Caerphilly Castle Moat is situated in the center of Caerphilly Town, in South Wales. This venue is like no other due to the stunning backdrop it offers, in the form of a 13th century castle!
At approximately 30 acres in size, the moat consists of two bodies of water, a smaller section of water situated at the Castle entrance known as The Front, and the main lake which surrounds the rest of the castle. Due to its unique shape, the main lake is actually classed as two separate lakes by local anglers, although they are linked, and these two main areas are known as The South Lake and The North Lake.
The Front lake offers fantastic coarse and carp fishing with a number of large bream, silvers, tench, eels and a good head of carp from single figures to low doubles plus a handful of upper doubles present. This small lake offers a superb range of features from silt beds, snags, weed beds and Lilly pads. It also includes an inlet, which flows in from the main lake, and an overflow which flows into the local river.
The hotspots on the front are undoubtable the inlet, which holds a huge number of the lakes carp stock within the main flow throughout the year, and also the overflow which is situated in the main area of the lake and is a great interception point between the main body of the water and the north arm where you will find an abundance of small lily pads and various other features.
The main lake has an average depth of around 4/5ft offering superb fishing all year round. The venue is full of large weed beds, snagged areas, gravel spots, silt, shallow areas, low lying weed, running water at the main inlet, islands and a large no fishing zone providing the carp with a safe haven. It truly offers everything that a carp could ever want! It’s the perfect venue for any carp angler looking to home in on their skills while getting rewarded with some of the most incredible carp that Wales has to offer.
The stock consists of approximately 300 carp with a mixture of commons and mirrors up to 26lb with an ever-increasing number of fish pushing over 20lb. The Moat also contains tench, bream, roach, perch, eels and pike. There are a number of named fish in the main lake at the Moat and all of these are highly recognisable. In my first season fishing at Caerphilly I managed to land a number of these special carp and I now aim to catch the full set of A-Team carp over the next few seasons.
Red Tail – 21lb 4oz
Warrior – 20lb 12oz
Bando – 18lb 3oz
In the short time that I have spent fishing the Castle Moat there was one thing that I found out very quickly, the castle carp love bait and respond to boilies like no fish I’ve ever seen before.
Throughout the winter I did not fish the venue all too often, but on the few sessions I did, solid bags were very effective with a number of fish gracing my net from December through to late February including Bando, shown above. My solid bags, however, are different to your usual set up. Unlike many others I have been using 3-inch Ronnie rigs in my solid bags for the past two years after a brain wave between my friend Shaun and I when we realized the potential to use the rig in this situation. I use PVA Bag Stems from Hobo Armour on this venue as there is a leader ban and these stems allow me to have a number of bags prepped prior to my session while still adhering to the rules. For the rig, I use a 3-inch section of 25lb Armour Weave in Weedy Green, a S-Swivel, a size 6 Straight Point Hook, Large Kicker, Micro Ring Swivel and a Hook Bead.
My usual tactics throughout the rest of the year are simple yet effective. A naked helicopter setup, made using the Heli-Chod System, coupled with either a Chod Rig or a Ronnie Rig. For both rigs, I use 25lb Armoured Chod for the rig body which is the perfect hook link for the job. It has incredible strength and abrasion resistance when fishing up to snags and weed beds, brilliant anti tangle properties providing perfect presentation of hook-baits and it does not require any steaming to straighten, simply shape it into the desired Chod shape with your fingers or pull it between two puller tools to create a boom section and you’re ready to go, making it ideal for the mobile angler such as myself who has no room for unnecessary cooking equipment on day sessions.
A size 8 SP Chod Hook, Rig Ring, 2-inch section of Armoured Chod and a size 8 Ring Swivel make the perfect Chod Rig.
A size 4 Curve Shank Hook, S-Swivel, Large kicker, 8-inch section of Armoured Chod and a small section of Anti Tangle Sleeve to secure the rig onto the QC-Swivel make my Ronnie rig. I use a Micro Ring Swivel to attach my hook-bait with a Hook Bead to hold it in place. The last thing to do is add the perfect amount of putty to ensure the hook-bait sinks slowly onto the spot and you’re ready to trip up an unsuspecting carp.
During the summer months surface fishing can be very productive so it’s wise to make sure you have some dog biscuits or floaters with you because the floater fishing can be fantastic. Remember not to go too light on your set up, take the time to get the fish feeding confidently before you attempt to catch one off the surface. Catching fish on the surface in weedy waters is no easy task…
The hotspots on the main lake are situated either side of the connecting waterway between the North and South Lakes. On the South Lake the Islands are a hotspot, with a large no fishing zone to the rear of the islands as well as a freshwater inlet providing a constant natural food source and increased oxygen levels. On the North Lake the Tree Line is the hotspot, with an abundance of overhanging trees and snags along another section of bank where access for fishing is forbidden. It’s the perfect location to trip up an unsuspecting carp. Casting onto the clear areas tight to the trees will usually produce a few fish.
Anyone who wishes to fish this truly epic venue can do so for a fee of only £40 per year, with an additional admin fee of £10 for the first year. Day tickets are not available unfortunately, but at that price who’s going to complain. You will need to contact Caerphilly and District Angling Association, either via the links on the club’s website or visit Tony’s Tackle shop situated only a few hundred yards from the North Lake.