Charman’s Challenge – Waggoners Wells (middle lake).
Date – Thursday November 20th 2014
Venue fact file –
Waggoners Wells, Grayshott, Surrey.
Tickets – Season tickets available as part of the waters available from Grayshott Angling Club or in advance from Grayshott Tackle – 1 Crossways Road, Grayshott, Surrey GU26 6HJ - Tel 01428 606122
Day tickets cost just £5 per day, max of two rods.
Stock – Roach and perch are the main species here with tench, crucians and king carp to 20lb also possible.
Conditions – Atmospherics on 1016mb, white cloud clearing on an increasing easterly breeze and temperature rising from a cool 7 degrees on arrival.
Steeped in carp angling history, sadly this little gem has seemed to be forgotten in recent times. Great anglers such as Chris Yates and Chris Ball have visited, fell in love and written about this venue, however nowadays size matters and history doesn’t! Donald Leney stocked the bottom lake more than 50years ago with some stunning carp, many of which still survive today. Often thought as, as impossible, these carp have frustrated some of the best carp anglers in the country and I recall as a youngsters seeing a line between two rods stretched out across the lake with two surface baits dangling on the surface. Somehow these anglers had set the trap up, obviously with a rotten-bottom between but still the carp swam around with two fingers up! One carp, again the biggest, was sort after by many, including my good friend Steve Ansell and I recall a shifty night spent many years past targeting these (nights not allowed). That night Steve caught one, I think it weighed around 12lb and as for me I was the pest controller with one weighing around 2lb!
Nowadays I walk the girlfriends parents dog around the lake, every other week and on a hot summers evening count the carp that still survive, 2013 = 19, 2014 = 17. I have to admit at not being able to pick the big girl out but I am informed she still exists albeit well down from her top weight of just over thirty pounds.
Never one to turn down a lead though and with reports that the roach have gained weight decided it was about time to dig a bit deeper, however it wasn’t to be the ‘steeped in history’ bottom lake but the middle lake that drew me in. Reports of the occasional two-pounder needed to be investigated yet a year previous my first exploration trip only produced roach to 1lb 1oz, however it was a very cold day and you just cant right a venue off on just one trip.
Having just returned from a days guiding when waggler tactics were employed it seemed the perfect opportunity, as the kit was sorted, to spend another session on the venue. Although a place of outstanding beauty its not really the place for angling anymore as the steep bank where fishing is allowed has been somewhat left to the elements and almost impossible to fish. I managed to set up in the most comfortable swim on this bank and believe me it was uncomfortable! Trees now inflicted an angler in using the float and the bank behind steep to make pole fishing almost a non-starter, however with a small gap between the trees I managed to cast a float and enjoy a few hours sport.
Arriving at first light I managed to cast out at 7.30am and after feeding a few maggots on a regular basis soon started getting bites, albeit from small perch. Finally on the drop in around 7ft of water a fast bite saw something bigger hooked, a roach around 12oz. These came regularly for the next two hours before the switch was hit. I even tried the devastating helicopter rig yet one bite every twenty minutes proved they had almost shut up shop and an earlier than expected departure was forced on me.
If you fancy some real ‘Mr Crabtree’ fishing where size really doesn’t matter, well better get yourself down here, yet be prepared to puff a bit as lugging your tackle down the valley isn’t fun, setting up isn’t fun, yet when you are there, stop for a second, look around, listen and enjoy as there is more to fishing than catching!