Small Lake Success – Targeting Small Lakes

John Stembridge with his Carp Catch

When targeting small lakes, either be it syndicates or day ticket lakes, each comes with its own sets of problems. What I mean by this is, how you target a large lake can be completely different in respect of small lakes.

From my own experience in the past I have found the smaller intimate lakes to be a lot more trickier.

The fish are under a lot more pressure and a constant seeing of lines and anglers puts them right on edge How I target these small intimate lakes has a totally different approach entirely.

One particular lake in question is no more than an acre in size with a stock of around 85 fish, so well stocked but they don’t give themselves up too easily, as you can imagine.

With these types of the lake, you need to think outside the box and redefine everything.

By ringing the changes, it can change your fortune and turn quiet sessions into great sessions.

I’ve only learnt these things through experience, having blanked many a time.

If you can keep the faith and tweak things in your favour, you can turn your fortune.

The way I approach this venue and others like it Is to do the totally opposite to everybody else!

Easier said than done you say! …well actually it is that simple Rather than go in with whole boilie and pellet Everything that went out so crumbed with lake water and matching food liquids to make a porridge. Lots of attraction but very little in the way of food but will keep the fish grubbing for ages and up your chances of getting a pickup.

Hooks & Baits

As regard hook baits and rigs etc. A trimmed down 12mm wafter critically balanced coupled with a very short (4inch) slip d hook link seems to be the one.

With everybody uses the same old 10-12inch rig which the fish see day in day out and probably get away with more than you know the shorter link seem to trip them up a lot more as there’s no room for error when picking up a hook bait. It’ll normally nail them straight away. The swim I fished was at the end of the lake so not too much disturbance from other anglers recasting in my area and with the added attraction of a large overhanging willow, it was a true winner.

My Approach

The way I approached it was to cast across on the bank and to walk around and place the hook bait by hand, not so much under the tree but as tight as I dare and when I say very close to the bank I mean…very close.

Carp are incredible at excavating out the lake bed and the sides of the bank which is exactly where I had placed my bait.

I came across this when I was sinking around close in by hand and the lead only to find a high undercut right next to the bank and a foot from the tree with a good firm bottom it had to be the spot fish had previously fed on.

Baiting was done over a fairly large area as not to give anything away and for them to know they weren’t being fished for. Well in theory anyway.

Like anything, things don’t always go to the plane but on this occasion, they did and that’s the great thing about the chase. You learn but mistake. Unlocking the code to a lake is a great feeling when it all falls into place.

Over the next 48hr, I managed to have 7 takes and landed 5. The 2 losses were down to hook pulls as I had to be on the rods and lock up to stop them diving under the roots of the tree.

2 x30lb commons 2×20 mirrors and a double all came to my tactics when the rest of the lake was sitting behind idol rods. Is it just luck?? I’ll let you decide but, in my book, you make your own luck and success.

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