Stephen Davis, Essex.
Facebook Forum: Stephen Davis
For those of you who don’t know me, here goes: When I was 14-years-old, I fished my first senior match on the river Lea in 1971. It was run by Dave Hemmings and included in the field were great anglers such as Dickie Carr, Ade Scutt, and Dennis Lipscombe. I was fortunate enough to finish 2nd, as much a shock to me and my pal as to the rest of the field. I went on to have a long and successful time, fishing for some of the best match-teams in the south east of England. My most enjoyable times were while fishing for Browns-Barclays, with the likes of Kevin Stack, Mork (hoyeboy) Hoye, Ian Copeland, Tom Legge, Rob Bishop, Stu Redman, the list goes on. As a group of young unknowns, we took the match scene by storm.
Link to my novel, released Aug 2017 :-
Having achieved all I had hoped for, in 1994, I turned to my true love, fishing for specimen fish. My main quarry was Big Bream. I have had some remarkable fish, including two over 19lb, a 19lb4oz fish coming on a cold January morning, when the record still stood at 19lb10oz. Interestingly, most of my biggest Bream have been captured during the coldest months. Around 2000, I turned my attention to big Tench, with the Bream never far from my thoughts. Again, I have had some remarkable fish, including several double figure fish. A close friend once said that I would evolve into a Carp angler, and he wasn’t wrong. Increasingly, since 2000, my attention turned more towards Carp. At certain times of the year, my thoughts again return to Bream and Tench, however, I find a good balance between the three. Although many Carp anglers dislike Bream – and I get that – I have found, especially on very big, difficult waters, the Carp are rarely far away from the Bream and Tench. I spend most of my time on the notoriously difficult Hemingford Grey pit in Camgridgeshire, run by the London Anglers Association. It is mind numbingly hard, however, the fish are ridiculously big. It’s 65 acres, with half of it being referred to as ‘Jurassic Park’. This part is a dense wooded area with many sunken trees, and more hiding places than you could imagine (see photo1 & 2).
The other half is a vast open area of around 35 acres, with many depth variations, gravel bars beyond casting distance, and inaccessible islands (see photo 3 & 4).
This is the lake that produced the Tench Record (9lb1oz) in 1969. Regulars in those days included the master, Dick Walker and indeed many of the swims were made by him. Many people hear stories of huge fish and have a go, and are often gone within three months. In all fairness, I’ve virtually lived on there for 15 years and am still picking the bones from it. We, (my pals who fish it with me) reckon it’s like a 10000 piece puzzle and we are doing well ‘coz we got a 10 pieces in place ha-ha. Yeah, the fish are in there, parts of this lake go back many, many years. In fact, the Jurassic part was a series of small ponds and as a result there are three very different strains of Tench, (see photos 5, 6, 7), and some huge male fish, (see photo 8).
As for the illusive Carp, they are very old fish (see photo 9), and are so hard to locate, especially in open water.
Only now are we staring to understand that they are in certain parts of the lake in certain months. If anyone wants to fish this water, I would strongly suggest that you give yourself plenty of time and do a lot of walking and watching, especially at last light. A good tip here, don’t try to walk and watch, you really need to pick a spot and sit and scan the water intensely. A lot of people who come for a look say they’ve never seen a fish. We see fish every time we go, but in fairness we do know where the fish are and are not moving, just watching for hours on end. If you can make that commitment then you will do well on here. Try to target the huge Bream, which swim in shoals of 4-6 fish and are rarely under 10lb (see photo 10).
I’ve found the Carp are rarely far away. Indeed, on most waters, I’ve found the Big Carp will sit off the back of the shoals of feeding Bream. I also fish Hatfiled Forest for the Carp and Bream and Henham Lodge, which even though the reports suggest otherwise, it does hold some very big fish. Other venues I’ve fish are Nazeing Meads, Ardleigh and Alton Reservoir. And this last year have spent a good amount of time on the LAA’s Bures lake, an old venue with some great fish.
Bait is a big thing with me and I have developed a brand (No-Limits) that has a great reputation locally. For years, I’ve used alcohol flavours, pure extracts from the likes of elderberry, blackberry, raspberry, coconut, garlic, pineapple, honey, brazil nut, the list goes on and on. All these flavours are pure extracts and include no synthetic or artificial ingredients. This is a big thing for me, nothing artificial in most of my ground-baits, pellet, particle, bolies etc etc. I am lucky enough to have a friend who is a scientist working on alcohol flavours. I am a great believer in matching everything to your hook bait. This is a subject I will cover extensively in the coming weeks. In the mean time, Go-Catch, SteveD.