed on Looking down the seven-acre Dale Pitt fishery.A marker is essential in this weedy water.Swims were primed with pellets and boilies before we had a test-fish.

FISHERY PREVIEWthe surrounding weed. So all I need to do is move the stop and flick the rig out. This allows the hooklink to shoot up the leader and rest on top of the weed. I've caught loads of fish like this and think it's a great tactic," he explained. On the topic of weed, John had a few more words of wisdom. "The weed is abundant in this lake so you will need good quality line of at least 15lb. These fish can bolt straight off the shallow spots and into dense weed, so strong gear is a must. I've also decided to ask anglers not to use leadcore or barbless hooks as I believe both cause problems when used incorrectly, and we want to make every effort to keep the carp in absolutely tip-top condition." With the rods positioned, John sat down and revealed a little more about this excellent new venue. "We are trying to create a pleasant environment for people to come fishing, and both the owners and I want everyone to have the best possible experience while they are here. We've also used recycled materials for everything from roads and pathways to the actual building of the swims. This area has abundant wildlife and we wanted to have as little impact as possible on the surroundings." As the sun set and a grey sheet of rain pushed across the flat landscape, John settled down for the night, explaining that he would expect to get the odd take in the dark, but that early-morning was the banker time. With the rain turning very heavy it was time to seek shelter. The night was wet, and thankfully John didn't have to battle the elements as well as a fish in the dark, but a blue streak across the horizon heralded dawn and a cloudless sky. As if the fish had read John's prediction the deep-water rod rattled off and I was witnessing why John insists on strong, sensible tackle, as a virgin fish battled hard for its freedom and briefly found sanctuary in some dense weed. Steady pressure soon got it moving and as the weed fell off it charged up and down the clear margins before being safely netted. It wasn't a monster but it was in stunning condition, and at over 18lb it would definitely put a smile on most people's faces as its chestnut flanks shone in the morning sun. John was staring into the sky like a man awaiting divine intervention, but in reality he was making a decision. "With it being so warm and sunny the fish will be in the weed along that far margin. I think that stalking could be the best option," he explained, and shot off with a bucket. The next time I saw him he was carefully tipping bait on to a couple of marginal gravel spots. Stalking demands stealth and quiet, so I took that as a good excuse to set off for home, leaving John to his hunt. I'm very impressed with Dale Pitt, and all the hard work everyone has been putting in. More importantly I like the natural venue, stocked with quality carp, with its clear water stacked with features, lined with lush weedbeds and packed with natural food. This place is really going to be a winner. ? For more details contact John Garton on 07825 517488, or visit "This area has abundant wildlife so we wanted to have minimal impact on the surroundings"Baiting heavily at close range using a scoop.John and a mint 18lb mirror.