There was a time – not that long ago – when it would have been unimaginable that South East Northumberland would one day be home to one of the most successful course angling clubs in Northern England. They said it couldn’t be done, which goes to show you just how much “they” know!. Now 20 odd years since its founding, and many hundreds of happy members later, we Wansbeck and Cramlington Angling Club (WACAC) – continue to go from strength to strength. The reason? Simply the fact that we have some great waters and great fishing to offer (and of course we owe Wansbeck District Council a great debt in that regard, because its thanks to WDC that we have the QEII). Given the previous dearth of quality course fishing in this part of the world, it is to WDC’s credit that they have always been as supportive of the club, and – along with our other landlord the Blagdon Estate – have made a great many anglers very happy, having given them an opportunity which previously just did not exist – the opportunity to catch good fish in wonderful surroundings, without having to travel many tens of miles for the privalege. Thats a big thing and something to be proud of. We hope you like what you see, and consider becoming a member.
As you walk down the wooded path, birds flitting from branches above you and rabbits running out of your way, you could be forgiven for thinking that you’d stumbled onto a nature trail and had missed the turning for Milkhope, but then, as you look up and see the splash of sunlight on its still waters you realise that you have found a true paradise.
Set in the grounds of the Blagdon estate, Milkhope is a gem. An old estate lake, Milkhope is the pond every angler dreamt of finding as a boy. Set in woodlands rich in both flora and fauna, the water presents a glimpse into an historic world.
For those interested in fishing, and believe me, you don’t have to be to appreciate the exquisite beauty of this water, it teems with a variety of species traditionally stocked into estate lakes. Golden Orfe and Ide can be seen gliding across the surface, chasing under lily pads and circling the three islands in the centre of the lake. As you sit still you see carp arching their backs and breaking the surface, taking flies or a piece of bread, before moving on their ponderous way. Suddenly the water boils as tench, large, red-eyed and powerful, root about in the shallow water below, filtering the rich food through their gills. A faint splash of gold catches your eye as a crucian carp rolls on the surface.
Take your time when you go there, breathe in the atmosphere, and let the peace of the water envelope you and take you away from the stresses and strains of life. Don’t be hasty, enjoy every minute, this is a venue to savour.
Brenkley is an attractive pond of around 2 acres and whatever the time of year you just never know what you are going to catch, a few small roach and perch then a solid fish. Carp usually. A few small roach and gudgeon then a bream or tench. There is are features to fish to, and loads of bankside cover in the summer months, which means that on alot of the pegs fish can be caught right under the rod tip, so fishing the margins, very close, in the summer months will result in some interesting catches.
The water is always highly coloured, so there is very little weed problems and has shallow and deep areas to it.
There are 28 pegs in total and most are easily accessed by able bodied and disabled anglers. There are ten pegs designed specifically for ease of use by disabled and wheelchair bound anglers.
There is a wide variety of species in Brenkley. There are Carp to over double figures, roach, rudd, orfe, perch, bream, gudgeon, tench and crucians.
All methods seem to work. i.e Pole, Waggler, Swim feeder and surface baits. Groundbaiting is banned, as are any form of nuts and boillies.
Horton Grange is great proof of the idea that – left to her own devices – Mother Nature is the best landscape artist. “HG” hasn’t been around long – just a few years ago it was just another hole left behind after opencast mining finished on the Blagdon Estate.
But with a little bit of time, some TLC – and a little bit of help from the mining company, RM Banks – Horton Grange has gone from being a muddy hole in a field to a verdant, tree-lined, wildflower-girt jewel of a water, and it is brimful of fantastic fish, of course! .
Most members of the club admit to having a favourite club water, and Horton Grange is the favourite of many: you can put a little bit of effort in and catch roach, rudd, tench, perch and bream all day; or kick back, relax and take in the wildlife – you’re sharing the water with swans, geese, ducks, terns, coots… but they seem to enjoy the company!
It’s really not difficult to see why HG is so popular, but you’ll always be able to find a place on the bank.
The only thing that would make Horton Grange better would be having it in your back garden!
The QEII is our only water with a pub included in the price! Well, not really. But it can make for a pleasant end to the day to have a pint while looking over the water, discussing the day, and – of course – the one that got away.
And the QEII has a lot of big fish to fuel those “fishy tales…” Although popular with the more “energetic” watersports users like windsurfers, the QEII is big enough for everyone, and sharing is not a problem.
It might need a bit of a walk, but it’s always possible to find a quiet corner – it’s impressive that even though the water is very close to Ashington, it is easy to feel as though you’ve got the whole water to yourself. It’s a great place to get away from the hustle of busy town life, bringing as it does, a piece of the countryside into a largely urban/industrial setting.
And it’s definitely the place to catch a lot of big fish – carp, bream, pike, roach, rudd, tench and perch all abound.
It’s a great big aquarium, really!
That said, the size – 40 acres – makes it a challenge too, but as with most things in life, the things that are really worthwhile are also worth a bit putting a bit of effort into.