12 Aug Hordle Lakes Commercial Fishery Review
Me and my partner in crime, Dave, have just got back from our 5th or 6th visit to Hordle Lakes (the website is rather poorly made). Hordle is a commercial fishery nestled on the borders of Dorset and Wiltshire. It consists of seven lakes set in 11 acres of wooded land. The lakes predominantly consist of carp, but also stock bream, tench, perch, rudd and roach. The larger lakes are home to double figure carp, with ‘Bobs Lake’ having some low 30s.
We first visited Hordle 3 weeks ago when we were looking for a fishery to try for the first time, and were recommended this lake by a friend. It wasn’t too much of a drive, and the prices are as follows:
- £10 for an adult day ticket
- £6 for a junior day ticket
- £7 for a registered disabled and over 65 year olds
- £12 to night fish, much must be arranged by appointment
- £5 after 3pm, the fishery closes at 9pm
The fishery rules are the usual found at most commercial fisheries, no barbed hooks, no keepnets unless its a match, no artificial bait aka boilies (but the bailiffs really don’t seem to care) etc. It seemed like the perfect place to get back into the swing of things.
Our first trip was rather unsuccessful, however this was mainly due to us not really knowing what we were doing. We were float fishing maggot and kept hooking extremely small silver fish, however when we switched to corn Dave pulled out a small carp.
Not being hindered by our underwhelming catches, we continued to go in the evenings on a weekday after doing a lot more research and expanding our fishing knowledge tenfold through magazines, YouTube videos, and websites. A helpful member of a carp community forum also visited us one evening and gave us plenty of guidance and highlighted what we were doing wrong.
We finally started having some success when we switched to a simple pre-made hair rig and ledger, baited with corn, boilie or luncheon meat (I will be doing a review and explanation of our hair rig of choice at a later date). The fish seemed to favour the luncheon meat and it has been our bait of choice at hordle, however I have also netted a few really nice sized carp off the surface with an imitation dog biscuit, and feeding tesco value feeder mix. Whichever tactic you try you are bound to catch as the lakes are well stocked and are not very challenging.
During the weekdays, the evenings do bring in quite a few people who are mainly fishing ‘Bobs Lake’, the one where the monster carp are. So far we have fished ‘Spring Lake’, ‘Long Lake’ and ‘Willow Lake’. We have had the most success from Long fishing in a well shaded swim at the bottom of the lake, catching our personal best carps.
However, my main gripe with Hordle is the weekend evenings, particularly Saturdays. Each time we have gone Saturday evening, the fishery is very very busy, which is expected, but the people really do ruin the experience. To put it bluntly, there are a lot of chav kids and adults. In this day and age you can’t kick over a rock without finding a trackie wearing chav under it, but they seem to flock to Hordle at the weekends. The worse experience we have had has been tonight. We were fishing Willow lake which we originally had to ourselves, but before long a couple of 16-20 year old chavs rocked up to the lake opposite. They were float fishing and didn’t really know what they were doing, and were shouting loudly for no apparent reason. When one of them finally hooked a small silver fish with a hook probably made out of one of his mums massive earrings, he lifted it out of the lake without a net. The fish flipped about in the air and unhooked itself, hitting the deck from a height of about 4ft. This annoyed me as they clearly didn’t care about the fish, but what happened next really angered me. He kicked the fish back into the lake. Proper booted it back in. You may wonder why we didn’t say something, but it was honestly not worth the hassle, and 3 minutes down the line 2 other anglers started setting up who were friends with the chavs. They didn’t appear as disruptive, but after setting up they whipped out a bong and started burning bowl full’s of marijuana.
The chavs continued to shout conversations to each other across the lake, and the one who drop kicked the poor fish back into the lake boasted to his friends about it, and we found out that the reason he did it was because it was spawning and eggs were coming out of it.
Luckily it was time to leave so we packed up and went on our way. As we were packing our stuff away, one of the chav’s hooked onto a fish which pulled their rod straight into the lake. It was massively amusing watching them trying to get it out, which they did eventually.
We headed to the car and spotted a plastic bag and a loaf of bread wrapper floating in one of the lakes that we saw some other chav kids walking around with earlier. You see this quite a lot, although there are plenty of bins provided, people tend to litter everywhere.
Apart from the above, Hordle is decent for beginners and pro’s alike, but it’s best to go in the weekdays as it is very busy during the weekends and you will most likely encounter people like the ones mentioned above. There are some good carp to be caught there, and the choice of lakes offers a good variation of difficulty. Those looking for a peaceful environment with secluded swims might want to look elsewhere.
- Surrounding woodland areas do create a peaceful atmosphere
- Plenty of parking spaces
- Reasonable Prices
- Burger van open at weekends
- Good variety of species
- You can set up straight away and the bailiffs will walk around and collect your fee
- Plenty of bins dotted around
- ‘Tiddler Lake’ stocked with small carp, tench, and silver fish, perfect for kids
- 7 lakes to chose from.
- Often disruptive, loud, inconsiderate people at the weekends
- Can get very busy, ‘Bobs Lake’ can be especially hard to find a swim at
- Not very challenging
- Some of the lakes are on accessible via steep steps or slopes creating accessibility issues