Hunstrete Lake sits in the grounds of Hunstrete House, a Grade II listed building that was constructed in 1820. Originally leased by the association, Hunstrete Lake has been owned by Bathampton AA since 1975 and continues to be one of the premier carp fishing venues for anglers from Bristol and Bath.
The complex consists of 3 lakes – Hunstrete Lake, Withy Pool and Bridge Pool. Hunstrete Lake is the specimen water of the complex, Withy Pool is a mixed coarse lake with a good head of carp and Bridge Pool is well-stocked with silvers and F1s, making it perfect for pleasure anglers.
The Dave Crookes Fishery At Hunstrete
I first fished at Hunstrete in the early 1990s, and at that time the complex was colloquially known as Hunstrete Lake. After the sad passing of loyal club secretary Dave Crookes in December 2015, the complex was renamed in his honour shortly afterwards.
Dave Crookes Fishery At Hunstrete
The Dave Crookes Fishery at Hunstrete is one of the premier carp waters in the south west. Membership to Bathampton AA is required to fish here, with day tickets available for purchase at a number of fishing tackle shops in the Bristol and Bath area.
- Well maintained
- Enviable stock of carp
- Secure premises
- Night fishing is only possible once per month during British Summer Time
- A day ticket is required in addition to annual club membership
Dave Crookes Fishery At Hunstrete: A Brief Introduction
The Dave Crookes Fishery is a fishing complex near Pensford in Bristol. It has 3 lakes which makes it ideal for anglers of all abilities and disciplines.
The Lakes At Hunstrete’s Dave Crookes Fishery
Hunstrete Lake (Main Lake)
The main lake at Hunstrete is the specimen carp lake at the Dave Crookes Fishery, and the most sought-after lake of all within Bathampton AA’s portfolio. It is a typical old estate lake and covers approximately 5 acres of water. It is surrounded by mature trees, has well-established lily pads and weed beds, and is home to many different species of bird life.
The lake has nearly 40 fishable pegs, evenly spaced along each bank. The depths vary from 3ft in the shallow areas to a maximum of 6ft at the car park end of the lake. The lake bed is predominantly silty with some gravel patches in the margins.
Withy Pool is approximately 3 acres in size and boasts 2 islands at opposing ends of the lake. A good head of carp are present in Withy Pool, which is why it is often the lake of choice for anglers who have experienced a run of blank sessions on the tricky main lake.
There are 40 pegs around the perimeter of the lake, some of which have purpose-built platforms suitable for pole anglers. The remainder of the pegs are built on a base of chippings, ensuring that they are fishable in all conditions.
I often drop on to Withy Pool for an evening session or if I want to test new rigs or bait. The carp are extremely hard fighting and, if you find the fish, you can often struggle to keep 2 rods in the water.
Bridge Pool is the pleasure lake of the complex and is well stocked with silvers, F1s and small carp. It extends to 2.5 acres in size and boasts 3 islands that separate the water nicely.
There are 34 pegs on Bridge Pool, but this lake is not for carp anglers. Having said that, it is certainly good fun for a few hours on the float rod if you don’t mind targeting smaller fish.
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Biggest Carp At The Dave Crookes Fishery
The biggest carp at the Dave Crookes Fishery reside in Hunstrete Lake, which has a total stock of around 125 carp.
While there are some stockies present that will hopefully grow on to become the future of Hunstrete Main Lake, the majority of the carp weigh in excess of 20lb. There are multiple fish that have crossed the 30lb barrier, with the lake record currently standing at an enviable 43lb 10oz.
Withy Pool has a large stock of carp and has garnered a reputation as a runs water. A lot of the carp tend to weigh around 8 or 9lb, though there is a good head of double figure fish.
A lot of the stockies have grown rapidly, with multiple fish now weighing in excess of 20lb. The long-standing lake record is an impressive 26lb.
Although Bridge Pool is the pleasure lake of the complex, it does throw up the odd surprise here and there!
With match anglers constantly piling the bait in, some of the greedier carp have been known to pile the weight on, with several fish in excess of 20lb being captured in the past, up to a lake record of 22lb 11oz.
Choosing A Peg At The Dave Crookes Fishery
Each peg across the whole complex produces fish, so it really is a case of finding the fish.
Pegs 1, 38, 39, 40 & 41 are situated at the car park end of the lake and offer access to the deeper water, making them extremely popular during the winter months.
Pegs 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7 (on the public footpath bank) and pegs 32, 33, 34, 35 & 36 (on the opposing bank) are also located at the bowl end of the lake, offering the same access to the deeper water, while also providing a good vantage point of the majority of the lake.
The remaining pegs are evenly spaced throughout the narrow section of the lake, where you will find flourishing lily pads and extensive weed beds during the summer months.
The peg numbers on Withy Pool are separate to Hunstrete Lake and are a continuation of the peg numbers on Bridge Pool.
There is a large number of carp in Withy Pool, so whichever peg you choose, you will never be far away from them. The far island is split into 2 by a small channel, so pegs 48-56 are always quite popular as they offer the chance to trip the carp up as they pass through the channel.
Pegs 64-67 also get occupied quite quickly as they offer access to the largest part of the lake and multiple features.
Again, the high stock levels mean that fish can be caught from every single peg on Bridge Pool.
Although it is seldom fished by serious carp anglers, the larger specimens have been known to come from pegs 16-24, possibly because these pegs offer the most shelter from the rest of the lake.
Successful Baits At Hunstrete Lake
A lot of the carp at Hunstrete’s Dave Crookes Fishery are very old and have seen every bait known to man. A good quality fishmeal boilie should never be ignored, while a trusty grain of sweetcorn has been the downfall for many of the larger residents over the years.
There is quite a lot of natural food in the lake, so the carp aren’t reliant on boilies and have been known to switch off completely at times when the natural food is in abundance.
Hunstrete Lake is no different to any other lake, so positioning any bait in the right place will always bring more rewards than the most elaborate bait in the wrong place.
Facilities At Hunstrete Lake
With night fishing only being allowed on specific dates throughout the year, there are no shower facilities available at Hunstrete’s Dave Crookes Fishery.
However, flushing toilets are available at the car park end of the main lake, along with a sink, mains water and a hand dryer.
Car Park At Hunstrete Lake
There are several different areas for parking at Hunstrete’s Dave Crookes Fishery, making each lake very accessible, regardless of which area you choose to fish.
With all areas taken into consideration, I would estimate that there is sufficient parking for in excess of 40 cars.
Membership/Ticket Prices At Hunstrete Lake
In order to fish Hunstrete’s Dave Crookes Fishery, you must in possession of a valid Bathampton AA licence. These are available from many tackle shops in the south west area and, at the time of writing, are priced as follows:
Adult: £40 per year
Veteran: £25 per year
Junior: £15 per year
In addition to the club membership, you must purchase a day ticket for each visit to Hunstrete Lake. Day tickets are priced at £5 each and can be bought in advance from a number of tackle shops. I always buy mine from Premier Angling, but you can also get them from Bristol Angling, Scott Tackle and many others.
Directions To Hunstrete Lake
The Dave Crookes Fishery at Hunstrete is conveniently located for anglers based in Bristol, Bath and beyond.
For those travelling from Bristol, the A37 and A368 will bring you to Chelwood roundabout, with the complex located approximately 2 miles away.
If you are travelling from Bath, you can pick up the A39 at The Globe Inn at Newton St Loe and follow it through until you merge onto the A368 in Marksbury. From there, the lakes are just 1.5 miles away and will take you just a couple of minutes to reach.
Dave Crookes Fishery At Hunstrete Conclusion
I’ve been fishing at Hunstrete Lake on and off for 30 years now, so I have a bit of a soft spot for the place.
Bathampton AA and its members have worked hard to continuously improve the fishery and maintain its reputation as one of the finest carp venues in the south west.
Hunstrete Main Lake is certainly one of the trickiest venues that I have ever come across, so expect many blank sessions if you are planning a campaign on there.
Withy Pool is much easier and is often used as a confidence booster by anglers experiencing a lengthy run of blanks on the unforgiving main lake.
Have you ever fished at Hunstrete Lake? If so, please let me know how you got on in the comments.