FREE LINE 03 - Page 210



North Carping
Looking back and forward
By Gram Bailey
I
would like to start this particular piece about Halsnead
Park Lake, where my love
affair with carp fishing
started on this once great
water, way back in the early
80’s. My brother Len took me down
there one day to do a spot of float fishing; we fished the island that day and
caught plenty of roach and perch. I
will always remember that day for
one thing; I started to throw bits of
bread into the margins when out of
nowhere a big common came up and
took a piece of bread. I was really
taken aback with what I’d just seen,
and it was like that saying out of the
Jaws movie, “We’re going to need a
Chloe at 27lb, July 2007
210 FREE LINE
bigger boat,” only mine was, “We’re
going to need a bigger rod.” Well after
that experience all I could think of
was that common carp, and how
much I would love to catch a fish of
that size. No doubt about it, from then
on in, carp fishing had me well and
truly gripped in its magical spell.
So now I would just like to tell you
a bit about the history of the lake.
Halsnead Park is nestled amongst
some woodland, which is not too far
from my home. The lake is about 1.5
acres in size with an island in the
middle. I believe carp fishing there
goes back into the 1950’s, and some
well-known names in the game also
fished there down the years. It is a
known fact that the park was stocked
with some of the famous Leney strain
carp, although I’m not quite sure how
big these actual fish went. They must
have grown to a decent size, but at
the time I started to fish the lake, only
one original fish from that stock had
survived. This fish was a pure nude
leather carp that I think peaked at a
weight of 24lbs, a much sought after
fish that I was fortunate to catch after
a few years of trying.
The park had all the attributes for a
true carp lake; shallows, a dam end,
underwater spring, quality fish, and
some very good anglers, but most
importantly, it had a beautiful presence about it; it just oozed atmos-

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