Where To Fish In Essex!

Author: CC Moore
Categories: Venues

Carp fishing is a very popular hobby in Essex, there are so many anglers of different abilities and there is always a water to suit. People go fishing for all types of reasons; some like the relaxation and are not too bothered about getting any action, some like a place full of small carp to keep them on their toes all day while others like to target big, wise, old warriors that do not get caught for years. Essex has it all. The problem is what type of water will best suit you?

Before the wonders of the Internet, it was all very much trial and error, and word of mouth in locating these waters. The best waters were very much “hush hush” and you had to fit in with a certain agenda or be friends with the right people. Now that the web has arrived things have changed two fold. New, commercial day-ticket venues are popping up all the time, fresh syndicates are opening with an array of new waters and what was once a secretive elusive world for a few is now a lucrative business for many.

Don’t get me wrong, though, those secret places that lie under the radar do still exist and for me I think it’s important these unknown treasures must remain that way as I see it as the heritage of carp fishing. The true meaning of carp angling in my eyes is making your own discoveries, having your own secrets and only sharing what you wish to share to keep the spirit of carp angling alive.

I have put together a list with everyone in mind. Waters for all skill levels from easy day ticket runs waters to lakes that are very challenging with some incredible rewards. I’ve listed some lakes that not many people know of, to one or two famous lakes steeped in angling history.

1. Brakes Pit

Located on the edge of Colchester nestled amongst the swooping fields of the Essex countryside lies Brakes Pit, what was once a quarry is now filled with water. This pit is about 15 acres in size and goes to over 40ft deep at one end. Being a fairly new fishery, the stock is still not properly known which gives you a great feeling of fishing for the unexpected, but there have been many carp caught that go well over the 30lb mark, loads of twenties and doubles to go for, all in absolutely mint condition. There are a number of features including an old barge, an island and silty channels. It is not an easy lake to fish but at the same time it’s not hard, but like many it is the sort of water that can seriously mess with your head.

Our rating: Can be tricky, but very rewarding, many over the 30lb mark.

2.Cleverley Mere

Located amongst the countryside of Hatfield Peverel, Cleverley Mere is about 9 acres in size with depths of up to 18ft – gravel bars, overhanging trees, sunny bays, islands, this lake has it all as well as being home to loads of big, beautiful carp.

With a stock of about 100 at the right time of year, it can hold half a dozen 40’s and about 30 different 30’s so it certainly isn’t shy of throwing out a lump or two. Not an easy lake by any means, but get in the right spot with solid tactics then you stand a good chance of bagging a beast!

Our rating: Lots of 30’s, a great place to go if you want a chance of a real whacker!

3.Top Lake

Situated along side Cleverly Mere, this lake is about 6 acres in size and is of a square shape as it was once an irrigation pool. This silty lake is maturing beautifully and with the abundance of natural food on offer, the carp that swim its waters are packing on the weight. There are roughly 75 carp to fish for, the lake record is 44lb and there are loads of 30’s to pull on your strings.

Our rating: Another medium/hard venue with the chance of a whacker!

4.The Quarry

The Quarry is a day ticket run water, again by Cleverly Fisheries on a pre-booking type basis. This mature, stunning water has everything that a carp angler could wish for within its tree-lined banks. The lake is about 22 acres in size with depths ranging from 5-16ft. In its crystal clear waters swim about 250 really good looking carp ranging in size, from mid-doubles to over 40lb. Again, not an easy water but get your tactics right and you could have it off.

Our rating: Not a piece of cake, lots of wily, old carp, a real box of chocolates.

5.Snake Pit

Located in Colchester, this mature old water is steeped in angling history. Famous for being home to the Original Snake Pit Common and Dippy, there have been many famous and well-known anglers to grace its banks. Sadly, those fish died many years ago but now there is a new Snake Pit Common in town that can send your needle around to over 50lb! This scenic water is about 12 acres in size; it gets very weedy and is quite a difficult water to fish. It holds a good head of carp with plenty of 20’s and 30’s to go for but time and effort is definitely the key to unlocking this lakes magical rewards.

Our rating: Hard, but the chance of a 50 pounder!

6.Bovington 1

Located in Hatfield Peverel, Bovington 1 is about 4 acres in size with a firmish silt bottom that is fairly regimental throughout. The carp in here are mostly mid doubles to 20lb with a few 30’s and a rumour of a 40. It is of an easy to medium difficulty with a chance of blanking or a chance of a multiple fish catch depending on how the lake is fishing on the day.

Our rating: Easy to medium.

7.Bovington 2

A little bit further up the dirt road from Bovington 1, Bovington 2 is very much the same in character apart from being a bit bigger at about 5 acres. It has about the same level of difficulty but the fish do seem to be bigger in this lake so I would say that it is home to more 20lb fish and a couple more 30’s, and one definite 40 pounder.

Our rating: Easy to medium difficulty with a good chance of a 30.

8.Layer Pits

At around 14 acres in size Layer Pits is set amongst the countryside of Layer-de-la-Haye on the outskirts of Colchester. This place is home to loads of mid doubles and 20lb carp with a few 30’s, and also a 40 I believe. A fairly easy water if you get your tactics right and get yourself on the fish. They love their bait and they love to hear the sound of a dinner bell spod ringing.

Our rating: Easy if you get your tactics right.

9.Newland Hall

Newland Hall is a great day ticket fishery to bring the kids or to have a social with your mates, or to just get a bend in your rod. There are a few waters on the well-maintained complex and all are fairly easy to get a bite and put a smile on your face. Situated in Roxwell near Chelmsford, the carp in these waters can go to over 30lb but mid double is the average size on offer.

Our rating: Easy, very good for a few bites.

10.Birds Green

Birds Green is another well-maintained, day-ticket fishery with three lakes on offer. A great place for the family, or a social with your mates, these heavily stocked lakes contain carp to 30lb with mid doubles being the average weight. Also, there is a café on site that will serve refreshments and breakfast directly to your swim! You’ll find Birds Green in Ongar.

Our rating: Easy, very heavily stocked.

11.Match Pit

Situated in Wivenhoe near Colchester, Match Pit is yet another beautiful, mature, tree-lined lake that is about 7 acres in size. The old gravel pit is a home to carp that go to over 40lb. There must be at least 20 different 30’s and loads of back up 20’s to keep you occupied. I wouldn’t call it an easy water and at times it can be quite hard but put in the time and the effort and you will soon be reaping in the rewards.

Our rating: Medium to hard.

12.Chigborough Maywater

It’s hard to judge the size of this day ticket water because of the shape of it, but at a guess it must be between 10-12 acres or maybe more. Chigborough Maywater a fairly easy water to fish with an abundance of features and islands. It is a very mature lake set in the picturesque countryside near Maldon.  It’s heavily stocked with carp exceeding 30lb and mid to upper doubles being the average.

Our rating: Fairly easy.

13.Bayeswater Day Ticket

Situated just off the A12 in Chelmsford, Bayeswater is still a reasonably young 6-acre lake that is maturing nicely. It is one of two lakes (the other being a syndicate) run by Gary Bayes. I am unsure of the actual stock amount but I do know that it has at least one 40 a fair few 30’s plus loads of upper 20’s to go for. It is a very well run water and one that is most definitely worth a go if you fancy a trip out somewhere. I’m not going to talk about the syndicate because the waiting list is ridiculously long!

Our rating: Great chance of a bite from a 20lb plus fish.

14.Alders Syndicate

This is one of those little gems that not many people know about. The Alders Syndicate complex consists of two lakes tucked away in Earls Colne in very picturesque surroundings. I fished it a few years back and I only saw a handful of anglers throughout the whole year and most of the time I had the whole place to myself!

Both waters are very shallow with an average depth of about 4ft and with an abundance of different features to fish to, including islands, gravel bars and silt pockets. I know of a few 30’s in the lake but there could be more, the average weight is around the 20lb mark. On this type of water, you are paying for the seclusion and the freedom to do as you please (as long as it stays within the rules) not for the size of the fish but let me tell you it does hold some stunners.

Our rating: A great lake for a 20.

15.Fryerning Fisheries

There are three lakes on the Fryerning Fisheries complex; the Main Lake and the Valley Lakes – all are home to some real monsters. The Main lake in particular is home to at least thirteen different 40’s (maybe more), one 50 and loads of back up 30’s truly making it “land of the giants”! The other two lakes aimed at the more novice anglers still holds an impressive ten known 30’s (one of which is expected to go 40 very soon) and hundreds of different 20’s. Located at Ingatestone there is something here for anglers at all levels.

Our rating: Medium/hard and a fantastic place for your first 40!

16.Par Fishery

Based in Brentwood, these day ticket waters at Par Fishery operate on a pre-booked basis. It is a very well maintained fishery consisting of two lakes. Tillingham Lake, the easier of the two waters is about 4.5 acres in size and holds a good head of carp up to and over the 30lb bracket.

Faraway Lake is the more challenging of the two and is about 4 acres in size. It is home to about 100 carp, 15 of them go to over 30lb. Both lakes are set in nice grounds and are beautifully mature surrounded by overhanging trees and reed beds.

Our rating: A lake to suit either the beginner or hardened carper.

17.Braxted Back Lake

Set near Witham, this mature old water at Braxted Back Lake is home to some of the best looking common carp in Essex. At about 3 acres in size, with deep clear margins underneath overhanging trees, the carp in here go to well over 40lb and are all in mint condition. Do not expect an easy ride though, as the carp are very tricky to catch and it is another one of those waters where time + effort = reward.

Our rating: Tricky but the rewards are there.

18.Cowlands Farm

Cowlands Farm is a mature, 5 acre lake near Braintree. It is a bit tricky to get on, but it could well be worth the wait as it is home to some awesome looking carp. The lake has depths of up to 15ft with features such as overhanging trees, snagy margins and an aerator. There are around 30 different 30lb fish with a few 40’s and untold amount of 20’s making it a water that is not to be taken lightly. Again, not an easy water but put in the time and you could soon be reaping the rewards.

Our rating: Tough, but a good head of 30’s.

19.Crowsheath Fishery Main Lake

An 8.5 acre specimen carp day ticket lake situated in Billericay. Crowsheath Fishery Main Lake holds carp up to 42lb and seven other known 30’s. I wouldn’t call it a hard water to fish but blanking is still possible as it’s not the sort of water to get lazy on. Finding the fish and feeding them seems to be the key but once you get them going the fishing can get quite easy. So if you’re looking for a water that is not too hard with a good chance of landing a lump this place is well worth a visit.

Our rating: Medium with a chance of a whacker.

20.Ardleigh Reservoir

Everyone has that special place close to their heart where they either have fond memories, or go for a stroll to clear their minds from the everyday troubles of life. This is mine, Ardleigh Reservoir. Situated on the outskirts of Colchester, this 120 acre reservoir has it all; beautiful tree-lined margins, sunny bays, gravel, weed, you name it it’s got it. But I am telling you now do not take this water lightly. It is the type of water that can seriously break you.

You can quite easily fish it for an entire year and not catch a single carp. I could write an entire book about this place but in short; summer time is the easiest time to fish as the carp are easier to find, it is a good idea to take a bike and try to travel light as it makes moving easier. There are some truly stunning carp that swim in these waters and the adventures that you can have in catching them can be truly epic. When it comes to the carp weight it is truly insignificant as any catch is a good feat but for the record they go to over 40lb.

There are plenty more lakes on offer in Essex I have really only named just a few and also the rivers than run through the county are well worth a look but I hope that I have given you a good idea of the type of carp fishing that is on offer in this part of the country.

Our Rating: Hard

Good luck,

Aaron Phillips.

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