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Priory Farm
Sandy Lane
Nutfield
Nr Redhill
Surrey RH1 4EJ

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Priory Farm Fishing

News and articles from Priory Farm

Carp Clinic For Crucian

by Bill and Virginia Rushmer

Article reproduced courtesy of Anglers Mail

Anglers Mail London and South East angling "celebs" check in at the Priory - no not for rehab this time but for some quality crucian action amidst lush Surrey countryside.

Priory Farm Lakes first came to my attention several years ago when summer bag weights topping 300lb were caught. A phone call inviting us to come and fish helped us realise that a visit to this exclusive venue was long overdue.

We met Ian Ford outside the plant centre, complete with toilets and cafe, to be taken on a guided tour of this most unusual and upmarket site. Clearly visible from the car park was Hungerford Lake, our first port of call, where there was plenty of evidence that everyone was into fish - mainly wilde looking commons between 2 and 4lb. It was obvious a lot of effort had gone into keeping the lake in immaculate condition with every swim perfectly spaced put and platformed.

Travelling down the road through woods carpeted in bluebells, we turned down a small lane leading through a locked gate into a car park (plus flush toilet) serving Priory, Hogtrough and Moat Lakes. Set in an area of outstanding natural beauty, Priory Lake was originally the estate lake serving Nutfield Priory, which still stands at the top of the hill, converted into a luxury hotel with views of the surrounding countryside.

Well matured now, but still much more recent additions are the specimen lake Hogtrough and Moat match lake. Hogtrough with its stock of big bream to double figures, tench to 9lb, carp to 30lb, roach, rudd and crucians has a good number of different depths. On Moat Lake we discovered all the fishing takes place from a central island reached by a small bridge with far banks fishable with an 8m pole. Stopping by the stock pond on the way back, it was amazing to see the carp responding to the vibration and noise of the car expecting to be fed.

On returning to the plant centre, Virginia insisted on a quick loo (yawn, yawn) before a chat over morning coffee when Ian explained that unlike other commercials fishing was by membership only and each member could fish as often as they liked for a year ion the four lakes with security provided by a members-only key to the car park. Judging from what we had seen, this represents excellent value for money.

Upon returning to the car park we met bailiff Ray Smee who confirmed our best plan of action was to split the rest of the day fishing between Priory and Hogtrough Lakes but warned us of the very excited spawning carp triggered by the sudden increase in temperature.

Before we even arrived on Priory Lake, our ears confirmed what we had been told and as we set up, the carp were literally crashing around in the margins by our feet. Although we realised that the increased activity would make for difficult carp fishing, it was interesting to see the stamp of fish which were stunning commons running to upper doubles but known to top 20lb. We therefore decided to target the crucians which are known to weigh in at well over 2lb.

We chose to use a progressive actioned waggler rods with centrepins loaded with 0.15mm line with ultra sensitive insert peacock wagglers holding about three no.4 shot with the bulk of the shot used to hold the float in position with just two no. 8 shot down the line. A 12 in hook length of 0.13mm tied to a size 16 hook banded with a 6mm expander pellet completed the rig.

Fishing no more than two rod lengths out, I baited up with a handful of 4mm pellets, but to my surprise I didn't even have a dip before moving in closer and immediately hitting a bite which tore away at a terrific speed, so typical of the wild carp. Keeping up steady pressure, the fish quickly tired and looking down I thought it was a big common, but as I netted it I could see it was a very long torpedo shaped wilde looking common pushing double figures.

The fish was followed by a smaller mirror and two other commons. Virginia was also having problems getting to the crucians, so we decided to move round to fish an area with tree cover where the carp were not crashing about.

A slight lift on the float resulted in the first crucian - a cracker of about 2lb and Virginia followed shortly after with a slightly smaller specimen. Then I had three good crucians in three consecutive casts before hooking and landing a double-figure wilde looking common. Another crucian followed before I noticed Virginia battling it out with another common.

It was time to move to look at another well kept lake, Hogtrough, which was less than 200yds away. Using the same gear I quickly realised I was in trouble when three skimmers took in consecutive casts fishing halfway to the island.

Whilst changing to a size 12 hook and 11mm expanders with 6mm feed pellets, I looked over to where Virginia was into here first 6lb+ bream, followed shortly by an even bigger fish to her amazement in very close.

It took about 20 minutes before my change of tactics paid off with a tench well over 6lb followed on the next cast by a fin perfect tinca about a pound smaller. By this time we were both into tench and bream of all sizes.

The more we fed the more we caught including those elusive crucians. At one end of the scale roach of about 6oz appeared and at the other extreme carp well into double figures graced out nets. The last hour was hectic with a bite a chuck from a chocolate box assortment of fish. But it wasn't enough for Virginia - she has her eye on a return visit already - though I suspect the plant centre, farm shop and a nice cream tea have something to do with that.

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First Impressions of Priory Farm Fishing Lakes

by Paul Orford

A quick jaunt down the M25 and I was soon driving down quiet country lanes just outside Reigate in Surrey, on my way to sample the excellent fishing at Priory Farm Fishing Lakes. The sun shone through the window and I was full of the joys of spring and looking forward to some well earned time away from work.

Priory Farm Fishing Lakes offer superb coarse and carp fishing on four lakes, all well stocked with crucian carp, roach, perch, tench, rudd, bream, and of course, stunning carp to 30lb. A mere 20 miles from Central London, Priory Farm Lakes are within easy reach and members only fishing means the lakes remain under fished and the quality of the fish is always second to none.

Priory LakeI met up with Ian Ford, the Fisheries Manager at Priory Farm who drove me up to the car park. He suggested I try out Priory lake, as despite the recent cold weather, it had been fishing reasonably well.

The fishing on Priory Lake offers great year round sport and according to Ian, the carp, which are close to the original wild carp, will definitely give you a good fight !!

Most baits had been working well Ian remarked and taking his advise I set up two rods, one with a method feeder and single boilie cast as near to the island as I dared and one with a waggler fished hard on the bottom with pellets for hook baits. I offered only a few morsels of loose feed as I expected that bites might be hard to come by after a cold night.

Bites were indeed hard to come by, in fact they were pretty much non existent. I was also troubled by the resident swans who were certainly in feeding mood, even if the fish weren't. After a couple of hours on Priory Lake with no action whatsoever, I decided enough was enough and moved the short distance to Hogtrough Lake where I hoped for better luck.

Hogtrough lake is the youngster at Priory Farm although the lake is maturing nicely with the island and bank side vegetation growing rapidly. Apparently the fishing can sometimes be a little harder than the other lakes although the rewards are well worth putting in the extra effort, especially if targeting the resident hard fighting carp which go to 30lb.

As I neared Hogtrough Lake, I noticed there was one other angler trying his luck so I decided to pick his brains about what methods and baits worked well on Hogtrough. The angler in question turned out to be George, a regular at Priory Farm Lakes for many years. George was fishing the pole at 4m and because of the cold weather, with water temperatures not much above 0 deg c, he was using extremely fine tackle and tiny baits.

George, a regular at Priory LakesHe explained that he always fished a different swim at Priory Lakes, still keen to learn as much about the fishery as he was when he first fished the lakes over 16 years ago.

Although he was keen to pass some of his knowledge onto a newbie like myself, he certainly wasn't going to reveal all his secrets that he had amassed over many years of studying and fishing and the lakes at Priory Farm. He was keen to retain a certain edge over everyone else ... and who can blame him.

George estimated that a crowded day at Priory Lakes would see a maximum of around 10 anglers on each lake. Compare this to a day ticket commercial fishery and you can see why this members only fishery is so attractive.

I could have stayed talking with George all afternoon but I had come to sample the fishing, so decided I had better get back to it. Using the same two methods I had started with on Priory Lakes, I recast my rods and hoped that as temperatures had risen slightly from the morning session, I could tempt a few fish to have a quick meal.

Unfortunately, this was not the case and the net stayed dry all day. George did manage one perch of around an ounce but I'm sorry to say that was all. Strangely though I was not too disappointed. For a townie like me, being in such stunning countryside with only the sound of the trees rustling in the wind and the odd bird singing was pleasure enough. Of course I would have liked to catch some fish, but that can wait until next time.

So what are my first impressions:

  • Stunning location
  • superbly maintained lakes and pegs
  • un crowded and under fished
  • easy to find and get to (even for me in West London, the drive was only around 45mins)
  • really friendly and helpful fisheries manager (Ian Ford)

I can't wait to get back to Priory Farm and try my luck once more.


Priory Farm Fishing Lakes would be delighted if anyone would like to submit an article for inclusion on this page. They can be about your experiences at Priory Farm Lakes or about fishing in general

To submit an article, click here

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