Key Details (The Res)
Berners Hall, Essex
Set in the heart of the rural Essex countryside, just outside Fyfield, near Ongar, is Berners Hall Fishery.
This Essex carp and cat fishery has 3 different lakes all with the backdrop of the tranquil River Roding valley.
The lakes vary from two newly-created carp lakes to a large 24 acre reservoir for those looking for some big water, big fish action.
I guess that every one in eight fish is a 30, so the average stamp is truly superb.
Check out Harry tackling Berners Hall
You’ll need these for your trip to Berners Hall!
What is the reservoir lake like?
I started fishing Berners Hall Res when I had a BCAC qualifier several years ago now and have returned to fish it five or six times since.
The lake has always been really good to me and I’ve always caught, with most of the fish falling to a range of tactics making it a water that can really boost your confidence and enable you to experiment a little with methods.
All the lakes are by pre booking only so this guarantees swims for those looking for a truly unique experience.
The pristine stock of around 800 carp in total gives some real variety but most of them 20 plus, so as soon as that rod rattles off you know it’s a good one.
On average, I would say that every one in eight fish is 30, so the stamp is truly superb.
Multiple hits are frequent too, so if you are an angler that enjoys plenty of runs from big carp, this is a great place to try and I couldn’t recommend it higher.
The lake is quite baron though.
There is one island as the main feature, but there aren’t really any bars or areas that are shallower or anything which can make it tricky to locate the fish if they’re not showing themself.
It is a farm irrigation lake which slopes down to a flat middle area. Depth variations are therefore very few and far between, so other than the margins you really need to do your homework to find the features.
It is however weedy at times which does add some character.
The fish move around, probably because of the lack of features to hold them, but. this does mean you can catch them anywhere and there are no real ‘hot’ swims as a consequence.
They are very active fish too so they will show themselves on the majority of days.
If you see several crash out the water, get on them and you will have a great chance of catching a few instantly.
This is even more obvious at first light as they love an early morning show, so make sure you arrive nice and early to stand the best chance of seeing them.
What tactics would you employ?
The thing I love most is that you really can catch on a plethora of methods meaning it can be a superb water to experiment on.
I have caught them spodding over zigs, single zigs, on the deck, over bait, singles…literally all sorts.
Consequently, I recommend that you go to Berners prepared; take a range of kit to suit a multitude of tactics as each will have its day. Bring some particles and boilies for the warmers months and in the winter natural baits work really well; maggots, worms, casters etc, as do solid bags.
Singles to showers has its day too. They seem to be very obliging carp in all honesty, so it can pay to try a different tactic on each rod and work out which one is receiving the best results before switching them all to that tactic.
Casting catches more than bait boats on Berners!
Although bait boats are allowed on Berners, I have always found that casting seems to be more productive. The majority of anglers using bait boats are dropping their rigs without much thought, simply driving their boat out and dropping in the middle.
Due to the weedy nature of the lake, I am sure that many are dropping rigs straight into a weed bed. This is on the contrary to casting, where you can happily feel the lead down onto a clearer spot or pinpoint one with a marker float, bait boat anglers never seem to do this.
Always take a marker rod to search for spots, this is key, as although the weed tends to be sparsercloser in it gets a lot heavier the further out you go.
You don’t have to fish miles out – 70yrd range is suffice – and is a good middle ground with the weed to, fish are using this weed line to patrol.
Due to the weed, it is a must to drop your lead on the take too, so I recommend lead clips and or helicopter drop off presentations.
Do not ignore natural baits and always have some sort of natural bait with you; be that maggots, casters or worms. I would recommend having a multitude of different sizes and tastes in your mix too. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket; hemp, corn, chopped boilies and maggots is a lovely mix.
Fish strong, the lake is extremely weedy and so you need to make sure that everything you hook equals a fish in the net.
Berners Hall Rules
One of the best 30’s water in the UK I’d think, certainly on par with the likes of Brasenose, Oxlease etc. Many of them are absolutely stunning too!
Harry is a well known carp angler and angling journalist, who has a knack of catching large numbers of carp.