Wherever you live you can be guaranteed to find a few decent day ticket waters close by, and living down here in southern Hampshire we are spoilt. Portsmouth DAS has a number of very prolific day ticket waters, as well as some a little further afield but well worth the journey. Most of these waters have websites or Facebook pages, so it’s easy to do your homework, work out where you fancy visiting, read up on some recent catch reports and set off for the venue with the right kit and enough knowledge to ensure a bumper day. It can also be a bit of a minefield, so I aim here to give a brief overview of some of the waters I visit regularly.
The PDAS waters offer something for everyone and are easily accessible, tickets are available from Manning’s tackle in Widley as well as a few other locations, check the PDAS website for more details. Starting with Tithe Barn Lower pond in Titchfield, here is a water that has recently seen a lot of improvements. A fairly short time ago this small pool was shrouded with trees which made bank space very limited, so only three or four swims were available. The water was also choked with weed, but it was obvious there were some lovely fish to catch for those who put in the effort. The club have since cleared the banks opening up 14 swims, each with a wooden platform. Weed has been cleared and more fish have been stocked, so with carp, tench, bream, crucians and silvers to keep you busy all day, it’s the venue to head for if its constant action you seek.
Carron Row Farm, also in Titchfield, has been a firm favourite of mine for a number of years, it’s one of those venues you can visit in the evening and enjoy some stalking for the carp that reside there. No records will be broken, but a variety of methods work and with ponds 1 & 2 to try your hand on there’s plenty of room. The tench are plentiful in each pond, but its pond 2 that holds fish to over 7lbs, and bumper bags can be had for those who catch it on the right day. Pellets will certainly draw them in close, and bread, sweetcorn and luncheon meat will keep the floats dipping and the quiver tips swinging. The better carp reside in pond 2 also, along with some delightful rudd. Pond 1 is more of an out and out pleasure pond, with the young ones in mind. There are loads of fish present and enough bank space for 8 or 10 anglers around the well maintained banks.
Funtley is next on the list and again is a stone’s throw from the two previously mentioned venues. This ex brick pit is very deep in places and can be snaggy too, so a good lead around is required to make sure you’re not fishing on top of a sunken car or a tree stump. The water can get busy at weekends through the summer but stalking here can be among the best around. The carp, mostly commons, are a good average size with many fish over 20lbs. The road bank swims are mostly day only swims, have deep clear margins and if you’re quiet enough you can have carp feeding right under your feet. Strong tackle is required but the results can be awesome for those who give it a go. Big tench also live here with fish over 9lbs and perhaps even into double figures. Bream also live here so to avoid them avoid feeding loads of pellets.
Last on the list of PDAS Day Ticket waters is Brockhurst Moat in Gosport. This urban moat has 4 sides; however the one with the bridges across is out of bounds. The remaining 3 sections can be weedy in the summer and also under water during spells of prolonged rain, but the fishing can be really good with some wonderful looking carp to over 30lbs real a possibility. The water sees very little angling pressure so a campaign can produce the goods. My own campaign on the moat a couple of years back saw me land some stunning carp to just under 30lbs and ever since I’ve been meaning to return and fishing what I started. Many surprises are to be had with a great deal of mystery, basically nobody really knows what’s in there; it could well be harbouring a veritable monster.
A little further afield and not on the PDAS books is Hambrook near Emsworth. This unique venue has been great for me on a sunny day, as it’s the home of lots of koi carp, some reaching almost 20lbs. They don’t like stalking there but wander around first, find some fish and fish to them from the opposite bank and you can have a memorable day catching fish you never thought you’d catch. Tickets are £10 a day and are available from the office onsite next to the lake. I’d say it’s around 2 – 3 acres so there’s plenty of room, just wait till the summer before giving it a bash, it can be a bit tricky this time of year. Having said that, it also holds perch to over 3lbs, so those might well be worth a bash.
The last on my list today is Longbridge lake near Romsey. I’ve been going to Longbridge for years, taught myself to catch carp there and it holds a special place in my heart. When it underwent a few changes some years back I decided to leave there and fish other venues, too much of something can make it lose its magic. Since being away the venue went through some problems and lost a lot of fish, hearing this saddened me. Recently the wonderful management team at Longbridge have restocked and the place is back on the map. I spent a day there during bleak conditions a few months back and caught 4 lovely carp. I’ve been monitoring the Longbridge Facebook page recently and yet more wonderful fish continue to come from this prolific and special fishery. Get yourself down there; you’ll be glad you did.