Strike silver at Portland Waters

We might be six weeks into the river shutdown, but anglers who want to catch chub can still get their fix from stillwaters up and down the country.

Take Portland Waters in Nottinghamshire, for example. At first sight this complex near Newark appears to be your typical commercial fishery but recent catches here are more like those you would expect from the nearby River Trent in a couple of months.

Matches at the fishery have seen huge bags of silverfish netted as Radcliffe on Trent’s Mark Baker discovered when he won a recent Angling Times Bait-Tech Supercup event with 60lb of chub from the Portland’s Old Wood Lake earlier this month.

There are five day-ticket lakes to choose from at Portland and they’re all stuffed with silverfish, alongside the more expected carp. We recommend the in-form Four Island Lake, where, chub, barbel, roach, rudd and carp and can all be targeted specifically depending on what you wish to catch.

This 30-peg pool is square in shape but its four islands make each swim more like a canal with pegs on the inside and outer part of the lake. The islands are reachable with 12 metres of pole and like a canal, the deepest water can be found down the middle (5.5ft) with around 2ft in the margins on the inside and across. The barbel go to nearly 7lb and anglers can catch these by design by fishing down the edge with maggots or meat.

The chub average around 2lb and in past summers anglers have bagged 80-90lb of them by feeding a couple of pole cups filled with chopped worms or alternatively catapulting casters and fishing double caster on the hook tight to the far side or down the egdge. There are also some big roach and rudd to over 1lb, and again, these can be targeted specifically by fishing either down the middle or tight to any reed beds with typical redfin favourites like caster or hemp.

If you do want a real red-letter day and catch more 200lb, though, you need to target carp and these can be located by feeding a line down the bottom of the near ledge with your top-two-plus-one as well as across either to an island or one of the gaps between which are known to hold fish using corn, maggots, meat or pellets. 

The carp average around 3-4lb but avoid fishing too light as the odd ‘lump’ up to 14lb can make a surprise appearance. On warm days fishing up in the water with a banded pellet will pay dividends as will paste fishing close-in. Most pegs fish well in summer but pegs 18-22 on the inside are the most consistent.

If you prefer more of a natural style of fishing then head to the Old Wood Pool where you can imitate what Mark Baker did in catching a big bag of chub on maggots but there are also tonnes of roach and skimmers to enjoy too. This pool was also recently stocked with thousands of ide which will take a liking for maggots or casters but it’s not all about silverfish as nets of carp can also be sought with pellet waggler the top tactic.

With so many options and different species to go at other than just carp anglers need not wait for the rivers to re-open to experience silverfish heaven in Nottinghamshire. Simply pay a visit to Portland.

Prices: £6 a day, £5 concessions
Contact: 07818 552307,
Location: Portland Waters, Longhedge Lane, Sibthorpe, Newark, Notts, NG23 5PN
Rules: Barbless only hooks, no keepnets, no cat or dog meat, no floating baits, no boilies or nuts, no hooks over size 12, no dogs
Facilities: Clubhouse/café, toilets 

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