You’ll pass Bonsai as you enter the fishery, this is our showcase water and our most popular for competition angling. There are 85 well-maintained pegs across three acres, 90% of which have an island feature to fish to at a distance between 13m and 30m away, so every single peg is different. Bonsai is between 3ft and 5ft deep.
Bonsai is stocked with carp to 20lb but averaging 2-5lb, lots of F1s plus a whole host of other fish, including barbel, tench, ide, roach, perch, chub and skimmer bream.
Pegs 69 and 70 on the point are regarded as the most consistent on the lake, as they have a wide bay to fish into. This is home to a good shoal of proper mirror and common carp. Also pegs 75-78 are very good, as they have a reedy island to fish up to in pole range. Pegs 27 and 28 are noted for proper carp too, on the long pole or bomb towards the island point. Pegs in the 60s are generally favoured too. Pegs 35 to 37 can be solid fishing long pole to the island. In the winter months you’ll find plenty of bites on the early pegs such as 1, 6, 9 and 13.
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Pellet is without doubt the best bait on Bonsai Lake. In the wide half of the lake, look to fish a long pole line with 4mm or 6mm hard fishery pellets. Loosefeed and fish both up-in-the-water and on the deck. If you get lots of line bites then the fish may be shallow, fish between 13m and 15m out. You’ll need a hooklength of around 0.12mm (3lb) or 0.14mm (4lb) to a hollow elastic or solid elastic of around a grade 10. Band the pellets and dot the float tip right down.
The bomb and the Method feeder both work well on Bonsai, cast to the island features. You’ll also find a crystal waggler fished 12ins to 2ft deep effective on calm days too. If you can reach the island with a pole in the narrow half of the lake then you’ll catch shallow to the islands. If you have a bit of shallow mud bank you can catch tight to the bank in very shallow water with soft pellets or chopped worm. The margins are also worth a go if you have a bit of space, fish corn or double worm here and you’ll catch some big fish to double figures in the afternoon.
In winter scale down your hooklengths to 0.10mm (2lb) and a size 18 hook. Fishing a 4mm expander pellet works well at dead depth, feeding micropellets. Sometimes you’ll catch on hard pellets or milder days too. You’ll catch like this in open water and up to islands. In winter the feeder becomes less effective and a straight bomb with corn, pellet or bread is better. It pays to have a few different pole lines on the go to rest each line.
“Don’t discount the silver fish in Bonsai in the colder months. By throwing maggots out and fishing a few metres of pole you can catch a good weight of roach, ide and skimmer bream, fishing just touching the bottom or a few inches off” – Alan Scotthorne, five times World Champion