Four of our field testers took over the Brocard complex for a week last month. Jim Kelly spent the week camped on Brocard Small, you can read his report below.
Brocard Small isn’t, at 29 acres, that small. It is a fairly large lake and with just 4 swims there is plenty of water to have a go at. Swim 1 is a single swim and the rest are doubles. The word stunning is often over used, but in this case it is actually inadequate as it is one of the most beautiful lakes that I have had the pleasure to fish. It is totally surrounded by trees, yet there is vehicle access to every swim. I would be happy just sitting there for a week and let the stress of everyday life wash away, fishing here is a privilege.
The lake is fairly shallow; swim 1 is the shallowest region sloping down to swim 4 where 6 feet can be found. The majority of the lake is around 4 feet deep. There are areas of soft silt and areas of hard gravel. The silt is not the smelly type, but sweet. All margins have extensive areas of snags, but the open water is snag free. Most of the fish show off the far margin, but not all. Swims 1, 3 and 4 are only moderate casts to the margins. Swim 2 is a long cast being in excess of 130 yards at the closest point. A bait boat in this swim would be an advantage.
We believe that there are around 350 carp and 25 cats. The carp go to over 60lbs and the cats go to over 100lbs.
When we arrived at the lake we had an introduction from Frank, the bailiff, and were shown the catch reports for the year. Swims 2 and 3 were by far the most popular. Paul Cooper and I had a good look round, Paul had first choice of swim and chose swim 3. This was an obvious choice as we were both casting and it is a comfortable cast to the far snags. I chose swim 2.
Being field testers often means that we have limited information about the water before we go. We didn’t know there were crayfish present – hence we left the tiger nuts, particles, maize, etc. at home and took mostly boilies. This was a big mistake as there were crays present. Next time we take them whatever, you live and learn. The owner will be netting the lake in November and he says that they would be able to remove over 70% of the crays.
To overcome the crays I used a coated hook length with the coating left on; a short hair and meshed baits (use the heavy Fox Armamesh as the crays destroy the fine variety). The short hair was essential as the crays roll the bait around until the hook point gets caught in the mesh. I know this as I lost two fish due to this phenomenon. Paul Cooper used a similar rig, but he used just braid.
Despite the crays we both caught fish; the average size was in the mid-twenties. There were some very big carp showing, but we failed to catch any of the larger residents. Some nights it sounded like someone was throwing cows in, believe me there are some seriously big carp in this lake. Paul lost a very big cat.
Nearly all fish were caught on Quality Baits boilies. We think that they are outstanding. A couple of fish were caught on plastic baits.
The facilities are very basic there is no drinking water, we took 25litres with us and topped up from the supermarket. Lake water was boiled for washing up. There is a caravan, located close to swim 4, where you can get out of the rain. It contains a toilet, which is flushed via a bucket. It did the job and was clean.
There is a shower block located 10km away from the lake. It contains two showers, wash basin and toilet. The showers were hot and clean.
Paul and I really liked this lake; I didn’t want to go home and if we had known about the crayfish before we went we feel that a lot more fish would have been caught. The acid test for any lake is would I go back? The answer is a resounding yes (please)… is it free next week?