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Whisby Garden Centre - Fishing Lakes
I recently visited Whisby Garden Centre - Fishing Lakes. I found out about it from the Fish-It guide for my adopted county of Lincolnshire.
There are three lakes at Whisby and there are more than enough pegs (More on this later!) on each lake. According to the guide there are Bream, Carp, Roach, Ide and Tench in the lakes. The lakes are fairly close together with a few trees and bushes. There are also reeds along the margins on various swims. I was told by the bailiff that the carp run to over 30lbs.
The fishing day ticket costs £4.00 for one rod, although you can fish more than one rod for an extra fee. There is a ban on both boilies and floating baits. You are allowed to use one pint of hemp. According to the guide you can only use keepnets in matches, although someone on our lake was using a keepnet and no one seemed to mind.
Night fishing is allowed, but this is by appointment. I believe the arrangement is that you arrive in the morning and then fish the 24 hours. There is a car park directly behind Lake 3 (Much more on this later!!) and a single toilet is situated near the entrance in between lakes 1 and 3.
There is also a cafe in the garden centre, for those of you who are more interested in eating rather than fishing!
Telephone: 01522 685395 Bailiff: 07947 295779
I can comfortably describe my experience as one of the worst I have ever had! We arrived early and had to wait until the gates were opened after 7.00am! Not great, but there was no posting of what time the lakes opened.
We wandered around the lakes and my first impression was not a good one. The three lakes were very close together and there appeared to be far too many pegs per lake. I am not saying that your neighbours could sit on your knee, but if someone did sit next to you, it would be a bit cosy!
Furthermore, there appeared to be rather a lot of wildfowl and as the day looked like it was going to be a hot one, I suspected this could prove to be rather problematic. After chatting with my friend Jim, who had also come along to try the water, we decided upon lake 3 - furthest away from the Garden Centre!
Jim decided to fish on the left side, as we looked back at the garden centre and I fished the far end backing on to the Car park - big mistake and I will never do that again! If you decide to fish the lakes, do not fish where I did. It was like Picadilly Circus! All day long people were coming and going. Pensioners would come for a few hours, go and be replaced by other pensioners - not far to carry their tackle you see! I have no objection to anyone (responsibly) fishing, but what did annoy me was the entourage. Whole families would arrive to see how Grandad was doing.
People would turn up ask about the water, the fishing and so forth - all day! I lost count how many people asked me if I had caught anything and by the end I was tempted to say "No and is there any wonder after people like you have plagued me all day?" Whole families would wander around the lake and also ask you about the fishing. Several times, I also had a swan and four signets for company, eating my loose feed - nice!
To make matters worse the bailiff arrived and after taking the money asked for a hook check. Now you may think this would be a case of showing him your hooks, you'd be wrong! I had to wind in my bait and show him the hook, therefore losing all of the method mix I had cast out. He also asked the hook size and I told him it was a 6, to which he said that I could only use up to an 8! I told him that all the rigs I had with me were size 6, so he told me he would let me off this time. In hindsight, I should have said "Fine give me my money back and I'll leave!"
Needless to say, neither Jim or myself had a bite we could strike at! Infact, no one at lake 3 caught anything of any size while we were there. We tried flavoured sausagemeat, bacon grill, flavoured sweetcorn and pellet. In the end I resorted to size 18 Drennan match hairs with a single grain of corn - nothing! The only thing I found was the bottom, it was full of junk as the lakes are old gravel pits. Infact, I lost a whole packet of hooks on the bottom, two of which were even lost on the wind in!
By two in the afternoon Jim announced he couldn't take any more and at half past I had to reluctantly agree.
To sum it up, I thought it was an awful place to fish. I don't mind not catching, as I've never been interested in "bagging up", but the place was riddled with faults for me. I like to do a variety of different types of fishing, except pole fishing and this venue is really set up for the pole. I didn't like the fact that if I wanted a pee, I had to wind in my rod, leave my tackle unattended, walk round to the first lake, use the only toilet (which was humming by the afternoon!) and then start all over again!
I also think that there should not have been a match arranged on the Saturday, while people were pleasure fishing. Some people who had paid for a day's fishing, found they suddenly had a matchman at the side of them pumping in pellets at rate of knots in the hope of winning the Roving Match! I think you'll agree this is totally unacceptable.
Therefore, if you have a pole, are happy to fish cheek to cheek with your fellow anglers, this could be the venue for you! However, if you are looking for a relaxing day by the water and don't want to go home more stressed than when you left, I suggest you look elsewhere...
The above review is my honest experience at Whisby and does not necessarily mean that you will have a similar one. By all means try it out if you want to, but it wasn't for me.
UPDATE: It would be nice to say we received an email, stating that things had improved at Whisby. However, instead we received an email from one of the match anglers attacking the review and it made very amusing reading. The writer proudly announced his name and attempted to justify all that was bad at the venue.
Here are some amusing fragments for you to enjoy:
Justification for match anglers among pleasure anglers - "we have to work during the week so that only leaves the weekend". Have they never heard of evening matches? There are three lakes, it's not rocket science! One week use one for match anglers and leave the other two for pleasure. Rotate them on a weekly basis. I fished in matches with John Smith's Brewery for many years on Newark Dyke and I don't ever remember the organisers leaving any match swims for pleasure anglers!!
Explanation for the hook check - "how does the bailiff know you are fishing on the same hooks?" Good grief Charlie Brown! I have fished tens of waters in the East Midlands and have never before been asked to wind my line in to check my hooks. Imagine visiting a Carp Lake for example, spodding an area and casting out your three rods; only to have a bailiff come along and ask you to wind in for a hook check. It doesn't happen because it's ludicrous! What was going to be at the end of my line, when all of the rigs I had taken for my carp rod were all tied using a size 6 - a harpoon?
I could go on and believe me this chap did! I'm not going to tell them how to run their lake, because most of it is common sense. Haverholme Park have one lake and they manage to run a lake for Match, Pleasure and Specimen anglers alike. How do they do this? They have a notice board in the Car Park! This tells you all that you can and can't do, as well as informing anglers when matches take place and the pegs that are used for matches.
In response to the toilet problem - "What does he want, a toilet at each corner of each lake?" No, save yourself some money. Get rid of the toilet with its maintenance costs, plant a few trees and bushes and let the angler do what he's allowed to do at 90% of the venues I have fished!
The choice is yours, if you still want to give it a go no problem. If you visit the site in the future, I'm sure I can find some alternative venues for you and then YOU can decide which you prefer.
Don't forget to take a look around the rest of the site and see what else you can find!