Jam Jar John and the Maidstone Massive


space cadet
Staff member
Site Supporter
Apr 23, 2008
Whilst at Pittlands for the winter league last week, I got chatting to Michael Rose, who was running his winter series on lakes B and C

The upshot of this was that I got an invite to fish a small knock up yesterday (sunday) on the Royal Military canal,

It was to be held at the Twiss road section of the Ladies walk stretch in the middle of the genteel south coast cinque port town of Hythe, a nice venue only made better by the news a couple of weeks ago of over 7000 fish, tench, skimmers roach and rudd, being re-stocked by the controlling angling club in colusion with the Environment Agency

jumping at the chance, it being my "Home" water, plans were made for attending the gig

quick phone call to my son in law JD, and it was confirmed that I could steal him away from the loving arms of my darling daughter for the last day of his week in luie holiday, and he would love to come

Early sunday morning the electric quasimodo performed its reason for existance and I was up and running, coffee made, flask made, dead maggots out the freezer, few slices of bread, a can of green giant niblets and a half a bag of groundbait, quick swap over of the rig boxes from the commercial silverfish ones to the dedicated canal kits

the quick sniff and pee stroll with tuppence worth of black dog saw that the weather though dull and overcast, wasnt too cold for the time of year, far better than the early morning escapades of late

Loaded and in the van, the Volkswagen burst into life and it was off over the hill to collect the offsprings loved one, hes a good lad John, waiting ready as usual for me, just a 5 minute pull up to load his gear and back out onto the tarmac

two stops on the way, one for sustenance the other to aquire a pint of live gentles from Dens famous angling emporium,

pulling up at the arranged meeting place, we were the first to arrive, an easy park, the dog walkers, joggers, golfers and shoppers hadnt even got out a bed yet leaving us the choice of roadside spaces, 10 minutes later as we were perusing the venue from the bridge, a convoy of cars and vans announced the arrival of the Maidstone massive,

not as many as expected, all in, including myself and my dodgy dover companion, there were six persons of interest proclaiming themselves ready and able to fish

trolleys loaded, and its decided that it would be a walk off draw, the person drawing the lowest number to get his choice of swim first and so on down the line, first to tramp off to his angling destination, was the father of an England junior international, closely followed by his offspring, drawing the number 5, I sat in the space two pegs up from the bridge next the the end peg that JD had esconsded himself in, him being the third to go, spread out with plenty of room, the participents made themselves ready for the off

the canal was a smooth as glass, barely a breath of wind troubled its silver surface, a nice bit of colour in it and a good depth of water due to the previous fortnights rain, near perfect conditions

we were around a quarter mile from the point where the re-stocking of this stretch had occurred previously and it was with a high anticipation to see wether the new fish had spread themselves out yet

simple easy set up for me,

just two kits,

one with NG dark blue hollo elastic, mated to a 0.4 NG finesse float, 0.12 rig line, size 18 drennan silverfish maggot hook on a 0.08 hooklength, bulk shotted a foot away from the sharp bit with a no12 stotz 3 inches up the hooklength as a tell tale

the other was made up fom NG teal hollo elastic, hillbilly gazzunder 4 x 10 float, strung bulk shotted to fish through the water, lines and hooks as above

it was discovered at this time, that though the son in law had been ready and waiting, he was suffering from early onset altzhiemers and had left his topkits at home, !!!!!

being the kind, generous, placid gentleman I am, I rummaged through the preston hardcase pole holdall, and lent him, with no small measure of trepidation, my spare pole, discussing warnings of dire consequence, removal of inheritance rights, possible death, and the prospect of a long walk home if anything happended to it, he trudged back to his appointed peg clasping the best bit of carbon he had ever used

we were ready, !

A pathetic trill from a referees whistle echoed down the cut,proper poor it was, more a squeak than a trill, more puff michael, practice makes perfect lol

out went half a dozen dead maggot with the finesse flicked expertly to sit amoungst the ripples of their passing, the long line between it and the pole tip removing any risk of shadow over the fed area, two minutes later the first dip of the day, and lifting to set the hook saw the first fish of the day swinging towards the waiting hand, a small rudd, brilliantly coloured all red and gold, lovely looking fish

feed and out again, another dip and another rudd, followed on the next put in by a shiney silver roach, nothing massive yet, but steady weight builders, things were looking good for the days piscatorial production

JD's in too, catching as fast as myself, a look up the cut towards ladies walk bridge showed a line of poles and whips going out and in with regularity,

first hour passes , Hythe wakes up, the joggers and dog walkers start to make an appearance, now this section has two paths, one on each side of the canal, the path behind us is at the top of the bank and is a tarmac roadway leading to the tennis and bowling clubs, plenty of room to ship in and out, 6 or 7 sections can be safely fed backwards before you hit the road, and I had left the barrow tipped sideways with a couple of banksticks on the other side making a fence type barrier on the grass, no worries there

the other side of the cut has a bankside level path and a cycleway above that on the top of the berm, this provides, to the slightly voyeristic angler a fine view of a plethora of lycra clad ladies and fit looking milfs, gilfs and wenches performing their fitness routines, quite distracting at times, especially during the warmer months

concentrate michael, concentrate

back too it, and the fish are obliging, feed, out, hook and in, still nothing massive, but fish none the less,

the sun rises high in the sky, swinging around behind us, things start to slow a bit, still catching, but not as fast, its around this moment my old mind starts off on its weird thinking patterns again

I saw my shadow, spreading out over the water, not great for fishing, but in my mind, looked like the statue of Zues in the parthenon, sitting on his throne, I picked up my landing net, and held the pole in the other hand and amused myself for a minute or two thinking It looked a trident and spear, and I was dispensing god like justice on the world !

daft as a brush,

switching lines to the two and ten o'clock swims, I avoided the suprems beings shadow and continued to bash the bits,

midday came, and its slowed, most have started fishing long, 16 mtrs here sees you almost touching the far bank, adding sections saw me at 12 mtrs, knowing that at that length I was still in the deeper water, lifting and dropping, twitching the rig through, still produced fish, slower but keeping the poundage building

a change of bait to punched bread for the last two hours, raised the weight of the fish caught, larger beasts between 4 and 6 ounce, a few palm sized skimmers put in a welcome appearance

I like fishing the punch, but you gotta up your game, missed bites are a bugger, not like on a maggot or worm hooker, you gotta ship in and out far more often, not a lazy mans way of angling, my fish to bite ratio was probably a third of catching to indications,

during the match, I had been flicking a few maggot regularly along the concrete walled margins to each side, this will produce a fair few perch most days, in fact, its the method I used when the nippers and herberts started learning to fish with thier old grandad on this very section of the canal, alas today, it didnt work, visiting it for ten minutes at a time, didnt produce one stripey, in fact no fish at all, a barren line, strange ?

Time passed pleasantly, the weak winter sun on my back was a pleasing sensation, more joggers distracted me, and paul the club baliff turned up, bit of conversation as regards to the fishing and then back to it

a double canoe appeared coming from the seabrook section, nosing under the bridge, the two fellas in it saw we were holding a match and pulled to the opposite bank, got out and portaged it along the footpath until well past the last angler before paddling off again, proper manners there, well done ( an hour or so later they re-appeared and done the very same thing in reverse) thanks gentlemen

too soon, the whistle went for the all out, now comes the worry time, a leisurely pack away, and a wander up the bank to chat to the others, all had caught well, I was specially wondering about JD to my right, being a good old boy I had given him a few slices of bread once I started catching on it and he had had a few fish towards the end of the gig, notwithstanding he was on the flyer end peg as well, probably keeping up and surpassing my catch rates at times

starting at the furthest peg, the scales whipped around to record the first catch total of the day, 3lb 2oz, including a very nice burglar of a poundish in weight

next was the son of the father, the owner of international angling caps, producing the tally of 4lb 5oz

the organisor next, putting just touching 4 lb in the net

next peg, 88 fish for 4lb 5oz, a draw for the lead !!!!

myself was the next to empty his net, I knew it was going to be close, and it was with great joy, that the electronic scales finally settled on 4lb 10oz, In the lead !

JD, the dark horse, on the flyer end peg, slowly lifted his keepnet from the oggin, I had been watching him, it had been a fish race for the last 90 minutes, one on one, had I done enough ???

scales clicked and whirred, the battery straining to register both the net and quarry, less than 3lb !!!!!!!

tiny fish and a new nickname is bestowed, Behold JAM JAR !

the bigger bonus fish in the last hour, 4 skimmers and a decent rudd had given me the win !!!!!

brilliant day, nice surroundings, great company and decent weather

14 days into the year and the first laurel wreath, back to Pittlands sunday for round two of the league, no doubt to be shot down again

I do love my home water

Last edited:


Regular member
Apr 4, 2008
Nice write up as usual Chippo

Well done on the win mate

Not venturing to Longshaw on Wednesday then mate?


Staff member
Site Supporter
Sep 18, 2001
Nice one Mick, an enjoyable read as always.[:T]
Any "Golden Nuggets" liberated?


NG Floats, Elastic
Site Supporter
Dec 16, 2003
Originally posted by rookery54

Nice write up as usual Chippo

Well done on the win mate

Not venturing to Longshaw on Wednesday then mate?

Said it was too windy on Wednesday, not sure if he was referring to the weather[:D]


Regular member
Site Supporter
May 23, 2006
MILFS and GILFS in a match report [:D]

Great write up Mick.

Pompous git

Regular member
Site Supporter
Feb 2, 2017
Mick, I am an experienced competent angler but that's as far as it goes. I tend to look in awe
at you and your fellow matchmen but I cannot understand why anglers wave a pole over the water
when you can do the same job with a rod and waggler.

I know the stretch of canal you refer to quite well, as a small boy on a family holiday I was in
a boat rowed by my father and as we passed a fisherman my mother asked what he had caught. Said
angler lifted his keepnet out of the water {one of those horrendous orange things of yesteryear}
to reveal numerous tiny fish jumping about, I remember thinking to myself this must be the greatest
fishing place there is. Sixty odd years on I still love this stretch of water.


Life Member
Site Supporter
Jul 8, 2003
Enjoyable write-up as usual, Mick!

I love matches like this, when everyone catches, and there's not much in it between the weights.

So much better than being two full keepnets short of a place in the money!