Rolfs Lake matches continue after dark with floodlights

Ever felt the frustration of carefully building a swim all day, only for the carp to turn on to the feed just as it’s time to pack up?

Well, this all-too-familiar scenario could soon be a thing of the past thanks to one forward-thinking fishery owner who has installed floodlights to allow match anglers to use the darkness to their advantage and bag-up into the night.

It’s a bold move that has produced mind-blowing results at the popular Rolfs Lake near Oxford, where owner John Bennett flicked the light switch on for the first time last week and then watched in amazement as the contest produced three weights exceeding the 200lb barrier. Nine other rods broke the ton and 2,288lb of carp were caught by the 19 competitors.

“Anyone who’s ever fished a match at a commercial will know that the last hour is often the best, so I wanted to take advantage of this and find out how the fish would feed into dark,” said John.

“We knew that there would be lots of carp caught, but it was quite surreal to see so many people bagging-up at night. Everyone loved it, and we will now be looking to run these contests regularly.” Simon Enticott emerged triumphant in the floodlit match, with a huge 242lb bag of carp. He definitely thinks that the fish were easier to catch after dark.

“I used pellet and paste on the deck and was amazed at how confidently the fish were feeding. They didn’t have the tendency to fly around the peg as they often do in the day,” said Simon.

Floodlit matches at commercials are not totally new. Fir Tree Farm, in Wigan, Lancs, was the first fishery to adopt the idea around seven years ago, and co-owner Martin Taylor is surprised that more fisheries haven’t followed suit.

“The weights at our night matches have always been superb and there’s no doubt that to have this type of facility gives you a chance to be versatile and accommodate anglers who can’t fish daytime matches.

Reigning world champion match angler Will Raison, who also co-owns Gold Valley Lakes in Hants, would jump at the chance of fishing a floodlit match.

“This is a brilliant concept and it’s things like this that keep the whole sport moving forward,” said Will.