Charman’s Challenge – MBK Pump Station Pond.
Date – Friday March 21st 2014
Venue fact file –
Pump station Pond, Longmoor Road, Greatham, Hants GU33 6AP
Tickets Adult £10-00, OAP and juniors £7-00 available from Grayshott Tackle GU26 6HJ. Tel - 01428 606122. (season tickets available)
Stock – A good mixed fishery with great silver fish sport and some large perch and carp.
Conditions – Atmospherics dropping slightly from 1007mb, wind increasing to 16mph from the south west, sunny with odd shower late on and temp rising from 5 degrees to 12.
I first acquainted myself with Pump Station many years ago when it was controlled by Oakhanger Angling Club. I was a keen match angler back then and remember the long walk down the windy lane from the car park that, back then was situated next to the road. It was never an easy venue; however my most memorable match was when I caught all three golden orfe that lived there, in successive casts, a catch that helped me win the match.
Unfortunately OAC lost the venue around the same time that the A3, that now runs close by, was being constructed, and due to this the lake’s bottom was breached, leading to the water draining away. The army that owned the lake at the time also used the lake for different activities and it was one of these events that polluted the lake and the stock lost.
Many years past and with my match days coming to an end I left OAC and joined Farnham and during this period MBK took over the lakes control. Three years ago I returned to compile a feature for TCF, it fell on a day of wind and rain and with the feature based on silver fish and waggler fishing and having to hold onto a spinning brolly, have to say that although I caught plenty of fish, it wasn’t a session that I enjoyed.
Now though, being able to compile these articles around my strong points, I’ve decided to return with its larger residents on my mind, namely perch and carp, and with a love for float fishing and knowing just how effective prawns are, I’ve decided that the margins will be my first point of attack. I have also bought with me some short carp rods that will be ideal for a change of tactic later on in the day if my preferred method fails.
The forecast for the day ahead was that it would stay relatively dry, yet on route the heavens opened unloading a shed load of hail that soon had me realising that winter is far from over. Couple this with heavy overnight rain and a temperature of just 5 degrees I knew that the fishing would be far from easy.
My girlfriend’s father was already set up by the time I arrived and by now the clouds had disappeared and with the sun illuminating the venue I have to say that Pump Station has to be one of the prettiest day ticket venues I know. Surrounded by tall old pine trees, silhouetted against the calm water the air is filled with a woody aroma and the water colour, as I remembered it, a peaty colour.
Kenny and daughter Kendra who controls the fishing had pointed myself in the direction of the first few swims nearest the car park and had informed me to feed some small micro pellets in the margins which I did in three areas. This would allow myself to rotate these, hopefully taking a fish from each before topping up with pellet and prawns and moving on. Tackle couldn’t be simpler, a Preston 13ft Carbonactive rod teamed up with a Shimano 4000 size reel loaded with 6lb HydroFlo and at the business end all I was to use was a 4x14 pole float, one with quite a thick tip which was connected in three placed to the main line before a 5.14lb Reflo hooklink was attached loop to loop style onto which two number six shot added along with a Korum size 12 barbless hook.
The wind hadn’t decided which way it was going to blow and unfortunately the fish were also undecided whether to feed or not as the first two swims failed to show any signs. Using a large plummet I quickly found the depth of the third swim and placed a whole prawn onto the hook before lowering this right over the primed area. Targeting the margins each area was no more than two feet deep and soon after lowering the prawn in the float started to move from side to side, similar to that of crucian fishing. A small dip then a short solid strike saw the rod blank bend over and the clutch scream. With the carp well out in open water and doing everything it could to avoid the bottom of my landing net I originally thought that a double was the culprit, yet embarrassingly the fish weighed no more than four pound but what it lacked in weight, it certainly made up for in looks, what a stunner! The next hour past without incident, well apart from Mick being trashed by a monster of the deep and I was forced to drop into a swim on one of the other lakes, Spectacle. This proved that the fish were feeding as a couple of hard fighting commons soon found the bottom of the net, yet today was all about trying to catch a big carp on light balanced kit and the main lake was were I needed to be.
The two unproductive swims remained fishless yet the third, where I’d taken the first one showed signs that carp were once again around. Dropping the float in position I watched as a large common surfaced and cheekily sucked a leaf that lay right next too the float before dropping down and within the blink of an eye the rod arched over as the water exploded with a big carp heading out once again into the centre of the lake. Fully expecting a big common to surface I was surprised to see a big scaly double figured mirror to show some five minutes later. It was the size of fish that I had come for, however the common that showed was far bigger so after priming each swim again I went for a walk to see if I could spot any bigger fish only to find most of the lakes population at the dam end sunning themselves. Mick mentioned that this was familiar behaviour and that they would slowly make their way down to the shallow end as the day progresses and that’s exactly what they did, yet not on the side that we were fishing.
Moving round I baited up the forth swim along the left hand bank, one that I remember as being the best in my days of match fishing and soon after lowering a prawn the float dipped, disappeared and again the clutch sounded yet this was only a small carp, around three pounds. Chancing a second cast I soon found myself locked in battle with a real zoo creature and after five minutes was convinced that it must be hooked in the tail due to its sheer power but it didn’t feel foul hooked and slowly but surely progress was made before what had to be the cheeky common from earlier slide over the drawstring. Unfortunately the digital scales that I had chanced on using again failed to work so I had to borrow a set from another angler and although not the most accurate the dial swung past sixteen, slightly less than what I had estimated, but still a great fish to take on such basic, balanced kit.
After the capture of the cheeky common the lake came alive. All the carp had shifted from the dam end of the lake and moved to the bank that backs onto the Spectacle Lake an area that I settled and come 6pm when I called it a day another twenty or more carp had graced my net. With the carp lifting in the water I had to make one adjustment and with floating baits banned finally took the majority of fish fishing a prawn two inches under the pole float. None surpassed the common in weight, although on a number of occasions a big ghosty common almost made a mistake, but all were absolute stunners, mostly heavily plated mirrors with the odd long dark common for variety. I was hoping that one of the lakes big perch would show but today the carp were ravenous, just waking up from their winter slumber and eager to build up some lost reserves.
Pump Station is a beautiful venue with some stunning carp, certainly a water where purist tactics outscore modern approaches and if like me you love fishing at close quarters, almost stalking your quarry then I highly recommend this tiny and rewarding venue.
Image 1 – Id forgotten just how beautiful Pump Station is.
Image 2 – Bait, nice and simple.
Image 3 – Terminal tackle, basic but strong.
Image 4 – Each swim is plummeted before fishing.
Image 5 – It took a while but then this gorgeous double turned up.
Image 6 – Playing each fish on balanced tackle is great fun.
Image 7 – This common has to be one of the biggest in the lake.
Image 8 – Every one was like a wood carving.