Fairlop Waters, Boating Lake, Essex

A challenging water but plenty of old, gnarly specimens to be had

Fairlop Waters, Boating Lake

The Sailing Lake at Fairlop is a large 38 acre water in Essex used mainly for boating but for anglers willing to put their time in, you can really reap the rewards. The carp run into the 30’s and there is a great head of backup fish – the majority gnarly old commons with plenty of character. Not only does it hold big carp, there are also some big pike. The Sailing Lake is also stocked with a wide range of coarse species, which should provide a great days sport.

Fairlop Waters Boating Lake

Tickets: Day tickets for days only, membership for nights
How much: £16 for three rods days
How to book: On the bank
How busy: Not too bad
Can you drive to swims: No
On site facilities: Cafe, toilets, showers, 24 hour staff
Average Size: 25lb
Max size: 38lb
Realistic catch rate: 1 fish a trip
Best swims: None in particular, just need to find them
Best rig: Ronnies
Best bait: Cell and white pop-ups
Ideal experience level to catch: Experienced

It is a large, windswept pit and thus location is key

Reece Lawrence

The first and most important tip for catching carp from Fairlop is to keep mobile. It is a large, windswept pit and thus location is key. It is vital to travel light, keeping your eyes on the water for any shows or signs. Once you have found the fish, probating can be a great way of getting the carp moving and harvested to a spot. You will soon learn their whereabouts at certain times of year.

Weather plays a huge part in where the carp can be found. They will follow nice, warm chops so where the wind ruffles the surface you can generally pinpoint them. Be careful, though, because when it is particularly choppy, huge weed rafts can travel across the lake and wipe out your rods. In such cases, drop-off backleads are worth using.

I can’t say that there is one great swim as such, you just have to take the weather and depths into play and watch for any shows, they do like to hover around the boats and buoys, so this is always a good go to if in doubt. The boats can provide cover, so the carp will always be somewhere nearby!


In terms of presentations, I generally use a Gemini Tidy boom, either as a spinner rig complete with a white pop-up, a combo with double corn, balanced. There are many ducks and swans at the lake so a white pop-up will often mimic bread that the carp will take off the surface in the summer.


I’ve used Pallatrax Multiworm and the faithful Cell to good effect on the lake, I also know a lot of other bait go in and it doesn’t seem to make a difference, presentation is always key in my opinion and also being on them!

4 Items Vital To Succeed On Fairlop


Reliable rig and hook

A bike

Back leads!!

Diss Mere

Fish care: Must have carp care and unhooking mat.
Hook rules: Barbed are banned
Other rules: None

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