Its been a while since I wrote Capesthorne Hall Carp Pt1 I know there has been a few north west carp anglers eagerly awaiting part 2 so here it is. The second instalment deals with the garden pool. For those of you that don’t know, Capesthorne main lake has a bridge crossing it about two thirds the way up the shallows (park pool). The bridge is regarded as the dividing line between the garden pool and the shallows.
The water in the garden pool gets deeper as you move up to the dam wall and at the far end of the lake, in front of the dam wall, you’ll find about 7 feet of water maximum with the average depth being about 3-4 feet for the garden pool as a whole. Walking from the car park towards the bridge, when you reach the bridge and turn right before crossing, the first swim you arrive at is known as the arches. This has always been a tricky peg to catch fish from. Carp pass through this swim in numbers and it took me a while to work out how to catch consistently from it. The arches rates as one of my favourite swims on the entire lake, its one of those swims where 2 rods never seems enough to cover all the options.
Looking at the picture below, this is taken from the arches looking across to the hidey peg known as ‘robinson crusoes’ and the first swim in the field known as ‘the moose’. The areas of interest are the channels in the silt and the brickwork around the bridge. The most common mistake when fishing the arches is to try to get tight under the bridge or to the brickwork of the bridge that can be seen when its full. As you can see, the stone is built up and gradually falls away to meet silt about a rod length away from the bridge, a bait fished were the stones hit the silt is a winner!. The carp use this line to patrol and when I started finding it I found some very good action. The other areas of interest are the silt channels, you may notice that the old stream bed comes through the second arch, this is not a good place to fish, the only action I ever received in the channel was from bream. It was far better to fish the third and fourth arches over against the silt/stonework area as this is where the carp like to move.
There is a smaller channel in the silt that breaks off and heads towards the moose swim and where it stops and turns back to open water in front of the moose is also and excellent area. The silt/stones are about a rod length from the bridge and similarly, the channel in front of the moose is a couple of rod lengths away from the overhanging rodey bush that everyone casts too because its all they can see. Open water in front of both the arches and the moose are also worth a look, this quarter of the lake from the bridge up to the eagle is probably the biggest area of natural food in the lake and you’ll see carp head and shoulder and roll in this area during the evenings. I’ve also included a view looking back from the moose swim, you can clearly see the brick line of the bridge and how that it comes round and under the rodey bush then into the margins of the moose, baits placed anywhere along this line are a potential winner as its a carp patrol route.
Next up is the ornamental eagle, years ago this swim was an absolute flier of a peg. You can see the old stream bed coming close in right in front of the eagle, you can also see a feature that I spoke about in part 1, the line where sandy margins hit the silt. In front of the eagle they pretty much come together, the sand/silt line and the stream bed are very close at this point and a rod fished a rod length off the eagle is another winner on the right day. Before the drain down, I used to see carp rolling right in front of the eagle and it was only when I saw the lake empty I realised why. Despite the lake turning gin clear, fish can still be caught from this spot if your quiet. They can also be caught further along towards the toilet if you find the sand/silt line the carp use as a patrol route. If any of you have read Paul Selmans Carp Reflections this area of the ornamental eagle gets a mention in the Capesthorne Hall chapter of his book.
The next picture is taken from just before the eagle and shows the margins of both sides, as you can see its silty and again the areas of sand meeting silt are the ones to have a rod on, One rod on the line and one out in the silt where the carps food collects was always my tactic in these swims, sometimes you can’t get into the peg you want so it pays to know how to get the best and possibly a bonus fish out of the ‘has been’ type pegs that most people don’t fancy.
Next is the dam wall taken from the field side, again it’s a silty middle and sandy edges, the silt/sand area in the last field peg, just before the swim known as the ‘chicken run’ is another good place to fish. There used to be a fir tree growing in the corner by the toilet and when it was there, the corner was always worth fishing but the tree got chopped down and with little cover, the carp always seemed a bit reluctant to go in there although they do still show up there from time to time.
Last but not least is the plug hole. When I first fished Capesthorne Main Lake in the summer of 1996 this was ‘the’ swim to be in, I remember waiting the best part of 3 months before I ever saw it vacant and even then it was only because the carp angler fishing there went home early for his tea!. It was such a productive peg, the lads used to try to angle a cast under the trees to land tight into a gap in the rodey bushes right back against the bank, if the cast wasn’t right you simply didn’t catch. Things changed after the lake was drained and with gin clear water and weed present the fish deserted the plug hole swim in droves and it fell out of favour. This turned out to be a bonus for me as I managed to stumble across an area that produced in the depths of winter and the swim was rarely or never fished!. In the picture you can see where the lads used to catch tight into the rodey bush, the area I had winter action from is under the big tree with the dead leaves on. It’s the nice flat silt area, there’s nothing much there to attract them, just a nice depth of water over their heads and the security of the big overhanging tree. If you get the right area here, winter carp action during December, January and February is possible. Runs don’t come every time but if you can get in there, its worth fishing and it’s the first peg I’d head for during the depths of winter.
Well that’s about it, most of what I learned during the time I spent fishing Capesthorne Hall Main Lake. I found Capesthorne to be a very tricky water, pinpoint location, a good carp bait, an efficient rig and an understanding of carp behaviour were all needed on this lake. Watch the carp closely, seeing these pictures of the lake empty is only part of the jigsaw and you’ll need to get up close and personal with these fish in order to get amongst them consistently. If you can learn how to catch carp consistently on Capesthorne Hall then you’ll leave the place a very accomplished carp angler. The carp fishing is far from easy and if you have any problems with your bait, rigs or location you will suffer an awful lot of blanks!. Best of luck to those of you who decide to fish this tricky and challenging carp water.