We speak to Josh Flack about his diverse angling, starting with his time on the famous Yateley Match Lake, to the circuit waters in Reading, before finding himself on what he describes as a little slice of heaven.

|Question 1|

Aside from being local to home, what was it that drew you to the Match Lake?

|Question 1|

Aside from being local to home, what was it that drew you to the Match Lake?

I had fished some of the other lakes on the complex such as the Nursery and the Match was the one that held the bigger fish and the most originals. I guess it was the next step up in terms of angling lakes and size of fish. Seeing the pictures of some of the bigger fish such as Kiss Scale, Copse Lake Scaly and some of the large commons really excited me.

The lake is around 12-15 acres in size, in the shape of a boot leg with a couple of islands. It is generally weedy all year round and there are plenty of bars and features to fish to, which was going to make for some interesting fishing. It was a lake that was to teach me a lot about all disciplines of fishing. In the edge, to features, boilie and particle fishing, it had the lot. Due to its appeal, it was somewhere that a lot of anglers chose to fish, so I soon had to adapt things to put the odds in my favour and really think hard about baiting, presentations and location.

I had fished some of the other lakes on the complex such as the Nursery and the Match was the one that held the bigger fish and the most originals. I guess it was the next step up in terms of angling lakes and size of fish. Seeing the pictures of some of the bigger fish such as Kiss Scale, Copse Lake Scaly and some of the large commons really excited me.

The lake is around 12-15 acres in size, in the shape of a boot leg with a couple of islands. It is generally weedy all year round and there are plenty of bars and features to fish to, which was going to make for some interesting fishing. It was a lake that was to teach me a lot about all disciplines of fishing. In the edge, to features, boilie and particle fishing, it had the lot. Due to its appeal, it was somewhere that a lot of anglers chose to fish, so I soon had to adapt things to put the odds in my favour and really think hard about baiting, presentations and location.

|Question 2|

Did the volume of anglers and amount of pressure change the way you fished at all?

|Question 2|

Did the volume of anglers and amount of pressure change the way you fished at all?

I stuck to what I knew at the start, which on weedy lakes was solid bags. I had never liked the idea of getting down after work and leading around for hours. Particularly on work nights, I would much rather have a couple of rigs out there fishing in amongst the carp.

It wasn’t until the winter when the banks quietened down that I began to lead around. I got a good idea of the topography and various spots, keeping it all noted in a book for the upcoming season. I fished different swims at the start of the year to give me that information and by the time the fish started to show themselves, I knew the areas already.

I remember following a chap in the swim after he had blanked for three days, but the fish were clearly out there. I got the rigs out to a small spot that I knew was out in and amongst the carp and within an hour of leaving work that day I had an original in the net. It made a huge difference to my catch rate and confidence that’s for sure.

I stuck to what I knew at the start, which on weedy lakes was solid bags. I had never liked the idea of getting down after work and leading around for hours. Particularly on work nights, I would much rather have a couple of rigs out there fishing in amongst the carp.

It wasn’t until the winter when the banks quietened down that I began to lead around. I got a good idea of the topography and various spots, keeping it all noted in a book for the upcoming season. I fished different swims at the start of the year to give me that information and by the time the fish started to show themselves, I knew the areas already.

I remember following a chap in the swim after he had blanked for three days, but the fish were clearly out there. I got the rigs out to a small spot that I knew was out in and amongst the carp and within an hour of leaving work that day I had an original in the net. It made a huge difference to my catch rate and confidence that’s for sure.

|A good quality bait plays a huge role in his fishing|

|A good quality bait plays a huge role in his fishing|

|Question 3|

Did you catch some of the fish that you really wanted from there?

|Question 3|

Did you catch some of the fish that you really wanted from there?

I got really lucky one trip; after seeing a big fish show close in by some pads. I flicked a bag to the spot and the following morning I remember watching some bubbles coming up. As the bubbles drew closer, the intensity of the froth increased to a cauldron and the rod melted off.

I landed a colossal mirror and I rang my dad and a friend at the time to tell them I had a big mirror and if they could come and give me a hand with the pictures. Dad left the lawn mower in the middle of the garden and raced down and my friend Alex who was a dab hand on the camera came down too.

Alex turned up with another lad that had fished the match lake previously and when I rolled the net to show them what it was, he instantly recognised it as Kiss Scale. She weighed over 44lb and it was a special moment for me. Alex got some mega photos and I got to share the buzz with the people closest to me. I then followed it up with an original; the Orange Leather and the season just kept on going well for me.

I got really lucky one trip; after seeing a big fish show close in by some pads. I flicked a bag to the spot and the following morning I remember watching some bubbles coming up. As the bubbles drew closer, the intensity of the froth increased to a cauldron and the rod melted off.

I landed a colossal mirror and I rang my dad and a friend at the time to tell them I had a big mirror and if they could come and give me a hand with the pictures. Dad left the lawn mower in the middle of the garden and raced down and my friend Alex who was a dab hand on the camera came down too.

Alex turned up with another lad that had fished the match lake previously and when I rolled the net to show them what it was, he instantly recognised it as Kiss Scale. She weighed over 44lb and it was a special moment for me. Alex got some mega photos and I got to share the buzz with the people closest to me. I then followed it up with an original; the Orange Leather and the season just kept on going well for me.

|Question 4|

Where did you go after the Match Lake?

|Question 4|

Where did you go after the Match Lake?

I actually stayed on the lake for another season, with most of my fishing being made up of work nights. It finished around September when I caught one of the big commons from the lake. I thought it was time to move on to pastures new. It has always been one of those places that I go back to in the winter when it quietens down though, as the lake holds some special memories for me.

You went somewhere completely different after that?

I fished somewhere totally different, yes! The stock was much younger, but still amazing to look at, with a few lovely Dinton strain fish over the 30lb mark it was a really special place. I ended up picking off a fair few of them that spring, nothing huge, but super enjoyable fishing all the same.

I actually stayed on the lake for another season, with most of my fishing being made up of work nights. It finished around September when I caught one of the big commons from the lake. I thought it was time to move on to pastures new. It has always been one of those places that I go back to in the winter when it quietens down though, as the lake holds some special memories for me.

You went somewhere completely different after that?

I fished somewhere totally different, yes! The stock was much younger, but still amazing to look at, with a few lovely Dinton strain fish over the 30lb mark it was a really special place. I ended up picking off a fair few of them that spring, nothing huge, but super enjoyable fishing all the same.

|Question 5|

Your next challenge was something completely different, it was on a big pit, how did that go for you?

|Question 5|

Your next challenge was something completely different, it was on a big pit, how did that go for you?

Far better than I had thought, actually! I started fishing it in the middle of May, so a great time to start. A big south-westerly wind had sprung up and typically of a big pit, there were quite a few on the end of it. Being fairly unpressured fish, as I fought my way through the undergrowth, I wasn’t surprised to see a good 20 or so fish sat up in the shallow water on the end of the warm wind. It was a small arm around 50 yards wide and 80 yards long. I made the 40-minute hike with the barrow around and got all the kit set up.

I caught a nice twenty-pounder that night and from then on, I made the effort to get down and bait it during the week in preparation for the weekend. My first night fishing over the bait resulted in a very plain 38lb mirror, so it was nice to get off the mark with one of the bigger ones that’s for sure.

Far better than I had thought, actually! I started fishing it in the middle of May, so a great time to start. A big south-westerly wind had sprung up and typically of a big pit, there were quite a few on the end of it. Being fairly unpressured fish, as I fought my way through the undergrowth, I wasn’t surprised to see a good 20 or so fish sat up in the shallow water on the end of the warm wind. It was a small arm around 50 yards wide and 80 yards long. I made the 40-minute hike with the barrow around and got all the kit set up.

I caught a nice twenty-pounder that night and from then on, I made the effort to get down and bait it during the week in preparation for the weekend. My first night fishing over the bait resulted in a very plain 38lb mirror, so it was nice to get off the mark with one of the bigger ones that’s for sure.

I remember recasting and feeling a double drop; I had hit a fish on the way down! Half an hour later, I had another one on, but it felt like a tench. I got it in the landing net and seeing this big bowl of coins, I couldn’t believe what was in the net, it was one known as the Big Fully.

I called my mate that morning to pop over and give me a hand with it. He got some cracking photos of her and she was big too, weighing 36lb.

I remember recasting and feeling a double drop; I had hit a fish on the way down! Half an hour later, I had another one on, but it felt like a tench. I got it in the landing net and seeing this big bowl of coins, I couldn’t believe what was in the net, it was one known as the Big Fully.

I called my mate that morning to pop over and give me a hand with it. He got some cracking photos of her and she was big too, weighing 36lb.

I took two spod rods with me, a set of waders, a couple of buckets of bait and a builders table, so that i could spod the bait out from the water.

|Question 6|

Having caught the fully scaled, did you continue to fish it?

|Question 6|

Having caught the fully scaled, did you continue to fish it?

I loved it on there and with so many left to catch, including some of the bigger ones, I had to stay. I had noticed that the fish were using an area consistently over the next few trips and decided to plumb the area up. I found a nice spot, a small, raised hump and decided to start baiting it heavily.

I took two spod rods with me, a set of waders, a couple of buckets of bait and a builders table, so that I could spod the bait out from the water. I must have given them three bait ups before I actually fished it for the weekend and it looked prime.

A huge storm came through with monsoon rain, big winds, the lot. As it passed, the lake was like a sheet of glass and it looked perfect. The following morning was my chance and I hooked into an extremely powerful fish, typical of the big pits. It turned out to be a 39lb mirror, which was the fish that I had caught on my first night.

I fished the swim for a few weeks and caught a few more too. It was around about the time that they were thinking of spawning and I went down for my Wednesday night bait up. I had 5kg of boilies and as much pellet to put out there and once I had done it, a fish showed over the spot. I sat back and watched as another slid out, followed by another. I said to myself if one more rolls, I am going to have to fish, even though it would mean a very early pack up. Sure enough, one did, and I ran back to the car to grab the gear.

The rods went out smoothly and it was first light the following morning that I had a 29lb mirror. It had taken the other rod off the spot, but with 40 minutes left before I had to pack up, I decided to get that rod back out there. It was a great decision, as within ten minutes that one pulled up tight and began to strip line. I remember the line grating on something, but I eventually landed this huge mirror. I knew which one it had to be, and it was the biggest fish in the lake. I made a phone call for a friend to come and give me a hand and we weighed her at 45lb 8oz. It was a huge carp and a great way to end on the lake that’s for sure.

I loved it on there and with so many left to catch, including some of the bigger ones, I had to stay. I had noticed that the fish were using an area consistently over the next few trips and decided to plumb the area up. I found a nice spot, a small, raised hump and decided to start baiting it heavily.

I took two spod rods with me, a set of waders, a couple of buckets of bait and a builders table, so that I could spod the bait out from the water. I must have given them three bait ups before I actually fished it for the weekend and it looked prime.

A huge storm came through with monsoon rain, big winds, the lot. As it passed, the lake was like a sheet of glass and it looked perfect. The following morning was my chance and I hooked into an extremely powerful fish, typical of the big pits. It turned out to be a 39lb mirror, which was the fish that I had caught on my first night.

I fished the swim for a few weeks and caught a few more too. It was around about the time that they were thinking of spawning and I went down for my Wednesday night bait up. I had 5kg of boilies and as much pellet to put out there and once I had done it, a fish showed over the spot. I sat back and watched as another slid out, followed by another. I said to myself if one more rolls, I am going to have to fish, even though it would mean a very early pack up. Sure enough, one did, and I ran back to the car to grab the gear.

|Question 7|

I guess that was the perfect introduction for big pits with how things went,
was the next lake of a similar nature?

|Question 7|

I guess that was the perfect introduction for big pits with how things went, was the next lake of a similar nature?

Having that peace and quiet is hard to find, especially where I live. It was a lucky bit of solace I found, but after that I ended up back on a club ticket. It is local to home and I flitted around Farnham Flint, but didn’t do a lot of fishing that summer and autumn.

The following year I went over to Pingewood, with the dream of catching a real old mirror known as Pecs. It required a different mind-set and approach, one that I was used to from the Match Lake.

Terribly, whilst fishing an open water swim I was baiting, having already caught a nice 28lb common, I found Pecs floating dead in the margins. We got her out and buried her as best we could. I was devastated, it was such a special old carp but her time was up.

As I was catching fish, I decided to stay on and the lake held some other amazing big carp to target. They spawned soon after that, so I did a few socials elsewhere and went back over to Pinge in the summer. I ended up catching Floppy Tail spawned out at 36lb, which was a right result. She looked awesome even empty and it was a real buzz to catch her.

Terribly, whilst fishing an open water swim I was baiting, having already caught a nice 28lb common, I found Pecs floating dead in the margins. We got her out and buried her as best we could. I was devastated, it was such a special old carp but her time was up.

As I was catching fish, I decided to stay on and the lake held some other amazing big carp to target. They spawned soon after that, so I did a few socials elsewhere and went back over to Pinge in the summer. I ended up catching Floppy Tail spawned out at 36lb, which was a right result. She looked awesome even empty and it was a real buzz to catch her.

|pop-ups have been his go too spring hookbait for a few years now|

|pop-ups have been his go too spring hookbait for a few years now|

|Question 8|

I guess that autumn you obtained a ticket where we are sat right now, which is out of the area you had fished previously, what is it about it that makes you drive past so many lakes to get here?

|Question 8|

I guess that autumn you obtained a ticket where we are sat right now, which is out of the area you had fished previously, what is it about it that makes you drive past so many lakes to get here?

It was an opportunity to join a small syndicate, on a large lake that had some incredible carp in it. I guess it was an opportunity that I just couldn’t turn down and the prospect of fishing it was so exciting.

The lake had been fished for years, but this was the first season that the lake was to have a syndicate on it as such. It’s 40-acres in size with a stock of around 60-odd carp. Being shallow and full of snags, the fish spent an awful lot of time completely out of reach, but that was the thrill of it. The addition of boats being allowed also made it incredibly frustrating at times.

That first few months of the ticket, I didn’t have a boat and I was casting. I soon realised that I needed a boat and when you see the bottom, you can understand why. The spots are small, and the lake is extremely weedy. You can see where they have fed and to cast to them would require a lot of luck.

That autumn only saw around 10-bites, which for the calibre of angler fishing it wasn’t a lot. I came back in the spring, tooled up to how I thought I needed to fish it. A boat gave me a better understanding of what was going on.

I planned a bit of time off in May around a good moon phase. On my week’s fishing I did catch a few, but the nature of the lake sent me crazy. A lot of it ended up being snag fishing. With the rods fairly tight to the woodwork, I had to fish locked up and on the rods at all times.

I even packed up and fished open water one night just to get some sleep and relax, it can really take it out of you that’s for sure. I didn’t catch anything big, but had a few cracking twenties and the thought of one of those big, dark old mirrors in the net was enough for me to keep making the journey back to that little slice of heaven.

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