The contents of this Blog cover a period from just after I joined Maggotdrowning.com to the present day and as such you will find lots of references to members of the forums within it. It's not too serious, just my take on days by the waterside, some solo and some with the very good friends that I've met along the way. They started off with quite short reports that I posted in "Where you fished today" section of the forum and developed as I got into digital photography to some quite long reports as I found that the photos were well received by those that read the reports. Good days or bad, they all get a report as I've never been one to only write up the good days. I hope that you will enjoy reading them as much as I've enjoyed writing them up over the years.
If you fancy visiting any of the venues mentioned click on the Location link (bottom left hand corner of every post) to see the location on Google maps.
The venue was Milton's Lake today for the first Hawthorne AC club match of the new season and also the first Round of the club's Knockout Cup. I'd drawn peg 17 today and it was about as far away from the "Flyers" as it's possible to get, but in the last couple of weeks the fish had started to respond to corn or meat fished over pellet, so that was to be the plan of attack for the day. The wind was already pretty strong and blowing from my right to left, with the promise of it getting stronger later. Knowing that I had no more than 4 ft of water in front I set up a Drennan .8gm Lake on 0·12 matchtec with a 0·10 matchtec hooklength and a size 16 Preston PR22 hook. (This hook has quite an unusual shape,with a pronounced swept shank that i find ideal for meat and corn, and has great holding power) The other was just a dibber on 0·12 straight through and the same pattern hook. I had started off at 6 mtrs as I didn't want to feed to a spot that I wouldn't be able to reach later. A couple of pots of "Swim Stim" 3mm pellets, corn & meat in front & one against the marginal reeds to my left was the initial feed. For the first couple of hours sport was very slow and produced just a couple of skimmers as the wind got steadily worse and showers came and went. People all around were having to alter their lines as the wind increased while I was able to keep fishing on my chosen line.
Unfortunately meat produced not one bite while maggot only resulted in micro-rudd. So I decided to stick with corn ( a bait I always have confidence in) and with an hour and a half to go, the float buried and a lovely Crucian of about 1lb was safely in the net. Two more plump Crucians followed and then 3 Tench, the best of which probably went about 3lbs. Another couple of Crucians and a Bream of about 3lb were added before the final whistle. All the fish came from the 6mtr line with not a single bite from the margin swim. At the Weigh-In it persisted down with rain, and the wind was so strong that it was difficult to read the scales. The pegs either side of me weighed in 8lbs 10ozs and 2lbs 8ozs, while I weighed in a level 16 lbs to finish 5th. That was enough to get me through to the next round of the Knockout and gave me 6 points towards the club championship. Well 1 down 16 to go.
It was off to Gold Valley to fish Syndicate Lake for todays club match. The complex consists of 5 lakes (old gravel workings) 3 of which are used for matches on a regular basis.
In summer weights of over 100lbs are a common occurrence, but this early in the year they are something of a rarity.
Arriving early, breakfast in the clubhouse (£4 for a full english ) was the order of the day, before dipping into the drawbag to find Peg 109 sticking to my hand.
Now Syndicate Lake holds a good head of Tench, Bream, Crucians, Perch & Roach, but it is the Carp that are the main target once the weather starts to warm up. The Carp in here can be real creatures so 8lb reel lines and 6lb hook lengths are called for on the advice of Will Raison (The Co-Owner & England International).
Two rods were set up, 1 groundbait feeder and 1 waggler. The groundbait was 2 bags of Sensas Gold and 1 of crushed hemp mixed on the dry side so as to explode out of the mesh feeder that was finished off with a Drennan Carbon Carp hook in a size 14 fished with 3/4 red maggots.
The waggler was a 3aaa crystal fished about 3inches over depth in about 5 feet of water at 2 rodlengths. In this swim I laid down a large bed of hemp (about 3 pints) to try and stop anything in it’s tracks that happened upon it.
Starting off on the feeder, it was quite slow with only a skimmer of 1½lbs to show for the first hour, but a number of liners encouraged me to stay with it. The next proper bite nearly ripped the rod from my hand, and after 10 mins a lovely Common,well into double figures was heading for the net, BUT a last minute dive saw it dive towards my keepnet and neatly transfer the hook to said net. Back out with the feeder and soon 3 of its smaller brothers were safely IN the net. No more bites followed so with a couple of hours to go it was waggler time.
First cast and after 10secs the float buried, and the culprit a 5lb Mirror was joining it’s pals in the net, and in the next two hours I added another 7 to the total before the whistle went.
At the scales I weighed in 11 Carp and 1 skimmer for a total weight of 53lbs 4ozs, good enough for third on the day, and 8 more points toward the club championship and I also qualified for the next round of the club Knockout trophy, so quite a satisfying day all round.
Having fished this venue twice before in atrocious conditions, I was hoping for third time lucky. The weather was certainly better in fact it was scorching.
There are 28 pegs on the lake, and I drew peg 16 and on reaching it was delighted to see that I could reach the island at 13mtrs and I also had plenty of cover provided by bushes and weed beds in both margins.
The going method in recent weeks had been expander pellet over pellet and this was to be the main line of attack, with corn and maggot as a back up.
Trouble was that the hot weather had woken up the Carp to spawn, and that appeared to be the only thing on their minds at my end of the lake. The whole day was spent watching fish after fish thrashing the water to foam as they charged through the weed beds in the margins.
All I could manage to whittle out were a few small Tench and Crucians for a rather dissapointing 11lbs 4ozs, only good enough for 10th on the day.
The venue today was the Mushroom Farm at Falkenville, just outside Hailsham in Sussex for the 4th Hawthorne club match of the season.
The Racetrack.(looking from the bottom towards the top end)
The match was to take place on the fishery match lake called The Racetrack, and the target species on this lake is Carp, but there is also a prolific head of Roach and skimmers if the Carp don’t show, an interesting addition however are a number of Wels Catfish up to about 15lbs .
After a superb cooked breakfast in the barn it was time for the draw. The favoured swims with the wind as it was, were at the top end of the lake. So as you can guess out comes 23, at the opposite end.
On previous matches at this venue I’ve dabbled with paste for bait, with varying degrees of success. Today I had decided that come what may I would stick with a pellet and paste attack .
With the wind gusting and making presentation awkward at 13mtrs, I just set up the one rig to fish pellet over paste at 7mtrs. This consisted of a Drennan Carp2 float on a length of Trilene XT and a Drennan Carbon Carp (size 10). No weight on the rig, just the weight of the paste to cock the float.
Sport was never fast and furious, but the bites when they came were either a definite lift or sailaways and I finished the match by putting 41lbs 14ozs (all Carp) on the scales, which was top weight on my bank, but only good enough for 3rd overall.
This is the best result I’ve had fishing paste,and I shall be trying it a lot more in the coming season and putting some of Malc’s recipes to the test.
Down to Elphicks Fisheries at Horsmonden in Kent for a pleasure session today.
My brother in law Chris had phoned me during the week saying he wanted to take his 7 year old Fraser fishing. “Nothing too hard and plenty of bites please.”
There are five lakes to choose from at Elphick’s and after a chat with the bailiff in the lodge while we purchased our day tickets it was off down to Sandwich Lake (plenty of fish,and not a Carp in sight ).
Chris and Fraser both set up Wagglers on peg 9, while I set up the pole on peg 10. Chris was struggling a bit with trying to fish himself and keep an eye on Fraser as the wind was quite strong, but Fraser was soon into his first ever Chub ……………
It doesn’t have to be big to be beautiful.
Now Peg 10 has an overflow stack to the left hand side, and a shelf with a depth of about 4 ft which extends to the right of it for about 20 ft, and it was this shelf that I was going to target with soft pellet and sweetcorn, both of which were glugged in Green Lipped mussel extract, over a bed of hemp and micro pellets.
It was a bit slow initially but after about 30 minutes, the float gently lifted and sailed away and I soon had a nice little Bream of about 2 lbs was in the net ……………………
A steady flow of Bream followed, interspursed with the occaisional Tench just to liven things up. Chris & Fraser were finding the wind was making bite detection awkward but stuck at it and finally managed to get among the Bream ………………
think that the smile on Fraser’s face just about says it all.
The icing on the cake for me however,was the capture of 4 Golden Tench at the end of the session. Super fish, like bars of gold …………………
Final total, 26 Bream & 11 Tench including the 4 Goldies. So a good day was had by one & all, plenty of fish,and best of all a 7 year old with a grin like a cheshire cat.
Just a brief one folks.
We arrived at Old Bury Hill,at about 7 am and embarked on the good punt Maggotdrowner for a trip up to the “Jungle.”
On arriving in the “Jungle” it appeared that the monsoon was arriving but with the capture of a nice Bream of 5lb 8ozs, the weather started to clear ………
Trev broke his Tench “duck” with 3 nice fish , and Geoff had a nice male tench of 3lb 3ozs ………………….
The following is the report originally posted on Maggotdrowning.com about the day above, by a very good friend of mine,Trevor Manning aka Ziptrev.
Unfortunately Trev is no longer with us, but reading this will i hope give you a taste of the mans style which is so missed by those who were fortunate enough to know him ………….
An Enjoyable Excursion.
As I approached Junction 23 of the M1 on Thursday 4th July, I cursed my weakness as my eyelids grew heavier and heavier.
I was so looking forward to a new experience that was a long standing arrangement and here I was less than 50 miles into a 180-mile journey and falling asleep at the wheel!
I had arranged weeks ago to go and visit Peter in London and fish a, quite unique in my experience, venue.
As the day approached, I asked Peter for directions and found they took me through Central London! At Rush hour time!!
Peter solved that problem, by a) inviting me to stay the night & b) By arranging to meet me around the M25, a road I was much happier with!
So, cheerfully, I set off (well early at 3am to arrive by 7pm ) with all the carefully prepared lightweight gear and bait.
The Venue in question was Bury Hill Lake, which we were going to fish by punt!
Yes PUNT! Redolent of my old Cambridge days on the Cam, I could say (except I would be a liar, as I never went to University! Let alone Cambridge!)
Peter had promised me a good chance of a Tench, something I had been looking for since January1, but this years Tench have refused to respond to my tempting.
Secondly, there was an outside chance of my 1st Zander, albeit a Stillwater fish, as they sometimes fell to maggot.
And Thirdly, Geoff had watched the discussion and remembering the times ‘years ago’, when he had fished the lake, had also wheedled an invitation and he is always fun to be with.
So, I groaned to myself as I pulled into the Shepshed lay-by at 3.30 and decided that 20 minutes was all I could afford, so as not to miss the fun of the next day!
When I awoke at 10 to 6.00pm, I had a choice! Either give up the idea and let this damned weakness win, or try and achieve the next 130 miles as fast as possible!
Well, of course!
At 7.00 I phoned Peter,
‘Are you there mate?’ he said
‘Not Quite’ I replied
‘Whereabouts are you then?’
‘Err just coming into Cambridge’ I said weakly!
In fact, I should have said Cambridgeshire, as I was on the outskirts of Huntingdon!
I quickly explained my predicament, and as I had to visit my parents in Suffolk anyway, to collect Macmillan Charity Money, offered to call it off.
Peter rose to the news with his lovely laid back style and wouldn’t hear of my idea. ‘Just take it easy, mate, no problems and ring me when you hit the A20’
So gratefully, I carried on down, joined the M11, hit the last services on the M25 before the scenic Queen Elizabeth Toll Bridge to buy a peace offering bunch of flowers for making Maria’s meal so delayed and made my way to the A20.
On phoning, I was directed to a pub of all places and by the time Peter and Geoff arrived, had ordered 3 pints! £6.80 for the record Martin and only 1 a decent Black one!
Due to the time, we only had a swift half to follow and were soon enjoying an excellent home made Spaghetti Bolognese, which was the first meal I had been able to eat for 3 days! It just goes to show how you can relax in great Company.
Faced with a 5.30 start, we did as normal under those circumstances and stayed up too late yarning away, with the sheer pleasure of discussing fishing and the forums as like minded people do.
However, Peter woke me on time on Friday morning and quick preparation of flasks etc, A bundling of kit into Geoff’s car and we set off on what proved to be an hours drive enlivened by Geoff’s colourful monologue of other drivers abilities, self abuse habits and parental uncertainties!
Arriving at the Lake after negotiating overtaking the final ‘******’ we found we were only the second car to arrive and the guy in the 1st was just through unloading enough kit on a trolley to set up a base camp for a Himalayas expedition.
He went through to the gate, we followed with the minimum of kit and whilst we waited for the bailiff to arrive, Peter and Geoff watched the Carp near the Boathouse rise to pieces of bread.
The wait was short: We paid our £15 pounds each! And chose a punt.
I had undertaken 2 difficult tasks, Firstly not to fall in, so I obviously needed to hold on with both hands and secondly not to lose my glasses, so again, I had to keep checking on them!
Therefore I relied on Redgrave in the Bow
And had to let Pinsent take the blunt end!
Come to think of it, both ends were blunt!
Under the guidance of these 2 master boatmen, we made our way (sometimes straightish, often at an angle and on more than one occasion, sideways on) to the far bottom end of the Lake, known as ‘The Jungle’
Choosing a swim to the right, we started to fish close to the bank in about 3’ of water.
We all had waggler floats, Geoff and Pete with 6lb mainline and I with 10! Hook lengths of 3lb for Peter and Geoff and 3.6lb for me! Well I had come to catch a big Tench.
The 1st fish quickly fell to our Matchman!
A nice clean Bream that Peter caught within the 1st ½ hour of fishing. At about 8.30.am. We were fishing mostly red maggot, feeding Red Sensas Ground bait, dead and alive white maggot sweetcorn and hemp. Geoff and I had also brought worm, but had no bites at all on these. Geoff switched back to maggot and succeeded quickly in landing his 1st fish………
This fine specimen of a Roach was all he needed to loudly proclaim ‘Well, I’ve not blanked and so I can rest now’
As he said it for the 5th time, I nearly replied, as I had sat there, in the middle for 1 and ½ hours without seeing a single bite!
Then Peter, who had abandoned his forward facing swim in favour of fishing out the back, with the excuse that ‘My Bum hurts’ hit into a much better fish and landed this result!
The Bream was weighed carefully and proved to be 5lb 8oz, a cracking fish that would have been a PB for me!
Then at last my float dipped, the line tightened, went screaming off to the right………………………….AND SNAPPED!
I ruefully wound in and found the 3.6lb hook length had parted some 4” from the hook and that with a Kamasan 911 hook to Drennan Double Strength line!
A very nice Tench I guess!
Then Peter was in again! This time, much more fight than the Bream!
The fish took line and ran! Peter brought it in, it ran again! 3 or 4 times this happened and then it rolled on the surface, coming towards the net.
Unmistakably a large Green Tench and if it wasn’t over 7lbs, it was a damn heavy 6!
We shall never know, as with one final lunge, the Fish snapped Peters line the same as mine earlier and disappeared into the depths (or shallows to be more accurate!)
Peter then retied, using a heavier bottom line and Geoff went and caught this Bream, to make me even more envious!
Shortly after, I had my second bite of the day!
The fish was on for even less time this time, made straight for a pile of overhanging bushes to the right and splashed on the surface underneath the bush, before my float and line came catapulting back! Annoyed? Yes! but not devastated, the Fish were here! If I just got it right, I could have my Tench to start the season AND anything over 5lb would give me a verifiable PB. So, Going over the top as usual, I tied up a 14 hook to 7lb hook length. Lets see how this would hold them!
Peter then quickly caught another 6 to 8 Bream of the this stamp in quick succession
I had lost my 2nd fish at about 10.30 and when 12.00 came along, with no more bites to the heavier line, reluctantly went along with the suggestion to move to the other side of the lake, as I was sure the fish would come!
In the meantime, Peter had made yet another interesting catch.
On the forum recently a Bullhead had been caught and identification was unsure as to whether it was a Bullhead or a Ruffe.
Well for clarification, this is Peter’s Tommy Ruffe!
We went across the Lake and rebaited a swim; fishless for half an hour Peter came to the rescue again. Suggesting we try a pellet approach, he produced some and shared them with Geoff and I. I meanwhile had retied onto 5lb line a Kamasan711 intermediate size15 hook.
This small scale down worked, as at last the float dipped and after a (heart stopping for me, in view of my previous experience) 3-minute fight, guided this fish to Peters waiting net.
Yes! I succeeded in catching my Tench, which weighed 3lb 3ozs! For me a great result!
As always happens, I got a second, even better at 3lb 13oz and then another bizarre one!
Striking, I was into a fighter that made straight for the bushes (we were fishing so close, my rod could touch them!) Pulling hard, the fish turned and made straight for the punt. Went solid as it spun round the anchor rope! I could only hold and swear, as Peter leaned over the side with the landing net to try and scare it out. A minute passed and nothing moved and then for the third time, my line parted! I swore again, but it turned silent, as grinning hugely, Peter lifted the landing net, with my fish and hook, which he had managed to capture as it tethered itself to the anchor rope! This was a male of 3lb 7ozs.
Then Geoff caught what proved to be our 4th and final Tench, his 1st male out of over 40 Tench this year, which weighed 3lb 2ozs.
I caught at last a Bream of about a lb, but the bites were proving slow and probably as we were getting tired, poor casting was causing breakages and tangles in the undergrowth of the aptly named ‘Jungle’.
We moved to the Island at about 5.15pm, but when Geoff decided at 6.00pm, that he needed to visit ‘The little Boys room’ then we declared it a day. I believe he did need to go too, as we crossed the lake in less than half the time the outward journey took and he hit the boathouse running!
I dozed contentedly in the back of the car as we made our way home, stopping only to collect a Chinese Meal, that Geoff and I decided was only just reward for Peter and Maria's hospitality and even the discovery that some nice person had stolen a wing mirror cover off my courtesy car (mine is undergoing repair) could not dampen the day.
The following morning, as Peter led me back to the M25, I could not help but feel grateful that I had fallen onto an Internet forum that has provided so many enjoyable experiences and where most of the people I have met have turned out to be genuine and true friends.
Thanks Geoff for sharing the day, Thanks Peter for providing the opportunity and your great hospitality and thanks Tench for playing ball and making my wish come true!
A lovely warm summers day promised a decent days sport on this rural Essex venue noted for it’s winter time bags of Rudd & Roach, however at this time of year the Carp enter the equation, and if they aren’t in your swim you aren’t going to win.
I drew peg 19 and they weren’t there !!!!!!!
However fishing a power top 2 with a no12 elastic (just in case Mr Carp decided to put in an appearance) a busy time was had with the small Rudd that refused to be fed off .
Averaging about 1oz apiece they kept coming at intervals all day, and come the final whistle, they rolled the scales around to record a weight of 32lbs 12ozs. Only good enough for 10th on the day but a pleasant days fishing all the same.
For the 2nd year running I had the privilege of travelling down to Ash to help out at a kids fishing match at Gold Valley. This is organised by Gary Hamilton who is the Team Captain of Fox Match Banstead. It’s a fun day out, more than a serious match with the emphasis being on making sure that the kids have a good time and catch a few fish, the proceeds of which are donated to a charity of the owner, John Raison’s choice.
Arriving nice and early it was straight into the clubhouse for a full English breakfast to set us up for the day, then into the tackle shop to collect the bait.
Then it was back into the clubhouse for “The Draw”.
Now at this point we had all forgotten to allow for the enthusiasm of a group of youngsters, and by the time everyone had drawn and Gary got up to announce the rules etc, he was speaking to an empty clubhouse as the cavalry charged off to Syndicate Lake.
At least we had plenty of time to set up, as the all in was at 10·15am.
Fishing with me was young Patrick Corneille 6½, and the idea was to keep it simple, just a feeder rod and a 6 mtr pole.
It was a gorgeous day, real t-shirt and shorts stuff and to start off it was straight out on the feeder to try and get an early Carp.
“Come on tip,go round”
Well !!!!!!! The best laid plans and all that . This turned out to be the day that the fish didn’t want to play, but we soldiered on, and after about an hour the tip sailed round resulting in not the expected Carp, but a Bream of about 1lb. Still we were off the mark and it was soon followed by it’s twin brother! At least we were catching, some others were not so fortunate.
15 minutes till the lunchtime break and BINGO!!! Mr Carp decides to try and take Patrick for a swim, but after a dogged tug-o-war Patrick wins with a nice 5½lb common nestling in the net.
Next came the civilised part, all back to the clubhouse for a spot of lunch & a cold beer before the start of the 3-7 shift.
Patrick wanted to try the pole in the afternoon, first put in on the 6 mtr line and CRASH-BANG-WALLOP, Patrick was briefly connected to a real lump until the hookhold gave way.
Try as we might for another, the only fish to oblige for the rest of the session were a few hungry Roach & Perch.
Then with a ½hr to go the heavens suddenly decided to open and soak everyone, but it couldn’t dampen the kids enthusiasm come the weigh-in.
“What does it weigh?”
Young Talen couldn’t lift his net,so enlisted some help.
and he got his Dad and Gary to help show off his biggest Carp
So with the weigh-in completed, it was back to the car park for the results and Presentations.
1st Talen Hamilton 38lbs06ozs
2nd Rachel O’Leary 23lbs 08ozs
3rd Joe O’Leary 21lbs 08ozs
4th Charlie Shephard 21lbs 05ozs
5th Robbie Clampitt 15lbs 10ozs
6th Cameron 15lbs 08ozs
7th Mike O’Leary 12lbs 15ozs
8th Roxanne Finch 11lbs 12ozs
9th Patrick Corneille 11lbs 08ozs
10th Kenso (Belgium) 11lbs 02ozs
11th Abbey Tingley 11lbs 00ozs
12th Cloe Tingley 5lbs 08ozs
All the children received a reel & goody bag of tackle, with the 1st & 2nd getting landing nets and bait waiters to go with everything else. But the biggest prize of all were the smiles on everyone's faces at the end of the day.
Thanks again to Gary Hamilton for organising the whole thing, and rest assured I’ll be there to do it all again next year if needed.
Having survived yet another Little Chef “Early Starter” we arrived at the car-park for a 9am draw, to be greeted by Betty the Bailiff .
Now anyone that listens to Keith Arthur’s program “Fishermans Blues” on TALK SPORT (1053/1089AM) on Saturday & Sunday mornings will have heard Betty, and her weekly chats to Keith, and perhaps the story of her Cormorant Hound .
Betty assured us that a draw on the bottom half of the lake was what was needed, as the fish tend to follow the wind and it had been blowing in that direction for the past 4 days, and that the fish were being caught up in the water.
Brookhall Lake (looking from the car-park)
Need I say more, into the hat and out comes peg 28 (just about the longest walk, and the furthest away from the desired pegs) The ironic thing is that had the wind been blowing in the opposite direction, this peg would have been an absolute flyer.
While setting up ominous black clouds were gathering and the odd clap of thunder could be heard. Now call me a coward but the idea of being attached to 14½ mtrs of one of the finest lightning conductors known to man wasn’t on (especialy when I saw some fork lightning in the distance). So I decided to go with a feeder and waggler (and Norm’s “Secret” bait).
The swim really looked a picture
but apart from a few little Rudd worrying the bait nothing was forthcoming, and all the time the sky was getting blacker, so out with the brolly and out with the feeder as the heavens opened transforming the scene into something akin to “Carry on Noah”
In amongst all this I managed to connect with 4 Carp and 3 Tench (Nice One Norm)
The most savage take of all coming from a male Tench which weighed 3lb 14ozs. People have said to me that Tench don’t fare well when they have to compete with Carp, and this fish was long enough to be 5lbs+, but was one of the thinnest Tench that I’ve ever caught (food for thought)
Thankfully the rain stopped about an hour before the end of the match, but then again so did my bites so when the scales arrived I recorded a weight of 24lbs 2ozs, which was good enough for 5th on the day, which to be honest was better than I had expected .
Now all I need to do is spend the rest of the week drying my kit out!!!!!!!!
What was Norm’s secret bait?………. Mussels.
Well we all assembled in the car park at Framfield Fishery, which is a complex of 3 lakes set in the countryside just outside the town of Uckfield in Sussex.
Today we were to fish Spring lake, which is the main match lake, and is mostly stocked with Carp.
Anyway it transpired that there had been a cock-up on the alarm clock front by the Secretary. So there we were waiting for the Drawbag and scales to arrive .
Anyway after a short delay and a lot of ribbing on his arrival out came the draw bag. In goes the hand and out comes peg 43.
As I arrived at my peg one thing became glaringly obvious, I couldn’t reach the island, which was about 20mtrs away, also in previous seasons this swim had a large bed of lilies to fish to on the right hand side. NOT ANY MORE!!!!!
Plumbing up I found 12 inches in the margins and only about 2½feet at 13mtrs. For the margin swims I set up a dibber on my margin pole. These swims would not be touched until I could see the mud being disturbed by feeding fish.
On the 13 mtr line it was to be 2 simple rigs,both to fish banded pellet. The first one was just 18inches of line and a hook (size 14 PR22) and the other was a Drennan Carp2 float set at dead depth to target any fish that followed the constant stream of pellets down to the bottom .
I also set up a feeder rod,but this would only be a get out of jail option if things went horribly wrong, which seems to be the case more often than not at the moment.
Anyway at the off and two good handfulls of hemp go into the margins on each side along with some corn to await developments. Out to 13mtrs and into a rhythm of 5-6 pellets every 30 secs.
Straight away the 2 pegs to my right were into fish as they could reach the island.
If that wasn’t bad enough I had the beginnings of a headache that was to get worse as the match went on and no it wasn’t due to drink the previous night.
After about an hour on the up in the water rig along came carp No1...........
a pretty little ghost/common and things were starting to look up,a steady stream of small carp followed it to the net, and while not setting any records a worthwhile bag was building. Unfortunately though with an hour to go the headache had got so bad that I was forced to stop fishing and lay down (either that or fall off my box).
Come the weigh-in and it soon became apparent just how well the day had gone. Top weight, caught by John Tyler was 136lbs, 2nd was Michael Vincent with 124lbs 4ozs and 3rd was Mike Davis with 103lbs 2ozs. My level 46lbs was only good enough for 11th .
In total 19 of us weighed in a total of 1041lbs 14ozs for an average weight of 54½+lbs per man, Fantastic fishing by any standards.
I arrived at Hazel Court ponds at about 6.30am, after a nice leisurely trip down from London, to be greeted by various stumbling figures emerging from the collection of bivvies and tents that was base camp for this latest MD’s Fish-in over the course of the weekend.
The fishery is comprised of 4 ponds that are fishable and a stock pond and various hatchery pools that are dotted around the complex.
After greeting and introductions were completed, 7am signaled the start of fishing for the day and everyone elected to fish the bottom pond.
The weather was absolutely glorious , though a steadily freshening breeze was to make presentation awkward for some as the day wore on.
Now as is the style at these gatherings, the social side of things tends to get in the way of the fishing, as everybody catches up with the gossip, and more walking gets done as everyone circulates and stops for various chats.
Having set up a waggler and a feeder I soon established that there were more than a few small Rudd present. A slight understatement as every pool on the complex appears to be heaving with them. Very soon though I was into a decent fish, fishing the waggler tight to a bed of lilies…………
and after a spirited scrap I had this nice Mirror Carp to show for my efforts ……
Geoff arrived for a chat and we walked up to the “Match Lake”, stopping off at the stock pond to admire several large Koi that were in residence (2 of which were 10lbs+ with another not far behind)
On arrival at the Match Lake we were confronted by the site of a tent with a flag of a little red lizard flying over it!!!!!
Sitting there on the bankside on a small scale model of a North Sea oilrig, surrounded by enough kit to open a tackle shop was Ray Owen.
Now Ray after 30 years of fishing matches, has this year decided to give it a rest and try “Pleasure” fishing, but is still having a little difficulty adjusting to the pace of this form of the noble art, but after this weekend i’m sure he’ll get there.
After a short chat Ray decided to move down and join the rest of us, and with the help of a small team of sherpas (Me & Dave) duly moved.
Throughout the day, some nice Carp, mostly Ghosts and Mirrors were caught.
Around about midday Dave caught a Ghostie with a deformed face that Stu christened “The Parrot”. A couple of hours later i was into a Carp myself and Stu wandered round and did the honours with the landing net,and there in the folds was “The Parrot”!!!!!!! Don’t they feed these fish??????????
As the day wore on Stu decided to break out his “Noddy” kit (his words,not mine) and get into a serious bit of Rudd bashing with his lad Daniel.
Now some might be tempted to say that Stu using a pole resembles a Garden Gnome (Trogg), but as he is considerably larger than me, I wouldn’t dream of it.
As the afternoon wore on, more and more anglers arrived and to be honest the fishery is probably too small to handle the amount of pressure placed on it by these numbers.
All day long Dai and his son Daniel (Yes,same name as Stu’s son) had been fishing to a lily bed as had Geoff. Now Dai’s lad has definitely got “The Bug” following his recent exploits with Carp, and as the afternoon wore on he was into a Carp that was intent on getting back into the pads
But with Dai offering moral support and Ray in attendance to perform the ghillies duties, there was ample reward in the end with this fine fish………. a new PB for Daniel at just under 8lbs…..
I think the smile says it all,and he did it again later on,with another larger fish!!!!!!!!!! 2 PB’s in an afternoon. Well done Daniel. At least I think that’s what Dai said, but my Welsh is a little shaky.
Geoff meanwhile soldiered stoically on, despite having one of those days, where more fish performed Houdini impressions than he would have liked.
As the day ran towards it’s end, I had moved over to the next pool to escape the constant wind in my face, and after casting a small feeder towards the central island, the tip wrapped around and I was rewarded with a nice Tench of about 3lb (but not one of the golden one’s I’m afraid, sorry Trev.)
As everyone packed away for the night (No nightfishing allowed I’m afraid) I decided to try out one of the Hotcan ready meals that I had won in the Elvington raffle. What can I say, following the instructions and piercing 3 holes as instructed, a mini nuclear reaction appears to take place, resulting in one very hot can with steam pouring out of the top. 12 minutes later and a piping hot meal is ready. This one was a vegetable curry and very nice it was too.
After dinner some of us visited the local hostelry, and were treated to a couple of pints by Dave courtesy of a Lottery Win.
A brief chat ensued on our return, by the moonlit ponds, as the bats flew above our heads, before retiring to our bivvies ready for the next day ahead.
6.30am, and Cliff (the owner) has appeared for a chat with the gang as we assembled for the 7am start. It promised to be another breezy day, although it was coming from the opposite direction!
Dai was on his own as his lad has gone on a rock climbing course, and he was joined in the next swim by Ray who was determined to get to grips with his first foray into the world of Knotless Knots and hair rigs , but still seemed a little shocked by the size of gaff (size 16 actually Ray)that made up his rig!
Dave had set up on the opposite bank to launch his customary 2 method rods towards the central island. Stu and Daniel were in Dai’s swim from the previous day. I had returned to the swim that I had finished in yesterday. Geoff meanwhile has settled into a swim on the next pond along. It had a large patch of lilies to fish to and the far bank appeared to be solid rushes. Supposedly it held a large head of Ghost Carp and almost certainly an even larger number of Rudd!
I started on the waggler with a single grain of corn and slowly but surely the swim came to life, but it was only the Rudd worrying the bait, however by keeping the corn going in a number of better examples around the 8oz mark came to hand.
In general though,things are slow. Poor Ray had a close encounter with a Coot that managed to get tangled in his line, and put up a spirited resistance before I managed to net it for him. In the net it managed to disentangle itself, and to swim off with nothing more than it’s feathers ruffled.
I struck into another Rudd bite only to find that it wasn’t, and after a brief but spirited fight, i was rewarded with an immaculate Mirror Carp of about 6lbs.
Geoff meanwhile has been wading through the small Rudd in pursuit of the Ghosties that inhabit the pond he was fishing. Dave had a couple of Carp while Stu and Daniel were having great fun with the pole in pursuit of the Rudd.
All of a sudden Dai’s margin rod was away,and after a brief struggle I did the honours with the net and Dai was rewarded with this nice chunky Mirror Carp ………
My swim seemed to die as more anglers arrived in the swims that were previously vacant,and with 180 miles of the M4 to negotiate before I got home, it was time to pack the kit away .
Soon it was time for farewells and thanks. Walking round to Dave I arrived just as he hooked into another Ghostie………………
……………………..the fish managed to run through Dave’s other line and the resultant tangle acted as Dave’s cue to finish up and get ready to head home.
Stu And Daniel were still slaying the Rudd on his “noddy” tackle. (Bet you’re glad you didn’t sell it now Stu).
Dai was still soldiering on while waiting for the family to arrive, and Geoff had come over for a chat and a break from the Rudd, and Ray was loading his mountain of kit away, while trying to get his head round this whole new approach to fishing that is so foreign to him.
Thanks a lot lads it was really enjoyable and a great weekend, We must do it again soon .
It’s off to Hartleylands Farm for the 8th match of Hawthorne AC’s season today, and as I jumped into the car to make my way down to the fishery the heavens opened, and didn’t let up for the whole trip down until I pulled into the car park.
The fishery at Hartleylands Farm comprises a number of ponds and an irrigation reservoir, which is where we were to fish today.
After the usual welcomes and insults from those fishing today it was time for the draw, thrusting my hand into the draw bag I was rewarded with peg 17, which as it turns out is the very peg I struggled from in this years AT SuperCup match, so not a good start , but in for a penny……
Now there are a lot of Skimmers & Roach present in the reservoir but you really need to target the Carp to frame on the reservoir at this time of year, and if they aren’t in your peg you’ll struggle, which is exactly what I did !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It didn’t seem to matter what I tried I couldn’t get a sniff of a Carp all day. The only thing that would take my bait were either Skimmers or Roach and at the end my rather meagre weight of 22lbs 3ozs was only good enough for 12th place .
Still some good weights were recorded, The match was won with a weight of 83lbs 14ozs of Carp caught by Paul Ollerenshaw,(The reigning Club Champion) for his 5th win in 8 matches …………
Some nice fish came out, including this one for Don Freeman, a nice plump Mirror Carp of 9lbs 15ozs …………
Not my day today, but it beats the hell out of being at home and decorating. Anyway roll on Friday when I’m taking the brother-in-law Chris out for a days punt fishing at Old Bury Hill in an attempt to get him his first ever Tench.
Brother-in-law Chris has just got back into fishing via his boy Fraser (7 years old), after a 15 year lay off, and on the couple of times he has come with me most of the day has been devoted to making sure that Fraser catches.
The other day Chris confessed that he wouldn’t mind a days fishing without Fraser, and that he’d love to catch a Tench as he’d never caught one.
There is only one venue that I could think of to virtually guarantee this, so first port of call was the boat house at Old Bury Hill to pay for our day tickets and collect the punt that would transport us to “The Jungle” on the Estate Lake.
Settling into an area hard up against an uprooted tree, I fed a couple of handfuls of pellets and sweetcorn into mine and Chris’s swims. The sun was already starting to climb and not a cloud in the sky signalled that the early mist would soon burn off.
After about half an hour my waggler vanished, and after a brief tussle a fighting fit male Tench of just over 3lb was safely in the net.
Chris meanwhile was suffering from some lightning fast unhittable bites, which I felt could be due to skimmers.
I could see the frustration in his face, when suddenly the float lifted up and laid flat. “STRIKE” The rod hooped over as one angry fish sought out the shelter of the bushes that were so close. Fortunately it was unsuccessful, and after 5 mins Chris’s first ever Tench was netted, and at 4lbs 2ozs a great fish to start with ……
Soon however the sun was beating down, and the Tench retreated deep into the shade of the bushes, Chris had a close encounter with a Carp, which sadly for him the Carp won.
Still the Bream continued to feed, nothing huge but large enough to keep Chris happy for the rest of the day.
At the end of the day as we stepped out of the punt, his first words were “When are we coming back ?” I don’t think it will be too long somehow.
Sadly a good friend of mine Trevor Manning aka ZIPTREV passed away today after a long illness.
My line casts over the water, and dances like a song,
so gently breaks the surface, It’s here where I belong.
As breathing comes so effortless, my spirit is in tune,
with all the smells of water and nature’s sweet perfume.
Standing at the waters edge, is where I want to be,
Hooking fish don’t matter, not very much to me.
Until I feel that little tug pulling at my line,
then the finest sport there is, no longer is so sublime.
My breathing starts to quicken, my heart beats faster too,
precision is important now, in all things that I do.
A fisherman that’s what I am, and think I’ll always be,
Take me to the waterside, and fish a bit with me!
The last time I saw Trev, was when Geoff & I had the pleasure of sharing a punt with him on the Estate Lake at Old Bury Hill.
Trev had read one of my posts on Maggotdrowning about the place and decided that he fancied a go at it. Geoff hearing of this decided that he wanted to recapture his youth (having last fished there some 20 years previously). So thats how the three of us came to be standing by the boat house at 7am one July day in the pouring rain. Out we ventured in the punt on a search for Trev’s first Tench of the season. The omens didn’t look too good and while Geoff and I both caught, all Trev had to show for his efforts were a couple of hooked fish that smashed him.
Undaunted we kept at it and even the weather took a turn for the better, and then it happened, Trev’s float sailed away and after a brief fight there nestling in the bottom of the landing net was his prize. Not a big fish by any standards, but looking at the smile on his face I just knew that it didn’t matter. Mission Accomplished.
Trev, It’s been a privilege and a pleasure to have known you.
I’m sure you’ll be looking over our shoulders in the future and having a chuckle at some of our antics.
Rest in Peace mate.
Willinghurst Fishery. Old Lake. October 20th, 2002.
Hawthorne AC club match.
Not a good start this morning, OVERSLEPT!!!! Woken by a nudge in the ribs from Maria.
Fling tackle into car and off to Willinghurst about 40 miles away, just outside Guildford.
I arrived to find everyone already fishing, so I went to find the Match Sec and draw my peg. Now 9 & 10 were left in the bag, 10 has loads of features and is a corner peg, 9 has nothing, just an open expanse of water. No prizes for guessing!!!!!!!!! Yes I drew 9.
I had been warned that if the weather turned nasty it would be a real struggle and boy had it turned nasty!!!!! There had been a frost. The East wind made it feel like midwinter and just as i arrived at my peg it started to rain.
Up with the brolly,sit on my box and access my options….. Pole? NO, Waggler? NO, Feeder? That’ll do.
Knock up a bag of Fishgutz method mix groundbait, add a little corn and a little riddled meat and fish either hair rigged corn or meat. (4 bits of corn or ½ inch chunks of meat).
Largish baits and sit it out for a carp, clip up and keep dropping it down the same hole.
All around me people were struggling except for 2 lads who had islands to fish to. Well to cut to the chase, the fish weren’t going to rip it off the rests today, a 2 inch pull was all you got and if you didn’t hit them you didn’t get another chance.
I had a mere 7 bites all day and managed to connect with all but one catching 6 Carp, the best of which weighing 6lbs 14ozs and weighed in 27lbs 8ozs which was good enough for 3rd on the day. (less than 4lbs away from the winner, 1 more fish?)
I have to admit that I wasn’t looking forward to this as the weather of the proceeding week had promised to turn the river into a chocolate conveyer belt, so I was well pleased on arrival to see the river in good shape with just a hint of colour. The sun was shining and there wasn’t a breathe of wind. Arriving at my peg I was delighted to see a nice crease at a comfortable trotting distance, so out came the MAP18ft and a stick float.
Now the bad news!! the peg held a huge bed of Canadian Pondweed (what’s it doing in the Thames?) and despite burying the hook inside the caster it proved almost impossible to get a smooth trot down the swim.
After about 2 hours of flogging a dead horse word came down that a few slabs were starting to show and with just 1 small Perch and a couple of even smaller Roach to show for my efforts out came the feeder to see if I could find myself a Bream.
All the time the wind has been increasing and the sky was getting darker,and then the heavens opened. Half an hour later and 2 gorgeous rainbows appeared.(1 fainter than the other)…………………
However there was to be no crock of gold or even Bream for me, and at the end of the match just a couple of Gudgeon and Ruffe had been added to the net to give me a rather meagre 10ozs for 10th place.
Never mind though it’s still better than sitting around at home.
Well after my struggle at Mapledurham I Needed to catch a few fish to restore the old confidence. Looking out of the bedroom window at a grey leaden sky I wasn’t in any great hurry to venture out, but then thought “Why Not” (It’s nice when you have a week off and no decorating to do)
So after a leisurely breakfast it was of to Elphicks Fisheries, Horsmonden, in Kent. There are 6 lakes offering something for everyone, but the one that I was interested in is the fourth lake on the complex called The Sandwich. This lake holds virtually everything with one exception…… No Carp!!!!!!!!! The Sandwich is about 1.2 acres with a small island in the middle,and arriving there I had the whole lake to myself.
I picked swim 10 as it holds the only obvious feature (an overflow stack) on the lake apart from the island.
It’s a comfortable 11mtrs to the stack, and from previous experience I knew that there is an even 4ft of water covering an area about the size of a table tennis table there.
Now knowing that there’s a good head of fish present I went for a positive approach and put in 4 large pouches of 2mm pellets and 2 of casters and went straight out with a soft pellet fished 2 inches overdepth.
30 seconds later and the float slid away and I missed my first bite.
Try a caster, float slides away, a gentle lift and Bingo a fin perfect Roach of about 8ozs gets me off the mark, and for the next hour I catch one a chuck, feeding a small pinch of pellet or caster in a kinder pot every time. The best of which I weighed at 1lb 2ozs. Then all of a sudden they appeared to switch off???
Well I’d already caught about 25lbs so decided to attack it again, 3 more large pouches of pellet and another of caster and back out with a soft pellet.
Nothing……….. keep lifting the bait about a foot and let it drop, then after about 20mins the float lifted of it’s own accord, I lifted into it and ohhhhhh this was a bit better, a nice Bream of about 3lbs.
And so it continued for the rest of the afternoon, I had 27 Bream in total, the best one I weighed at 4lbs 12ozs, Mixed in among them was 1 Tench and 5 Carp???????? (obviously they didn’t realise that they shouldn’t be there).
Some time ago Gray Catchpole put a photo in one of his posts showing a Golden Tench that he’d caught. Trev phoned me enthusing in his usual fashion, that he would love to catch one as it was such a glorious fish. Alas it was not to be as he didn’t make it to the Welsh fish-in at Hazel Court (the venue where Gray caught his).
My last fish of the session, Need you ask? This one’s for you Trev ……
So a great day, with confidence fully restored, In fact I enjoyed myself so much I’m going back on Thursday for another go, only this time I’m taking our club chairman Fred (He’s one of only two remaining founder members of our club from 40 years ago) I’ll let you know how we get on.
Well back to Elphick’s today for another go! As I said in my previous report, today I would be accompanied by Fred
(one of only two founder members of our club, which is celebrating 40 seasons this year). However a couple of phone calls from him and we were joined by Peter W, Ron & Roy. Sandwich Lake was selected again (Remember….No Carp).
Well what a difference two days makes !!!! After yesterdays torrential rain down here in the SE, The level had risen 3 inches putting the platforms on the other side under water. A clear sky and a biting cold NW wind greeted us as we made our way to our pegs. As we tackled up the wind seemed to increase. It was obviously going to be awkward to say the least.
Here’s the lineup (front-back) Me (taking the pic) Fred, Pete W. Ron & Roy……
I had peg 10 again, but action was far from fast & furious. Corn & pellet both went untouched as the others started to connect with some nice Roach around the 6-8 oz mark.
After an hour a switch to maggot produced a series of lightning fast unhitable bites. However adding 3 inches to the depth of the rig to nail the bait down had the desired effect and I was soon rewarded with a nice skimmer of about a pound. Next put in and a bit more elastic comes out………… this was more like it, a nice Golden Tench weighing about 1½ pounds.
By now Ron & Roy had succumbed to the cold and forsaken their poles for the relative comfort of the feeder fished from behind their brollies. Fred & Pete W had come in close to try and sneak a few fish from the margins while I stuck it out at 11mtrs to pick up a dozen hard earned Roach and Rudd, the best of which might have just topped the pound!
Roy had managed 1 Bream on the feeder, but poor Ron was still struggling to prevent the dreaded blank.
Fred was having trouble spotting bites in the choppy conditions and Pete W was still nicking the odd one from almost under his feet fishing caster. Me? I got another bar of gold about 2lbs this time.
Towards the end bites dried up for everyone as the temperature continued to fall. We were all getting ready to call it a day as the cold started to creep into old joints when down went my float and all of a sudden there was an awful lot of elastic heading for the other side of the lake. Softly softly catchee monkey (or in this case fish) and 9mins later (timed by Ron) the prize was in the net, A pristine Mirror Carp of exactly 10lbs………
Did it count????? There aren’t supposed to be any Carp in this lake. Of Course it did.
Well that was all folks, a much harder day than Tuesday, but still some fish to be had, except for poor Ron…… Yes folks he had suffered the dreaded BLANK.
Ho Ho Ho!!!!! Time for the Christmas Fur & Feather Match. This is really just a fun match and everyone is guaranteed a prize at the end of the day, and funnily enough this meant the best turn out of the season so far!!
Now Lucks Lane Lake couldn’t be described as the prettiest venue going, especially in the winter. It’s an old irrigation reservoir that is raised up from the surrounding orchards, thus catching any weather that’s going, and today there was plenty!!!!!! Oh and did I mention that the Eurostar trains thunder past about 50 yards away every 20 mins?
In it’s defence it’s one of those venues that normally produces a few fish regardless of conditions. Being that today was basically a social event, I was just looking for a bit of comfort, so it was up with the brolly and out with a feeder to try and snare one of the lumpier Carp that inhabit the venue. I hate fishing the pole in the cold & rain so that got left in the rodbag.
Between wandering around and chatting to most of the members I did actually manage to catch one, A nice Mirror Carp of 7lbs 10ozs which was good enough for 8th place on the day which won me a bottle of Scotch by way of a bit of Christmas cheer.