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Diary 2013

Autumn / Winter

Where did the year go ? It's just a couple of weeks until Christmas and then it will be 2014 ! It's been a great 12 months here at Churchwood Fisheries, maybe even the best in the 8 years that we have been running the fishery. The fishing has been consistently good, but above all the carp have all been in superb condition and are making steady, healthy weight gains. All the hard work that has gone into the lakes over the past few years, has started to pay dividends and the rewards are there for all to see. I can only imagine the lakes will go from strength to strength over the next few years and will continue to be one of the premier day ticket carp waters in Essex. There have been many highlights throughout the year but arguably the recent netting of both Jenkins & Churchwood Lakes was the most enjoyable. Personally I really only fish the lakes these days purely to check on the health of the carp and to hopefully get some decent pictures for the website and the weekly magazines. Therefore to be able to net, hold and check numerous carp during the netting, this for me was the most rewarding. In addition to this, the benefits of removing over 3,500lbs of unwanted Roach, Bream and Rudd, is such an important part of running a healthy and successful fishery. 

The removal of 3,500lbs+ of unwanted silver fish

Another high point of the year for me was getting to know two awesome carp catching machines known as Mr Adam Penning and Mr Dean Macey. I would put Adam & Dean up there with Simon Crow, three of the nicest, most genuine people I have ever met in the fishing industry. Their fishing ability and knowledge is second to none and I share many of their views and opinions on our sport. Even with over 30yrs of fishing experience, I have learnt so much from observing and listening to some of the carping tutorials that Adam has hosted at Churchwood Fisheries throughout the year. I cannot recommend these tutorials enough and I can guarantee even the most seasoned carper would benefit in a tutorial with Adam. Watching Dean apply his fishing skills this year at Gillhams Resort in Thailand and also on his Fishing Gurus Sky TV shows, really demonstrated to me what an all round angler and super nice guy that he is. I'm hoping to get both Dean and Adam together sometime early next year for a catch up over dinner and a few glasses of wine.


Crowy, Penners and Macey, my Top 3 Carpers 

The 2014 diary has already began to fill up quickly, especially for the more popular Spring months. If you fancy a crack at some of the best looking carp around, in tranquil, safe and picturesque surroundings, then I suggest you get booking soon to avoid any disappointment. I will leave you this year with my Top 10 favourite pictures throughout the past 12 months, although as I flick through all the pictures, I may changed my mind, so many good pics. Tight lines, have and great Xmas and a happy New Year.







My New Year's Resolution was to keep my diary and blog up to date, so much for that ! Even though during the summer months I took a 10 week sabbatical away from my regular job, I still found myself having very little spare time. This may have had something to do with the 6 holidays that we took during this period ! One of these holidays was a late decision to join Mr Nice Guy Dean Macey, who was filming a series for Fishing TV, at Gillhams Fishing Resort in Krabi, Thailand. I had wanted to visit this venue for some time in the hope to land some of the monster Arapaimas, Giant Mekong Catfish and above all, my favorite global species, the awesome Siamese Carp. My good friend Phil Stockwell from CW Baits had no hesitation in joining me and we both had an absolutely cracking weeks fishing, landing Arapaima to 250lbs and Mekong's to 130lbs. I have already book two trips for next year as I desperately want to land a 100lbs+ Siamese Carp !

Video of our trip to Gillhams Resort


250lbs Arapaima & 135lbs Giant Mekong Cat Fish from Gillhams Resort 

Back to reality and a quick update on what's been going on here at Churchwood Fisheries. All 3 lakes have fished consistently well throughout the summer. Spring never really materialised, instead we pretty much went from some awful weather, straight into one of the best summers that we have experienced over the past 7 years. The carp caught have all been in mint condition, which is something that we are very proud of at Churchwood Fisheries, it basically tells us that we are doing something right here. The lakes have been in strong demand all year, with many new and regular customers looking to fill any available swims. It's always going to be a difficult venue to get booked onto due to the limited space and due to the fact that we never overcrowd the fishery. We have a reputation for quality, both for the carp you can catch along with the 5 star facilities that we provide. We have already received many booking inquiries for 2014, although we will not be opening the diary until around late October. Keep an eye on Twitter / Facebook and my blog for news on when the diary is open.





Just a small selection of the quality of carp that have been out recently

There is a definite autumnal feel in the weather now and its certainly my favorite time of year for getting the rods out. Already the fish are showing some wonderful bronze and chestnut colorings, along with some impressive weight gains. Using last winter as a barometer, then we can hopefully expect some good action throughout the colder months ahead of us. As always we will be trickling the house bait in throughout these months, keeping the fish feeding and on the move. A carp that has been actively feeding throughout the winter will always come through into spring much stronger and therefore more likely to fight of any nasty viruses that can cause a fishery owner so much grief as the temperature again starts to rise. Judging by the amount of anglers interested in spending the winter on the lakes, then hopefully we will see some regular action and some happy customers. That's it for now, try not to be a fair-weather fisherman this winter, get out there and enjoy some great sport. There is no excuse these days that’s it's too cold, not with all the quality clothing that is now available at affordable prices. You know you want to !!!


Another productive month on all three lakes, with many multiple catches being made. Jenkins Lake has fished very well since the recent introduction of 23 stockies. With the increase in stocking density, competition for food has increased, hence the improved catch rates. Stocking levels is just a small part of the overall balance of a lake, with water quality and quality food sources also being of up most importance. I am also more than happy with the stocks overall health, as all the carp caught this year have been in absolutely stunning condition.  Since the completion of the lodge, week long bookings have increased dramatically. The facilities here at Churchwood are really 5 Star and it's no wonder why we are seeing a growing number of anglers looking to spend a week long session with us. There is virtually no availability on Jenkins and Churchwood Lake during June, July and August. The Cat Lake is your best chance getting onto the complex over the Summer months. We do get the occasional late cancellations, so it's always worth following us on Twitter or Facebook ( @churchwoodfish ), just to ensure you at least get a notification and a chance to get booked onto these lakes.


Churchwood & Jenkins Lakes now looking truly magnificent...

Top carp angler Adam Penning, recently described Churchwood as his favorite lake. Adam was again back recently performing a tutorial to a bunch of guys. If you are looking to improve your angling skills or even want to sanity check how you go about your fishing, then I cannot recommend these tutorials enough. Apart from being one of the nicest blokes I've meet in this business, Adam certainly knows his stuff and can offer so much even to a seasoned angler like myself. It's now the start of June and both lakes have had their 1st spawn. Historically, these lakes never seem to do well in the reproduction area. The original stock is now most likely too old to have a successful spawning resulting in a few fingerlings coming through. With any luck, the new stockies will rectify this and provide us with some home grown specimens, only time will tell. I will leave you this month with a selection of carp caught over the past few weeks.




The weather saw a massive improvement over the month, the freezing, wet and windy conditions now seemingly a distant memory. Jenkins and Churchwood Lake continued to fish very well throughout the month and some good catches were reported. Although many anglers have been doing well, a couple of sessions have stood out for me. Martin Sontag had a good hit on Churchwood Lake, landing some 12 or so carp, the biggest being a 22lbs common. Daniel Page and Bradley Mason from Norfolk smashed Jenkins when they took 26 fish between them, the best going 29-14lbs. Obviously good angling plays a huge part in being successful at any fishery, but also getting the timing right when conditions are nailed on is obviously more luck than judgment. The Cat Lake has also awoken with a bang, with several 40lb+ cats making their way under duress to the bank. We have also added 20+ cats to the Cat Lake which have been caught from either Churchwood or Jenkins Lake over the past few weeks, the largest being a 45 pounder. The diary has now become very full and there is very little availability throughout the month of May. The best chance you have to get onto the fishery is probably a few days on the Cat Lake. I'll leave you this month with my favorite pictures received over the past month.





Pretty happy getting that month over and done. I know we English like to moan about the weather but so far this year it was more than justified. The freezing temperatures certainly played a big part in the months activities, from the number of anglers willing to brave the elements along with the number of fish being caught. In truth, considering the conditions, both Jenkins and Churchwood continued to fish reasonable well. Last count in the catch report diary, I believe there were some 80-90 entries, probably one of the most productive starts to a year that we have had at Churchwood Fisheries. The fish have been stunning and all in immaculate condition. Yellow / Pink and White pop-ups, fished on stiff-hinged rigs, again accounted for the majority of the fish. Anglers not scared of putting some bait in also seemed to fare better than those who were just fishing for a bite.

Certainly the highlight of March was the draining down of the moat around the house, allowing me to move the remaining stockies into Jenkins Lake. We never knew the exact numbers remaining, so I was more than pleased with the 23 crackers that we ended up stocking into Jenkins. There was a good mixture of commons and mirrors, all of which will complement the existing residents. During the warmer months over the past few years, we had been feeding these carp on floating pellets, allowing us to keep a close eye on their development. There was one carp we christened 'Tango' (you can obviously guess why by picture below) that I was very excited about getting a closer look at. Although not a traditional carp and not every carp anglers cup of tea, for me this creature is absolutely awesome and has bags of character. It went into Jenkins around the 14-15lbs range and will hopefully continue to grow well.  Believe it or not, this fish displayed very little difference in coloration to the others in the same batch when it arrived some 5 years ago at less than 2lbs. Over the years it has slowly turned into the wonderful specimen that it is today and certainly a fish that will make many anglers happy when gracing their nets. I'll leave you this month with just some of the video of these new additions, I'm sure you would agree that they are stunning !!


Churchwood Lake continued to fish well throughout much of the month despite the volatile weather conditions that we have been experiencing of late. The fishery has also received some good press in Carptalk and Total Carp magazine, along with a feature due out in the next Big Carp magazine that the guys from Chronicle wrote. Although the fishery runs very well of if its own merit and it's reputation for quality, it's very satisfying for me to see the venue and it's fish in the fishing publications. There is much hard work that goes into running a successful fishery, most of which the anglers do not get to see or do not realize actually takes place. Naturally it can be sometimes challenging to run a fishery with the passion as I do, along with a full time job within an investment bank in the City. Long hours Monday to Friday, followed by hard graft at weekends can take its toll.......but would I change it ????


'Chilly' Chillcott featured his carp from Churchwood in his recent Total Carp diary piece  


Busy at work removing fallen trees & roll on the Spring

All the fish that have graced the banks so far this year have all been in excellent condition. This is the most rewarding accomplishment for the fishery owner and one that most pleases me. This basically tells me that I am doing it right and that I am maintaining a healthy and vibrant environment for the fish to flourish. It's at this time of year that can also be of concern for the fishery owner. As water temperatures rise, so does the risk of viruses and potentially harmful bacteria's. Depending on how a fish has faired over the Winter months, will very much depend on if these viruses have any adverse affects on its wellbeing. A healthy fish that has fed well over the colder months will be far stronger than a fish that has been dormant for the same period. This is one of the reasons that I feed the carp on a mixture of micronized maize and wheat, providing valuable carbohydrates and proteins when little else food is available. As you can see from some of the pictures below, the carp are in peak condition and ready to combat any nasties that mother nature might want to throw at them. Here's some of my favorite pictures that I have received over the past few weeks from recent captures.








It's certainly been a cracking start to the year here at Churchwood Fisheries. Like previous Winters, the lakes can fish well throughout the colder months. What with the aerators running continuously, the lakes very rarely completely freeze over which allows us to continue feeding the fish and thus keep them actively searching for food. A bunch of lads who go by the name of the 'Chronicle Fishing Team', paid their 1st visit to the fishery at the start of the month. Between them they managed 7 carp with the largest weighing in at 24-08lbs. Like many other anglers that visit the fishery for the 1st time, this group of lads have now booked a session for every month to the end of the year. The booking diary seems to be getting busier earlier each year and the Spring is already looking full, especially weekends. If you are looking to fish either of the three lakes this year then I strongly recommend you get a date in the diary very soon to avoid disappointment.

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The boys from 'Chronicle Fishing' certainly got into some Winter action on Churchwood

We have also seen a couple of big name anglers visit the fishery during the month. Ian 'Chilly' Chillcott was on Churchwood Lake to obtain a little material for his diary piece in Total Carp magazine, Ian managed to bag a couple of Winter mid doubles. Adam Penning also made a visit to the fishery for a carp fishing tutorial that he had arranged with two regulars that fish Churchwood. It was a great chance to have a social with these guys, both seriously top anglers and all round extremely nice blokes.

churchwood Lake Adam Penning Churchwood

Mr Ian 'Chilly' Chillcott / Adam Penning and yours truly with a mid double mirror from Churchwood Lake

I have also managed a few sessions already this year which have been more than productive. I very rarely get on the banks during the Summer months due to the lakes being fully booked. Personally for me, I enjoy fishing at the start of the year when there is far less competition from other anglers bait and even less competition from the natural food sources that are abundant during the warmer months. The capture that sticks out the most is certainly the mighty 'Bubbles' from Churchwood Lake at 28-08lbs. Its a carp that I had not previously caught, so I was more than happy when I slid the net under its impressive frame. At this time of year I always use yellow pop-ups and rank the Absolute Pineapple pop-ups that we stock as the fishery as being the best that I have ever used.  I have also been giving the fish plenty of bait when I am fishing and it's certainly been paying dividends for me. Currently we are feeding the fish on our own all season low temperature fishmeal boilie which is made for us by Absolute Baits. As you can see in all the pictures, the carp are doing extremely well on them and they have all been in stunning condition and some as fat as butter. We are close to the end of the month now and temperatures are set to rise once again. There's a nice low pressure system approaching and conditions are again looking great for a few fish. Cannot wait to get my rods back out !

That's it for this month, hopefully I can add to the below pictures of the crackers that i've managed to catch so far this year.

Also visit Steves Blog for all the latest news.

Steve The Owner Churchwood churchwood Lake 
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Jenkins Lake snow carp Jenkins Lake