Dave Wright – Berners Fishery
Use your eyes and watercraft and don’t follow the crowd!
The van is all packed ready for a trip over to Essex to fish a few nights on Berners Fishery in Ongar, the lake is a 24 acres farm irrigation pond with some 600-700 carp up to an amazing 43lb! Recently at The Big One fishing show, I had a good chat to Andy and James the owners of Total Fishing Tackle as they look after and run the lakes to gain as much information as I can before I turn up to fish. This sort of information is something you can’t not take on board as it can really give you a head start before you have even set foot on the bank.
So my alarm goes off early on Monday morning as after a cuppa I’m in my van and on the road to meet my brother and his boys who are also going to fish a few nights as its on their doorstep, after a nice easy run I pull into the car park of the tackle shop and meet James who tells me more about the lake how it’s been fishing and shows me a map of the swims. Now a lot of people will turn up and if the 2 swims left and right of the island are free drop in there as it’s what they have been told is the thing to do but for me I think you should keep an open mind until you are on the bank and looking out at the water, let the fish and the weather tell you what’s best!
When we start to walk around the lake we soon find that one side of the island is free and my brother is keen to drop into them swims but I’m not convinced due to the wind being strong and cold making me think the fish will be on the back of the wind in the warmer calmer water that also has the sun on it. After a lap or 2 of the lake and me only seeing 1 fish show I decide the back of the wind is the right choice so we gather our kit and start to set up, the swims are opposite the island and command a lot of water so I spread my rods out to cover as big an area as possible maximising my chances, each rod is fishing a range between 115 and 125 yards on a naked Chod with a washed out pink Catalyst popup with around 80-100 freebies scattered around with the trusty throwing stick.
With the rods out and my brolly and bed all set up I get the kettle on and have a catch up with my brother and my 2 nephews but we are soon interrupted buy the sound of my right-hand rod ripping off less than an hour after me finding a spot getting a rig out and baiting the area, after a short fight a small but welcome Linear slips over the net cord so its 1 – 0 to me. After I get the fish unhooked and back in the lake my middle rod is away so I tighten down the clutch on my Tournos 10000 and lift into what could be my second fish of the trip but luck isn’t on my side and after a few minutes into the fight the fish comes off probably due to me not keeping enough pressure on the fish as it’s a barbless rule on the lake. Firstly I got some more bait out as soon as the rod was resting on the brolly as if there are a few fish feeding in that area I want to hold them there so I can get a rig out now they seem to be feeding confidently. The rods go out after 2 or 3 casts due to the wind pushing the casts off target but I’m happy and its back to a cuppa and a chat with the boys.
6.15pm and the middle rod is away again resulting in a 11lb Mirror then 45 minutes after the left rod this time and it’s a fantastic looking 19lb Mirror with some amazing winter colours making it look like a bar of gold, the rest of the evening is very quiet and the air temp soon drops off as the sun goes down so it’s off to bed to get some rest and keep warm. 4.40am and my sleep is broken by the left rod being away again and resulting in the smallest of carp on this trip but I don’t mind as it’s a carp in the net and its shows to me the rigs are working the baiting’s right and the fish are in the area of the lake I said they would be, after that rod is back out and a cuppa is made to warm the old hands its the right rod that’s away and like the last fish it’s another small carp so its soon unhooked and returned to the water. I watch as plenty of fish show and crash out over both my area and the area my brother is fishing, at the point he is still to catch but that soon changes.
Just after 8.30 my middle rod has 2 beeps and the bobbing pulls up to the SKS Alarms as I look at the line I can see it kiting off to the side so it lifted into it and not long after the net is out and the fish is safely over the cord and resting and I get the rig back out. But from then on the action slows right down for me and it’s not until 10am the following day that I receive any action! why this is I’m not sure it could have been that a few more people turned up and Spombed a lot of bait out for a overnighter that I think may have spooked the fish, the fish is no 7 and a lovely looking Common but still only a small fish so I wonder if I’m going to land anything over the 20lb mark. Again the action drops right off for me so I decide that the fish I have seen and the fact my brother has had a few now but a lot closer in its time I moved my rods in a bit closer. Nothing happened that day but at just past 7am the next day the right-hand rod was off and it felt a better fish, with the fight over and the fish sitting happily in the net it was time to get the rig back out asap and then take some photos of a lovely looking golden Common weighing in at 24lb 10oz this ended up being the biggest carp of the session.
After a very sunny day and no fish action and after a nice bank cooked dinner and a cold beer I’m off to bed to see what the final night will bring. In the early hours of the morning the left-hand rod has a few single beeps then all of a sudden its away and taking line as it heads for a weed bed, I manage to free it by keeping light pressure on and taking my time and soon after that I lift the net under another lovely looking passable 20lb mirror carp. Its soon unhooked and the hook hold treated with some fish care and I let it rest in the net as the suns about to come up so I can get some nice photos as it’s a lovely looking fish. After the photos are all done and a few cups of tea are made and drunk its time to slowly pack down and hit the road home to Windsor happy that we have all had some lovely looking carp and most of all that I stuck to guns and went on what I could see and not what the majority would do and it really paid off.