A little-known fishery in the heart of Essex has produced what is believed to be one of the biggest match hauls of all-time after 26 anglers weighed in over 7,000lb of carp in six hours.
Arran’s Lake in Chelmsford, Essex, is neither a stereotypical commercial complex nor a well-known big-weight match water, but it made the angling world sit up and take notice when its most recent contest was headed by a staggering 551lb winning weight.
More than 340lb was needed to reach the top six in the contest, the eventual victor of which was local angler Colin Spencer. He took his carp haul using paste hookbaits in the margins, finishing almost 85lb ahead of the second-placed angler, who put 467lb on the scales.
Every angler in the field weighed in over 200lb -– and it was the same group of fishermen that visited the three-acre venue the day before to compete in a contest that was also won by Colin, who banked 475lb 14oz.
Match organiser Glen Butler has fished the 2.5 acre venue for more than 10 years and admits that he has never seen it produce over 12,000lb of fish in just two days.
“This was the most amazing two days’ fishing I’ve ever seen in my life and I’ll probably never see anything like it ever again,” said Colin, who organised the Bowlers Bait Zone Angling Festival, in which all of the big weights were taken.
“I can’t think of another venue that is capable of producing that amount of fish in two days. We were so spoiled with the sheer quality of fishing that I was a little disappointed with my weight of 230lb because it was well off the pace in the context of the match. But then I thought ‘Hang on a minute, how can you be disappointed with such an amazing catch?’
“The real beauty of this place is that you don’t have to be a crack angler to make a big weight. I took my dad there, who had 200lb, and yet he hasn’t been fishing for 25 years!”
Many anglers would probably think that a venue which produces such colossal weights would boast extremely high stocking levels and be booked solid with matches throughout the summer. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The most recent 26-peg contest is the biggest match in the venue’s 25-year history and venue owner Fred Smith prides himself on his fishery management.
He’s even banned swearing on the complex in order to provide the perfect environment for pleasure anglers and families.
“My fishery is perfect proof that you don’t have to ram your lakes to the brim with fish and run big matches all the time in order to provide massive weights,” Fred told Angling Times.
“I give anglers what they want as far as catching fish is concerned, but I run a tight ship and good fishery management is my No1 priority. It’s all about the joy of angling, not money and massive weights.”