To be found just off the main A21 between Lamberhurst and Flimwell on the Kent/Sussex border, Springwood Fishery offers a mix of specimen and pleasure angling on four mature lakes for anglers who stay in one of the venue's self-catering lodges, two of which overlook the lakes. Pitches are also available for touring caravans and tents.
Created about 25 years ago by the present owner's father, a life-long angler who spared no cost in stocking the lakes with good sized quality fish, Springwood offers a quiet retreat in the Weald of Kent countryside for both serious specimen hunters and pleasure anglers.
The lodges are available for mid-week and weekend breaks or for longer stays at highly competitive rates which include the cost of fishing. For more information on the cabins, please follow this link.
In addition to Top Lake, the water you pass as you enter the site, there are three larger waters in the wooded valley below the lodges. Although they are called pools, in reality they are much bigger than the name suggests. Spring Pool, the largest lake at about four acres in size, is home to catfish which are caught to over 60lbs, grass carp to 30lbs and commons and mirrors to a similar size and is a great specimen hunting water which will also appeal to pleasure anglers after a quiet day's angling in pleasant surroundings.
For those not after the specimen fish the waters hold a mix of silvers including perch and bream to 4lbs as well as good stocks of tench, crucian carp, roach and rudd.
The rectangular shaped Top Lake next to the entrance road is surrounded by flat grass banks with no defined pegs and is ideal for pleasure fishing, families and disabled anglers who want easy access to the waterside. It holds a good stock of mixed fish including some big carp.
However, the three larger lakes, Long Pool, Spring Pool and Beech Pool, are accessed through the gate at the end of the log cabin on the left as you enter the car park next to the barbecue area.
Accessed down a fairly steep path, these waters are set in a delightfully wooded area and will appeal more to anglers who want to hide away from others as well as to specimen hunters for whom the 60lb-plus catfish, 30lb-plus carp and 8lb tench will probably be the main attraction. In addition there are good stocks of decent sized silver fish including bream to over 6lbs plus roach, rudd and perch to over 2lbs.
Because Springwood is only available to residents and members of the local Cranbrook and District Angling Club it is a very relaxed and quiet fishery with few rules other than anglers night fishing Spring and Beech pools must use proper umbrellas or bivvies, that anglers should not use more than two rods and that no live or dead baits should be brought onto the site.
Anglers should also use an unhooking mat for the larger fish and although they are allowed to use keepnets they should return larger fish over 5lbs to the water as soon as possible.
Indeed, Springwood is so informal that some of the waters do not have purpose built pegs with anglers being able to snuggle down behind the natural vegetation when they feel they have found a 'fishy' swim.
The fishing varies between open waters surrounded by wide grassy banks to snug pegs tucked away at the end of 'cul-de-sac' paths amongst the trees and bushes.
An interesting feature of the fishery is that whilst walking down the paths or sitting fishing you may encounter some of the goats which free range the site. They are friendly enough to approach you, but if fishing make sure that your bait is well out of their reach or it may become their next meal!
Another interesting feature of the waters is the large number of large grass carp in the pools. The photograph (left) was taken from the bank and shows a fish which must have been a good three feet or more in length and built like a torpedo.
No more difficult to catch than the other carp, they have a fiersome reputation for being fast, hard fighters who do not like to give up once hooked and will give a great account of themselves before coming to the net.
Top Pool is the water on the left as you enter Springwood Fishery site and is ideal for disabled and less bodied anglers as it is near the car park and has flat grass banks with anglers being able to fish wherever they want apart from the section at the entrance end.
The pool is also ideal for fishing with the family and friends as there are picnic tables on the bank where non-anglers can relax and enjoy the surroundings.
By far the smallest of the Springwood waters, Top Pool is also the easiest to fish with banks which slope at 45 degrees to a fairly flat and even bottom which is between four and five feet deep at the entrance end rising gradually throughout its length to between 18 inches and two feet deep near the chalets - making it ideal for fishing the waggler or pole.
Although the water holds some nice hard-fighting common, mirror and grass carp which run to over 20lbs, the remainder of the fish are far less intimidating with good heads of bream to about 3lbs plus golden orfe and a few tench and perch.
Most popular baits tend to be maggots, sweetcorn and pellets for the silver fish with luncheon meat, sweetcorn, pellets and bread favoured for the carp.
When there are few people about, fishing in the margins can produce good results although in busier times it is better to fish either in open water after having first prepared a swim with samples of hookbait or fish close to the island, again feeding the swim little and often with samples of hookbait.
In warmer weather when the fish can be seen cruising on or just under the surface floating baits such as bread and dog biscuit can also prove deadly, as can a floating bait dropped in by the bankside vegetation a couple of metres away from your peg. However, when fishing floating baits, anglers are requested to be considerate of other anglers and not to throw large numbers of biscuits or pieces of bread around you bait as these can drift into other anglers' swims.
All in all, Top Pool is an attractive water which is ideal either for a full day's fishing or as a convenient venue when you just fancy a couple of hours on the bankside. However, anglers should note that night fishing is not allowed on Top Pool.
An ideal venue for a small club match, Long Pool is the first water you come to as you walk down the path from the end of the two lodges on the left near the car park. Although there are about 10 wooden platform pegs anglers can chose to fish either on these or from the banks.
Long Pool has sides which drop quickly to the bottom and offers a maximu depth of between six and seven feet of water throughout much of its length. Unlike Top Pool, which has an island, Long Pool has no particular features to fish to which gives anglers an equal chance of catching wherever they chose to fish.
The fish in Long Pool are slightly larger than those found in Top Pool with the common and mirror carp running to between 20lbs and 30lbs and the grass carp to 25lbs. There are also plenty of mid-sized carp from about 4lbs to the mid-teens.
In addition to the carp there are decent stocks of good sized perch which have been caught to a respectable 4lbs, bream and tench to a similar weight and good numbers of roach and rudd to just over 1lb.
Once again maggots, sweetcorn, pellets, bread and luncheon meat are the most popular baits, although paste baits can also work well on their day.
When fishing the pole or waggler the recommended technique is to bait the swim with a little groundbait, pellets or hook samples and then feed a few free offerings at intervals throughout your session.
As with most waters, floating baits also work well in summer with bread and dog biscuits again being the favourites. As with Top Pool, anglers should note that night fishing is not permitted on Long Pool.
By far the largest of the Springwood Waters at about three acres in size, Spring Pool can accommodate at least 20 anglers with ease and has plenty of interesting features to fish to as well as a penninsula to an island from which most parts of the lake can be reached.
Spring Pool is also the water where the biggest Springwood fish can be found - including catfish to over 60lbs, common, mirror and grass carp to 30lbs, tench to over 8lbs, bream to 6lbs, perch to 4lbs and roach and rudd to nearly 2lbs. If you are a specimen angler - Spring Pool is the one for you!
Like the two other waters below the lodges, Spring Pool is in a lovely woodland setting and is virtually surrounded by trees and bushes.
A pathway around the lake gives access to the pegs whilst one or two are cul-de-sac paths which lead only to one or two isolated pegs which are worth finding for those who like to hide away from other anglers - not that Springwood ever gets busy as angling is confined to guests staying on one of the lodges and members of a local angling club.
Spring Pool is the deepest of the four waters with about 14 feet of water being found in the centre and banks which slope gradually to the bottom.
This makes plumbing the depth essential for those anglers who are fishing the pole or waggler, although most go equipped to fish modern or traditional carping techniques with strong lines essential for those after the big carp and catfish, the latter of which tend to hang out in the deeper parts of the lake.
When fishing for the carp it is worth walking the banks to see if there is any obvious activity as the fish stir up the mud on the bottom when feeding actively.
There is also no real need to fish at a distance as the lush bankside cover provides plenty of areas where the fish can lurk and feed. Indeed, fishing close in to the sides can be particularly effective as the fish wait for food to drop into the water in areas where the trees overhang the lake.
For those who prefer to fish at a distance there is plenty of open water whilst the small island at the end of the penninsula gives access to nearly all the lake.
When going for the carp, the most popular baits tend to be halibut pellets, boilies and meat whilst large halibut pellets, big chunks of meat and bunches of lobworms are good for the catfish.
Maggots, worm, bread flake, casters, expander pellets, small cubes of luncheon meat and sweetcorn all work well for the tench and silver fish.
Night fishing is allowed all year round on Spring Pool.
Being entirely surrounded by trees but with a pathway all the way round it, Beech Pool is an intimate half-acre water which will appeal to the more adventurous and intrepid angler.
Despite its size, Beech has only about half a dozen pegs which are realistically fishable although other parts of the water can be fished by those who are prepared to take the trouble to get to the waterside.
The biggest fish in Beech are again the carp and catfish with some beautiful grass carp to 30lbs, cats to a similar size, commons and mirrors to about 26lbs and some nice tench to 5lbs, perch, bream, roach and rudd.
About 14 feet at its deepest in the centre with steeply sloping banks, Beech can be fished either on the ledger or feeder or on the pole and waggler in the shallower parts.
Once again large halibut pellets, big cubes of meat or bunches of lob worms appeal particularly to the catfish whilst boilies, pellet, meat and sweetcorn are all good for the carp. Smaller baits of maggots, casters, expander pellets and bread flake work well for most other species with maggot and worm being the best baits for the perch.
In summer the carp again fall for surface fished baits of bread crust, floating pellets or chum mixers. Night fishing is allowed all year round on this pool.
|Visit Springwood Fishery's website|
Springwood Fishery has its own website which can be found at www.springwoodfishery.co.uk.
Incorporating latest offers and details of the accommodation; information on the lakes; a full list of rules; accommodation booking form and a photo gallery of recent catches, the site includes a map of the layout of the fishery. Click on the link above to visit their site.
How to get there...
Springwood Fishery can be found just off the main A21 between Lamberhurst and Flimwell.
Travelling south on the A21 towards Hastings, continue past the turn offs for Tunbridge Wells and later the entrance to Bewl Reservoir on the right. Continue until you come to The Little Chef on the right and you will find Rosemary Lane half a mile further on again on the right. Look out for a small sign for Arena Pursuits and turn down this lane. The entrance to the fishery is a few yards down here on the right.
Click on the map to the above for more detail.
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