Historically, Whelford Pools is a quintessential part of the Cotswold carp scene. It has provided anglers of all abilities with an intimate venue, from which to catch some stunning carp. I first fished the lake when I was much younger, mainly fishing it in the colder months due to its prodigious stock. Since those days it has seen a number of changes and having recently reopened, it required further attention from Adam and myself.
Arriving alongside the Hinders’ cameras, we beheld picturesque willows and reed beds encompassing muddied water. The latter was the only sign of the recent works to the lake and dark shapes could be seen in its upper layers; its inhabitants beginning to enrich themselves with the morning’s sun.
The pair of us could hardly wait to get started. We tread carefully along the banks until we reached peg 10 and 11. Here, a number of carp were sunning themselves and travelling through a small channel that separates the two bays which comprise the lake. Standing for a short time, more and more carp became visible. The swims also provided some shade from the searing heat, which was now beginning to touch 30 degrees.
After a quick, yet sweat inducing set up, We flicked out some zigs and surface baits to the now sun gazing carp. Never have I had such a difficult afternoon attempting to encourage fish to feed. The majority sat dormant and lethargic, completely disregarding the drifting pellets above their heads. Three hours of feeding and repelling the birds saw one single lacklustre carp begin to take a few baits. I quickly side hooked a piece of cork and flicked it beyond the fish, drawing it back into its path. At the first time of asking it took it. Even the fight was slow and laboured and the heat had obviously taken its toll on us all. A fish was indeed landed though and we were off the mark.
As the heat of the day began to withdraw, we changed approach and placed baits on the shallowest areas of water we could find. By baiting tactfully and fishing for a bite at a time, we managed to tempt some attractive, scaly carp throughout the evening. Sat next to the water in the still, humid air was comforting. The stove was alight, laughter and stories told and everything akin with carp angling was only ever interrupted by a take to the rods. It was lovely to be sat by the pool again and provoked memories for us all.
Simple tactics proved fruitful through the night, and by morning 6 carp had succumbed to the waiting mesh. Completing pieces to camera surrounded a warming breakfast, before again, around mid-morning the sun began to heat the day. Just as I was contemplating a change of tactics, the final fish of the trip made a timely mistake and I landed what is now typical of Whelford’s stock; a stunning mid double mirror.
We battled with the blazing sun for a few more hours, but all to no avail. Another scorching hot day was afoot and the carp’s lethargy was beginning to become contagious. Tired and weary, we called it a day and closed the gate on the first of many trips to the new and improved Whelford Pools. The fish really are breath-taking and provide great sport. Small mesh bags of pellet and bright, high attract hook baits accounted for all our fish and we simply placed two or three handfuls of pellet, corn and boilie over the top. Very simple fishing, but we found location as ever was paramount.
I personally can’t wait to return. Furthermore, I can’t wait to see how the lake progresses. It’s a perfectly structured, modern-day fishery, with a tackle shop, clean toilets and an obligatory otter fence. There are some major plans for the lakes and the staff on site not only have their heads screwed on, their informative and approachable. All in all, I hope Whelford does what I think it will do, and that’s go from strength to strength.