Damsel Lake, Manor Farm Fisheries

A fantastic day ticket venue that’s fun for everyone, regardless of experience.

Damsel Lake, Manor Farm Fisheries

Day ticket or syndicate: Day ticket
Realistic catch rate: 3-5 per session
How much: £15 per day
How do I get a ticket: Book before you go
Skill level to catch: Beginner - Intermediate
How busy is it: Always pegs available
Location: Biggleswade, Bedfordshire.
Can you drive to the swims: No
On site facilities: Toilets
Best bait: Pellets in PVA bags
Average size: 16lb
Max realistic size: 25lb

Damsel Lake, Manor Farm Fisheries

Damsel lake, in Lower Caldecote, Bedfordshire, is the Manor Farm’s runs water. With a large head of fish it’s always good for some action

There are loads of fish to go at and if you get your tactics right on the day, you can have arm wrenching action relentlessly.

The average size is about 16lb, with many 20’s, the biggest fish in the lake are pushing 30lb at the right time of year.

At times we have struggled to keep 2 rods in the water!

Nick Bright

How to approach Damsel

With a large number of carp present a bite is never too far away.

Damsel has a relatively uniformed bottom & minimal weed so it’s perfect for beginners or just getting a bend in the rods.

Small 3 & 4mm pellets fished in PVA bags work wonders with a small bright pop up on. the business end.

With these I’d also crumb up a few of my chosen boilies to add attraction.

If fishing longer sessions where you are trying to build up a big hit of fish I’d be adding hemp, maze, crushed & whole boilies to the mix to keep the carp grubbing around.

In warmer months, black zigs with a sloppy zig mix spombed over the top is a great method.

What rigs work well?

Keep it simple, a short supple hook link of 4 inches with a size 6 barbless wide gape & 12mm pink pop up is a great place to start.

In warm weather don’t over look zigs. Black zigs with a nice cloudy zig soup spombed over the top will definitely catch you fish.

The evening before I visit Damsel lake at Manor Farm, I always make sure I have pre tied a handful of short rigs for my PVA bags.

These are usually made up of the Korda Super natural braid down to a size 6 barbless wide gape hook tied with a simple knotless knot.

As I’m using a pop up, I like to use a little piece of hook silicone on the shank of the hook to trap the hair in place.

To finish off I add a BB shot around 5mm from the eye of the hook to counter balance the weight of the pop up.

Once finished the overall rig measures around 4 inches.

This is attached to a 2.5oz flat pear inline lead which is all placed inside a PVA bag filled with small pellets.

This is a great method for a number of reasons, the high attract pellets not only draw the fish in, but also conceal the hook link & lead.

With a fluro pink or yellow pop up sitting just proud of the small handful of pellets the fish will naturally home into that fleck of colour.

Best swims and areas

One thing I do notice that surprises me is the amount of people that ignore the margins.

Any over hanging trees or reed lined banks are a place that would definitely be a starting point for me.

There are a number of swims around Damsel that have lovely old willows draping over the waters edge, these are areas I have absolute confidence in lowering a rig into.

On a warm day you’d be surprised just how close the fish will come in, even when the angling pressure is very high!

I’d always recommend a bait you have confidence in.

For me, it’s the Squid2T by innovate baits, it’s my take anywhere bait.

With super high attention & flavours that leak out as soon as it touches water you can’t go wrong.

I love to crumb these up for my PVA bags, even when the pellets may have been eaten the small particles of crumbed boilie will leave a lovely scent on the lake bed meaning the carp will keep coming back to check out your baited area.

Any rigs/tactics that do not work?

Not that I’ve tried using them on this lake but I’d say giving Chods a miss for Damsel would be a good shout.

The lake bed is pretty clean and weed free. A chod sitting quite far off a clean lake bed may look a little obvious for a weary carp.

You will see a lot of people casting 2 rods as far as they can then spombing as much bait over the top as possible as soon as they arrive.

This is where I believe the PVA bag approach comes into its own.

You can keep roaming your swim, recasting fresh bags every hour or so until you start to receive bites.

If after a couple of bites your confidence there are a number of fish in the area then you can start applying extra bait to keep them there.

I have however found that bites do come quicker with smaller amounts of bait rather than huge beds, little & often is key for me.

Advice for newcomers

Get your polaroid glasses on and go for a walk!

Location is key, I will happily do 2 or 3 laps of the lake before getting any of my gear out of the van.

Look for signs of fish, this could be fizzing, cloudy water where they are feeding and kicking up the bottom of the lake or just out and out seeing them.

I usually walk the lake with a bait bucket & drop a small handful in a few likely looking spots, on the next lap round I will check these spots again for any signs.

There are a large amount of fish in Damsel so locations them isn’t too hard, even for the less experienced.

Summer tactics

In the warmer months I love using zigs on Damsel.

A black fox zig aligna with black foam has always done me well.

These used with a Korda adjustable zig float kit so I can easily change the zig depth depending on where I think the carp are without recasting is a great edge.

When fishing with zigs I will use a wet spod mix – these can be brought from any good tackle shop, just put some of the powder into a bait bucket then add a little lake water until you have the right consistency.

I usually like my zig spod a bit on the runny side so it sits in the upper layers – although you will usually end up wearing a fair bit of it while casting out!

Winter tactics

Winter is the time I’d keep mobile.

PVA bags will be my choice of tactics, regularly recasting trying to find where the carp will be grouped up.

If I haven’t had any indication there are any fish in the swim then I’ll up sticks and move.

Along with the PVA bags I’d also fish with a tight line, almost fishing for liners.

Another great way to let you know if there are fish moving around in your swim.

Tackle and equipment you will need

My number one item for any lake in the country is your polaroid glasses.

Taking a walk with your glasses on will make it much easier to find any carp lurking in the water.

After all, you can’t catch fish if they aren’t in your swim. Second would be the fox rapide PVA loading tool.

Once you get the hang of the tool you can tie a fresh PVA bag in seconds, which is handy if you are recasting regularly.

My third item would be a high quality bait, a high leakage bait to draw the fish in.

The fluro pop ups I use are highly visible also.

Last but not least is sharp hooks, I always check the point of my hooks before they go in the lake.

I will check these again once I’ve had a fish or recasting, if the hook isn’t 100% sharp I will take that rig off and attach a fresh one, always be armed with a few fresh rigs pre tied in your rig wallet.

Damsel Lake Rules, Manor Farm Fisheries

Bait rules: No peanuts, tigers or trout pellets.
Dogs: No dogs.
Hooks: Barbless only
Equipment: Spomb floats required
Fish care: No carp sacks, fish care and mat required.
Other rules: Rod license required, 2 rods max, No wading.

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