Broadlands Lake in Southampton is one of my favourite day ticket waters. In the early 1980s Broadlands introduced trout into its lake and so became the first ‘any method trout fishery’. This enabled carp anglers to fish for ‘trout’ with boilies on a Hair in the old close season, and Farlows Lake (in Middlesex) soon followed suit as both venues became extremely popular during those ‘close season’ years.
Broadlands Lake has now become a top day ticket carp fishery throughout the fishing season and as such has hosted the BCAC final for an unprecedented number of years. The venue has also been accredited with the ‘invention’ of the practical use of PVA in bait application. I have fished Broadlands many times back in the early ‘carp boom’ years and latterly in two BCAC finals.
It really is a fantastic venue with so many different features to catch carp from. The islands offer you the chance to fish at medium range, tight to the bankside and under overhangs. Alternatively you can flick rigs in the margins close to the pads that are prevalent in many swims, or cast in open water on the gravel bars or silt areas found around the lake.
Do not overcomplicate your rigs at Broadlands - A simple Snowman Rig or pop-up presented on a blowback rig works well, as does a bottom bait boilie presented on a simple Knotless Knot Hair. You can elaborate with rigs according to your personal preference, using rigs you feel you’ve had success with on other waters, but as I’ve said there is no need for rigs to
be too complicated.
For me, presentation is key so if I was casting tight to an island, which might require a few casts, and didn’t want to worry about a tangled set-up then I use a Stiff-Mono Rig with a separately tied (braid/floss) Hair. If you are using a solid or mesh PVA bag or stringers then a Coated Braid Rig (stripped back) will suffice. In open water on silt or gravel I would opt for a Coated Braided Rig on most occasions together with a stringer or PVA bag on each cast.
There are some cracking fish in Broadlands, some 900-1,200 in fact, with a number of fish well over thirty-pounds and the average size somewhere around the upper double, low-twenty mark.
The fish do respond to wind change and a fresh south westerly blow in the more temperate weather conditions will tend to push fish around the lake. During the colder and stiller months in terms of wind, and predominantly the months between January and March, the front channel at the end of the small island on the ‘carp alley’ bank is a favoured holding area, as well as the ‘blackwater corner’ bay of the lake.
Carp will, of course, still be active during the winter months albeit at a much slower pace so do not ignore fish sightings. Any shows of carp, which give away their whereabouts is worth a move. Carp can stay local in one area for long periods and a feeding spell could coincide with your visit.
In winter the carp aren’t necessarily feeding to replace energy as much as in summer months so free baiting should be used accordingly, and alternative baits to the usual food source should be considered. Plastic baits are a proven hit at Broadlands as well as many other lakes in the winter months.
The bailiff is always happy to supply you with any current information on going swims and catch reports. You can call prior to your visit and glean any information you think will help you in your session at Broadlands Lake – good luck!
The vital information you need...
Biggest residents: Henry Cooper Common at 37lb and The Dave Levy Fish (mirror) 33lb.
Average fish size: Upper double, low-twenty.
Rough fish stock: 900-1,200 fish.
Rod limit: Three rods.
Takeaways: On-site Café plus a number of local restaurants that deliver takeaway orders to the gates – ask
at the fishery for details.
Going baits: Mainline Cell and Pineapple pop-ups.
Local tackle shop: On-site tackle shop at the Clubhouse.
Location: Hill Street, Calmore, Southampton, SO40 2RX.
Contact: Call 02380 869881
Prices: £24 for 24hrs.
Facilities: On-site toilets, shower, Clubhouse, café and tackle shop.
Known winter areas/swims: The front channel at the end of the small island on the bank known as 'carp alley.'
Rob's top winter tip: Try using a single or double plastic Sweetcorn Rig glugged in an oil based flavour such as Bun Spice or Aniseed. Coupled with a mesh bag of corn made PVA friendly by adding icing sugar.