A day at Lakeside Fishery

As the match organiser at the prolific Lakeside fishery Malc ‘Thommo’ Thompson knows the venue like the back of his hand so when he invited us along for an insight into his approach to the fishery we leapt at the chance and joined him on a cold blustery spring day for a match on the main match lake targeting the fishery’s prolific stocks of silver fish.

Venue Intro

Lakeside Fishery in Ranskill is one of the most consistent fisheries in the region with its abundant stocks of both silver fish and carp making it a true all year round hotspot. There are three pleasure and match fishing pools, the main match lake and two smaller strip ponds as well as a specimen lake and a trout pool.

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The match lake, where we’ll be fishing today, contains thousands of ide, which are great year round feeders, skimmers of all sizes, chub and of course plenty of carp. What I love about the venue is that it is such a mixed fishery that isn’t dominated by the carp with matches regularly won by anglers specifically targeting the silver fish. As the weather warms up the carp will obviously become more active and feature more in the match results but throughout the winter skimmers, ide and chub have been dominating the results. Even in the summer though matches can be won with silvers with big bags of bream regularly weighed in and ton plus catches of chub having been recorded.

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I’ve been catching plenty of bream and skimmers on the pole as well as a couple of forty plus pound bags of ide on the waggler in the last few weeks so those two species and methods will be my first choice today but I have to say I’m a bit concerned that the recent cold snap we’ve had might put the mockers on things today.

Malc nets a fish at Lakeside FisheryPlan of action

There are lots of different methods that can work here at Lakeside and it would be very easy to set a whole tackle shop of tops and rigs up but I like to try and keep things as simple as possible so that I can do the things I plan to do properly rather than be chopping and changing every five minutes. I like to base my approach on catching lots of silver fish, skimmers and ide mainly, and anything else that comes along is then a bonus. In the summer 100lb bags of silvers can be caught but after all the cold weather we’ve been having I don’t think we’ll be looking at those sorts of weights today. I’ve been catching some great weights of ide over the last couple of weeks by fishing the waggler and maggot so that is going to be my starting line of attack but as well I’m going to feed a couple of pole lines for the big skimmers that can be so vital to big weights. Normally I would expect to catch them on just a top 2 but after the cold I’m not convinced they’ll come that close today so I’m going to feed what I expect to be my main catching line at about 6 metres in 5 ft of water but I will feed the top 2 line as well just in case. Like I said there are lots of methods that do work well here and in this swim I could set up a maggot feeder rig, a long pole rig or even a bomb rig with a hair rigged bait for carp and could reasonably expect to catch on all of them but you simply can’t do it all in a five hour match and have to make some decisions beforehand and stick to them. I’ve had plenty of results over the winter with my approach so am happy and confident with it and if someone does come and beat me doing something else fair enough, but I know my approach has won me more than my fair share in the past and hopefully will carry on producing the goods.

Tackle and rigs

For my waggler line I’m using a Maver Match This Power waggler rod with a Shimano reel loaded with 3lb Daiwa Sensor line. At the business end I like the ‘puddle chucker’ type waggler floats that are short and clear so don’t spook shallow feeding fish. Because the wind is so strong today I’m going to use a 4g float, heavier than I usually like to use but it will allow me to reach and control my tackle easier even if the wind does get stronger or change direction. I shot it up with all the shot around the float apart from 4 No. 11’s spread out down the line and I finish the rig off with a size 18 hook tied to 2.1lb Bayer. I’ll start at full depth but will be looking to shallow up and catch up in the water if the fish respond to the loose feed. For my 6m pole line I’m going to set up 2 rigs both shotted up exactly the same with a bulk and three spread droppers. Because of the wind and tow one of them will be a

Malc’s choice of float for his pole lineheavier than usual 0.75g float which should give me more control while the other will be the more normal half grammer. Both are set up with a size 16 hook, to allow me to fish either pellets or casters, tied to my trusty 2.1lb Bayer line with No.8 elastic in the pole. Even though I’m not overly confident of catching at the top 2 line it is such a good line when they are on it I am going to feed it and set up a rig for fishing it. A 0.2g float with a small bulk and 2 droppers again with a size 16 hook to 2.1lb line.

Bait table

I’ve brought a pint and a half of maggots for waggler fishing for the ide which I will feed little and often to get a constant fall of bait through the swim. It is simple fishing but hard Malc’s bait for the matchwork because you can’t stop putting those 10 to 15 maggots in if you want to build the peg up. It is worth it though because when they do respond to it 40 and 50lb bags are possible even in the winter. For my pole and skimmer lines I’ve brought a couple of pints of casters and a bag of pellets. Casters seem to work better in the colder weather while pellets seem to come to the fore as the temperatures increase and as we’re in the springtime with the temperatures fluctuating it’s difficult to know which will be best so I’ve got both. I use Wickersley Angling Centre Micros for feed pellets which I simply soak briefly on the morning of the match to slightly soften them and make sure they all sink straight away – there’s nothing worse on windy days than seeing your accurately fed pellets floating of down the swim before they sink. I also like to add a few 3mm Omegas to the micros before I feed. I’m a big fan of Omega pellets for the hook as they seem to have a great consistency for hooking and because I’ve caught loads of fish on them over the years. I’m using four-millers today that I’ve soaked overnight in a bag with just a touch of water and then rinsed in lake water this morning. I keep them damp in a bit of water and they last all day.

I’ve got ground bait, worms, corn and allsorts in my bag but like I said earlier I like to make my choices before the match and keep things simple so they’ll stay there whatever happens now.

The match 11-o-clock

I’ve been at it for an hour now and it is not going too well. I fed my two pole lines at the start but have been fishing the waggler since and spraying maggots. I’ve only had three ide so far and all I can think is that the cold nights, clear sky and clear water have put them off a bit. The thing with the waggler approach though is that you’ve got to keep those maggots falling through the water if you want to get the fish feeding in your peg and as I can’t see much else being caught I’m going to persevere…for the time being at least.


I can hear some splashing just round the corner where Roy Hanson is fishing and I know he’s on the pole so I’m going to have to have a look. I’d hoped to catch more on the wag but it’s just not happening, I’ve got half a dozen ide for about 2 ½ lb but the bites are few and far between and importantly they’re not getting more frequent as more feed is going in which suggests the fish aren’t responding to the loose feed yet. I’ll keep some going in though because they might come onto it later in the day.


I was expecting to get a bite straight away on the pole but had to wait a full 15 minutes, not a good sign, before catching another ide and then a nice skimmer of about 12 oz to leave me with about 4lb after the first 2 hours. From the chat I can hear around the bank no one is emptying it so even though I haven’t got nearly as much as I’d have expected it doesn’t look like I’m too far off the pace. The weather has obviously put the fish off and it looks like we’re going to have a low weight match today with I’d guess 25lb being enough to get into the money and on this venue you can get that in one decent hour – if the fish switch on.


Considering the way it is fishing I’ve just had a decent hour with 3 ide, a roach and 3 skimmers to more than double my weight. I’ve been switching between double caster and pellet on the hook and loose feeding casters with the occasional cup full of chopped pellet slop and feel that the peg could come to life any time. As I expected in the cold clear water casters are producing more bites than pellets at the moment but I did have my biggest skimmer, about a pound and a half on a pellet straight after I’d fed a pot of slop. A guy has just walked round the whole lake and reckons everyone is struggling with Roy around the corner probably leading this bank with 10 to 12lb and Steve Lowther leading the other bank with 8lb odd so all of a sudden my 9lb or so doesn’t look too bad.

Malc with a nice Lakeside skimmer


So much for my high hopes! I haven’t had a single bite for the last hour and am still stuck on about 9lb with just over an hour to go. I don’t know why but the pole line has just died on me. Although I have been drip feeding the waggler line all match I’ve stepped it up for the last 15 minutes and I’m going to go back to it for the last hour hoping the ide have woken up as the temperature has increased during the day and there is a bit more cloud cover now. We’re all wishful thinkers aren’t we!


Well the ide and bits have woken up – a bit – and I’m catching reasonably well now but a lot more tiny fish than I need to put me in with a shout. When the ide are feeding properly the bits don’t get a look in and you can expect 4 to 8oz fish every cast, it doesn’t take long to put a weight together then. Today I’m only getting a net ide every third or fourth fish and am missing a lot of bites with the small fish but I’m catching faster than I have all match and a good final half hour might just get me into the frame.


It didn’t get any better for me but I did keep catching for that last half hour and probably put 6lb in the net in the last hour to finish with about 15lb. Not enough on the day as I’m sure Roy will have over 20lb and I reckon they will have caught on the other bank. That blank fourth hour has definitely cost me today and with hindsight perhaps I should have changed back to the waggler earlier or maybe I should have set up a maggot feeder for the ide or maybe I’ve overfed the pole line in the conditions.

Malc’s finishing catch was not enough on the dayDaiwa Don’s Steve Lowther won the match with 27lb of ide and skimmers on the waggler and maggot from the end peg on the day and despite struggling badly for the first half of the match persevered with the loose feed and caught well in the latter stages. Roy Hanson, two to Thommo’s left, caught mainly skimmers on the pole for just under 25lb for 2nd place while Bob McGowan’s 22lb was enough for 3rd and the final pay out on the day. So my 16lb was a big 11lb from a win but only 6lb from a pick up, that blank 4th hour really did cost me in the end. It’s a shame that you’ve caught the fishery on a bad day because I’d really have liked you and your readers to have seen how good it can be but considering how bad the weather has been over the last few days there have still been five 20lb weights, everyone has had double figures and the bloke pleasure fishing on the other bank must have had close to 40lb. It is a great fishery and I’d recommend it to anyone who fancies a good days fishing for either carp or silver fish.

Venue Fact File

Lakeside Fishery Access Road Ranskill Nr. Retford Notts DN22 8LW Tel: 01777 818524 There are three match/pleasure lakes, a specimen lake and a trout pool at the fishery containing plenty to close to 30lb, bream, chub, roach, perch, rudd and plenty of ide. Pole waggler, bomb and feeder all work well depending on conditions with 50lb plus bags regular all year round. There is a café and toilet on site. Regular open matches are fished as well as summer, autumn and winter leagues and club match bookings are welcomed. Contact the fishery for information about current rules.

How to get there

Take the A638 fro Bawtry towards Retford and when you get to Ranskill turn left at the Blue Bell pub, drive over the level crossing and signpost for the Fishery will be seen on the right.

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1 Comment

  1. elliott mathers

    Jan 22, 2011

    Hi i was just wondering, i am am going to be trying to book on the carp lake towards the end of April but it will be my first time on the carp lake at Ranskill and would like to know which are the best pegs to fish and what bait i am am best of using hope to hear back from you thanks a lot elliott