Thorpe Lea is arguably the best place in the country to bag your first 20lb carp – so we at Angling Times enlisted the help of two young anglers to do just that.
The Surrey venue, adjacent to the M25, was stocked with 2,500 carp 10 years ago and now boasts a huge head of upper doubles, 20s and even a few 30s. With so many inhabitants, locating fish is fairly easy, and on our midweek visit we saw plenty of carp within minutes of arriving.
The 18-acre lake, which has three islands, is currently a little weedier than normal but gravel and silt patches are still easy to find, and the carp will feed in most areas and at various depths.
With many youngsters using the summer holidays to go after big carp, we teamed up with 15-year-olds Max Rippington and Oli Passau to see if Thorpe Lea could improve their mid-double PBs.
Fake corn has been a constant winner at the venue and so it proved again, with both lads taking fish on fake kernels in PVA bags over spod mix. Max, whose previous best was 16lb, came agonisingly close to breaching the 20lb barrier with his first fish, but his 19lb 12oz mirror fell just short. Two hours later, however, and Thorpe Lea proved its credentials by providing Max with a 20lb 2oz mirror that put up a great scrap having been hooked while the teenager was spodding over the top of his spot.
Not to be outdone, Oli also came away with a new PB of 18lb 12oz as more than a dozen fish fell to our rods.
Thorpe Lea really can produce on all tactics, but small bright baits and PVA bags are a good starting point. Regular spodding will keep the action coming, but single baits fired out at range can score when the place is busy. Aside from the carp, specimen perch are definitely Thorpe Lea’s hidden gem.
Prices: £12 a day for adults (£9 for juniors). £24 for 24 hours. Each under 18 must be accompanied by an adult over 21.
Contact: 07934 000559 or www.thorpeleafishery.co.uk
Location: Thorpe Lea Fishery, Thorpe Lea Road, Thorpe, Egham, Surrey, TW20 8PG
Rules: No baitboats, braided mainline or unattended rods allowed. Barbed hooks only and the only particles allowed are hemp, corn/maize and pellets. Nets must be at least 36 inches and large unhooking mats must be used.
Facilities: Toilets, tackle shop and food hut. Local takeaways deliver to the gates.