Venue Review: Raker Lakes (Wheldrake, York)

Raker Lakes was a venue I hadn’t heard much about but it was when I was looking for a day ticket carp lake within an hour of my house that I came across their website. Their specimen lake is called Kingfisher but whenever carp anglers mention the place it’s always just referred to as ‘Raker’. The website stated that there were 220 fish in the 6.5 acre lake with 70 of these being over 20lb. All the carp in the lake are ‘simmos’, a fast growing breed of carp developed by Mark Simmonds. Some people don’t like this strain of carp because the fish can look very pasty and sometimes odd shaped but some can grow into very pretty fish and looking at the pictures in the catch report on the Raker website suggested that they had some very pretty ones. Time for me to have a session there…

First Impressions

A booking system is in place for weekends which means that you have to ring up on the first day of the month to book a peg for the following month. This just doesn’t work for me; I’m not able to book my fishing that far in advance so I can only fish Raker when I have a day off mid-week which is very rare. I understand the need to run such a system because the demand is so great so I’m not saying that this is a negative I’m just saying that for me personally it doesn’t work. Anyway I managed to book one of those rare days off work and decided to give it a go. The lake is about 50 minutes from home so closer than anywhere else I fish, this was a big bonus and as I was getting closer it was getting more rural – perfect, I hate any sort of urban fishing environment! The venue is very secure with 3 gates to open before you got to Kingfisher Lake and fencing all around the complex. The gates are locked on an evening so nobody can enter or leave the complex, again adding to the security of the place.

Pulling into the car park I could see the lake and a small outbuilding which was obviously the ticket office. This turned out to also be the toilet but it was all clean and the ticketing process was simple – fill out a form, stick your £20 in the envelope and post it through the metal box outside. There were a couple of ‘house’ barrows in the car park which was a nice touch, I remember how much of a nightmare it was before I had a barrow so to have use of one there was a massive bonus. As you might expect Raker gets busy so the first thing to do was have a walk around the lake to choose my peg (more a case of ‘see what’s available’ as can often be the case at busy venues). Whilst walking round the lake everyone was very friendly and was happy to give advice. I’d done some research beforehand to see where the fish had been caught in April for the previous 4 years. The catch reports from the website gave me the data I needed, it just needed cleaning up in Excel and putting into graph format. There was definitely a relationship between the information I got off the other anglers and the graph that I made so I knew they were an honest bunch and giving me reliable info. If you’re interested, here’s the graph.

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Peg 12 was the one I’d heard the most about, it definitely seemed to be the ‘hot peg’ and the one that everyone wanted. The graph supports this but if a peg is constantly being fished then it’s likely that the most fish will be caught here! Pegs 2/3 and 14/15 are double pegs so options are available for those who fish with a friend. I ended up in peg 16 which was right next to the car park, the picture below shows how close it was.

I just want to clarify that I didn't choose this swim purely because it was next to the car park!

I just want to clarify that I didn’t choose this swim purely because it was next to the car park!

All of the pegs had ample room for the bivvy and I particularly liked the flag stones positioned in a ‘U’ shape with grass in the middle meaning it’s easy to get the banksticks on the buzzbars into the ground – I much prefer this than using a pod but on some venues a pod is the only option.

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The ground in the pegs are gravelly which means your bivvy pegs, once in are very secure. On such a pressured lake it’s a good idea not to get the hammer out to put the pegs in and it is possible to do it without but your hands might be a bit red afterwards!

Gravelly, spacious pegs. As you can see I’m not the tidiest of anglers!

Gravelly, spacious pegs. As you can see I’m not the tidiest of anglers!

Looking out from every peg is a lovely bit of lake with features in every swim. There are plenty of nice margin and island features and that’s where the fish are generally caught from. Spodding isn’t the done thing here and most people fish hi-attract singles, stringers, PVA bags etc… mainly against the different islands. It’s all about accurate, short range casting here meaning the fishing distance is a comfortable one so leave those 3.75TC broomsticks at home!

 

My first 24hr session there resulted in a blank and I’ve been back since for another 24 and I lost one which I caught in the margins. I plan to go back before the end of the summer and hopefully catch my first Raker carp. Overall the place is a very well-run fishery and currently my day ticket lake of choice in Yorkshire. If I wasn’t so obsessed with Brandesburton 3&4 I’d fish there much more often. I am soon to fish Ladywood Lakes in West Yorkshire which is another popular day ticket lake so it will be interesting to see how it compares with Raker.

http://rakerlakes.com/

PS, please don’t be as stupid as me and try to stop the marker braid mid-flight – it hurts! Lesson learnt.

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Until next time, tight lines…

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