Category Archives: Where To Fish

Messingham Sands In Terrific Form

The Islands Lake at Messingham Sands was in top form for Saturday’s Drennan Silverfish League with an average weight of over 45lb per angler!

messingham-sands-fisheryThe top three individuals each came from different sections, too, so the fish were feeding well throughout the lake.

The winner on the day was Pete Riley who was drawn on peg 44 on the arm. As with the rest of the competitors, Pete had a real mixed bag of fish. His 65lb included skimmers, roach, perch, crucians, F1s and tench.

The main tactic on the day seemed to be to try and avoid the attentions of carp, which were also very active. One angler returned no less than 58! He still managed 50lb of silverfish but finished last in his 5-peg section.

It was no surprise that the following day’s Open Match held on the same lake was dominated by carp weights. Steve Bingham, drawn on peg 42, weighed a creditable 120lb by fishing pellet and meat on the bomb.

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Double For Carl Swetnam At Messingham

Match weights at the popular Messingham Sands complex near Scunthorpe are steadily improving as the springtime weather sets in.


Carl Swetnam with part of his winning catch

This is probably the best time of the year for competitive matches at Messingham Sands. It is possible to win with all-silverfish weights, all-carp weights, or a mixture of both, meaning that everyone is in with a chance of making the frame.

The Drennan Silverfish Spring League was held on Tripp Lake on Saturday and saw Carl Swetnam take an excellent win with a 78lb mixed bag of skimmers, roach, crucians, F1s and ide. He fished dead maggots over groundbait at four metres and really didn’t know what was coming next!

Carl managed a relatively carp-free day, unlike the second placed man who landed 24 in between his 51lb of skimmers, ide and F1s!

The following day Carl made it a double using the same tactics in the Tripp Winter League match. He topped up his silverfish this time with half a dozen Carp to weigh in an excellent 107lb. This was just ahead of Luke Harrison on 98lb who also fished maggots close in on pole.

It is noticeable that most of the carp weights from the deeper lakes are falling to up in the water tactics. Both Terry Holmes and Phil Deitch won matches on the Swan Pond with 80lb+ weights of carp by fishing 11mm pellets shallow on a waggler. Pleasure anglers are also finding that surface fished baits are scoring really well on all of the day ticket lakes.

Drennan Silverfish Spring League, Tripp Lake, Saturday
1 Carl Swetnam, Rotherham 78-12
2 Kevin Johnson, Messingham 51-13
3 Steve Ellis, Scunthorpe 49-00
4 Luke Harrison, Crowle 45-05

Tripp Lake Winter League, Sunday
1 Carl Swetnam, Rotherham 107-09
2 Luke Harrison, Crowle 98-03
3 Kevin Johnson, Messingham 80-13
4 Terry Gardener, Hull 68-10

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Messingham Sands Latest Match Results

Match weights were slightly below par last week at the popular Messingham Sands Fishery as rain and overnight frosts put a dampener on things.

messingham-sands-fisheryHowever some really good competitions resulted with not too much to separate the leading contenders. Round 5 of the Drennan Silverfish Spring League was fished on the Islands Lake on Saturday and less than 5lb separated the top four places.

Steve Nurse was optimistic when he drew peg 4 after hearing that it had produced the winner in the Wednesday Open. He set his stall out for crucians and F1s with 4mm expanders over micro pellets and caught steadily apart from a poor last hour. His 91 fish was good enough to win the day with 44lb. Sport was consistent all around the lake and most people weighed over 20lb of silverfish.

Drennan Silverfish League, Islands Lake, Saturday
1 Steve Nurse, Grimsby 44-05
2 Kyle Hartley, Scunthorpe 42-10
3 Kevin Johnson, Messingham 40-12
4 Paul Seed, Grimsby 39-10

Tripp Winter League, Sunday
1 Dave Toyne, Gainsborough 62-02
2 Carl Swetnam, Rotherham 60-02
3 Andy Bryant, Grimsby 58-00
4 Glen Collins, Hull 53-03

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Have A Winter Workout

We met up with Colin Bartlett at Lake John Fishery in Waltham Abbey, Essex, to learn how to keep the bites coming through the winter months. 


Location Is Key – If faced with a venue you are not familiar with, try and head for swims towards the middle of the lake. That definitely works here on the Big Lake at Lake John, as the fish tend to huddle together towards the middle of the lake when it gets colder, rather than the shallower corners. Any pegs that stick out a little bit more than others can also give you an advantage and hopefully put you even closer to the fish.

colin-potting-aFeed More Than One Swim – When the temperatures drop you’ll probably need to give the fish a chance to regroup after you’ve caught a few. By having at least two swims on the go you can feed and rest each spot and hopefully keep catching for longer.

The Long Line – My first swim today is a long-pole swim which is 13 metres out and this is fed with groundbait, dead maggots and casters. This is where I hope to catch mostly good skimmers, so I like to feed a few pots of bait at the start to create a nice bed for the fish to settle and graze over. I generally top this line up with a small pot of feed every 30 to 40 minutes or when bites have tailed right off.

colin-perchThe Short Line – Never ignore the short pole as you can pick up a lot of bonus fish just 5m to 6m out, wherever the bottom of the inside shelf is. I like to feed this area with a reasonable pot of casters at the start and then loose feed 10 to 20 shells regularly over the top. This line can really come into play late on in a session and could always throw up a surprise perch, tench or bream.

colin-skimmerTime Of Day – I expect to start by catching smaller roach, perch and skimmers. As a session progresses the bigger skimmers will often move in and give you a nice run of fish. Bigger perch can often show up earlier in the day and, when the light levels begin to drop, which is also when the odd bonus carp might think about having a chew.

Bait Selection – I have noticed the fish can change their tastes during a session. Often you can start by catching well on live or dead maggots, for instance, before it dies. Switching to chopped worm can then put you back in touch with the fish. After that, you can sometimes get a good run on expander pellets. So, don’t be afraid to introduce different baits into the swim at different times of the day. The fish here at Lake John definitely like a bit of variety.

colin-loose-feeding-aCaster Master – Feeding casters definitely attracts better quality fish, so I always like to have some with me in winter. I will try double caster over the top, but two dead red maggots on the hook can be even better. These are much softer and sink nice and slowly, so they catch the fish’s eye. This visual aspect shouldn’t be ignored when the water goes clear. That’s also why I like to use quite lightly shotted floats and regularly lift and drop the rig to help induce a bite.

colin-catch-aDon’t Give Up! – My final tip is to never give up on a winter stillwater. Even on ice-cold days, the silverfish should feed at some point. Keep the faith and I guarantee the fish will eventually switch on. If you are still struggling on your local venue, get yourself down here to Lake John. You won’t be disappointed!

Check out Colin’s top video tip, filmed at Lake John Fishery >>

Venue: Lake John Fishery
Location: Aimes Green, Galley Hill, Waltham Abbey, Essex, England
Postcode: EN9 2BJ
Telephone: 07958 938153

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Latest Video: Winter Feeding Tricks

In our latest short video, commercial fishery ace Grant Albutt passes on some sound advice to keep you catching in the cold. 


His first tip is all about feeding and the difference between making some noise or sneaking in the bait. The next time you are out on the bank, try these contrasting approaches and see which works best on the day.

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Many thanks to Gwinear Camping & Fishing in Cornwall. Visit to learn more about this great venue.

Venue: Gwinear Camping & Fishing
Location: Gwinear Farm, Cubert, Newquay, Cornwall
Postcode: TR8 5JX
Telephone: 01637 830172
Gwinear Angling Tackle Shop: 07519 389826

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Latest Video: The Importance Of A Plummet

In our latest video, Five times World Champion Alan Scotthorne explains the importance of a plummet, not just for determining depth, but also for understanding the contours and makeup of the bottom. 


Filmed at Little John Lakes in Nottinghamshire. Watch this space for more videos from this great venue.

Watch the video >>

Little John Lakes is situated on the outskirts of New Ollerton in Nottinghamshire. Its three fish-filled lakes (aptly named Robin Hood, Friar Tuck and Maid Marion) hold a wealth of different species to keep you guessing what the next bite will bring. It lends itself really well to pole fishing and, with a central island no more than 20 metres away on most pegs, the waggler or a small feeder can also work really well. Visit the Little John Lakes website to learn more.

Venue: Little John Lakes
Location: Maida Lane, New Ollerton, near Newark, Nottinghamshire
Postcode: NG22 9RG
Telephone: (+44) 7715 096738, (+44) 1623 835581

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Latest Video: Short-Pole & Maggots

In our latest video, Jon Arthur demonstrates how to make the most of a couple of pints of maggots and a simple short-pole approach.


jon-arthur-hillview-lakesAfter an action-packed session at the fabulous Hillview Lakes, the reward was a tidy mixed catch including roach, perch, skimmers, bream, F1s and carp. It’s a simple and very effective way to fish, so watch the film and see if you can mimic Jon’s expert advice. We also shot some Bite-Size Tips from the same session, which should appear in our Videos section very soon.

Watch the video >>

If you are ever in Gloucestershire, we recommend you give Hillview Lakes a visit. It consists of two large lakes and four snake lakes spread over eight acres. It’s a really pleasant and well-kept fishery that still fishes really well throughout the autumn and winter. There are even a number of Scandinavian-style log cabins on site if you want to make a holiday of it. Visit to learn more.

Venue: Hillview Lakes
Location: Cherry Orchard Lane, Twyning, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire
Postcode: GL20 6JH
Telephone: (+44) 78405 79087, (+44) 1684 296719

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Mini Feeder Fishing Explained

We got this really nice article and video with Jon Arthur after visiting the excellent Rookery Waters in Cambridgeshire.


Jon tackled the canalised and reed-fringed Jay Lake at the popular venue. Rather than a conventional float fishing approach, however, the former UK Champ shows you how to bag up with a short rod and feeder setup.

You can watch exactly how Jon does it in our latest Video.

For an even more in-depth look at the tactics used, check out our Mini Feeder Fishing article. (1.4Mb PDF File)

Visit to learn more about this great venue.

rookery-waters-mapVenue: Rookery Waters
Location: Fen Road, Pidley, Cambridgeshire
Postcode: PE28 3DF
Telephone: (+44) 7824 878492

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Bream Fishing At Farlows

Armed with a seatbox and quiver tip gear Martin Bowler headed off to Farlows Lakes near Iver in search of the resident bream shoals.


Martin Bowler with a lovely golden bream from Farlows Lake 1.


A map of Farlows Lakes.

With carp the main quarry of anglers visiting Farlows Lakes, Martin was keen to prove that there is much more on offer than just carp. Due to high protein bait going in on a regular basis other species like bream, tench and roach are very quick to take advantage of this regularly available food source and thrive. As a result, the lakes are home to shoals of roach and bream, a carp anglers worse nightmare, but for a match or pleasure angler, heaven.


The view from peg 40 on Lake 1.

Arriving at the venue mid-afternoon Martin was greeted with the sight of spawning carp, and as a result, one end of the lake had been closed. After speaking to the bailiff and numerous carp anglers around the lake, one or two had reported catches of bream during the night. With that in mind, Martin returned to his vehicle and set up in the adjacent swim. Peg 40 on lake 1 gave, a swim with control of an open water swim with an area of clean silt at around 40 yards, the perfect area to lay a trap.


Martin’s Spomb mix.

Martin laid an initial bed of mixed pellets and small boilies via a Spomb, spread around his marker float to create a reasonably sized feeding area. This feeding area would then be left for a few hours to settle and allow any fish to feed freely and build up confidence in the swim.

Martin’s Bream Set Ups

Martin set up two Series 7 Method Feeder rods, two contrasting setups, but both very effective at catching bream.

IMG_2473The first one with a Feederbomb, presented on a feeder link, paternoster style with a long hooklink of 6.4lb Fluorocarbon and a size 12 Specimen Plus hook. This rig would be fished with purely natural baits such as maggots and corn.

martin-method-feederOn the other rod, an In-Line Method feeder loaded with a krill groundbait laced with small pellets and a short ESP Mega Method Rig in size 10 baited with a trimmed down krill boilie.


Due to the large head of carp in the venue, Martin opted to fish with ESP Syncro XT, a much heavier and thicker mainline than he would normally use for bream, but vital to landing any large carp that may be hooked. For situations where there are very few or no carp present, Martin uses 6lb Method & Feeder Mono, a line designed specifically for this style of fishing.

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Latest Article: Battle Of The Baits

Follow two top anglers through a session at Ivy House Lakes in our latest article. 


The excellent Wiltshire venue is renowned for good catches of both carp and silverfish – and that’s exactly what we discovered on the day!

Download the article here: Battle Of The Baits (526Kb PDF File)

map-ivy-house-lakesVenue: Ivy House Lakes
Location: Whitehall Lane, Grittenham, near Chippenham, Wiltshire
Postcode: SN15 4JU
Telephone: (+44) 7977 093170

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