Anglers Paradise, what more can be said that has not been already ? the only venue that has starred in match fishing programs, specimen carp programs and in a plethora of publications. The place is legendary, and as my wife wanted to go down to Cornwall to see The Eden Project, I thought I would combine a few days down there. The lake complex is located near Halwill Junction in Devon and your TomTom will direct you to the entrance gate.
The complex is different to many fishing complexes in that it is not just a collection of lakes with a shower and toilet block. It is a full holiday destination that also has several lakes for fishing. As we booked late there was no 2 person accommodation available however when my wife phoned up they did a deal on a 2 bedroom villa called “Splendor”. On the way down I was thinking about what this might be like and I presumed it would be a euphemism for dodgy accommodation. How wrong could I have been.. The accommodation was on 2 levels with a 4 poster bed in each bedroom, 2 bathrooms one with a jacuzzi and a massive kitchen / living area with digital TV. Not your normal fishing pad at all but a place which was definitely girlfriend / wife friendly.
We were met at the reception by one other than Zyg Gregorek himself who welcomed us to the complex and told us of the activities that we had to look forwards to. This is also when you have to pay for your fishing at 10UKP per day for 2 rods and 5ukp extra per night or for some of the other lakes. This was a bit irritating as when you pay for the accommodation we thought this would be included… not a lot to be honest but really felt like it was squeezing that bit extra out of you. I suppose he has put in this rule for big groups but it was surprising and several other anglers I talked to expressed amazement that you have to pay a “supplement” for some of the lakes as well as for night fishing. I imagine that it would soon add up if you were there for a week or 2.
Onto the fishing, the complex has 9 lakes that are included in the normal ticket and 3 that require a “supplement” on the bailiffs recommendation I opted to fish the “Easy Access Lake” on the evening of day one and the whole of day 2. Day one was really just the evening as it was hammering it down and as it is self catering we needed to get in food for the 3 days as well. The 1st evening on this lake only produced a small mirror of about 8lb’s and due to the weather it was quickly released back.
The second day was an altogether different matter. The lake had several signs up pointing out that no loosefeed was allowed so I persevered with a PVA stick only approach. Arriving at the lake at 04:20 ( and getting up ant 04:15..:) ) I was into a carp with in the 1st 15 mins. The action was sporadic and hectic at some points suggesting that the fish were circling around the lake hoovering up the baits as they went. The final tally for the second day was 14 carp to 16lbs, and as my wife was passing at the moment I got the 16 I managed to persuade her to take some pictures.
Nice pretty fish but some of them needed judicious amouts of korda carp care to repair numerous mouth and body wounds. Although an unhooking mat is obligatory I saw several anglers fishing with out or kneeling on the mat and putting the fish on the bank ( and even in one case on the concrete of a shelter) subtle hints from myself were not really having the desired effect and as I was staying another day I decided to let it be.
As I said the sport on the Easy Access lake can be hectic so on day 2 ( my last full day really) I decided to swap over to the lake called “Octopussy”. The lake has been created with an island with 8 arms ( hence the name) so that most pegs have their own private “bay”. I was told that the fish in this area are larger than on Easy Access however this was not my experience. End total was 5 fish to 16lb again however the average size was larger with most being doubles. Due to the intense rain all day I didn’t photograph any of the fish on this day as they were not significantly different to the ones in Easy Access other than the mouths and flanks were in far better condition.
In Summary, if you are expecting to go to a French style complex such as Abbey lakes then you are in for a shock. Anglers Paradise has fully equipped cabins / chalets as well as a swimming pool with a jacuzzi. Facilities are enhanced by the presence of a bar and restaurant ( only open on some nights) as well as acres of walking paths. This place is definitely child and women folk friendly and if you want to pop down to get a bend in your rod then it is the place to be. If however, you are a dedicated carper only looking to defecate into a bucket and wash with baby wipes whilst never leaving the bank ( yes there are some) then this is not the lake for you. Certainly there are big carp and big cats, whilst I was there an angler reported he had caught a 55lb cat the night before which is a big cat in any one’s books. One final note, if you are a carp angler and fancy a visit, you can leave the 3lb rods and big pit reels at home. This is not a casting venue, a 30 yard chuck is all that is needed on most of the lakes and pegs. I took 2 3/4 lb through actioned rods and 8000 sized reels and it was more than enough.
Anyway I leave you with a pic of your truly dancing over the rods as the action got fast and furious on the second day.