Cameron Branaghan. 44-02 R

'The Pretty One' caught at last at 44-02

Cameron Brannagan catches her after a 21 month absence
Tuesday 23 May 2023

After a wait of nearly two years, we were absolutely delighted to see 'The Pretty One' this weekend. When a Carp disappears for so long, particularly on a lake like Cherry Lake, you keep questioning yourself as to whether it is still alive. We knew we had not found her, but you can't help wondering. We are wondering no longer!

'The Pretty One' was last out at 39lb, and we have been hoping that she would join the ranks of our known 40's. Well she has, at 44-02 she smashed though this benchmark. She was in great condition and certainly lived up to her name, as I believe the photos clearly show.

This brings the number of Cherry Lake 40lb+ Carp caught this year to 7. Of these 3 are first time 40lb+ Carp. Right now my best guess, particularly as the Carp are approaching their heaviest weights of the year, is that we have at least 15+ Carp over 40lb in Cherry Lake. Of these three might even be 50+. As I mentioned in my last update, we are yet to see some of the really big Carp from last year. Fingers crossed for the next few weeks.

The big Carp are normally the last to spawn in Cherry Lake and it will be interesting if they wait until late June like they did during the last couple of years. We do have some vacancies remaining on Cherry Lake, notably

Cherry Lake Cottage. 02-06 and 06-09 June. 12-16, 16-19 and 19-23 June

Heron Lodge. 09-12 and 12-16 June

Osprey Lodge. 12-16 June

Please get in tough if you are available and fancy your chances.

Cameron Branaghan. 44-02 L
Cameron Brannaghan with 'The Pretty One' at 44-02. What a Carp!

Oxford footballer Cameron Brannaghan has visited us a number of times this year catching a lot of Carp. He caught our first forty of the year in January when he landed a 41lb Common (see post of 03 January 23) and has an amazing 10 entries in my 2023 30+ catalogue.

Cameron had a great weekend, fishing small pop-ups over pellet from Osprey Lodge on Cherry Lake, when he landed an incredible 17 Carp. A real fishing machine.......I am sure I would have reeled in for a rest! His approach attracted both some big Carp (see below), but also caught the eye of some of our babies.

Cameron was already buzzing before he caught the big one on Sunday afternoon, and was absolutely over the moon afterwards. I remember saying to him during a run of smaller carp, that his tactics was absolutely spot-on, and that if he kept catching the big ones would return! Well he did and he did!

It will be interesting to see how long it will be before she gets caught again? Hopefully not until she has recovered from spawning in the autumn and looking even 'prettier' in her autumn colours..

Cameron Brannagan with a 38lb Common
Cameron Brannagan with a heavy 38lb Common

The Common above was the biggest 'thirty' caught by Cameron this weekend. This Common is obviously 'carrying' whilst being in the 'blooming' stage of pregnancy!

Cameron caught 4 other 30's in his haul. Space prevents me from showing them all here. These two certainly caught my eye!

Cameron's partner Georgie holding a 30-08 Common
Cameron's partner Georgie holding a 30-08 Common

Both of these Carp are also new 30's for us

Cameron with a stunning heavily scaled Mirror of 30-02
Cameron with a stunning heavily scaled Mirror of 30-02

It is not just about big Carp. Cameron also sent me photos of some of the smaller Carp caught. As regular followers know, Cherry Lakes benefits from our own stock pond. Every year we introduce 10-15 of these into Cherry Lake. This ensures we have a constant stream of attractive carp coming through. Given the stock pond gets it's water from Cherry Lake, this stocking approach is as low risk as we can make it.

Dave and I enjoy hand picking these fish. We normally look for either a good body shape (which we hope is an indicator of being a big Carp in the future) and/or great scale patterns etc.

The picture of the 12lb Mirror below combines a good body shape with an attractive scale patter. In short 'quite a looker'!

Cameron with a 'gem' for the future. A 12lb Mirror.
Cameron with a 'gem' for the future. A 12lb Mirror.

I am also a 'sucker' for Ghost Carp.

We have about a dozen Ghost Commons and Ghost Mirrors above 30lb in Cherry Lake. These parents I presume are the reason why we get a good number of small Ghost Carp coming through in the stock pond from the collected eggs. The absence of predation in this protected environment also means a much higher proportion survive at the fry and small Carp life stages. In the open lake they would be easy targets for other fish as well as the Grebe's, Heron's and Cormorants.

Cameron caught several next generation Ghosties, my favourite of which was this one below. Imagine this as a thirty!

Well done as always Cameron. Top angling and top photos.

Cameron 8lb
Cameron with a fantastic fully scaled Ghost Mirror of around 8lb. Imagine this as a thirty!
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