Outstanding winter Carp fishing.........Our second forty of the year and it's only 8 days old!

Neil Ash smashes his PB with a 40-04 Common
Sunday 8 January 2023

I really did not expect to be writing my second update of the year within the first ten days of January, but here I am.

Neil Ash is one of our regular long term guests, who normally visits a little later in the year. Whilst he was here last October, I encouraged him to look at January and February. Prices are cheaper than our normal prices from late March, the water is often quieter in terms of the number of anglers, and very often it is the bigger Carp which get caught in the winter.

Mind you, winter fishing from, a nice warm Lodge which allow the angler to scan the water looking for signs of fish without getting wet or frostbite, is much easier than sitting in a bivvy. Watching Netflix on the Smart TV or a DVD in the warm sounds just like my normal evenings, except being in the Lodge means you can have your rods out!

In my much keener younger days, I thought it was a 'badge of honour' to suffer the long cold nights (and sometimes days). I even did this before DVD's and PC's, games etc, when the only way to kill the hours during the 16 hour nights was to read from a head torch. I now find it hard to believe I spent all those winter hours spent laying on my bed chair being cold and damp and counting the hours down before I could sensibly go home. Or as Rod Hutchinson used to quote 'I will be glad when I have had enough of this! I now feel life is too short to suffer like this.

Well, with our encouragement, Neil did decide to chance his arm and booked Heron Lodge, and with this continuing early January wet spell his timing was spot on! As you can see here, he is very glad he chanced his arm. Neil smashed his previous PB (a Cherry Lake Mirror of 37-08), when he landed a Common of 40-04.

Neil Ash. 40-04 R
Neil Ash with his new PB. A fantastic Cherry Lake Common of 40-04

Fishing from Heron Lodge, and taking advantage of an empty Cottage, Neil landed a 26-08 Common this morning shortly after 7AM. I remembers saying to him that I thought the conditions were still good for the time of year (the temperature has dropped a bit, but still no sign of proper frosts) and that he should get another chance or two.

Around 12.30 Neil called me to say he had got a really big Common in the net and could I come and weigh/photo the fish with him. Of course I could!

Whilst not as excited as Neil, I am also over the moon because we have just had our second 40+ of the year...........and the year is literally just 8 days old. Wow! This is a different Carp to the 41lb Common caught by Cameron Brannagan on 02 January. Now Common's can be hard to identify. Neil's Carp had a clear set of distinctive marks on the top of its back by its dorsal fin. For this to be seen on a photos the Carp needs to be held almost at 90 degrees. If the fish is held and is tipped back towards the angler then these marks could not be seen.

I am labouring this point because I could not find this Common in our 2022 30+ catalogue. I did find it in the 2021 catalogue when it was caught by Edward Szycak at 35-12 in May. Given I think this particular Common is a female, and it was probably carrying a few extra pounds as it got ready for spawning in May 21, then the weight gain over the last 20 months is probably closer to 6-7 lb rather than the apparent 4-08 gain. Regardless she was in great condition and fought like a demon according to Neil.

This Common is also our first new 40lb+ Carp of the year, and brings the total to 12 different 40lb+ Cherry Lake Carp weighed and photographed above this special benchmark. Given the strong weight gains we have been seeing through the Autumn and into this Winter, there are more pleasant surprises to come!

We have plenty of spaces during January and February, so if you fancy the chance of landing your own 'surprise' contact me on

Well done Neil. Top angling.

Edward Szycak with the Common in May 21 at 35-12
Edward Szycak with the Common in May 21 at 35-12
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