Despite the proliferation of runs waters, tackle companies and bait firms, catching your first 20-pounder is still a big deal in carp fishing.
If you’re yet to reach this milestone, or just fancy getting a few bites, then these waters are the ones to head to.
1) Thorpe Lea, Surrey
One of the finest ‘hauling’ waters in the country, this Surrey gravel pit has produced some staggering multiple catches.
The fish in here have wised up a bit in recent years, but the average size has sky-rocketed and most bites should result in a 20.
Top tip: Try small, bright hookbaits and don’t be afraid to fish single hookbaits at range.
Contact: www.thorpeleafishery.co.uk or 01784 492182
2) Drayton Reservoir, Northamptonshire
If you had to go anywhere to catch a carp to save your life, it’d probably be here.
Drayton is rammed with thousands of carp and all methods work. Even in the depths of winter, this water will produce fish.
If you’ve got a new rig that needs testing or just need to hear your bite alarms singing again then this is the place to come.
It’s also a brilliant venue for newcomers to the sport and is expertly marshaled by Mark Ryder and his team of bailiffs.
Top tip: A sloppy spod mix over zigs will keep the fish in your swim. Oats and evaporated milk is a great base on a budget.
Contact: www.fisheries.co.uk/drayton or 07889 532563
3) Brasenose One and Two, Oxfordshire
The two Brasenose waters at Linear Fisheries are full of fish and most of them are over 20lb.
The carp can push out into the middle at B1 so being a good caster is a bonus, but the B2 fish will generally feed all over.
Don’t be afraid to try zigs and introduce bait regularly to keep the passing shoals interested.
Top tip: Baiting little and often scores well here. 1kg bags of frozen sweetcorn will keep the cost down.
Contact: www.linear-fisheries.co.uk or 07885 327708
4) Naseby Reservoir, Northamptonshire
There were already carp in Naseby when 12,500 were stocked in 2003, so to say it’s well populated is an understatement. The average size of the fish is about 18lb.
Top tip: Tiny 6mm baits work well in winter. The Beach area is popular but the Point is worth investigating.
Contact: www.naseby-reservoir.org.uk or 07904 493417
5) Wadmill Lake, Dorset
Situated on the Todber Manor complex, this four-acre runs water has plenty of fish that are growing all the time.
Top tip: Good-quality boilies and pellets do well here.
Contact: www.todbermanor.co.uk or 01258 820384
6) Booneys Lake, Bedfordshire
This prolific venue on the Manor Farm Fishing complex produces multiple hits of fish of a good average size all year round.
Top tip: Zigs and bright pop-ups in solid PVA bags.
Contact: www.manorfarmfishing.com or 01767 317835
7) Vermuyden Lake, Cambridgeshire
This pretty Fenland venue of a couple of acres has a great of fish, with many of them 20-pounders.
You might have to wade through a few doubles to get a 20 but it’s a great water for youngsters or to hone your skills.
Top tip: Try a Method feeder for a simple way of keeping the bait going in.
Contact: www.fenlandfisheriesltd.co.uk or 01487 841858
8) Mallard Lake, Northamptonshire
The largest water on the popular Bluebell complex is its most prolific. In January 2016, 100 more upper doubles were released into this already well-stocked pit.
Top tip: The base of the marginal slope on the Nene Bank is a great starting point.
Contact: www.bluebell-lakes.co.uk or 01832 226042
9) Middle Pool, Staffordshire
The main specimen runs water on the Baden Hall site has a range of depths and features. There are plenty of doubles in here but a twenty is a distinct possibility.
Top tip: Middle Pool is a great water for surface fishing in the warmer months
Contact: www.badenhallfishery.com or 01785 850313
10) Wood Pool, Cheshire
This pretty four-acre lake is overlooked by Gawsworth Hall and is a delightful place in which to catch fish. It’s a mixed fishery but the carp dominate in this lake and run to over 30lb.
Top tip: Bigger baits will avoid the bream and single out bigger carp.
Contact: www.gawsworth-fisheries.co.uk or 01260 223442