This entry in my blog covers three sessions that I fitted in during a week’s holiday at the Lakeside Holiday Park, Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset. We’ve been here probably 7-8 times, always in October, over the years as a Sun Newspaper £9.50 venue. A small compact site with the added attraction for me of a residents-only fishing pool of probably 2 acres in size with the usual species resident – perch, pike, roach, carp, bream, tench,… and usually also tip-top entertainment on the evening including the obligatory, for us, the evening bingo session. However, due to the current pandemic all entertainments (other than the fishing) were off the cards – no bar, no restaurant, etc – and was thus an accommodation-only break. Usually you just took your own towels and bedding covers although even these were hireable but this year you had to take not only your covers but also your own quilts, pillows and towels. However, despite the lack of provided facilities, etc it was still a great holiday and great value – I mean, where would you find even a basic hotel double room for £150 for 3 nights – probably be pushing that for 2 nights even? And yet, for that price, we had a really nice 6-berth static caravan with all needed facilities for cooking, etc for 7 nights – and free fishing!
So, to the fishing….
OK, as I said, Liz and I have been to this park around 8 times or so and we usually arrive early so I can spend a few hours lure fishing pre the van being ready to access – vans are always ready by the official 1600 booking in time, but often become available at 1500 …. but we arrive at 1200 so I can do my lure flinging stuff. Then the following day I’m out about 0630 (still dark at this time of year) setting up my gear ready for the first light to cast in and fish until around 1100 before returning to the van for a bacon/sausage butty or similar and then Liz and head off to the town for the afternoon. The following day is usually a full day session on the pool for Liz and myself… and I usually manage one more early morning session later on.
And our results for our 8 years of trying? Well, Liz has never even had a bite and myself, a couple of years ago, did have a pike take my sweetcorn bait as it was being retrieved but then bit me off at the net. And that’s the total action in the 8 years! But a guy did show me where the bream are a couple of years ago – and he pulled out 5 or so bream of 4-5lb in as many casts as I recall!
Anyway, we come to the latest trip…
The early arrival was not possible this year as we were warned that no facilities, including toilets, would be available until access was allowed to the vans at 1600 and that a contactless sign-in system would be in place. It actually suited us as the later arrival meant that we could take the cats to the cattery on the day pre-setting off from home thus saving one day’s fees rather than taking them on the previous day. However, the on-arrival lure session had to be given a miss. But three short sessions were made over the week…
For all three sessions I fished the same way – same tackle, same bait, same presentation – float fishing sardine deadbaits for pike. One 12’ 2.75lb TC rod, 20lb mono line, 25g cigar float, 15g quick change lead and a 30lb wire trace terminating in the standard size 6 twin treble snap tackle. Liz fished one session (Session 28 – 16th October) with a groundbait/maggot feeder.
Session 27 – 13th October 2020
I set out at 0630, still dark, to my swim of the day at the left hand corner of the pool, the location where I’d had that previous pike take. The water depth around there was a more-or-less level 4’6” and the banks were populated with overhanging bushes. By 0700 all rods, nets and mats, etc were setup ready and the light was just perfect to start. I discovered that I’d forgotten to pack my injectable oil and liquid attractors but I had brought my bag of old baits that had been sliced up and I catapulted some of these pieces all around my intended area of attention. The weather at that point was ok, and I had been warmed up by my prepping movements … but then several short showers passed along with a breeze picking up and it went quite chilly. So, 0945, without any action being apparent, the thoughts of a bacon butty in the warmth of the caravan became quite enticing and I decided to start to pack up… but at about 1000 the float slid away and a pike of 5lb 1oz was successfully landed. However, by this time I’d put away the camera/tripod and scales so I had to rest the fish in the water within the landing net whilst I unpacked them (although I didn’t bother with the tripod) …
At this point, still cold and damp but nevertheless elated with the result, I decided a warming and celebratory bacon butty was definitely needed!
Session 28 – 15th October 2020
0800 Liz and I ventured from the van intending a full day’s fishing together. This time we decided we’d try the right hand corner of the pool, an area that we’d never fished before but looked good. A few small fish moving also seemed a good sign. Water depth was between 7’-8’. I fished as the previous session presenting baits on the bottom and up to mid-water but by 1200 I’d not had a touch – and neither had Liz on her feeder rod – and as a cold breeze picked up we decided to put discretion before valour and called it a day.
Session 29 – 17th October 2020
Another 0630 departure from the van saw me back in my first swim of the week. However, during the week, I’d managed to obtain, courtesy of Tesco’s, some Cod Liver Oil and Fish Sauce (basically blitzed anchovies) for injecting into the bait which I did… and also put out small fish pieces for further attraction. 1100 – after no interest being shown in my bait I decided to cast very close to the bushes running away from me up the left end of the pool … the cast saw my bait land where I wanted it, however, the breeze took my line up over some branches of a tree next to me. I tried to clear the line but in the end the terminal tackle became lodged solidly and the line snapped …. leaving my float and terminal tackle (inc the snap tackle) blowing about in the breeze … luckily the bait itself had fallen from the hooks so the resident seagulls were safe in the short term … but, as is the norm, the ensemble was about 6” further out than I could reach with my landing net to try to recover. I was in a bit of a quandary as to what to do then but soon remembered the small 6” Gardner rake I carry attached to a good length of the orange twisted nylon cord often used for camping or for crab lines. So, after a few throws, I managed to get the rake in the right position and managed to remove the tackle from its location albeit that the float landed next to me and the rest of the kit fell directly down into the water but safer than dangling up in a tree I think… BUT somewhere during the procedure the line had been pulling on the rod tip and 6”+ of the tip had snapped off! So at this point I decided – time for a butty!
So, I’ve been searching the ‘net for a replacement rod – I needed a Ron Thompson Desperado 12’ 2.75lb TC to match with its remaining twin as when I use two rods I always use matched pairs (rod/reel/line) so it was either locate an identical replacement or buy a new matching pair. As it turned out, the Desperado is no longer a current model and the only ones I could find are being sold by Angling Direct … at £39.99 … and as I only paid about £20 each for them originally from Go Outdoors I wasn’t chuffed about that! So I’ve now got two new rods on order from Amazon for £11 each! :) The remaining Desperado might be set up for a new purpose or even car booted in the spring along with other unneeded rods and other fishing gear …. and general extraneous household stuff.