What is a BEST carp water?

The challenge of identifying and subsequently writing about the ‘best of the best‘ British carp waters seemed straightforward enough, but it soon proved to be anything but: how, exactly, does one define ‘best’? There are those for whom a level tarmac barrow-path with aircraft-style floor-lighting and a luxury lodge with maid-service is a must; others need an on-site Indian restaurant, a Go-Kart track for the kids and a Toni & Guy for the missus. For the majority, I guess, such venues would constitute a vision of hell; but proper plumbed-in toilets, a tackle-and-bait shop and a burger-to-bivvy service might still be considered a positive plus. Anglers in both these categories will, naturally, require the odds-on prospect of a whacker or two from an architect-designed, wood-chipped bivvy pitch – each to their own, I say.

But there will be a great many out there whose carping and spiritual needs are met purely by Mother Nature herself: a natural lake with random swims and a population of wily, long-established carp. Reeds or rushes will be fished through or carefully tied-back to accommodate a pair of rods while unisex hawthorn bushes with an abundance of dock leaves will suffice for the call of nature.  

Fewer in number are the dying breed of purists still in search of undiscovered woodland pools where a machete is needed to scythe off serpents’ heads and to hack through to the waters-edge from beneath a pith helmet; with any luck there will be a resident hooded monk who rows a wooden boat through the mist at midnight… only this kind of water will ever be seen as ‘the best’ by this kind of carp-angler.

It may well be that for some members of homo cyprinus surroundings have nothing to do with it at all, their carping criterion being the mere existence of a monster mirror called Brenda – regardless of her location by the hard shoulder of the M4 – again, each to their own.

So what’s your idea of the ideal carp water? Indeed, would you care to actually name your all-round favourite carp venue? It’s all in the interests of science you know…