The reputation of Fryerning as one of the leading carp syndicates in the South East was one that I was well aware of before I drove down to meet Chris for my ‘interview’ one blustery day late in 2012.
I had heard a lot of things about the place, some good and some that left me thinking I had better go and see for myself and I am damned glad I did! First impressions left me wishing I had gone down there much sooner than I had – what had I been missing out on?!
There are many attractions to the place but first and foremost has to be the fish. Every one of them is in pristine condition (thanks largely to a vigorous fish care policy and a barbless only ruling) and some are quite uniquely different to any other fish you will see. The reason for this is that the management have grown most of the stock themselves and amongst the blood lines they have bred are some Leney / Redmire genetics. The majority of these fish started their lives in the huge ‘Research and Development’ laboratory which is based on site, between the Valley and Main lakes.
The work to develop the lakes began thirty years ago. Fryerning isn’t one of the all too common ‘holes in the ground’ that has just been dug and filled with big fish, it is the result of a vision and a plan to create one of the best big carp lakes anywhere. It would be hard to say that they hadn’t succeeded, and in some style too.
THE MAIN LAKE
Let’s start with the Main Lake – a simply stunning, 18 acre body of water that has been conservatively stocked to allow the fish to fulfil optimum growth potential. Of course it isn’t easy but then what big fish water is? The rewards are there though and the number of personal bests that have been achieved at Fryerning is staggering – indeed my own personal best has come from there too!
The average size of the fish is over thirty pounds (yes, really!) and there are currently no less than THIRTEEN carp weighing over 40lbs, topped by the magnificent Gurm which has peaked at 53lbs. The second biggest fish is a common which has topped 47lbs and my prediction is that this fish will also go on to top the 50lb mark. That really would be something and very few lakes in the country have common and mirror carp of that size. As if that wasn’t enough, there is a leather that tops forty too so it is possible to complete the rarest of sets with a forty plus common, mirror and leather…
One of the many reasons the fish have achieved such a huge average weight is down to the resident crayfish. They do make it necessary to take some precautions with hook bait protection but the trick is to recognise that they are one of the reasons the carp are so big and then learn to deal with them.
The lake is generally quite flat bottomed and although there are a few random patches of gravel, it is generally a mud/clay bed with little deviation. In the summer months expect some lush weed growth extending out from the shallow Lodge end and up the far bank, running in a band all the way to the Royal Box. The fish obviously love to be in and around this and generally they are quite ‘showy’ so location isn’t usually too difficult.
When they do show it can be a very impressive sight indeed – the average size is so high that it can almost look like a dolphin show at times!
Don’t fall into the trap of simply going into the most popular swims. On the main lake, the busiest swims are the Lodge and the two point swims – these areas get a lot of pressure and often the fish will be elsewhere; it’s a fairly big lake so I always make a point of having a very good look before setting up.
I have always said that I would never fish a beautiful lake for ugly fish, but I would be quite prepared to do the reverse! Here at Fryerning, no such compromise is necessary – you can angle for the most amazing carp AND be situated in the most perfect environment! Surrounded by rolling countryside and lush herbage, the site makes the perfect getaway from normal life and I always feel an air of electric anticipation as soon as I step through the gates.
As with most lakes, the majority of the fish are caught by the minority of the members – they can on occasion take a bit of effort to catch but believe me they are quite catchable. Indeed on my very first night at the lake I netted the magnificent Rudder at over 37lbs. I had only been fishing a few hours but as always I had fulfilled the most important criteria of finding the fish and then offering them a good bait.
I hope to have a ticket for many years, never fishing it really hard, just a bit here and there – that way I can savour this magnificent fishery and take my time in trying to catch each of its wonderful inhabitants. If I see you there then mine is white with no sugar!