Drayton Reservoir has produced its biggest-ever carp, plus an incredible match weight totalling 6,480lb.
The 35lb venue record fell to Drayton regular Ollie Booker, who fished a boilie over a huge bed of pellets at peg 79 in an area known as ‘the Straight’.
The huge carp was the jewel in the crown of an arm-aching 24-hour session that saw Ollie introduce more than 30kg of pellets and land 114 fish.
“The carp in here are getting bigger and bigger. Besides the 35-pounder I had 20 over the 20lb mark,” Ollie said.
“Anglers still think that fishing here is just about doubles, but that isn’t the case anymore.
“Anyone who fishers here now has a realistic chance of catching a 20lb-plus carp.”
Ollie’s catch will be music to the ears of specimen carp anglers who fish the Northamptonshire reservoir .
Venue bosses have revealed that this is just one of many Drayton fish reckoned to weigh over 30lb – and there are now more 20lb-plus fish in the reservoir than ever before.
“Our fish are putting on around 2lb a year, and Drayton has become much more than the ‘runs’ water many people believe it to be,” said Mark Ryder, who has been running the fishery for the Canal & Rivers Trust with his wife Angie for the last 12 years.
“In three years I’m confident that almost every fish in Drayton will weigh over 20lb, and that is just incredible.
“We’ve been here for 12 years and there are still fish being landed that haven’t been caught before – so even though this 35lb fish is officially our best yet I know there are still surprises to be had.”
Despite producing more specimen carp than ever before, the venue is still seeing numbers of run-of-the-mill fish too.
Carp match hauls
Drayton hosted a recent UK Carp Championships qualifying match and the result raised eyebrows among the competitors.
Seven anglers weighed in an incredible total of 6,480lb 5oz of fish over 48 hours. The winner of the event was Steve Blow with 118 fish for a combined weight of 1,442lb 6oz.
The angler in second place took 1314lb 1oz of carp to the scales, and the third-placed man finished with 1308lb 9oz.
Fox and DNA Baits-backed England international Mark Bartlett has banked more carp from Drayton than most, and said: “This awesome fishery really has something for every kind of carper out there.
“There’s nowhere else in the country like it, and even though I’ve fished Drayton many times I still get excited before a session because I know I’m in for an absolute treat.”
THE HISTORY OF DRAYTON RESERVOIR
Drayton was constructed in the years shortly after the 1973 Grand Junction Canal Enabling Act was passed through Parliament. The venue was originally known as Middlemore Reservoir.
Its primary purpose was and remains as a water supply reservoir for the nearby Grand Union Canal.
With the fishing world changing and the arrival of heavily stocked commercial fisheries, British Waterways – now the Canal & River Trust – was exploring the potential of the development of some of its reservoirs and Drayton became the ‘guinea pig’.
Clattercote, Boddington, Stockton and Earlswood Engine Pool quickly followed suit, along with the acquisitions of Blythe and Makins Fisheries.
Following a drain-down in 1992 and a subsequent restocking with carp, the revamped Drayton opened for business in the summer of 1993.
During the 1990s the venue rewrote the match fishing history books with countless record-breaking weights, one of the most memorable of which was Steve Gregory’s UK best – more than 360lb of small carp.
As the Fishers Pond strain of carp grew it was inevitable that the venue would transform into the incredible runs/specimen water it is today.
For the last 12 years Mark and Angie Ryder have worked to promote and nurture the carp fishing and were also instrumental in the re-introduction of night fishing.
Mark Bartlett’s top tips for fishing Drayton Reservoir
- Drayton carp love small baits, so try hookbaits no larger than 12mm.
- Don’t be afraid to move swims. It might be Drayton, but if you’re struggling, move.
- Keep it simple. A knotless knot and a hook with a wide gape is the way forward.
- I’ve had loads of success with small, bright pop-ups. Pink is a winner here.
- If you’re introducing a bed of bait, go with hemp and corn.
- Be prepared to fish up in the water. A zig or a surface bait can be deadly, especially fished with a sloppy spod mix.