Hardwick & Smiths, Linear Fisheries

The oldest of the pits on Linear and one of the most rewarding.

A venue steeped in Linear's fishing history

A lake that contains a large head of carp; scaly ones, plainer, boxier mirrors, plus long, dark commons - a real box of chocolates.


Big Fish Potential

Fish Condition

On Site Facilities

Swim Comfort

Value For Money

Key Details

Day ticket, syndicate or holiday booking: Day ticket
Realistic catch rate: Several fish possible
How much: 24 Hour Tickets 1 Rod £11.50 2 Rods £24 3 Rods £30
Best swim(s): 3,4,5 and 6 on The Road Bank, Peg 9 in Summer Bay, 12 and 13 off of the far walk spit, 38 which is the shorter walk
How do I get a ticket: On the bank or shop prior to fishing
Skill level to catch: Intermediate
How busy is it: One of the quieter lakes on the complex
Location: Stanton Harcourt, Witney
Can you drive to the swims: Some
Best method: Varies on time of year (read below)
On site facilities: Shop, toilet, showers
Best bait: Boilies, corn, hemp and liquids
Nearest tackle shop: On site
Ideal fishing range: Up to 80yrd
Average size: 20lb plus
Max realistic size: Over 40lb!

Hardwick & Smiths

Joined together by a narrow channel these two waters provide some first class fishing and contain some very pretty carp which were selected intentionally for the waters.

Linear estimate the carp stock to be just over 1,000 fish with a high number of these in excess of twenty pounds in weight. There are at least 20 over thirty pounds and over the last four years fish to over 40lb have been recorded.

The lake record for a common carp is 39.14, for a mirror it is 43.10 and for a ghost carp it is 25lb.

It is Linear’s policy to regularly stock this water.

In addition to the carp, the waters also hold some tremendous fish of other species. In past years there have been pike caught to over 31lb, bream
over 15lb, tench to 11lb plus, and roach to 3lb 15oz.

The beauty of Hardwick is that each and every fish has its own character, they are stunning; very scaly with superb bloodlines allowing them to grow at a rate of knots. 

Tom Maker

You’ll need these for your trip to Hardwick Smiths!

See Tom in action on Hardwick on Cypography!

What is it like?

Hardwick Smiths is the oldest lake on the Linear complex and I spend a lot of my time fishing on the Hardwick side. This is mainly because it is more suited to longer range fishing and I just feel that the majority of the carp spend their time this side, rather than Smiths. I am not saying that they don’t visit Smiths, but in my experience going onto the Hardwick side always provides chances of a bite.

What is the stock?

There is upwards of 1000 carp in there. It is very hard to put a number on big fish but year on year they seem to grow at very fast rates and I would estimate there to be around 60-80 thirties, which is quite staggering really, with a lake record of over 42lb. The beauty of Hardwick is that each and every fish has its own character, they are stunning; very scaly with superb bloodlines allowing them to grow at a rate of knots.

The fish follow the wind

In terms of spot choice, there are a lot of good swims on Hardwick because like all gravel pit carp, they move on a number of factors. However, one of the biggest factors in the best swim is to follow the wind because the carp will. There are some hot pegs and I would aim to be getting in 3,4,5 and 6 on The Road Bank, Peg 9 in Summer Bay, 12 and 13 off of the far walk spit, 38 which is the shorter walk – they are all good swims that command the central body of water, where the fish spend a lot of their time.

Where to find them in winter

I am convinced that the fish spend their time in Smiths during winter because there is a lot more shelter over there. It is much narrower and smaller on that side and I think they are able to tuck themselves away far easier than the open Hardwick. Having said that, one of the pegs (in the fact the best peg in late winter is peg 6 on Hardwick). There is a shallow plateau out there, 12ft surrounded by 20ft of water. This is a prime hotspot in winter time as the fish love the clay, and due to the pressure it receives, there is regularly bait being deposited daily, holding the fish there.

What tactics do you employ?

There always seems to be some sort of silkweed on the bottom so no matter how clean you think the spot is it will no doubt be smothered in low lying weed. Consequently, I will always fish a slow sinking bait, generally a pop-up, or critically balanced wafter.

When it comes to introducing bait, due to the volume of sizeable carp in Hardwick, I will always start with a good amount, say 15-20 Spombs at the start, as opposed to 10-12 on the other Linear venues.

Bait wise, keep things simple! Boilies, mushed and chopped, sweetcorn, hemp and load it full of flavour. Due to the deep water on Hardwick, and the undertow, it is important to use a heavy mix to ensure it gets down onto the spot.


Hardwick & Smiths Rules

Catch & release only?: Yes!
Are there swim boundaries: No there is plenty of room, you must stick to your swim
Are mats provided?: No
Are bait boats allowed?: No
Are boats allowed?: No
Bait rules: Particles must be prepared properly, maggots as hook baits only
Hook pattern rules: Any
Fish care rules: Unhooking mats compulsory
Parking rules: In parking areas only
Rig rules: Safe ones barbed or barbless
Can I use spods/spombs?: Yes
How many rods?: Three
Are dogs allowed?: Yes under control
Is there an age limit?: Under 16's accompanied by an adult
Can I use particles: As above


With over 1000 carp to go and each and everyone beautiful to look at, Hardwick is one of my favourite waters at Linear.

Tom Maker

Tom Maker is a carp catching machine. He likes nothing more than receiving several runs in a session. Tom is an expert on the Linear Fisheries complex and specialises in accuracy.


& get latest posts via email