Elsons lake is steeped in history, with the likes of Terry Hearn fishing it back in the day it definitely holds some special carp and was once home to the British record.
Set in the heart of the Nene Valley the complex was formally known as Mid Northants Fishery and was owned by Duncan Kay. Elsons lake is the specimen lake out of the 5 day tickets, sporting many fish into the 30lb bracket.
Just a handful of the beautiful Elsons specimens!
NEVER neglect the edges!
What’s Elsons Lake like?
Elsons lake is steeped in history. With the likes of Terry Hearn fishing it back in the day, it definitely holds some special carp and was once home to the British record. Set in the heart of the Nene Valley the complex was formally known as Mid Northants Fishery and was owned by Duncan Kay.
Elsons lake is the specimen lake out of the 5 day tickets, sporting many fish into the 30lb bracket. The complex is really mature with all the lakes surrounded by trees, it’s definitely a slice of paradise.
Elsons covers all aspects of fishing, whether that be watching them pick up your rigs, to sitting on a big baited area, also if you want to fish zigs or floaters it has that covered. Elsons has a lot of silk weed present, so low lying pop-ups out in the pond seem to be the going way.
Elsons is by far my favourite lake on the complex, it has everything you could possibly want from a lake.
If you like close, intimate fishing, then it’s definitely up your street! Due to the lake being so mature, it is lined with marginal snags which always hold fish throughout the warmer months.
If you do a lap of the lake you are almost guaranteed to find them in at least one of these sheltered areas, providing of course that you take your polaroids.
I remember first stepping onto the complex and coming across Elsons thinking, that’s definitely my sort of lake.
Going back probably 5 years or so is when I first targeted the lake and at the time there was only a few big fish to target, with approximately 3-4 x 30’s and 1 x 40 at the right time of year it wasn’t a “big fish water” but that didn’t matter – the quality of the stock is well worth fishing for and obviously as the years have gone by the fish have packed on the weight and there is loads of decent fish to go at!
There is currently around 150-160 carp present in 6 acres of water, with around 25-30 of these being over 30lb, at the right time of year there is the potential to be 5 different 40lbers present too, not to mention there is still one of the original carp present from when it got stocked back in the 1970’s, a fish known as Spike, around the mid 30 mark, slate grey in colour and has plenty of stories to tell.
What is the make-up of the lakebed and how do I go about fishing it?
Although there is a good stock of fish in the lake, don’t expect it to be easy because that’s not the case, it can be a right pain sometimes with bites hard to come by, but some days you can catch 2-3.
Like I previously mentioned, near enough the whole lake has a layer of silkweed covering it, excluding the marginal snaggy spots.
Because of this the fish are so used to dealing with your everyday pop-up rigs, (Chod’s, Ronnies, Hinges ETC) so it’s well worth thinking outside the box about your approach.
Watching people every week turning up and casting out into open water, I know that fishing in the margins alongside the snaggy areas give me a massive edge over other anglers.
The fish spend lots of time in the snags so they are always glistening clean in amongst them. You will, however, find that right tight on the edge of them is normally clean to which is a fantastic place to position your hook bait.
With there being no weed present on those zones, this means your rig options open up massively.
Like I say, everyone fishes pop-up rigs in the middle, so it’s well worth fishing something like a bottom bait or wafter rig with a stiff hooklink – I opt for a fluorocarbon D rig with a wafter hook bait trimmed down into an obscure shape, I’ve noticed from visually watching the fish feeding on my spot they find this much harder to eject over a more supple rig.
So, my best piece of advice would be to definitely choose your areas wisely and where possible fish in the edge!
If no likely looking margin spots are present in your swim, look for an area of lighter, sparser silkweed and position your rigs over that, with match the hatch hook baits.
The fish seem to be quite wary of bright ones, apart from in the spring.
The best & safest way to fish up against the snags
The carp that reside in the lake always take sanctuary in the snags, this can be due to pressure around the lake or they just fancy chilling out of harms way. This can be a fantastic place to fish for them, but you need to bare in mind a couple of things to do it safely.
- Fish locked up tight without giving the fish an inch
- Use strong tackle with a leader to prevent getting cut off if your fish does get into the snag.
- Can you land it safely without pulling it through any snags?
If you can do all of these then get that rig presented on the spot! I just like to always think about the fish’s welfare first off.
Bait wise, the most successful mix for me is very simple yet seriously effective.
Firstly, I don’t use whole baits, I always fish chops.
A lot of people opt for whole round baits, not only do they release more flavour an scent being broken up, but I find they also bobble in the carps mouth.
What I mean by that is if you’re using a whole bait on the hair, it can quite easily roll out of the fishes mouth, whereas if you have a chopped up hookbait on, it can’t roll freely and has to bobble and bounce around making it more susceptible to being hooked.
So, I like to chop up some Pacific Tuna from CC Moore added to that is 6 & 8mm trout pellets.
The reason I use them bigger pellets is, so that the fish don’t get preoccupied on a tight area making them difficult to hook.
Last off, I give it all a coat in some Hot Chorizo liquid.
This is the perfect mix to throw in by hand into the marginal zones, with lots of different sized baits present in the swim it keeps the fish guessing without getting them to preoccupied on a particular food item.
What hook baits should I use at Elsons?
My hookbait choice varies year-round, in the Spring I normally opt for bright ones with very little free offerings, something like a Dairy Supreme, or a Northern Special.
But as soon as Spring turns to Summer I often find the match the hatch approach to be the best.
I believe this is due to the fish getting wise to the bright hook bait approach and getting wary of them, I always use a fishmeal bait in the warmer months, this being the Pacific Tuna, so either a Tuna corkball or wafter is always my go to!
Come winter, nothing will out do a piece of black foam, zigs are the only thing that seem to do bites.
Elsons Lake: Surface fishing in the warmer months?
Throughout the warmer months you will see lots of fish in the upper layers and floater fishing can be the best way to catch them in these conditions. Yes, they love a floater in Elsons but they can be quite finicky when it comes to presentation, so everything needs to be refined perfectly.
A trimmed down brown pop-up matching the shape of your floaters tight to the back of a small hook seems to do the trick, I always use a big heavy float with a reasonably short hook link, this is so the fish hook themselves. I try to avoid “striking” at fish because if you miss them, they often spook.
I will always cast past the feeding fish with my heavy float and slowly wind back in amongst them causing minimal disturbance in the swim, then the fish can feed happily around my hook bait and if I get done then so be it, at least the fish aren’t spooking out of my swim.
Seagulls, now these flying birds of misery can definitely put a downer on your day but approaching them correctly can make it nuisance free! If there is room in your swim, I always carry my spod rod for floater fishing, not always to put out the bait with, but to use with a bare lead.
I will get a big 4oz lead and cast well past where the fish are sat (providing there’s nobody fishing there) and point the rod up at a high aggressive angle, I will then tighten up to the lead, lifting the fluorescent braid out of the water, you can then fish around that line freely and seagull free, they hate the braid cutting through the air and will not come close to it at all.
Winter is a tricky time of year on any lake, like most places things slow right down on Elsons, but this isn’t to say you won’t catch.
The carp tend to group up in the main bowl of the lake and the only way to catch them is with zig-rigs, the lake is approximately 7-8ft deep so zigs around the 2-4ft seem to be most productive for me, that’s not to say higher zigs wouldn’t work on more mild days with high pressure.
Black foam is for sure the winner when it comes to zigging on there, I normally use the Fox Zig Alignas, these give me a perfect presentation, not only that, they are super quick to tie and easy to change.
Don’t bother trying to spod over your zigs, because to be honest it’s quite pointless on there and if you do have fish in front of you, you won’t for long!
Elsons Lake Rules
You’ll need these for your trip to Elsons!
I love Elsons lake it has taught me a lot about how carp feed and react to bait and it is full of old dark beautiful carp, if you fancy a bit of intimate close-in fishing, watching the fish feed on your spot, with the chance of a 40lber, this place is definitely for you!
I have been fishing since a young lad and much of my carp fishing has been targeting waters around the Nene Valley. Elsons is probably my favourite having spent years targeting its prestigious specimens.
Bradley | 17th February 2020