Bury Hill Milton Lake.

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Super ted

Jan 14, 2008
As the blizzard worsened, I peeked out from behind my brolly past the side panels to see Gary still struggling to keep his spirits up as the snow setlled deeper and deeper on the ground around us. "If this gets much worse we might struggle getting the car back down the access road" said Gary, with a half grin. Whenever we get togethor for a dangle you can bet some natural disaster or freak weather event takes place that day. I thought about what it once felt like to have circulation in my fingers and toes. "Maybe we should call it a day then" I suggested. I had fluked a big roach and a rudd, both being well over a pound each. I left my whip on the staging while packing up. It had a single turmeric maggot on the tiny size 22 hook. Once the gear was away i picked up the top section without even considering whether the float was still bobbing at my feet. To my amazement, elastic was pulled from the tip and the jagged lunges of a good sized perch gave way to a moments pandimonium and excitement. With the perch swiftly returned to its watery home, we decided the only way to salvage the day would be to stop off for a proper pie and a pint at the local public house. The pie was satisfying and the pint very welcome. Circulation returned to our extremities and as we went our seperate ways, we knew we had not been beaten, we would be back to settle the score. That was a couple of years ago now, life and work gets in the way, finding time to wet a line gets harder all the time. Eventually, after the excesses of christmas subsided, we found a date in january this year to get back to milton and try our luck at some winter silvers bashing. The lead up to the day consisted of cold northerly winds and heavy frosts. However, the deep water in the early pegs on milton holds the fish in numbers and they are known to be partial to loose fed grubs if fed sparingly.

The day before we were meeting up, Gary text me to say Broadwater lake near his home was frozen solid! I shrugged this off, replying, "Heavy rain overnight and temps on the rise. Its pretty sheltered there, there's no way it will be frozen." Upon arrival I was proven to be wrong! Theres a song: "I dont care what the weather man says, if the weather man says its raining, youll never hear me complaining.." Well he's obviously never fished with me and gary has he? A simple text to Gary, "its frozen solid" was probably enough for him to mutter "I told you so" to himself. However being the kindred soul that he is and never giving up in the face of adversity (or adverse weather)he foolishly set off to join me on my little pontoon. By the time he arrived i had smashed a whole the size of a family dinner table into the ice. To my surprise i had managed several tiny perch and lost something of size under the ice. We sat togethor like little Gnomes, drowning maggots on the endof our top kits. Many little perch obliged that day and gary was unlucky to lose a good one which he hooked directly under the staging while holding about six inches of pole.

(his Pole)

(I mean his fishing pole)


As the ice receded back towards us throughout the day, we were left dangling our lines in little more than a bin lid sized gap in the ice. That welcoming warmth of the nearby pub once again saved the day and gave us the chance to chat about plans for the season ahead amongst other things.

We were back at Bury Hill sooner than we had imagined, about four weeks later we partook in the stoney and friends predator fish in. The weather was fair to us although wet but this time we failed to land a fish despite Gary having some interest on his float ledgered skimmers.

It aws going to be difficult to find time to meet up anytime soon, we both had commitments at work and our time off didnt correspond. I had a monday available just before easter. Gary had a meeting scheduled at work and so i decided i would take the chance to wet a line and shut the world away. I originally thought to hire a punt for the day and try for a last gasp Zander fdrom the jungle but alas, the predator season was closed this year on the 14th in line with the traditional close season. No bother, another go at a decent bag of silvers was to be the challenge.

The date was written on the calendar to let the 'Home Minister' know i had plans that day. The temperature was increasing as was the hours of daylight. Its always nice to fish on a week day, the banks are much more quiet.

The night before a fishing trip is always an evening of intense anticipation. Its a time to pack your gear neatly into its place and prepare the bait where possible. I decided i would try some traditional methods to bag myself a nice roach. I had acquired some very goodd quality caster from my local tackle shop. I was a little aprehensive at first as it is a more carp orientated establishment. I have purchased caster from other shops previously which seemed to be more an avenue to use old maggots up without any consideration of them actually being a quality bait in theyre own right. Plus, i had been spoilt when living in sutton as my local shop was owned by Steve Sanders so, caster here was by pre-order only as match anglers travelled far and wide to collect them, such was the quality. However, Paul at Horley Carp shop assured me i would have no need of the pint of white maggots i had intended to turn myself. To his credit i found these casters to be on a par with the caster on sale at KC Angling. Credit where credit's due.

I also felt it would be fun to try a method i rarely get to fish these days. Its one i used regularly as a teenager growing up on the midlands canals. I got a new set of brass headed bread punches with my caster and took a loaf of warburtons medium sliced home to liquidise. Bait prep to some is a tedious process but its one i find enjoyable. I would rather be carefully cutting the crusts off a loaf of bread and steaming each slice in the microwave, than watching call the midwife..


Each slice was given 20 seconds in the microwave then rolled with a rolling pin. They were paced into plastic bags and stored in the fridge overnight. If you find bait prep tedious, it sometimes helps to have a soft drink on hand while you work.


I booked a taxi to pick me up from Dorking station at 6.45 monday morning. The fishery opens at 7am and i weanted tomake the most of the day. Its 2.2 miles from the station to Bury Hill Fishery, i checked. However half way through the jorney i failed to notice the chatty taxi driver had turned his meter off. On arrival i suspicously asked how much that wouyld be. Now anyone of a yorkshire disposition should maybe scan down a few lines here...

I warned you..

"13" came the reply. I was taken aback by this blatant price hike, but not wanting to get the day off to a bad start i handed over 15 and stood firm to wait for my change. He gave me the impression he felt i should let him keep the 2 as a tip. Well heres a tip for you, if you ever go to Bury Hill fisheries by train, dont book a taxi with A-Star taxis!

The bailiff arrived moments later to open the gate. I didnt recognise himas a regular member of staff. It transpired he took the winter time off while it was quiet, helping out as it gets busier in the warmer months. Dave was about to deal me another blow to the wallet as he informed me the winter rates had now expired and a ticket for milton would be full price today. He was genuine about it though and with a knowledgeable bit of advise about the weekends catches and match results, it didnt dampen my spirits.

I was straight down to peg 2 without a single other angler in sight. By the time i had all my gear in the right place and set up two rigs it was about 8.30am. I had one rig plummed to dead depth at 7m and a second slightly over depth for the marginal reed bed in the hope of some bonus perch. I fed two swims at 7m. one to the left with a nugget of liquidised bread and the right with a pot of hemp and caster. The float sat motionless on the bread punch for over an hour. Every few minutes i sprayed hemp and caster ovver to my right while potting in small nuggets of liccy breadand dropping the rig over the top. I started to wonder if my rig was too crude. It was made up of 5 no6 shot spread out with a .5gm float on 1.65lb line straight to a size 20 B911. I started to consider a smaller capacity float and after 20 mins more biteless action decide to swap the punched pellet of bread for a maggot and take a quick look on the caster line. Nothing occured, so i dragged it across to the bread line to quickly see if any small fish would grab at the grub to indicate the presence of any fish below. Just as i was about to ship back to change the rig elastice jumped from the pole tip and a spirited fight commenced. The fish refused to show itself for several minutes and managed to disturb all three baited spots on its tour of the swim. Eventually a fine early season tench proved to be the culprit as Dave had warned in the shop previously.


I knew this was down to luck and decided i would still tye a new rig with a lighter float andless shot. Soon enough i was fishing again and having kept the bait trickling in i was hopeful my refinbed presentation would win me a bite. It did, but they were so finicky it would be an hour before i connected with a fish that stayed on long enough to swing to hand. This small roach was the welcome sign that i had a few fish now feeding timidly in front of me.


I chopped between the two swims with various hook offerings until i finally managed to swing in a small rudd.

That was three different species now and the session was looking to become hard to earn any rewards. Not long after letting the rudd swim away, a huge buzzard swooped in low over head then began circling above the swim. In the rush to grab my camera i only managed this distant shot before it drifted off over the tree line.


Its always nice to see something out of the ordinary while you are on the bank. Shortly after the bird dissapeared from view, the float dipped again but this time i was met with good resistance as aquality roach made it twisting and turning to the net. This is typical of the roach here with the right approach, its easy to see how 40lb of silverrs won the match at the weekend just gone.


I kept feeding the swims and alternating between the hookbaits. Bites were becoming more frequent now but, still hard to connect with. I left each bite longer each time until finally at mid day i connected with another good fish which stretched the elastic across the pond. As it breached the surface i gasped wth excitement as the golden flanks of a fat little crucian rolled on the surface before burying itself deep again. with some careful coaxing it graced my net safely and was held out for a quick snap before returning it straight to its home.


That was four species now,most of whichwere good sized specimens to boot. A brief spot of lunch, in the form of a balti slice and coffee with thick choc chip cookies, then it was time to really knuckle down. The bread swim had produced a few bites, with the crucian coming from that swim, but the more consistant action was from the hemp nand caster spot. I carried on through the afternoon missing more bites, with the occasional quiality roach or crucian slipping up and making it to the bank. By mid afternoon, i bhad all but abandoned the bread swim instaed concentrating on the caster line with maggot for hookbait. A confident dip on the float resulted in a nice size skimmer being landed. This was species number five, but by the account it gave of itself and the unusually small tail, i suspect this to be a roach/bream hybrid.


The afternoon drew to its natural close with several more good roach gracing the net. The final hour, as is always the way, saw the action increase dramatically as the sun lowered and the fish gained confidence in the steady trickle of loosefeed. One bite resulted in a very different fight, with plenty of head shaking and sporadic bursts around the swim. Species number six was a handsome perch. The only one of the trip I might add despite all the maggots I fed down the edge resulting in nothing from that spot either.


Several more Roach and Crucians made my final hour all the more enjoyable and when Dave appeared to see how i had got on i was grinning from ear to ear. He was pleased for me, i could see, so he left me to it while he did a lap of the lakes before heading back to begin closing up. Not wanting to have him have to come back to ask me to leave. I made my last few casts and was rewarded with a final bar of gold.


Now, Im an angler, I live and breathe for the oppurunity to wet a line. When you have a session that is turning out so well its torture to have to call it a day. To be honest even when its all going horribly wrong i still find myself making several more last casts. Today was no different. I shipped out again concious time was now ticking by. The float went under, I lifted in to it and elastic poured ot at a frightening rate!! Luckliy i had anoth 2.5m to add to the pole and as the fish made for open water i continued shipping out after it as fast as i could. I was now stood up, with my pole at full length (a'hem) with elastic stretched several meteres out into the lake. Luckily this stopped the fish from running any further. I started to be able to ship back and soon enough was broken down to the toop kit. The fish had not left the bottom all this time and i had no idea what was on the end. It plodded around, up and down the margins without any sign of relenting. Then it sought the sanctuary of the pontoon staging from which i was fishing. With light elastic and light line there was little i could do but raise my arms high above my head to get leverage over the fish which was under the staging and keep staeady pressure. A few swirls and boils came to the surface and then the beast surfaced, attached to a tree branch. Or should i say the hook was attached to a tree branch. How fish manage to do this is one of lifes mysteries isnyt it? How do they manage to transfer the hook perfectly into the branch and swim away without any indication?

Some choice words were uttered and i took this as my time to part company with Bury hill once again. I packed up and made my way back to the exit. Dave was in the shop chatting to David De Vere, so a simple wave let him know i was off the site and he could look up. On my way back up the drive, David caught up wiyth me and asked if i had managed to catch any of the big roach to which i replied I had. We wished each other all the best and i was on my way home a very content maggotdrowner.

In Hindsight there may have been a few things i could have changed to improve my catch rate but its nothing i will loose sleep over. More that i will put the experience gained into my next trip. I couldhave fed more accurately with a pole pot on the caster line but i fished for over 9 hours straight, which takes its toll if your trying too hard. It can also take the fun away if you are being too regimented on a pleasure session. Another baitoption if i had expected so many crucians to be on the feed would have been soft pellet, something i can almost guarantee Gary would have had with him had he been able to join me.

So a succesful trip was had, one which i will remember for a long time tocome. With the weather improving, I have started making plans for the coming months as much of my fishing has to be done in the evenings once my two girls have gone to bed. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as i enjoyed the day. I hope to have more to tell you over the coming weeks once the evenings are more kind to us.

Tight Lines, Super Ted.

Geoff P

The MOGerator
Staff member
Site Supporter
Dec 2, 2001
Good read. Just a point, if the taxi driver started on the meter he should not have turned it off before agreeing a fare with you. Complain to the local council licensing officer. The guy is fiddling either his boss or inland revenue.


Regular member
Feb 7, 2005
That's a nice mixed bag of upside down fish. I think that matt Hayes filmed some programmes here years ago.


Regular member
Aug 7, 2011
Great write up... Miltons is my favorite place to fish!

Despite nettings over the last few of years, there are still a few carp in Miltons... probably the culprit on your last cast mayhem.


Computers verified, riots quelled, wars started.
Site Supporter
Aug 6, 2011
Milton really is a lovel lake. For my money it's the nicest of the three lakes to fish as there's virtually no Carp in there now. You're on a winner on peg two as you discovered, it was always my favourite one when I fished there.
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