THE beauty of Larford Lakes is the variety it offers. Whether you want to bag 50lb of small carp, target a bag of silver fish, fish for a specimen stillwater bream or run a stick float through, you can do it all here.
Testament to this is that Larford hosts the Maver Club Angler of the Year final run by Match Fishing and the Midland Angler Specialist of the Year final, both successfully. It’s also been chosen by England manager Mark Downes as a venue for some of his national team selection matches, and he hopes to hold a big international there soon.
The 80-peg Match Lake is the new addition to this former gravel pit tucked in the Severn Valley. It’s been regularly producing 100lb-plus match weight and great sport for the pleasure angler too.
This water is aimed at firmly match and pleasure anglers, and has been heavily stocked with smallish but very fast-growing carp with a view to creating a water which produces 100lb five-hour weights as standard.
We visited the water with Maver-backed Paul Boothby earlier this year. On the day of Paul’s spring visit there was a chill in the air, but such is the stocking density he was still confident of a bag of fish.
He had a 4×12 rig for fishing four feet deep on-the-drop and another 0.75gr Maver Series 1 set up to be used for presenting the bait at full depth.
“I believe that even in the colder water temperatures, carp spend a lot of their time way off the bottom and can be caught ‘up in the water,” says Paul.
“At Larford Match Lake I feed with this in mind, starting on the deck but loose feeding to try and bring the fish up and catch them more quickly.
“The depth is around 8-10 feet at 10-12 metres which is a good line to fish. Some anglers work on the basis of using about 1gr of float for every six feet of water, but on hard-fished match waters you need to fish lighter than that.”
Paul fishes 0.10mm Genesis Smart line straight through to a size 18 Katana Series 2 hook. “I’m happy to fish straight through because there are almost no snags in the lake and by not using a hook length, I have fewer weaknesses in the set-up,” says Paul, who also sets up a waggler rig, which he refers to as his ‘back-up set-up’.
“There are times when it can pay to fish just beyond pole range, especially if the water is clear, and that’s why you see quite a lot of matches on commercial waters won on the waggler in the winter,” he says.
Paul starts by introducing three orange-sized balls of groundbait, infused with Van den Eynde Carp Pellets and Ringer Bag-up Pellets and then loose feeds maggot over the top every three to four minutes.
He starts with his deep rig and fishes double maggot on the hook at dead depth, as single maggot attracts too many small fish and with pellet you have to change to bait too often to compete. If it’s choppy, he fishes three inches overdepth.
Paul took a 40lb bag of mainly carp and a few tench on our visit, switching between his
three lines all day and going down to a size 22 hook at times.
There is of course much more to Larford than the Match Lake. The 22-acre Main Lake, which can also be booked for matches, is full of silver fish including roach, skimmers, tench, perch and lots of hybrids, and 30lb is a realistic target on the pole, feeder or waggler. This lake hosts our Total-Fishing Club Championships, won in 2004 off the burr bank with 37-8-0 by Fred Davis, with ten of the 30 anglers weighing in over 20lb. To take part in this match you need to join the ONLINE ANGLING CLUB.
It’s also famed for its head of double-figure bream to well over 14lb and holds a big head of carp to 37lb and loads of twenties, while the perch run to over 4lb and the roach to over 2lb. In 2004 however the owners added a lot of small carp which has changed the fishing a lot in summer and turned it as much into a match water as a big fish lake.
The record chub for the stretch is a whopping 7lb 4oz, and these are best targeted in the swims with overhanging far bank trees by fishing a maggot feeder across. The stretch has also produced a number of salmon on the quiet this season. Work is also well underway on a third match lake at the far end of the Specimen Lake. This will be stocked in a similar way to the Match Lake and bookings will be taken from the 2005 season. This lake will hold around 40-50 anglers. Work is also nearing completion on a smart clubhouse which will be licensed.
Venue Fact File
Maver Larford Lakes, Larford Lane, Stourport, Worcs.
Contact: Danny on 01299 829373 and 07774 703067.
Day tickets: £5 (£3.50 concessions).
Matches: Saturday and Sunday opens held and attract good fields in summer. Evening Wednesday and Friday matches are planned for the summer. Both lakes can be booked for club events but dates for the Match Lake are hard to come by.
Restrictions: No keepnets except in matches. Barbless hooks only. No Method feeders which use elastic, no nuts, no bloodworm/joker, no catfood.
Facilities: Drinks and snacks can be bought from the hut. There’s a good car park and a quad bike can be enlisted to help you get your gear to your peg, although the Match Lake is right in front of the car park. Open 7am to dusk although the big lake can be fished at night by arrangement.
Nearby tackle shop: Some bait and tackle is sold on site.
How to get there: From Stourport, follow the A451 over the River Severn in the direction of Worcester. After half a mile, bear left as the main road turns to the right. Go throught the village (watch your speed) and about a quarter of a mile after you leave the village you will see a sign to Larford Lakes on your left.