My Fishing Diaries.

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Sep 18, 2001
Monk Lakes. Bridges Lake. January 13th, 2008.

First outing of 2008.

My 1st outing of the New Year saw me driving down to Monk Lakes to meet up with Andy (The Hat) Spreadbury from the Maggotdrowning Forum in the car park at 8 am. The weather didn’t look to promising. A leaden grey sky holding the promise of rain, with heavy clouds scudding across at a rate of knots didn’t bode well as Monks is one of the most exposed fisheries going, and with the object of the day being to help Andy refine his waggler fishing I felt we could be in for a struggle. The original plan was to set up on one of the heavily stocked match lakes, but with matches on all 4 of the match lakes, we elected to try one of the pleasure lakes. A leisurely drive round saw us settle on Bridges, the larger of the 2 pleasure lakes where we could fish 2 adjacent swims with the wind off our backs. Although the temperature was 10°C the wind made it feel like half of that.

Now the thing is that although I fish Monks fairly regularly, it’s mostly one of the four match lakes. Andy and I hadn’t fished Bridges since November 2004 when the lake hadn’t been open long, so neither of us really knew what to expect. I was soon set up, having brought my Shakespeare 11 ft Micro all set up in its ready rod sleeve, selecting a Drennan 3 AA peacock insert waggler fishing 3 lb straight through to an 18 Drennan barbless carp match hook, with red maggot for bait. Andy was using his 11/13 John Wilson rod at 13 ft in more relaxed mode fishing from his chair.

The maximum depth I could find was around 3 ft about 25 mtrs out towards the island, so a pouch of red maggots was followed by my float as I settled back to see if anything showed an interest. The wind was making things difficult, with Andy having to blacken his float tip to see it in the chop. Soon my float slid away resulting in a nice plump Skimmer of around 2 lb in the net and 5 minutes later its twin followed it……

Andy finally got of the mark with a little Ide, not quite what he was hoping for but at least it was a start……

I couldn’t help notice that we were getting the odd curious glance from other anglers on the lake as we were the only ones using float tackle, all the others tucked behind brollies or bivvies with the seemingly obligatory pair of Carp rods for the larger Carp that most anglers target on this lake.

Next up for Andy came a Skimmer…………

but we were both struggling to put a run of fish together, I seemed to get a couple then nothing for a half hour, indeed despite trying numerous changes the only way I could get a bite was to lay 6″ of line on the deck. Finally I managed to connect with something that felt a little different, and it proved to be the first of several Chub of around 1 lb, good to see as the last time I’d fished the lake they had been freshly stocked at around 4 ozs in an effort to provide year round sport. I’m sure they’ll drive the carpers nuts as they’re large enough now to swallow a boilie.

Andy spent a while watching me and soon spotted the difference in my approach to his, with my match background I was always doing something, feeding, twitching the bait through my feed and casting more often, whereas Andy with his background in carping was more content to leave his rod in the rest for longer after casting and feeding less frequently. Around about 1 pm I hooked what was obviously a bonus, probably a Carp but I’ll never know as it just plodded off and shed the hook.

By 2pm I was getting ready to pack up when Andy was in again…………

It was soon apparent that this was something better as a Carp surfaced about 20 feet out, Andy’s landing net was looking a bit inadequate so I acted as ghillie with mine. On the mat it was obvious that the fish was a bit of an old warrior as unfortunately its fins weren’t in the best of condition and it had a nasty scar on one gill cover. A quick weigh before it was returned showed 15 lbs, a nice bonus fish, meaning that we had both managed around 20 lbs of fish during our session.

With my gear packed Andy decided to fish on for a while, so I bid him farewell after discussing the possibility of a session after Crucians at Marsh Farm later in the year once its warmed up a bit, that should be fun.
For those of you that are interested the following is Andy’s take on the day.

Posted by Andy Spreadbury.

The object of the exercise was to carry forward what I’d learnt on my first session with the waggler. There were a number of issues to address – what sort of waggler for which conditions, shotting patterns, that sort of thing, and I started off by showing Peter my float-box. He suggested I try an insert peacock carrying 4 AAA and in addition to the bulk, to shot it with a couple of number 8s – one about half-way down, the other nine inches or so from the hook. This was a fairly heavy rig (as wagglers go), unlike the little six-inch jobbies I’d got which only take a few shot to cock them; it was so windy, even the heavy waggler was a job to cast.

Peter was out of the blocks almost immediately and was into a little run of skimmers, unfortunately, the shoal must have moved off as their presence was short-lived. I managed to bag one but as usual was falling way behind Peter’s catch-rate. A problem I identified almost immediately was visibility.

I tried to match the distance Peter was casting – quite a long way for float-fishing, about twenty-five meters or so, maybe thirty – I’m not too sure, it seemed an awful long way though and I have to confess I really couldn’t see the float properly and often not at all. Although the fine tip of the insert is great for lack of resistance to a biting fish, its slimness was a real disadvantage to the optically-challenged such as myself. I struggled with the thing for a good couple of hours before finally admitting defeat and fished shorter – even picking up a couple of fish. As Peter continued to reel ‘em in from his long-range presentation I changed the float for something else.

I’d got several other patterns with me, mostly of the straight variety made of reed, clear plastic, and peacock quill, but after several changes I eventually settled on a Premier Wind-beater with a balsa body and straight stem carrying a shed-load of lead. At least this was manageable in the extremely strong wind which got stronger as the day wore on. I finally got the visibility issue sorted and could see the bright orange of the tip pretty well and with some fiddling about managed to get the shotting about right too. Peter however had out-caught me by a ratio of about five to one and I began to get ever so slightly frustrated by my lack of action – whereas Peter was picking up fish (albeit the odd fish, but fish nonetheless) a matter of only a few metres away. Peter of course had the reason – and not for the first time during our sessions together it was FEEDING.

If there is one thing that is more important than anything else it is giving the fish feed in a consistent and regular manner sufficient to keep them interested in looking around for and finding hookbaits. Almost every time we go fishing, Feeding is the number one issue and today was no different. Peter reckoned it was my carp-fisherman mindset that made me adopt the sit-and-wait style I was using – whereas he was always busy, either feeding, twitching the bait back, re-casting, re-baiting, casting spells, talking to the fish – and whatever other devices he employs to coax, cajole, and coerce fish into taking his bait.

True, twitching the bait by giving the reel handle a turn every minute or so I am sure persuades an otherwise disinterested fish to snatch the bait back, but it is the constant and continual investment of effort that really does the trick, an investment that resulted in Peter far out-fishing me.

It was not only the amount and frequency of feed going in that made a difference – but where it was going also. Peter was pin-pointedly accurate – even in what was at times, a howling wind; my catapulted maggots were often going all over the place, blown by a gusty wind veering in sometimes unpredictable directions. There is a definite knack to it – you must aim low and snappy, not high and gentle – allowing the wind to blow the feed near the float, for it will inevitably blow it exactly where you don’t want it. The feed must be little, often, and in exactly the right place. Easy to talk – more difficult to do.

The carp was a total fluke and I claim no great skill in either luring it or landing it. The skimmers fought ten times harder! I am convinced the fish must have been laying-up – and for some considerable time too as it had a number of leech-like organisms on it.
Carp lay-up in the very harsh weather and I have often noticed that sick or mangy fish are particularly prone to doing this. The one I caught was a very sad individual who had obviously had a hard summer – the evidence of disease was obvious – lesions, partially rotten fins, and poor condition resulting in a fish that was in the recovery stage of previous ill-health.

Peter had to go early as his leg was playing him up (poor old thing) and I spent the last hour doing much better than the previous few hours catching some of the Chub and a Tench.
All in all, not only an enjoyable day in good company, but once again, I learnt a lot from my ‘mentor’.

Thanks Peter.

Location: Marden, Kent, UK


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Sep 18, 2001
Alders Farm. The Match Lake. January 26th, 2008

Today saw me making an early start for the 55 mile trip from South London up to Alders Farm, just outside the village of Great Brickhill. A good run up the M1 and A5 saw me pulling into the car park just after 8 am. Kit loaded onto the barrow for the decent down the hill from the car park and into the pump house café for a sausage sandwich and a coffee before the draw. Now I very rarely fish at Alders, but today was more of an excuse to catch up with some of the GOT Baits anglers that I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know and fish with over the last couple of years. Chatting to Matt Nutt, Gary Thorpe and Trevor Price before the draw the general opinion was that a few fish would be caught as long as you didn’t draw down in the corner (pegs 17-21). I was behind Matt at the draw and the look on his face said it all as he saw peg 19 stick to his hand, and I fared no better with peg 17 being my draw.

Matt was kind enough to fill me in on what to expect, and I have to say I didn’t feel to bad as I set my kit up. as it was a nice bright sunny day, though the wind that was blowing into our corner kept it pretty cool. I set up a couple of kits, rigged with MW Diamonds to fish at 13 mtrs and 7 mtrs, and with peg 18 not being in another to fish down the edge towards 18 where I would just keep trickling a little bait in for later in the match. I also set up a feeder rod with a small maggot feeder, though with not a lot of water to aim at in the corner it wasn’t really a consideration.

Bait wise I had some soft hookers, red maggot and sweetcorn with micro pellet for feed. 10 am and all-in saw a small pot of micro’s with with a pinch of maggot and 6 bits of corn deposited on the 7 and 13 mtr lines with some corn and pellet going in next to peg 18 in the margin.

Nearly 3 hours in and all I had to show for my efforts were a few microscopic Rudd while the young lad to my left on peg 16 had managed a solitary Carp on the feeder.

Matt was plugging away on 19 but at the time was faring no better, despite being familiar with the venue, with just a couple of the fore mentioned micro Rudd himself.

Looking around the lake, I could see that Matt’s prediction was coming true with other anglers getting amongst the resident Carp. Nobody was bagging, but at least most seemed to be getting one or two. Looking across to Matt I noticed he appeared to have a fair bit of elastic coming from his top kit. Yes, he was into a Carp, and obviously a decent one, indeed it proved to be a near double. Suddenly my float dipped and I nearly forgot to strike such was the shock. To say that I played it gently may be a bit of an understatement, but I was determined to get it safely in the net. It proved to be only about 4 lb, but it was most welcome. Matt even managed to get a similar one while i was playing mine without me noticing, so carefully was I playing my fish.

It would be nice to say that it was the start of a decent last couple of hours, but that was it for both myself and Matt. We didn’t get another bite between us for the rest of the match. At the end Matt’s fish gave him just over 14 lbs while my solitary Carp and a few tiny Rudd made just 4lbs 3ozs, while poor Trevor Jeans on 21 suffered the dreaded DNW. The match itself was won by Gary Thorpe on peg 38 at the opposite end of the lake with 10 Carp that he’d caught at 14 mtrs on corn and pellet for 58 lbs 14ozs.

Keith (gandhi) popped down to watch the weigh-in and he was kind enough to carry both mine and Matt’s rodbags back for us. A bit of banter with the lads in the car park brought the day to an end while Trev was kind enough to let me have a couple of samples of as yet unreleased GOT Baits products for me to try.

Not the best of days for me fishing wise, but a good crack with Matt for company and I’ll definately be going back to Alders, though I may wait till it warms up a bit 1st and the Carp get a bit more spread out and re-discover their appetites.

Location: Soulbury, Buckinghamshire, UK


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Sep 18, 2001
Private Lake, East Sussex. February 9th, 2008.

Today saw a few of the lads from the Maggotdrowning website meeting up for a friendly little knock-up on a Private Lake in East Sussex. Loading up the car it had all the makings of a decent day ahead, Nice and mild at 10°C with hardly a breathe of wind. I stopped off for a bit of breakfast in Bromley and was greeted by blue sky and the rising sun as I got back into the car, however as I reached branched off the M25 onto the A21 I started to run into fog and the temperature started to drop.
By the time I reached the venue and turned into the fishery car park it said 2°C and everything was covered in a heavy frost.

It was soon obvious that Bill’s enquiry as to whether anyone fancied “a fun day out plenty of banter and hopefully some of Dave the Fish’s rum bottle” had received a good response with a dozen of us assembled in the car park. Now the attraction of this lake is that it has a bit of a reputation as a bagging water, especially in the summer, however it had recently suffered two heavy floods and a visit soon after by some of the lads was far from fruitful, however with another couple of weeks for it to settle down we were hoping for better things today.

Bill had put in an appropriate number of pegs using his experience of the fishery and after a quick draw we made our way to our pegs. Kevin dropped into the 1st corner swim through the gate, while Bill and Tony shared the next corner. Pete, Alan, Dave and Colin were on the far bank while Terry, Vince, Myself, Paul and Ryan had adjacent swims on the near bank.

Setting up it was obvious that there was going to be a fair bit of banter with Paul to my left and Vince to my right…

Vince had the gap between the two islands in front of him while I had a short chuck to it in front of me. I set up a feeder rod with a small maggot feeder and a waggler rod as well as the pole, though the last two were more as back up. Bill called the All-in at 9·45 am and I potted some micro’s and corn onto my pole line at 10 mtrs and then went straight out with the feeder allowing the pole line to settle.

Kevin was quickly off the mark with a small Carp, but it was a bit of a false start as virtually everyone struggled for a bite from anything other than tiny Roach.Vince had had a couple of wrap rounds that came to nothing before connecting with a decent Carp that proved to be a near double and Paul had nicked a Carp from his end of the island.

while both the feeder and the pole line remained dead for me. By 1 pm with just a few small Roach from the pole line I went for a stroll round. first port of call was Colin who was struggling.

and Dave, where Dave was kind enough to offer me a warming nip from his bottle of Mount Gay Extra Old Rum.

Pete and Alan had managed a couple of Carp apiece while Bill and Tony were having their own silvers contest. Working my way back I could see Ryan landing a Carp which was to prove to be the 1st of three that he had in quick succession.

Vince had managed another small Carp, but poor Terry just couldn’t buy a bite from anywhere. Looking across however we were treated to a bit of fun as Tony having finally hooked a Carp played it in only to discover that he’d forgotten to set up his landing net, however he managed to land it by scooping it with the net minus handle. Meanwhile Pete ensconced on his new Space Station seatbox managed to land another couple of Carp to edge away into the lead.

Around 2 pm I finally had a bite on the feeder resulting in a very welcome Carp of around 3½lbs, but as the afternoon wore on our side of the lake got cooler and cooler till even the tiny Roach stopped feeding though a few late Carp did show for those on the far side. Frankly the All-out was music to our ears and the quick weigh-in revealed just how hard the lake had fished.Pete took the honours on the day with six Carp and a few bits for 34lbs 6ozs followed by Alan with 26lbs 4ozs and Bill taking the last place in the frame with 22lbs 8ozs.

Still despite the lack of fish it was still a decent day out in good company. Thanks to Bill for organising the day. I’m already looking forward to doing it all again once it’s warmed up a bit and the lake has had more of a chance to settle down after it’s recent double flooding.

Location: Rotherfield, East Sussex, UK


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Sep 18, 2001
Hartleylands Farm Fishery. Nick’s Lake. February 16th, 2008.

Today’s little jaunt started off when Pete Midgley posted up on the Maggotdrowning Forum at the start of the week “Hi all. Have just spoken to Ryan and we are going down to Hartleylands this Saturday. If anyone else is interested in meeting up let me know and if there is enough we could even have a little friendly match“
Now while the day ticket is £7 a day at Hartleylands, peg fees for a small match are £6 and you can use keepnets, so with 6 of us committing to the day a ‘Match’ was booked. An easy drive down saw me pulling into the car park at around 9·20 am to be greeted by Pete, Ryan and Ryan’s dad Keith. Shortly after we were joined by Dave who had collected Alan on the way. A clear blue sky promised a decent day weather-wise though a heavy frost gave it away that the temperature was only 1°C.

Paul the Bailiff arrived to collect the peg fees and I managed to negotiate a £1 discount, which we put into a winner takes all pot. We had pegs 20-25 allowing everyone a feature to fish to, and after a quick draw made our way to our pegs. I found myself with peg 24 for the day.

I would have preferred 25 or 23 which would have given me some open water to have dropped a feeder into, but decided to set up a Drennan 2½AA peacock insert waggler and fish double red maggot to keep busy and warm, though I did set up a small Drennan maggot feeder as a back up, leaving the pole in the rod bag. Pete had kindly picked up a couple of pints of red maggots for me, however I had a bit of a shock to find that they’d sweated up rather badly, but half a bag of GOT Baits worm flavoured Atomic Cloud added to them just about managed to salvage the situation, and this little fella kept popping back all day to sample them.

To my left I had Keith (Ryan’s dad) for company, and having only recently returned to fishing, he contented himself to just set up the pole, while to my right on 23 Alan had set up a groundbait feeder and his pole. to his right Pete (peg 22) had set up pole and feeder as well, while Dave (peg 21) and Ryan (peg 20) just set up feeders.

We got started around 11 am and Keith was off the mark straight away with a small Carp.

A pouch full of maggots out to the island followed by my float soon saw me getting regular bites from small Roach and Rudd, nothing big, but regularly enough to keep me warm and interested. Alan was dropping his feeder just off the point of the island and was soon into his 1st Carp of the day.

Indeed everyone seemed to be getting a few and the banter was soon flowing. Pete was alternating between the feeder and the pole and it was while he was on the pole that he became the focus of a fair bit of stick.

He hooked into what most of us assumed was a ‘lump’ and with yards of elastic streaming from his top kit he soon reached the point where it appeared that he could do nothing with it, despite standing up, top kit reaching for the sky it wouldn’t come to the net and despite us exhorting him to stand on his seat, he steadfastly refused on the grounds that “I’m not going to get my new seat dirty” What a Tart. Finally the leviathan of the deep was netted, a Carp that might have weighed 4 lbs on a good day!!!!!!!!!!!

Obviously Preston 11 hollo set loose was not quite what the doctor ordered leading to a quick change of top kit. Dave meanwhile was quietly putting together a few small Carp on the feeder, nothing large, averaging around the 1½-2 lb mark, but regularly enough to put him out in front.

Ryan was getting a few as well, though he couldn’t match Dave’s catch rate on the day.

I just kept plugging away with the waggler mostly keeping the silvers going with the odd small Carp. A couple of looks with the feeder had produced a couple of small Carp but the gaps between bites meant that the feeder was soon discarded in favour of the waggler. All to soon 4 pm rolled round and with the fishery closing at 5 pm we had a quick weigh-in, with Dave taking the honours on the day and the £1′s with his level 28 lbs, while I edged Alan out of 2nd with my 20lbs 4ozs to his level 20lbs, then Ryan and Pete with Keith bringing up the rear.

A good day all round, a few fish, great company with plenty of banter and laughs, a typical Maggotdrowning day really. Thanks to Pete for organising it, I’m sure it won’t be to long before we’re doing it all again.


Location: Cranbrook, Kent, UK


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Sep 18, 2001
Hartleylands Farm Fishery. Nick’s Lake. March 9th, 2008.

Well the day promised to be a bit of fun as I was off down to Hartleylands to join a few of the lads that are fishing Nick Gilbert’s 1st Invicta Angling Match League and were looking to have a bit of a practice prior to the 1st match there next week. Loading up the car at 7 am in Sydenham it looked as if we could be in for a decent day with the sun rising into a bright blue sky, just a breathe of wind and a pleasant 7°C showing on the car thermometer. By the time I pulled up at the Knoxbridge Café for a spot of breakfast things had taken a turn for the worst however, with wind, thick grey clouds and the first hint of rain replacing the sun. A quick bit of breakfast with Matt, Nick, Alan and Ekythump and it was off to the fishery for the draw. Already there were Vince, Trevor, Jay and Kevin and while Nick sorted out the draw we sorted our kit out. Mistake no1!!!! I’d left my jacket at home!!!!! Thankfully Matt saved the situation lending me his spare jacket for the day. Nice one Matt. With the wind increasing I fancied one of the pegs in the 30′s which were reasonably sheltered and almost flat calm. It was not to be as peg 25 was to be my home for the next few hours…

The wind was already starting to gust strongly as I settled in and set up and I just set up a maggot feeder and a couple of top kits to fish short, as I didn’t fancy battling with a long pole in the conditions, not that I was jealous looking across to Alan on peg 32 setting up with what appeared to be a millpond in front of him!…

10·30 am and Vince blew the whistle for the All-in. I’d made up a slop of crushed hemp and Pineapple Atomic Cloud to feed the inside line and fished white maggot on the hook and this soon started to produce few small Roach. Sport in general appeared to be slow for most though Jay was getting a few Carp on the feeder over on peg 8, Nick had the wind full in his face on peg 6 (a most unusual occurrence for him) while Matt was blasting maggot and fishing the waggler on peg 9 but this was producing mostly Roach for him rather than the hoped for Carp. In fairness though most of the lads were trying to sort methods for the upcoming League so it was more of a question of sorting out wouldn’t work as opposed to sitting it out on a banker method.

Just after midday I had a look over on the feeder. 3rd cast and I stuck it into a tree on the island and cracked off. Temper? Laziness? I really should have stuck with it but didn’t. Instead I had a cup of coffee and went for a walk with the camera to warm up.

Up on peg 21 Trevor was sheltered behind his brolly and had settled on the waggler with a fair bit of open water in front of him, and while it was mostly Roach the occasional Carp was putting in an appearance to keep it interesting…

while Ekythump 2 down on peg 23 was fishing his top 2 and finding a few more Carp amongst the Roach. Back down on peg 32 Alan was getting a few on the Waggler but had been feeding a margin line that as it turned out, was to come good for him in the last hour.

Kevin on peg 34 was having a bit of a grueller and was sitting it out on the feeder while Vince was on peg 32 and complaining that he was freezing despite being sheltered from the worst of the conditions. The feeder was producing the odd Carp for him as it appeared the fish wanted a dead still bait.

Nick on peg 6 (a peg he didn’t want to put in, so you just knew he would draw it) spent most of his time chopping and changing trying various methods out when he wasn’t having a walk about chatting and trying to get out of the wind…

That just left Jay and Matt on pegs 8 & 9……

and while Jay stuck it out on the feeder all day, Matt started the match on the waggler spraying maggot before switching to the method halfway through.

I spent the rest of the match fishing the top 2 but unlike Ekythump, couldn’t find a Carp for love or money, I did however manage a Barbel which was a bit of a surprise because as far as I’m aware Paul only stocked about 14 of them into the lake originally (needless to say it was in perfect condition)

3·30 pm and Vince blew the All-out, a most welcome sound, which was quickly followed by the weigh-in. 12lbs 12ozs was my reward for the day, leaving Vince happy that he’d beaten me for the 2nd time this year. The lake had fished hard though in some of the worst conditions I’ve experienced there, though hopefully it will be better for the lads fishing the League there, starting next week.

Location: Cranbrook, Kent, UK


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Sep 18, 2001
Framfield Fishery. Spring Lake. March 24th, 2008.

“Anyone coming out to play Easter Monday?” That was the perfectly innocent post put up by Pete Midgley on the Maggotdrowning Forum that resulted in this little episode. Loading up the car, a sunny day appeared to be in the offing and with just a light frost I felt we could be in for a decent day. A smooth traffic free drive of 40 miles down to Uckfield in East Sussex even allowed me to stop off at McDonald's for a bit of breakfast, where I found Pete Thatcher, Martyn Dwayne and Mark Hathaway too, meaning I pulled into the fishery at around 8·20 am. Worryingly the car thermometer still only said just 1°C though.

Today was the 1st time that I’d been down to Framfield since March 2005, so I really didn’t have a clue what to expect. Anyway into the draw bag and peg 64 stuck to my hand. They say that a good indication of how well you’ve drawn is how many keepnets they hand you. I was given just the one while Kevin, who had drawn 63 and a few others were given two, so I figured I may have drawn out of the favoured areas.

As I settled into 64 I was faced with probably 17½mtrs to the island which had seen some vigorous pruning since the last time I’d seen it. Having hurt my ribs at work the previous week long pole was out of the question, so I set up for around a comfortable 8 mtrs and found a reasonably level 3 ft all over, and with it being just a couple of inches shallower in the margins 1 rig covered all. I also set up a waggler to fish across if need be. Bait was simply sweetcorn to be fished over the fisheries own pellets with a few expanders as a change bait. To my left I had Bill G for company on peg 65, so a decent bit of banter was guaranteed if nothing else.

10 am and after a warming cup of coffee fortified with a drop of Bushmills generously provided by Kevin, I potted in some pellet and sweetcorn at 8 mtrs and fed some pellet by the dead rushes in both margins for later. Straight out to 8 mtrs and after 20 mins the 1st bite of the day resulted in a nice Common Carp of around 3 lbs gracing the net. I just kept topping up the feed with a T-pot containing a dozen pellets and 3-4 bits of corn at regular intervals, with the same being fed by hand into the margin swims. After a couple of hours I’d managed 6 Carp which had been matched by Bill, though I felt my fish had been a little bigger. Weather wise the day had deteriorated with a mix of rain sleet and snow coupled with the wind making things very cold and unpleasant.

Of course as with all things Maggotdrowning there had to be some Pee taking somewhere along the line and today's target was Pete Midgley, who in the run up to the day had posted……“I think I would still beat Ryan if I had a bit of bamboo, a length of rope and a lump of cheese.”

So of course Bill G hadn’t been able to resist producing the relevant bit of Preston Imitations kit............

Pete however took it all in the spirit that was meant and even had the good grace to pose for the obligatory photo.

Meanwhile word was circulating Mark Hathaway and Martyn Dwayne were doing relatively well with Stephen Tanner putting a few together from the supposed flyer.
Kevin had changed over to a set up incorporating a maggot feeder and Polaris float and was soon into a run of Carp as he cast into the gap between the islands. Unfortunately he hooked up on the island after a while losing his float in the process. Not having another he reverted to a straight maggot feeder, but for some reason this didn’t seem to be so productive and he reverted to the pole.

Quite a few were struggling for even a bite however and people were ringing the changes in an attempt to buy a bite. Colin may have taken things a shade to far however, disguising himself as a bush in attempt to draw fish into his margin swim.

Bill meantime had gone for a stroll to stop himself from seizing up and by the time he returned it had allowed me to sneak a couple of fish ahead of him.With about an hour to go things had started to pick up with Tony Roberts finally getting amongst a few on the maggot feeder hard across to the island, Colin getting a couple of decent Perch as reward for his efforts and even Trevor Little getting a couple although he was to tip back without weighing in. I managed to tempt 5 more Carp from down the edge in the last hour, though a lump snagging me in the reeds in the last 10 minutes was to cost me at the death.

At last 3·30pm rolled round and the all out, quickly followed by the weigh-in. Mark Hathaway leading with a very decent weight on the day of 55lbs 2ozs followed by Stephen Tanner on 48lbs 12ozs, a very creditable effort as it was his first match. As the scales reached me I thought I might scrape 40 lbs, so it was a pleasant surprise when they recorded 54lbs 8ozs putting me into 2nd place, though it left me ruing that lost fish.

So that was it, just leaving the 14 anglers to pack up and get home to thaw out. Despite the conditions we had caught some fish and had a few laughs as always. We must do it again, but please, can we have some better weather next time?


Location: Framfield, East Sussex, UK


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Sep 18, 2001
Monk Lakes. Match Lake 2. April 5th, 2008.

Marsh AC club match.

Well an early wake up call so that I could drop Maria off at work saw me with plenty of time to get back home and cook myself a bit of breakfast before donning the thermals and waterproofs and loading the car up in the pouring rain and setting off to Monk Lakes to meet up with the members of Marsh AC for our 1st match of the year on Match Lake 2.

Now the main thing about Marsh AC is that it is a small friendly club with membership by invitation only, in essence it’s a Social Club that organises a days fishing for it’s members. The format of these days fishing loosely resembles a match in that there’s a draw for pegs, but there is no Club Championship or Cups to be won, in fact the only cash that gets paid out is section money, no 1st, 2nd or 3rd place prizes. It suits the members and keeps the pot hunters away.

Pulling into the car park at around 8 am it was good to see that the vast majority of the usual suspects were in attendance, along with a couple of guests (Bill G and Alan from the Maggotdrowning Forum), Paul East was missing however, it turned out that he’d forgotten to buy a new license and for some reason had forgotten that you can buy one on-line or over the phone. At least it had stopped raining, though the grey skies and brisk wind promised to make it a challenge.

Anyway to the draw, and anyone of 3 corner pegs would have been nice, 45 because it’s an out and out flyer with a resident shoal of Barbel, or 56 and 66 at opposite ends of the causeway as these have aerators at their sides and unlike the other match lakes they aren’t roped off allowing you to fish tight to them. No such luck though, 53 sticking to my fingers providing my home for the day.

One thing about the match lakes at Monk’s is that there are plenty of fish, so that whatever the draw you’re guaranteed to have a few fish in front of you to provide a decent days fishing. A stranger feature to this particular lake however is the fact that the depth shelves from around 5 feet in front of peg 55 to around 10 feet in front of 45, and when the wind blows straight down the lake as it was today it sets up a terrific tow!!

I set up 2 pole rigs to fish a couple of lines, the 1st at around 10 mtrs where I had just over 6 ft of water was a 4X18 KC Carpa2 on 0·16 straight through to a size 18 Drennan Carp Match hook and the 2nd for the margins where I had a couple of feet of water against the reeds was a 4X12 Carpa shelf with similar line and hook that I could also use up in the water on the main line if need be. I also set up a pellet waggler, though I suspected that it wouldn’t be a realistic option due to the wind and tow.

Bait for the day was red maggot, corn and pellet, and I also made up some groundbait to get some feed down through the tow. This was Special G with some corn and a good helping of micro pellet added.

10 am and the All-in, and straight away I fed 5 good balls of groundbait on the 10 mtr line, with a good helping of pellet, corn and maggot down the right hand margin which I would continue to top up through the match as there was a vacant peg between me and the next angler.

Out to 10 mtrs with a single grain of corn, I just let the rig edge through the groundbaited area with the tow and was rewarded with a confident bite that produced the 1st fish of the day, a nice chunky F1 of around 1½lbs. The wind and waves on the water meant that presentation wasn’t ideal but by sticking at it I managed to put another 8 in the net along with around a dozen small Tench in the next 2 hours. Alan to my right was having a grim time and was struggling to buy a bite with only a couple of fish in the net and Tony next to him was having trouble coming to terms with the tow that the lake was generating, but putting a few together holding a heavy rig back against the tow.

It seemed that every time I looked up towards Colin on peg 45 he was either playing or netting a fish and it was obvious he would take all the catching. Looking across to the lads opposite fishing on the causeway, I could see Dave had turned his back on the wind and was fishing short to the channel where the aerator is and appeared to be putting a steady run of fish together, while Terry next door to him was also catching close in to the margin, while Bill was fishing a longer line and sorting a few out.

With a lull in my fish, I fed 4 more balls of groundbait in a bid to kick start things and had a quick stroll with the camera. Colin as I suspected was catching well despite trying to deny it and it was a pleasure to see that Judy on peg 46 next to him was putting a couple of tips I’d given her to good use and was enjoying some good sport too.

Back at the peg and a quick look at the margins revealed just a solitary small Chub so back out and I was soon into a run of small Tench and Skimmers with a couple of decent Ide for good measure.
Kevin to my left had resorted to a Polaris set up with a groundbait feeder to beat the tow and was starting to find a few fish, while Martin was really struggling to get a bite.

With a couple of hours to go Alan finally managed to find some Barbel down his margin line, while Tony having changed to a feeder to combat the tow was steadily starting to put fish in the net, Despite several looks, my margin just never came to life, forcing me to stick it out at 10 mtrs, and while I caught steadily to the end it was mainly small Chub and Tench with just a couple of bonus Barbel around the 2 lb mark.

With 15 minutes to go the skies grew darker and the temperature dropped noticeably and just to top it off it started to rain. 4pm and the All-out saw everyone hurriedly packing away followed by the weigh-in. Third to weigh, my 51¼lbs put me briefly into 1st place which I knew wouldn’t last. Alan’s 34½lbs was a decent return given that he had nearly the whole of that in the last 2 hours, while Tony’s 48½lbs meant that I had at least won my section. Judy put a very creditable 54¾lbs on the scales (Her best ever match weight) to briefly lead till Colin weighed his level 87lbs for the match win. Jim round on 56 managed 55¾lbs that would prove to be good enough for 3rd while Dave put a very decent 62½lbs on the scales for 2nd and might have run Colin even closer if it hadn’t been for a few lost fish during the course of the day.

Still despite the weather trying it’s hardest, overall it proved to be a decent day with no dry nets and an average of around 39 lb per angler between the 17 of us. A decent days fishing by any standards. Roll on the next one.


Location: Marden, Kent, UK


Staff member
Site Supporter
Sep 18, 2001
Hawkhurst Fishery. The Match Lake. April 19th, 2008.

“Who would be up for a bash at Hawkhurst fish farm on the match lake, if you are interested let me know and i will sort a list out”.That was the post that Bill G put up on the Maggotdrowning Forum in the middle of March that led to us arriving for a 20 peg knock-up.

Pulling into the fishery car park at around 7·45 am a host of the usual suspects were in attendance along with a couple of 1st timers for what we hoped would be a good day with plenty of fish for everyone. The weather however obviously had other ideas with a dull grey sky and a cold easterly wind promising the threat of rain during the day. Hawkhurst is primarily a Carp fishery, a fact that’s rather given away by the carving of an old tree stump outside the bailiff’s office overlooking the fishery.

I can’t say that Hawkhurst is my favourite venue in all honesty. The Match Lake is a strip lake with 10 pegs on either side with very few features for most to fish to except the boards down the edge, however it does have fish in abundance and is well capable of throwing up lots of ‘Ton+’ weights of Carp in matches, so it’s normally a great confidence booster.

A decent Full English in the on site Café and a couple of side bets (£2 with Vince & £1 with Bill) was followed by the draw, which saw me drawing peg 11 at the far end.

but at least I would have the wind off my back. Vince had drawn the flyer, peg 1 that was black with fish when we arrived while Dave Collier had the other flyer (peg20) opposite him. I had Colin opposite on 10 with Bill G to his left on 9, with Jeff D (on his 1st match with us) to my right on 12.

I set up a couple of top 2′s, the 1st around 18″ deep to fish tight to the boards on either side and another around 3ft deep to fish at 2mtrs out. These were both 0·14 Antares Silk Shock with size 18 Fox Series 2 hooks with 4X12 KC Carpa Shelf’s and I set up another kit using the same line and hook but with a 4X14 Carpa Tricky to fish the 5ft deep 6 mtr line.
Bait was 4mm fishery pellet for feed with 4 & 6mm GOT expanders for the hook, with sweetcorn and GOT paste as alternatives.

10am and the All-in and Jeff on the next peg was straight in having dropped his unbaited rig in to double check it’s shotting has a Carp take his bare hook!!!!! I dropped my expander baited 2mtr rig in and the float buried straight away and a nice little Common was soon in the net, Game On.

Or not as it proved. The 1st hour saw me put just 5 fish in the net and from what I could see nobody was exactly taking their peg apart, with Bill suffering a few liners and just a solitary fish in the net.
Jeff and Jay to my right having a few, but from what I could see smaller fish than mine. Fishing tight to the boards is normally a banker for a few fish at Hawkhurst but despite keeping a few pellets trickling into both margins I couldn’t find a bite there and moved back out to the deeper water at 6mtrs where at least I was picking up the odd fish.

Bill had gone walkabout after about an hour and had completed a circuit of the lake by the time he got to me. His report was grim with most struggling, though Dave Collier seemed to be getting a few from peg 20 and to top it all off it started to rain. Kevin’s partner Jean however appeared with a very welcome cuppa from the Café and with bites few and far between I re-fed all my lines and went for a walk of my own.

Clive down on peg 14 was putting a few together but felt that Paul over on peg 7 was doing a shade better.

Ryan next door on peg 15 was struggling and pinning his faith on finding a few from the margins. while Matt on 18 had managed a run of fish up in the water but hadn’t had a bite for 40 minutes.

Dave Collier on 20 was indeed putting a few together, he was fishing at 9mtrs to the stump of a cut down tree that had made the peg a real flyer in earlier days.

Over on fancied peg 1 Vince was having one of those matches we all dread with just a couple of fish to show for his efforts, while having to watch Dave opposite steadily pull away in terms of fish caught, and Trevor on peg 2 wasn’t fairing much better.

Nick on peg 3 had forgotten about the pole and was fishing the waggler…………

with Terry next to him struggling as well. Pete was soldiering on and managing the odd fish from peg 5. While Mike Jameson was racking his brains trying to put a few in the net and amazing us all that he hadn’t packed up and gone home as he’s well known for doing if he isn’t enjoying himself.

Paul East appeared to be going reasonably well though on peg 7 and a chat with Al next to Bill revealed he was getting bites on banded pellet but having trouble hitting them. Bill had finally managed to find a couple by fishing corn long at 12 mtrs.

Back at my peg, out came the bait bands and a banded 4mm at 6mtrs soon produced a bite and a 4lb’er in the net. Bill’s bites on the corn however appeared to have dried up on him again, though Al was nicking the odd one. Jeff D was catching by swapping lines, though his fish seemed smaller than mine which prompted me to stick to the 6mtr line as my fish still seemed to be of a bigger stamp. Jay next to Jeff however seemed to be the only one catching down the margin next to the boards and was also taking some better fish long when he rested the margin line.

Thankfully 4pm saw the all out, and the speed that the scales came round signalled that the lake hadn’t produced the expected weights, with Paul East leading the way with a very creditable 69lbs 08ozs from peg 7. My fish came to 43lbs 08ozs which was good enough for 6th on the day and took my 4 peg section. Down to the last peg and it was a question of whether Dave Collier had done enough to edge Paul out of 1st place, but a combination of the cold and Dave’s arthritis saw Paul hang on as Dave’s fish only came to 62lbs 08ozs, still a very good effort on the day.

So that was it for another day, not the expected weights, but a £2 coin from Vince (we didn’t give him much stick for blowing the flyer honest) a £1 coin from Bill, some good laughs and plenty of banter helped out. Thanks to Bill G for sorting out the day, just remember to have a word with the weather Gods next time Bill.


Location: Hawkhurst, Kent, UK


Staff member
Site Supporter
Sep 18, 2001
Rolf’s Lake. Holton. Oxfordshire. May 3rd, 2008.

The JINX Series 2008
Match 1.

Well Today saw the 1st match of this years Jinx Series run by Malc (The Jinx) Doyle at Rolf’s Lake. The entire series this year is being fished at Rolf’s Lake. There’s 24 lunatics anglers booked in for this years series, all hopeful that some decent weights will be recorded. One of the nice things about fishing the series is that the matches start around lunchtime and today's plan was for a 10·30 am draw and to fish from noon to 5 pm. I arrived at the fishery at about 10 am to find plenty already in attendance and eager for the start. I have to say at this point that it was great to see that all the effort that John Bennett and his wife Pauline and their team of helpers have put into the venue since he took over from Rolf are beginning to bear fruit, with all the new platforms and a lot of pruning haven taken place since I last visited. I’m sure Rolf will have approved.

The 1st shock was Malc arriving early, but needless to say the draw still didn’t take place on time, and with the delay it meant that we would be fishing from 12·30 pm to 5·30 pm. As usual I had my customary £1 side bet with Gemma (The Minx) and another with Dirk, as Midge Milnes had asked me to get his pound back that Dirk had taken from him on a previous match. The weather looked half decent, plenty of Carp were showing on top, and there had been some decent weights recorded the day before, so could we be in for a decent day? Well into the draw bag and I found that peg 40 was to be my home for the day.

Now coincidentally Clive had fished this peg on the Open the previous Sunday and I had read the details of the day on Clive’s Blog so I had at least an idea of how to tackle it. On the Little Lake I had Colin on peg 34 (a peg that’s really suited to his style of fishing) Ant was on 38 while to my left I had Dai on peg 2 for company with Nick Williams over on 4, while the last angler I could see was Dave Collier on peg 7. All the rest were pegged on the Big Lake, but hopefully the recent warmer weather meant that the fish would be spreading out from their winter quarters and we would all be in for a few fish today.

I just set up the 2 pole rigs. The 1st a ·4g MW Diamond to fish dead depth (about 5 ft) straight out at 11 mtrs, though I could come in to 5 mtrs with it as the depth was pretty constant and the 2nd a 4X12 KC Carpa Shelf for the margin that I could utilise as an up in the water rig if need be. These were both made up straight through with 0·16 Antares Silk Shock with size 16 Drennan Carp Match hooks. I also had my pellet waggler rod set up as a back up. Feed was about 12 pints of the fishery 4 & 6 mm feed pellets with GOT Baits Liver and Catmeat 6 & 11 mm soft hookers and their 6 mm expanders for hook baits.

12·30 pm and at the All-in I cupped 2 big potful's of pellet in on the 11 mtr line and a pot down the right hand margin at about 7 mtrs. By the time I had baited my rig and shipped out to 11 mtrs there was already a fizz of bubbles coming up, After a minute the float vanished and a sharp lift saw me attached to what was obviously a decent Carp. Looking up as I played it I could see both Colin and Ant already netting their first fish of the day. Something just didn’t feel right about my fish though and after a couple of minutes everything went slack and the hook came back with a large scale attached to it.

That set the tone for the first couple of hours, with just 3 Carp to show for my efforts and quite a collection of scales on the sidetray, despite swapping depths, baits and varying the amount of feed I was plagued with foul hookers, none of which I managed to land. A couple of looks in the margin proved it to be “Silvers” city and a session with the pellet waggler had resulted in just a solitary foul hooker which of course came off.

Nick had gone onto the feeder and was catching regularly if not particularly quickly. Ant had started to have a look down his margin swim and was starting to bag up. I got up to stretch my legs and decided to heavily feed at 5 mtrs to see if I could make them have it on my return. Dai had had a miserable start but was finally getting some action.

I strolled up to see Dave but although he’d had a few including a decent Chub by chucking the feeder across to the far bank, he’d reverted to the pole as he was more comfortable. Rumours were circulating that the Big Lake was fishing well, but rather than investigate I made my way back determined to avoid too bad a battering.

Back out at 5mtrs and there were fish there, but Skimmers and Roach were ragging the bait before the Carp could get a look in. In an attempt to avoid this I decided to fish the 6mm feed pellet banded onto the hook, and this finally seemed to make the difference. In the final 2 hours I got into a decent run of fish, finishing with 17 Carp though only 3 of them were weighers.

5·30 and the All-out was called with me still playing a fish which proved to be my largest of the day, a 13½lbs Common. Packing up it was soon obvious that it had fished well (You can always tell by how long it takes for the scales o come round). Ant was soon leading with an excellent 228¾lbs, 180 lbs+ of which was made up of weighers. My fish came to 142¾lbs, my best weight from Rolf’s and pretty satisfying given my frustrating start to the match. Dirk dipped out, just missing a ‘Ton’ with 94 lbs after his fish dried up towards the end of the match, and had to hand over £1 to me.

The ‘Tons’ kept coming and Paul Roberts could be found wandering around beating himself up, convinced that he had blown yet another chance to get his first ever Rolf’s Ton, but the scales put him out of his misery when they revealed a weight of 118½lbs. I’m sure we were all pleased for him and he was soon walking around like a Cheshire Cat.

Gemma also got her Ton with 149lbs adding yet more members of The Minx Club in the process and relieving me of my £1.

Hard luck story of the day has to be Steve Wilson who found a great big hole in one of his keepnets meaning he only weighed 57lbs. Of course we were all full of sympathy. Star of the day however was Ade Williams aka Slim Shady, who on his first ever Jinx match weighed a mighty 266¾lbs from peg 24 to set a new Jinx Record.

So there it is, Two Double Tons, Nine Tons and a total of 2316 lbs of fish put on the scales between 21 anglers which is an incredible average of 110 lbs+ per angler.
Have we peaked to early? We’ll find out when we’re back for Match 2 on June 7th.


Location: Holton, Oxfordshire OX33, UK


Staff member
Site Supporter
Sep 18, 2001
20,846 European Tour. River Ebro. Caspe. Spain. May 5th-9th, 2008.
European Tour 2008.

Monday 5th.

Well, we all assembled at Luton Airport around 11am for our Ryanair flight to Reus Airport. As fine a body of men as has ever been assembled for a Maggotdrowning quest to catch some fish. Along with myself were Dave, Stu, Trogg, Beebs, Norm & Jason (NoFinPhish).
At the check-in all went smoothly till Stu stuck his case on the scales!!!! some hasty repacking soon took care of that little hiccup though and we had time for a couple of pints prior to departure, though Dave did require counselling for shock after being told the price.

Onto the plane and the usual scramble for seats that’s common with these flights, for the short 1 hour 45 minute flight and in seemingly no time at all we were landing at Reus Airport. The baggage handlers certainly weren’t British, because as soon as we reached Arrivals the bags were already on the carousel!!! While Dave & Stu went to sort out the hire car the rest of us strolled outside to find Pat who would be taking us down to Caspe in his Espace which is around a 2 hour drive away in the Arragon region.

A pretty uneventful trip ensued, with Pat filling us in about the area while Norm monitored the temperature on the Espace’s digital thermometer. We finally arrived in Caspe just after 5 pm and met up at the apartment with Gary(catman)Sheridan the owner of who was to be our guide for the trip. No way Caspe could be described as a tourist town, it’s very much a typical provincial one. He showed us up to the 3rd floor apartment that was to be our base for the next few days and arranged to pick us all up at 8 am the next morning.

View from our apartment balcony.

Beds sorted and gear unpacked a quick trip to the local supermarket soon took care of essential supplies (Beer and Wine). After a few beers we set off in search of the local Chinese and finally found it, and very good it was too. A few more beers before finally returning to the apartment for a few more drinks, saw most of us drifting off to bed at various stages in preparation for the day ahead.

Tuesday 6th.

Most of us surfaced in good time for the day ahead, though Beebs & Jason did seem a little subdued, and Norm seemed to think that I may have snored occasionally during the night. Gary arrived right on time and we set off for his house to collect one of the boats, bait and tackle before traveling down to the Club Nautica to launch the boats from the slipway. With the kit divided between 2 boats, Dave volunteered his services to skipper one of them, and the more sensible of us (Me. Stu & Trogg) elected to go with Gary.

Soon we were off turning right out of the Club Nautica and on to the main body of The River Ebro. The sheer scale of the river is quite breath-taking and it’s soon obvious that without a guide, it would be almost impossible to know where to start. On the way Gary explained to us how he made use of his Hummingbird fish finder and gave us a bit of a run down on his approach to things.
Gary at the helm.

After about 45 minutes steady cruising we pulled into a bay and got everything unloaded, and a gazebo set up to supply some shelter from the sun as the temperature would rise into the 80′s during the day. The Catfish tackle was essentially 10 ft up-tide boat rods with either Multiplier or Big Pit Fixed Spool reels loaded with heavy braid and shock leaders carrying a single LARGE hook that appeared to be a circle pattern with the bait (20 mm drilled halibut pellets) fished on a hair. The weights were rocks from the surrounding area fixed onto a sliding swivel by elastic bands that would pull free on the strike, meaning that all the baits had to be boated out and not cast. The feed for the session was a 20 kilo bag of pellets per angler that would be fed by hand from the boat once the baits had been placed into position.

So with each of us fishing two rods 14 baits were boated out and fed with pellet, and we settled down besides our rods full of anticipation. Well most of us did, Beebs however was still feeling a shade second hand especially as he’d slipped on the rocks and cracked his left knee that was still recovering from cruciate surgery and Jason joined him but only succeeded in washing his phone…

Well the sun beat down, but even with 14 rods and over 100 kilo’s of pellet having been fed, not a single bite was forthcoming. Catfish could be seen topping along with Carp, but none appeared to be interested in the baits. While Norm could be seen pondering whether he was ever going to get a bite………..

Dave took a more proactive approach and cobbled together a pole of sorts with some line and hooks he’d brought with him……

However it was no more successful than the other 14 rods. One thing was undeniable though, The view, which was spectacular.

but perhaps the sighting of a couple of Vultures soaring on the thermals in the distance should have told us something. In fact the most action was when the wind got under the gazebo and trashed it in all honesty. It was a group of pretty disappointed anglers that headed back at around 7 pm, the Ebro having shown us just what a hard nut it could be to crack.

Indeed Gary contacted several of his fellow guides on the way back, but it was soon obvious that nothing was coming out anywhere as both the Cats and Carp appeared to have been on the spawn.

Back at the apartment via the supermarket to top up supplies then a quick SS&S followed by a steak at the local restaurant and a few beers at the local bar, most of us got our heads down earlyish for a fresh start the next day. Norm made me take some of his snore stopping spray before turning in. (It didn’t work) :sleep::sleep::sleep:

Wednesday 7th.

Another 8 am start and as we climbed into the boats Gary told us that we would be heading to a different part of the Ebro up river near to Chacon to a swim where the old river bed comes close to the shore offering the opportunity to present baits in 60 feet of water!!!!! and just to offer a little hope we passed a boat that appeared to be playing a fish, would this prove to be a lucky omen? On arrival we set up on what appeared to be a shingle beach and with us having more of an idea of what to do Gary was soon boating out the baits and positioning them with the aid of his fish finder.

Soon we were all settled in and keenly anticipating the 1st bite of our trip. However those rod tips remained totally still………

Dave even went out with Gary in the boat to check with the fish finder whether or not there were any fish present, There were and Dave even videoed it just to prove it to the rest of us……

So the interminable wait went on, but with nearly another 100 kgs of bait fed into this swim and fish present surely we couldn’t go another whole session with nothing to show for it could we? Then just after 1 pm Jason’s rod tip pulled over signalling a bite and he was into a fish………

The tension was tangible as Jason played what was obviously a large fish but finally Gary managed to get his hand on the shock leader and Jason’s prize was in view……

Banked and in the sling, Weighed and displayed………

All 81 lbs of her, she was then tethered to recover prior to taking some more photos. With a hearty round of congratulations out of the way Jason was soon down to his shorts and into the water despite it not being the warmest and him not being able to swim so we could take some more trophy shots………

Well after the excitement of the 1st Cat being banked, another rod soon hooped over, and it was Jason’s again only this time it was just a baby of around 15 lbs, Perfection in miniature it was another Cat regardless of the size………

With the session drawing to a close Trogg’s rod was the next to go, alas this wasn’t a cat, but a superbly fit River Common that went 16 lbs and was very welcome none the less.

Now with time running out and with fish obviously present we were presented with a dilemma, Would we be able to get the swim tomorrow? This was solved with Trogg volunteering to stay the night at the swim with Gary for company bringing back a bivvy, bed-chair and sleeping bags after ferrying the rest of us back to the Club Nautica and arranging for Pat to bring us back by road the next morning. Well Done Fella. (y)

The trip back was damp to say the least with The Mistral blowing and whipping up the waves meaning that we all got a good soaking on the way back. By the time we got back to the apartment we got a text from Trogg telling us that he’d had a 37 lb Common Carp, a new PB. A meal and a few beers were the order of the day by way of celebration before we turned in full of anticipation for our final days fishing that lay ahead.

Thursday 8th

8 am and Pat was waiting for us and after a stop off at Gary’s house to collect even more pellets we were off to Chacon by road and after a little bit of confusion soon found the swim. Nothing more had come out over night just a couple of missed runs. The weather was quite overcast however and there was even the possibility of some rain later in the day forecast. Soon we were all set, although Beebs did swop rods with Stu so that he could be nearer to them as his knee was still giving him trouble.

The first bite of the day came to Webbo but with him nearly missing the rod and Stu’s phone sounding the Benny Hill ringtone at the same time he still managed to connect only for the fish which appeared to be a Cat from the way it fought, to shed the hook having crossed several of the other lines which led to the tangle brothers performing a rather intricate dance as they sorted it all out…

Soon though Stu’s rod was away and he was playing what was obviously a lively Carp…

They’re as fit as hell these Ebro Carp, but soon Stu had a 23 lb Common to show for his efforts ……

Having got over that Stu’s rod was soon away again, and this time it was obvious that it was a Cat……

A degree of tension ensued when Stu realised that it was hooked on a Carp rig he’d set up that had a barbless hook however with the fish safely landed the hook was found firmly in the scissors. Weighing in at 82 lbs it didn’t take Stu to long to get in for the obligatory photo’s even if the water was a little cooler than he would have liked.

As we were finishing up the photos Trogg’s rod was nearly dragged from it’s rest by a bite of savage proportions, the power of which dragged him down the bank towards the water however he soon appeared to have things under control, so much so that someone decided to drag his shorts round his knees while Gary whispered words of encouragement in his ear.

Unfortunately however it was not meant to be as with the fish close to shore it shed the hook. Sitting down and reflecting with Trogg that I may as well frame my rods and display them in the Tate Gallery as a still life, of course i then had a bite!!!!!!!!!! and made a complete hash of it, ending up going almost base over apex and ending on my backside as the fish slipped the hook :eek::rolleyes:

Talk about a nightmare, 2½ days and I miss my only bite. :cry: Soon however Jason was in again, and this time the result was a Common Carp of 32 lbs………

This was swiftly followed by Webbo connecting and finally banking a 24 lb Common to break his duck……

All of which just left me, Beebs and Norm blanking, and time running out. :cautious: Of course just to rub it in Dave’s rod was soon away again, and this time it was obvious that it wasn’t a Carp……

This time it all went smoothly and the scales revealed a Cat weighing in at 84 lbs. Needless to say it didn’t take long for Dave to strip down and get in for the obligatory photo’s……

And fortunately because Stu’s cat had been retained on a tether we persuaded Stu to get in once more for some brace photo’s although Stu’s cat didn’t seem to keen on the idea as it had rested up and was now fresh as a daisy.

Well with time running out on the session, Gary decided it would be good to get us all together for a group photo, though with 3 of us still blanking, quite how Norm, Beebs and I managed to look so happy will probably always remain a mystery. :cool::LOL:

Sitting by my rods, it went through my mind just how much inevitable stick I would get from the forum members on my return, but then out of the corner of my eye my left hand rod dipped and I struck and felt a fish!!!!!! Salvation, now I’m not used to multiplier reels and to say that I played that fish nervously is an understatement of huge proportions.

However Gary soon had it safely banked and there it lay, a glorious River Ebro Common Carp that weighed 28 lbs, a new PB. Mugger had got a fish at the death, and I think the photo’s show just how happy and relieved I was ……:p

That was the end of the action for the day, unfortunately, leaving Beebs and Norm fishless, not for the want of trying though. :(
We said our Farewells and Thanks to Gary on the bankside as he had another group of anglers arriving the next morning and Pat was picking us up for the return to the apartment.

Out for another Chinese by way of winding up, we then hit the bar till we got kicked out as the owner wanted to go home, most of us slept like tops when we finally hit the sack. :sleep:

Friday 9th.

Surfacing at various times during the morning we packed up and straightened up the apartment before popping out to get a few gifts for those back home, it was dull and overcast once more and had obviously rained at sometime during the night. Pat arrived to pick us up and half way back to Reus Airport the heavens opened!!!!!!! The rain in Spain apparently falling mainly on us by the time we arrived at the airport.

A brief delay saw us flying out about half an hour late, but an uneventful flight saw us almost back on time by the time we landed and collected our bags, bid our farewells and set off to our respective homes. Not quite the results we had hoped for, but a brilliant trip all round, and one that I definitely fancy having a go at again in the future.


A great experience, we only had 3 days fishing and really you need a full week to get to grips with it as it’s so different from the way most of us fish in England.
A guide is essential, the water is vast and would be almost impossible to get to grips with without local knowledge.
Be prepared for the cost of bait that you use, Pellets cost us 59 euros per 20 kg sack and you need at least 1 sack for every day that you fish so it can soon mount up.
It would appear that early May could be a time to avoid in case you catch the fish spawning.
Don’t expect the locals to speak any English, this is rural Spain and not the Costa’s.
If you fancy a crack at this yourself, click on the logo below and contact Gary Sheridan for details of his guided trips. Mention that you were recommended by the lads from and you may even find that you get a bit of a discount.

Location: Caspe, Zaragoza, Spain


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Sep 18, 2001
Saturday, 10 May 2008

It was with a real sense of sadness that I received news that Rolf sadly passed away today.

One of life’s true characters that I feel privileged to have met, Rolf was one of the most successful Specimen Anglers on the Middle Thames and surrounding rivers back in the late 1970′s and through the 80′s. His record with big chub was outstanding, he even held the record for a time, and he also captured a lot of very big pike from the river.

However it’s his fishery – Rolf’s Lake at Holton in Oxfordshire that will stand as his legacy and a tribute to his energy and his abilities as a fishery owner. All the fish there are immaculate, with some truly impressive specimens of various species, due to the fact that the welfare of his fish was always his no.1 priority.

Farewell Rolf, Rest in Peace Chap.


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Sep 18, 2001
Monk Lakes. Match Lake 2. May 17th, 2008.


Well today was the day for a Charity match organised by Vince Gould with a little bit of help from myself, taking place at Monk Lakes at Marden in Kent supporting the fund raising efforts of for Macmillan Cancer Support & Rainbows the East Midlands Children’s Hospice, and hopefully with nearly 40 anglers booked in we would raise a few quid for the charities.

Loading up the car didn’t bode well. A solid grey sky was already dropping rain and with 4 large boxes of Braham & Murray Pure Hemp products to load up along with my gear, the car was a little full to say the least.

A phone call from Dirk as I drove down to the venue informing me that he was held up on the M25 and might be late, wasn’t good either. Arriving about 8am I met up with Vince and it was soon obvious that despite the weather most had made it. Simon Edwards had endured the TomTom trip from hell on the way down from Northampton as it warned him about the M25 hold up and diverted him through Central London!!!!!

9 am and Dirk arrived just in time for the draw, which saw a few £1 side bets placed, with Vince and Paul East joining in with Dirk and myself, for a four-way battle of the £1 coins and bragging rights. Peg 75 on the causeway was to be my peg for the match.

with Vince and Dirk in the 60′s on the other side of the causeway while Paul, Clive and Alan were opposite me on the far bank. To my right I had Simon and to my left young Nick Allen.

With plenty of time to set up prior to the 11am start I set up 3 pole rigs, a 4X14 KC Carpa Tricky on 0·14 Antares Silk Shock with size 18 Drennan Carp Match hook to fish at dead depth which would cover from 5mtrs to 13 mtrs due to the even bottom, a 4X12 KC Carpa dibber on 0·16 Antares Silk Shock with size 18 Drennan Carp Match hook for up in the water, and a 4X12 KC Carpa Shelf on 0·16 Antares Silk Shock with size 16 Drennan Carp Match hook for the margins. I also set up the pellet waggler (though I felt the conditions would rule it out today) and a feeder rod as a get out of jail option, however I’d forgotten my cage feeders, but fortunately I managed to borrow one from Vince. Bait wise for me, with it being the middle of May it was pellet, pellet and more pellet, with some meat as a change bait. Simon however was committing mass murder on a bait box full of worm & caster with some Atomic and hemp added for good measure!!!!!!

11 am and with Vince blowing the whistle for the start I fed a pot of mixed pellet on the 11 mtr and 5 mtr lines and fed the margins by hand. Meanwhile young Nick had already landed his 1st fish and was into a second. Simon lost the 1st fish he hooked as a Skimmer did a passable impression of a Trout and shed the hook as it took off however he was soon into a few fish.

I was really struggling to buy a bite but finally got off the mark with a F1 of about a pound. However I couldn’t put a run of fish together unlike Nick and Simon who were catching regularly and a combination of a cold NE wind and the rain made conditions unpleasant to say the least (Strange how it never bothers you if you’re catching) but at least I had the wind off my back.
After about 2 hours of going nowhere fast I re-fed my pole lines and got up for a leg stretch and popped down to see how others were doing.

Vince was huddled under his brolly trying to escape the wind and rain that was blowing straight into his bank and was fishing the feeder………

but although he was admitting to around 15 lbs in the net, was having trouble as his bites seemed to be very finicky. Dirk was a couple of pegs further down, and was starting to wonder why he’d made the trip down from Rugby? He’s enjoyed his previous visits to Monks and had won his section the last couple of times, but sitting there with the wind blowing straight into him and his hands starting to lose all feeling, it was turning into a struggle as he had to go out to 14½ mtrs just to find a bite.

Meanwhile Matt Love, just behind Dirk was suffering as well, despite having won a match on the lake the previous Saturday with a fine bag of 114lbs fishing the pellet up in the water, it wasn’t working for him today however and he’d reverted to a method feeder to see if it would bring him a few fish.

Back at my peg, there was still no action on any of my pole lines and I decided that the feeder was the way to go with soaked 4 mm pellet in the feeder and a hair rigged banded 8 mm hard pellet for bait…………

After about 10 minutes I was rewarded as the tip wrapped round and after a short fight, a nice Mirror of around 3 lb was welcomed to the net.
Looking across I could see that the far bank was struggling with nobody getting anything other than the occasional fish. Paul was sticking at it and seemed to be concentrating on his margin swim in an effort to put a few together…….

While Clive appeared to be alternating his approach between the margin and his line straight out in front, though apparently for little reward……

Meanwhile a few more Carp and F1′s along with a couple of Barbel kept things ticking over for me, though I won’t pretend that I wasn’t pleased to hear Vince blowing the whistle to signal the end of the match at 4 pm.

The weigh in soon confirmed that I was about as close to a bit of Cod as I could be (Battered both sides) with Nick to my left weighing 73¾lbs for the match win and Simon to my right putting 52½lbs on the scales to eclipse my 34¼lbs and take my £1. However every cloud they say has a silver lining, and on this occasion I had the pleasure of relieving Vince, Dirk and Paul of their £1 coins.

Back to the car park for the presentations it was generally agreed that the fishing had been as hard as most could remember given the time of year, However the aim of the match had been achieved with £540 in total being raised for the Charities and all the anglers taking away some Braham & Murray Hemp Products for their efforts, so a big vote of Thanks to all those that attended.

Chatting in the car park as we all set off for home, I remembered something in my pocket that I handed back to Vince with my thanks, Yes the cage feeder that he’d lent me and enabled me to take his £1. His face was a picture and I can’t repeat what he actually said to me. :censored:


Location: Marden, Kent, UK


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Sep 18, 2001
Rayne Lodge Fishery. The Top Lake. May 30th, 2008.

March AC Club Match

Well today’s the 2nd match of Marsh AC’s season on the Top Lake at Rayne Lodge Fishery, just outside Braintree in Essex. I met Dave at his house at 7 am and followed him and Colin up to the fishery. Pulling into the car park just after 8 am there were 17 of the usual suspects in attendance and with the weather apparently set fair for once everyone soon had their gear unloaded and down the hill to the lakeside. I took a stroll round with Dave as he decided which pegs would be going into the draw, and in all honesty there didn’t appear to be a bad one, but Dave having fished there on more than a few occasions had a pretty good handle on it anyway, so decisions made it was draw time. Kevin’s partner Jean, after accompanying him on all his trips had decided to fish today for the 1st time, so they drew 1st so that they could have adjacent swims, I came away with peg 16 while Dave could be heard bemoaning the fact that his favorite swim (14a) had remained in the bag undrawn.

Settling into peg 16 it was “make your mind up time” for me. Now the nice part of Marsh matches is that they are just socials really, not even any money for winning, just the section winners get paid out, and that is only just enough to cover your ticket, so that the matches have a lovely relaxed atmosphere. Sure there are some personal rivalries, but essentially it’s just a pleasant day out fishing with friends.

I’d already mentioned to Colin that I was going to go with one of 2 methods today, either paste on the pole or pellet waggler. Well the pellet waggler won, purely because I fancied doing something different today. Setting up took no time at all as my Shakespeare 11 ft Micro was already set up in it’s ready sleeve. I’d teamed the rod up with a Daiwa Capricorn 2000. The float was a 2ssg Malman Styro. Hooks are the Drennan eyed Carp Match barbless with a hair rigged Gardner 3·2mm latex pellet band. these will take anything from a 4mm to a 11mm pellet and are the best on the market IMO. For actually banding I use a Mossella Band’a’Bait tool, again IMO an unbeatable tool for the job.( Dave was certainly impressed when he saw me using it.)

Bait and feed was nothing more than 12 pints of Skrettings 6mm pellets with some 8mm’s for an alternative hookbait. I also got the feeder rod out as it was all set up in a ready sleeve, but I was only planning to use it if things went wrong.

Looking around most were going with the pole, though a couple of others were going with rod set-ups. So 10 am and the all-in and a couple of large pouches of pellet were catapulted to the edge of the overhanging tree about 20 yds away to ring the dinner bell. Normally I would clip up if I was casting to an island or feature, but with plenty of water under the overhanging tree and some large fish present in the lake I decided against it preferring to rely on the accuracy of my casting. (I only lost 1 float all day, so can’t have been to rusty) I soon got into a decent rhythm and a small Mirror of around ½lb got me off the mark. There were plenty of fish moving, but they were just mooching around and although I was putting a few together they weren’t really having it.
I also lost a few fish, but after talking it over with a few of the others I’ve come to the conclusion that it was probably down to the fact that a large percentage of the fish have dodgy mouths making it awkward to get a decent hook hold.

A splash from round the lake signalled Kevin trying to join the fish as he transferred one to his net, though Dave refused to disqualify him for wading and Jean had caught her 1st fish, but was under strict orders from Kevin not to beat him, and reports filtered round that one poor unfortunate had missed the net with a good double figure Carp, a fish that he was hoping to weigh and photograph as it was definitely his biggest ever.

Frustrated at not being able to put a run of fish together and with the beginnings of a headache, I took a break and went for a stroll. Dave and Colin appeared to be neck and neck, both owning up to 20+ fish, but I had to fancy Colin having the edge as the Carp appeared to be queuing up under the bush to his left waiting for him to drop a pellet on their noses…

Eddie on Peg 1 was into a decent fish…

while further round Jim appeared to be getting bitted out by Roach. John was having a similar problem, but he proved to be a real lifesaver when he produced a couple of paracetamol from his box, that did the business on my headache, Cheers John.

Tony was looking pretty happy with himself, but claimed to be struggling having lost a number of fish, however his peg looked like it was solid to me…

Kevin was doing OK and was happy that barring a total calamity he had the beating of Jean, though she was still nicking the odd one here and there.

Terry as usual was just keeping his head down and putting a few fish quietly into the net, that’s why they call him “Wily Coyote”…

Back at my peg and 1st cast I stuck it straight into the tree and cracked off (Told you I lost 1 float) so chucked out the feeder with a banded 8 mm pellet on it while I re rigged the pellet waggler but didn’t get as much as a tap on it.
Back out on the waggler and I was soon back into the rhythm which is all important when fishing this method, and although they still weren’t really having it I managed to keep up a reasonably decent catch rate right up till 4pm when Dave called the all out. The frustrating part was that I hadn’t had a single bonus fish, my best being a Ghostie of around 4lb with the majority around the 1½ -2lb range and although I’d had what most would class as a decent day ( I thought I’d got 50lbs+), couldn’t help feeling that the peg was worth more, but hey, that’s fishing.

By the time Terry and I caught up with the weigh in, it was coming round to Tony who was admitting to around 40 lbs, he must be related to Pinocchio, because he put 85¼lbs on the scales (he’ll have someone’s eye out with that nose one day). Jean had managed a very creditable 23½lbs, not enough to beat Kevin but a great 1st effort, while Terry put a very decent 64 lbs on the scales. Round to my peg and the tale of the scales gave me 79½lbs which pleasantly surprised me. Dave’s fish mustered 67¾lbs including a bonus 10 lb Mirror, which just left Colin with 39 fish, only small ones according to him and probably about 70 lbs. Well he must be another of Pinocchio’s relatives because they gave him a dead level 114 lbs for the win on the day.

So that was it for another day with Marsh AC, well apart from the suicidal climb back up the hill to the car park, Thanks for the hand Tony, I might well still be there otherwise. A real fun day as usual and as a bonus I won my section and only needed a tee shirt all day. Roll on the next one.


Location: Braintree, Essex, UK


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Sep 18, 2001
Rolf’s Lake. Holton. Oxfordshire. June 7, 2008

The JINX Series 2008
Match 2.

Sunshine greeted me as I loaded the car up for the trip to Rolf’s for the second match in the JINX SERIES. With plenty of time I was able to make my usual stop for Breakfast in Battersea. While I was there I phoned Malc to find out the state of the fishery as I knew he’d been there since the previous day with Dai, Mitch & Gemma helping John after the flash floods that had hit the area on Wednesday. Telling me that the lake was high but fishable, he then passed on some information that Nick Williams was threatening to fish in his underpants if the lake was too flooded, suffice to say that it nearly put me off my breakfast. However wiping the image from my mind that Malc had described I managed to polish off breakfast and carry on.

Pulling into the fishery car park at around 10·30 am people were already arriving for the 11 am draw. A chat with John revealed that at it’s height the lake had been within 2 inches of overflowing into the car park. With 2 pumps running the effort that John & Pauline had put in along with his helpers had once again got it to a fishable state even if it was still at least 3 feet above normal.

Mind you just how the lake would fish on the day was open to debate though John felt that the huge influx of water into the lake and the fact that some of the fish were still spawning would lead to a hard match. Inevitably the draw was delayed as Malc sorted out which pegs were fishable, but it wouldn’t be a JINX match if it ran smoothly would it!!!!! Into the draw-bag and peg 14 stuck to my hand, quite a shock as I always seem to draw on the little lake. Loading up my barrow I set off round the lake and seeing everyone setting up so far up the bank was a bit strange……

Anyway after lugging all my gear round I found that I had got Mitch to my right on 13 and Neo to my left on 15 along with Clive on 16 for company today. A quick chat with Clive who spends a fair bit of time at Rolf’s reveals I’d got the end of the bar at around 20 yds straight out, so I set up the pellet wag and feeder and plumb up a pole line at around 6 mtrs where I could feed by hand to fish pellet and paste, though I also had sweetcorn and meat as change baits. Feed was the fisheries 6 mm pellets and hemp.

So 1·30 and the all in, 2 big handfuls of pellet and hemp onto the 6 mtr line and a pouch of pellet out to the bar followed by the pellet wag, and straight away it buries, softly softly into the net, a nice Common Carp around 6 lbs, into the keepnet with the fish, another dozen pellets followed by the wag which buries again and another Common joins its pal in the net. Well it slowed a bit after that, it seemed that there were a ton of silvers pecking at the pellet and I did connect with a couple of Skimmers, I tried upping the feed but that just turned it into a Jacuzzi. I kept altering the depth and managed another 3 Carp, but in all honesty I wasted far to much time trying to make it work.

With the swim still fizzing I went out with the feeder onto the bar, but had only had a couple of half hearted taps after about 20 minutes when the rod was ripped off the rest!!!!! This was a big old lump and it just plodded around stubbornly refusing to get its head up. Slowly I gained ground on it and it finally popped to the top, a bleedin great Common, it was certainly the largest fish I’ve ever hooked at Rolf’s, but just as I reached for the net it rolled on the line which parted like cotton.

Now at that point I should have changed my approach as the lads on the car park bank had all started to catch, but I re-tackled and went back out on the feeder and wasted another 40 biteless minutes. Out onto the 6 mtr line that I’d been feeding regularly and 1st put in the float buried resulting in Carp number 6 in the net, then a couple of foul hookers that I parted company with followed.

Roy over on peg 28 was starting to motor taking decent fish regularly…

Paul on 24 also seemed to be over his Rolf’s block, and having got his Ton in the previous match was motoring on towards another, While Dave Collier on peg 30 was also romping along after a slow start to the match.

I’d blown it after letting my frustration get the better of me and chopping and changing rather than sticking at one approach. With an hour to go I picked up the shallow rig with a banded pellet, shipped out to 13 mtrs and just kept firing hemp & pellet at it and had my best hour of the match with another 7 Carp including a weigher that I mugged as the all out was called.

It was to little to late though as I knew in my heart of hearts that I didn’t have enough in the net to compete on the day. The scales told the tale of the day however with their slow progress round the lake. Kevin Loveland had drawn the same peg as his previous match where he’d had a mare, however today he’d managed 136½lbs, to record his 1st ever match TON. Paul had broken the 150 lb barrier and Roy put 177 lbs on the scales which would only be good enough for 3rd on the day!!!

Meanwhile down on peg 40 Ade Williams (Slim Shady) following up from his DOUBLE TON on the 1st match had managed a 2nd successive DOUBLE TON…

but had still been beaten by Simon, fishing his 1st JINX match of the year he had a battle with Ade throughout the whole match…

Finally coming out on top with an excellent 221¾lb, a great performance on the day.

My weight? 92½lb only good enough for 15th on the day, though I did have one small consolation in that at least I managed to get my £1 back from Gemma and avoid a Minxing.


Location: Holton, Oxfordshire OX33, UK


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Sep 18, 2001
Packington Somers Fishery. Molands Mere. June 14th, 2008

Individual Championship 2008.
Sponsored by

Well an early start saw me have a trouble free 120 mile run up the M40 and beyond to Packington Somers Fishery arriving around 8 am in plenty of time to dip my nets and grab a cuppa and a sausage sarnie, Soon the car park started to fill but a phone call from Keith to let me know that his car had expired on the M6 put a bit of a downer on things. Linda, Bucko’s wife was soon into full raffle ticket selling mode parting us from our pennies, and I have to admit to a bit of a shock when I looked round to see Mark Downes (The England Manager) and Ken Giles unloading their kit!!!! but they were there for another match.

9 am and Vince got the draw underway for the 41 of us in attendance with his usual efficiency. Into the draw bag and 48 stuck to my fingers. Into the car and round I drove to find my peg. On arrival I found that I had Nick (Monkey) and Bucko for company on the day.

I have to say that the peg looked 1st rate A solid concrete slab to fish from with a raft of lilies in the margin to my left, a large bush overhanging the right and a comfortable chuck of around 25 yds to the island. The only thing was that I didn’t see a single sign of fish moving. I just set up a couple of rigs for the pole, one for the 6ft of water that I had at 11 mtrs and another for the margins that would double up as a shallow rig. I also got the feeder out of its ready bag, but did change the hooklength from the one that had been previously employed at Rolf’s. Bait would be a selection of dendra’s, casters, corn and pellet with the groundbait being Special’G’ with a selection of hook baits added.

With a bit of time to spare I had a stroll over to the pegs behind me to have a chat with Colin and Lee Richards (missabite) from where I could also see Vince setting up on his peg which he had got me to draw for him, and I have to say that it looked like I’d done him proud.

Just before the all in Vince popped over for a quick chat and blew the whistle for the off before returning to his peg. I flicked a pinch of caster and pellet into my 2 margin lines and cupped 3 balls of groundbait onto the 11 mtr line before picking up my margin rig and dropping it in next to the lilies with 2 casters on the hook. Almost instantly the float slid away and a small Tench of around 8ozs was soon into the net. Next put in resulted in a hand sized Skimmer. 2 fish in 2 put ins, unfortunately it all went pear shaped after that. The margin line appeared to contain nothing more than 1″ long Perch that seemed to be having their own competition to see who could swallow a bait the deepest.

Moving out to the 11 mtr line to get away from the suicidal little buggers succeeded, but unfortunately the line seemed utterly devoid of any fish whatsoever. I tried under the bush to my right but apart from a couple of 2oz Roach that was it, while another look to the lilies showed the Perch were still in residence.

Looking across it didn’t appear that anyone else was setting the place alight, so the feeder was put into action baited with half a Dendra. After about 30 minutes of inactivity Paul (nomorelongwalks) phoned for an update just as I had a 2″ pull and connected with a Skimmer of around 1 lb, but my report to him was hardly upbeat. I was having to wait far to long between bites to do any damage. Vince phoned but hung up abruptly, phoning me back to let me know that he’d just lost a decent Carp at the net, but had followed up by netting a decent Tench and Bream. I sat it out adding the occasional small Skimmer and losing the one decent Tench, a fish of around 4 lbs that I hooked when it spat the hook about a foot from the net.

Thankfully 4 pm signalled the All-out to put an end to my torture, and at this point I have to say thanks to John Burchell’s team on the scales, because I can’t remember seeing a weigh-in conducted with such speed and efficiency for a long time, not that my 5 lb 9ozs of bits taxed the scalesmen too severely.

So Back to the clubhouse where £1 coins were handed over to Besty, Dave and Dirk though somehow I’d not had a £1 with Vince today, and a buffet was laid on prior to the prize giving and the raffle.

So to the winners the spoils (apologies for the picture quality, must have set the camera wrong :()

1st place….. Lee Richards taking the Trophy and a new Matchbox S series seatbox system supplied by Jim Burton of Matchbox.

2nd place….. Matt Nutt and a Matchbox seatbox.

3rd place….. Mike Globe and a Matchbox seatbox.

The Section winners all received Shimano reels supplied by John at The Matchmen, Nottingham.

The raffle was very well supported raising £224 which will be split between the Kent Air Ambulance and Great Ormond Street Hospital, and almost everyone appeared to take home a prize of some sort.

In closing I’d just like to say Very Well Done to Vince and his team of helpers for his usual Superb Organisation.
A Big Thank You to Ray Best for all his efforts in sourcing the prizes that were generously donated by Jim Burton and all at Matchbox Tackle and by John at The MatchMen in Nottingham. Thanks to Jon Burrell and his Team for the use of their fishery.



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Sep 18, 2001
Rolf’s Lake. Holton. Oxfordshire. June 20th, 2008. Forum Match.

I was lucky enough to get my name down for this match when it was posted on the TalkAngling forum back in January by Ian Hornby as I really enjoy visiting Rolf’s whenever I get the chance.

Pulling back the curtains a grey day with rain greeted me, and to think that today was the longest day!! Anyway car loaded in good time along with the waterproofs and off. With my usual stop in Battersea for a spot of breakfast I made good time with a trouble free trip down, pulling into the car park at around 8·30 am.

There were a few of the usual faces from the lads that fish The Jinx Series there, though Malc who should have been fishing was a notable absentee due to the fact that yet again his car had expired on the roadside the previous day, but it was good to catch up with the TalkAngling lads, some of whom I’d met previously and some who were new faces. It was also good to see that not only was the lake back down to something like it’s usual level with all the platforms above water, but the colour had returned to something approaching its normal hue after the flooding of a couple of weeks ago.

9 am and draw time. Into the bag and peg 24 appeared in my hand! A bonus for me as it’s on the car park bank, somewhere I rarely get a sniff of and it has a bit of form. No barrow today, just a nice short walk. With a grey cloudy sky and rain still falling it looked like it would be a bit of a grueller, especially as we were fishing from 11 am – 4 pm which is earlier than most of the summer matches at Rolf’s that are normally fished from 2 pm – 7 pm as the Carp don’t seem to get their heads down till around 3 pm.

Anyway I set the pole up with just 1 shallow rig and a margin rig to tackle the bush to my right. I also set up the pellet waggler and the feeder as a back up because I could see Carp topping over the bar at around 20 yds, so hopefully I could mug a couple of fish early before they backed off. Feed was simply the fishery 6 mm pellets and plenty of them, with some of them damped down and mixed with a good helping of hemp to put through the feeder. Hookbaits were the fishery 8 mm hard feed pellets that would be fished banded on a hair.

So 11 am and the All-in. 2 big handfuls of pellet fed by the bush to my right and a couple of pouchfuls out to the bar closely followed by the pellet waggler. Another pouchful and the line tightened up and I was into my first fish of the day and after a spirited fight I had a nice Common of around 7 lbs safely in the net.

However try as I might I couldn’t tempt a 2nd and I’d noticed that Dave(Yorkie)Moore who was opposite me on peg 16 had managed a couple of fish on the feeder, so I swapped over to mine and was rewarded with a couple of quick fish including a weigher. Now normally the feeder line doesn’t last, but I continued to get the odd fish . Looking down the car park bank most appeared to be struggling on the pole line, but at least the rain had stopped. On the other side of the bush to my right on peg 23 I had Steve Wilson for company……

…he was fishing the pole shallow, but was being pestered by Roach that seemed to be beating the Carp to his bait. Meanwhile Clive had dawn one of his favourite pegs, 19 but appeared to be really struggling to tempt a fish ,As was Ron next to him on peg 20 despite his natty line in headgear……

Simple Simon over on peg 14 had brought along his bank runner and sherpa Sprucey for moral support once more and was giving his new Maver 401 it’s maiden outing. Having won his last match at Rolf’s with a cracking 221 lbs 12ozs he was hoping for a repeat performance, but the Lake seemed determined to teach him a lesson today……

However he did have the enjoyment of seeing my feeder rod with a good bend in it at regular intervals and Sprucey was counting my fish and giving him regular updates. During all of this I also received a couple of phone calls from Malc and Dave Collier checking on the days progress, and while I commiserated with Malc on missing out, it was heartening to know that at least he was enjoying spending some quality time at home with his kids.

Around 3pm things started to pick up for most of the lads that had persevered with the pole, but as I was still getting fish on the feeder….

I stuck with it till the end. 4 pm and the all out and with 5 weigher’s and 22 fish in the nets I was pretty happy with my match and was quite looking forward to the weigh-in.

However there was a short wait for the weigh-in, the reason being that John Bennett has acquired a LARGE piece of stone for the entrance of the fishery and needed a hand to get it in place. Well with the help of several stout bodies, some scaffold poles and finally Simple Simon’s car, and a stout chain, it was finally in place, and very impressive it looks too..........

So on with the weigh-in with Pole Killer setting an early benchmark with 94lbs from peg 34, that was soon being topped by Paul Law (justin case) on peg 36 with a fine 150¾lbs. Some real interest came at peg 38 however where Mrs Sumo (Sue) who’s starting to make a habit of beating her husband Sumo had spent the match.
Sue’s fish weighed 41½lb and Sumo was looking glum. Steve Davis(DNW) on peg 2 had managed a very creditable 120½lbs while round at peg 7, Tim Suttle (first peg) had taken full advantage of a very good peg (especially with pegs 6&8 not in) to take 1st place on the day with an excellent 193 lbs . Clive on 19 had finally managed a few in the last hour to take the section with 71 lbs 10ozs. Round to Sumo on peg 22 where despite a couple of weigher’s on the board he could only muster 37½lbs allowing Sue to take the bragging rights on the day. Round to my peg and my 27 fish gave me a pleasing 161¾lbs for 2nd on the day and a new PB match weight.

In total a weight of 1531 lbs 10ozs was put on the scales, an average of just under 70 lbs per angler.

So all in all a good day. Thanks to Ian H for organising the day, and to all those that attended. We’ll have to do it all again, though perhaps we can fish it from 2-7 next time.


Location: Holton, Oxfordshire OX33, UK


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Sep 18, 2001
Rolf’s Lake. Holton. Oxfordshire. July 5th, 2008.

The JINX Series 2008
Match 3.

Back down to Rolf’s Lake today for the 3rd match of THE JINX SERIES, and after my second place and a new PB match weight on my last visit to Rolf’s 2 weeks ago on a TalkAngling forum match I was really looking forward to this one.

Loading up the car it was quite sunny, but a stiff breeze was blowing plenty of cloud about and the forecast wasn’t the best and when I reached the M40 after my customary breakfast stop the heavens opened. Thankfully it had stopped by the time I reached the services at junction 8 and as I was running early I stopped off for a coffee where I found Kevin and Jean having breakfast. We soon arrived at the lake and John was just opening the gate so we were soon parked up and got our nets dipped in readiness for the day ahead.

Soon the usual suspects started to turn up. John (Hatchye) stoically taking plenty of stick that he knew was coming his way over his lost (not) car keys on the previous match. Dave(The Fish) was on tenterhooks as his daughter was expecting his 1st grandchildren (twins) and Mark C was missing as his 1st grandchild had arrived earlier that morning. However it also appeared that Simon And Gem were loved up again and all touchy feely, with Malc threatening to pour a bucket of water over the pair of them.

The previous night Simon and I had discussed where we fancied drawing and I said that as I’d never drawn between pegs 2-8 I’d love one of them, so into the draw and out popped peg 7 for me. A quick chat with John who said it was an out and out feeder peg at the moment put me right. So gear loaded onto the barrow and round to the peg.

For company I had Colin on peg 8 and Slim on Peg 6. John had told me that it was possible to catch short on the pole if the feeder didn’t produce, but I decided to be single minded and just set the feeder up. The rod I use is a Shakespeare Mach3 11ft medium feeder that I’ve paired with a Shimano Stradic and although a couple of people have remarked that they feel it’s not up to the job I find it spot on. It’s got a lovely through action which coupled to the clutch on the Stradic I finds eliminates the risk of hook pulls at the net.

Bait for the session was simply dampened 6mm fishery pellets with a good helping of hemp added to put through the feeder and 8mm fishery pellet and punched meat for the hook.

Of course having just the one rod to set up, and that was in a ready sleeve, I had a fair bit of time on my hands to take a few of the photos that I use to illustrate these reports on my blog, but while I was looking for subjects Clive caught me with his camera.

1 pm and the all-in, out with the feeder and the tip pulled round as I tightened up and the resulting Carp was safely in the net before Slim had even cupped his first pot of feed onto his pole line.
Kevin was soon off the mark with a 14lb weigher from peg 34, followed by Colin who also snared an early one on the feeder.

A couple of hours in and Kev’s match took a turn for the worse when The Jinx struck as a Carp ripped his rod off of the rest and dragged it out to the pads before he could retrieve it. However Malc was on hand and was soon stripped and in…

but although he found a few mangled top kits amongst the pads there was no sign of Kevin’s rod.
I’d had a steady start, though I did experience a lull for around half an hour after Malc’s bath, while a concerned Slim finally managed his 1st fish, a Skimmer and that was soon followed by a cracking Perch…

Colin had a lovely Chub on the feeder that was a new PB for him at 5 lbs 8ozs…

From my peg I could see up the car park bank on the big lake and there seemed to be a few fish being landed, especially by Tony who seemed to have a fair bit of elastic out at frequent intervals.

As the match wore on I just managed to keep up a steady catch rate and the little lake seemed to wake up for a few of the lads. Dave had a few from down the edge of his peg as did Simon

Slim finally managed to get amongst a few, but it was to little to late to enable him to notch up a third double ton in a row…

Meanwhile Colin decided that as he couldn’t match my catch rate on the feeder he would have a look on the pole down by the bush to his left, and although it produced a few fish for him, he had a pretty frustrating time as he lost a fair few as well.

One of the funniest tales of the day went to Clive on peg 40…

who having fed to the bush on his left at peg 40 during the match, finally went to fish to it, only to find that it had vanished !! The wind being so strong that It had blown it back onto the bank.

With around an hour to go I had 4 weighers on the board and around 10 fish in each of my two nets, so put a third net in, just to avoid crowding the fish that were already in the nets, and by the time the all-out came at 6pm I’d added another five in that net and a weigher to the board. I was pretty confident that I’d beaten everyone that I could see, but felt that Tony could be in contention as I’d seen him catching well up on the car park bank during the match.

So off with the scales, and Clive put the 1st ton on the scales and left him wondering what he could have had if his bush hadn’t hidden during the match. With nobody overtaking Clive the scales reached my peg, I nervously watched as the scales gave me a total of 186 lbs, and another new PB match weight. Colin also managed to top the ton and we moved on to Nick W-P. Now Nick is a confirmed pleasure angler who only fishes the Jinx matches, and we’ve all been encouraging him to try and break the ton. Unfortunately he hadn’t managed it this time, but his weight of 64lbs 14ozs was a new PB match weight for him so he’s getting there. Malc had managed yet another Jinx Ton and we finally came to the car park bank. Gem on 22 had one of her quieter days (Other things on her mind probably) and a £1 coin came my way, though she still managed to hand out 7 Minxings.
Dai on 23 looked shattered and 129¼lbs was the reason why, his PB match weight and 1st Jinx Ton. Next up Steve finally after 7 years of trying registered 128½lbs for his 1st Jinx Ton. Roy, who seems to have a season ticket for the car park bank weighed 126 lbs. Then we came to Tony who with 70 lbs+ in weighers on the board was going to run me close. Luckily for me he came up a little short, having to settle for 170 lbs, still a great days fishing though. A final mention for young Mitch who was last to weigh-in. It’s his 1st season fishing The Jinx Series and he dearly wants a Ton, and has improved his weights on all 3 matches, today it was not to be, but I’m sure he’ll get there if he just sticks at it.

So that’s it but I’ll be back at Rolf’s on Friday 25th July for 3 days. The Friday is Dave Moore’s 40th Birthday Bash and the Saturday and Sunday is the Maggotdrowning Pairs Championship which I won last year with Tony Roberts. It promises to be great fun and of course a report will be forth coming, but before that there’s the MD’s Southern Championship at Hartleylands and a Marsh AC match at Churchgate Lakes. I’ll keep you posted.

Location: Holton, Oxfordshire OX33, UK


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Sep 18, 2001
Hartleylands Farm Fishery. The Reservoir. July 11th, 2008.

Southern Championship 2008.

Sunshine and a bit of a breeze greeted me today as I loaded up the car for the trip down To Hartleylands Farm for the Southern Individual Championship match. First port of call was the Knoxbridge Café for a spot of breakfast with a few of the lads that were fishing the match. The best part of the Maggotdrowning matches are that they’re not taken to seriously and there’s always some decent banter amongst the lads irrespective of whether the fishing proves to be good or not. So having fuelled the inner man we made out way down to the fishery for the match.

Into the car park where 19 anglers assembled for the draw. The match this year had been organised by Nick Gilbert, and as usual with Nick’s matches Matt Love gave him a hand conducting the draw. So money paid and into the bag and I find I’ve drawn peg 1, a decent peg normally and one that I had won the corresponding match from back in 2004. However today I’d fancied a draw in the early teens as with the wind blowing into them I thought that’s where the fish would be. Never mind though, at least it was a short walk from the car so no barrow needed.

Settling into the peg I noticed that the fishery staff had pruned the willow quite heavily making it easier to feed and fish under it, but would it produce without the wind blowing into it? I set up the pellet wag and feeder + 3 top kits for the pole. 1 for the margins. 1 for 5 mtrs where I had 5 ft of water and another for 7 mtrs where I had 8 ft of water, Bait for the day was pellet, both hard and expander, paste and sweetcorn and the feed was 4 & 6 mm pellet and hemp.

11am and the all-in and I fed pellet and hemp into both margins and pellet onto the 5 mtr line and followed it with the rig baited with pellet. Matt Love on peg 10 was into a Carp straight away on the waggler swiftly followed by another, as was Dean Lockwood to my left on peg 2 as he had an early look on his margin swim…

Nick Gilbert had been into fish almost straight away, but had trouble landing them losing the first 4 Carp that he hooked. Me? I couldn’t even buy a bite. 2½hrs in and I still didn’t have a fish in the net, just a large scale on my sidetray where I’d lost a foul-hooker.

Terry up on peg 13 however had had a fowl (alright a duck actually) but had safely managed to catch and release it.

Finally I managed a fish, only a small Skimmer from my 7 mtr line, but at least I would avoid a dreaded DNW, and more importantly kept me in with a chance of not having to part with £1 to Vince, who seemed to be struggling almost as badly as me though he had owned up to a couple of Skimmers earlier.

Looking straight across I could see Bill on peg 15…

he was having one of those days we all dream of, with the fish lined up at 4 mtrs and apparently ravenous for his paste bait, resulting in a bite every put in, and he was obviously going to take all the stopping.

Indeed poor Tony Roberts next to him on peg 16 was finding it hard to concentrate on his own fishing and seemed to have resigned himself to a next peg battering of epic proportions…

Meanwhile Paul East was quietly putting together a decent bag from peg 19…

steadily putting fish in the net, a good performance considering that he’d come straight from work the previous night.

For the rest of the match I struggled on, managing 6 Carp and a few more Skimmers, all from my 7 mtr line which was the only place I could get a bite, and to be honest I was glad to hear the whistle blow at 4 pm signal the all-out and put an end to my struggles.

So to the weigh-in and Paul soon took the lead putting 91lbs 7ozs onto the scales, but this was soon eclipsed when Bill put a match winning 156lbs on the scales which was also a new PB match weight. Well Done Bill.
Round to peg 10 and Matt Love put 105 lbs 11ozs on the scales to seal 2nd place on the day.My meagre total scaled 23 lbs, but was enough to take Vince’s £1 coin, though Vince had been close till he lost an estimated 15 lb’er near the end, unlucky Vince.

So that was it for the day. Congratulations to Bill G, The Maggotdrowning Southern Individual Champion 2008.
Thanks to Nick for organising the day, and to all the anglers that attended. We’ll have to do it all again next year.


Location: Cranbrook, Kent, UK


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Site Supporter
Sep 18, 2001
Churchgate Lakes. The Bottom Lake. July 19th, 2008.

Marsh AC club match.

Today is a Marsh AC club match at Churchgate lakes in Essex and I’d arranged to meet Dave at his house and follow him down to the venue. Dave’s wife Gladys is fishing today, It’s rare that she fishes club matches, the only one she’d fished previously was at Churchgate last year when she beat Dave much to a lot of peoples amusement, so there’s no pressure today.

I managed to persuade Dave to stop at McDonalds in Erith so that I could grab a couple of McMuffins for breakfast as the venue’s Café won’t be open today, and a smooth trip down in convoy with Dave and Colin saw us arrive just after 8 am to find the majority of the 20 members due to be fishing today waiting in the car park for us. While Dave sorted things out Tony Roberts and I went round the lake sorting the pegs for the draw. Back to the car park for the draw and I find peg 8 is mine for the day, just one away from the peg I had last year.

Looks nice doesn’t it? The problem was the wind which was gusting strongly all over the place, but mainly from right to left as I looked. Plenty of clouds were scudding around as well and some of them were an ominous dark grey promising rain. I elected to go with the pole at no more than 10 mtrs where I knew I would find about 7 feet of water, the rushes growing as far out into the water as they were made it difficult to set up a margin line, but I wasn’t to bothered as previous experience told me that it normally only produced tiny Pumpkinseeds and razorblade Skimmers & Roach. I also set up the feeder to target the corner of the island on my right.
Baitwise I’d brought a fair selection with me, maggots, sweetcorn and pellets along with some groundbait as there’s supposed to be a fair head of Bream in the lake.

10 am and the all-in and I cupped 6 big balls of groundbait laced with corn, pellet and maggot onto the 10 mtr line and went out on the maggot feeder to let it settle. 20 minutes on the feeder yielded just a solitary 2oz Skimmer however. Onto the pole with a 6 mm expander on the hook and an instant bite saw a 6oz Skimmer joining it’s friend in the net. Then it went very dark and within seconds the heavens opened. Leaping up and struggling into my waterproofs I returned to find a couple of pints of maggots trying to re-enact “The Great Escape” before I managed to get a lid on the baitbox, while I tucked my phone, cigarettes etc away into dry pockets. Within 5 minutes it has eased and it stopped completely after another 10 minutes as bright sunshine burst through.

Luckily I managed to riddle the maggots off and transfer them into some dry groundbait and dry off the sidetray and get back to things pretty quickly, but just another couple of Skimmers put in an appearance in the next half hour, but I still couldn’t buy a bite on the feeder.
All round the lake people appeared to be struggling and that was confirmed when Tony Roberts came walking round as Tony is one of those anglers that never normally goes walkabout. However Martin Hucker to my left on peg 6 had got off to a flyer.

… with a couple of decent Carp and 3-4 Bream in the net by halfway, all taken on the maggot feeder.
I heavily refed the pole line and went for a stroll myself to see who was catching what and noticed Kevin(The Catch) Loveland on peg 10 sliding the net under a small Carp that he’d tempted on the feeder out by the island…

Judy, tucked away down in the corner on peg 14 had suffered the misfortune of losing a couple of decent Carp in the 1st 10 minutes and was doing her best to winkle out a few, while Paul(nomorelongwalks) could be found staring at a stationary quivertip and hadn’t had a single bite despite some encouragement from Alan who was having a wander as it wasn’t happening for him either…

While Dave was quietly starting to put a few together and Gladys was happily catching whatever was lurking down the margins on a top 3………

Continuing round, nobody else seemed to be doing much, Colin on peg 2 had nicked a couple on the feeder out by the island but was finding it hard going……

though John Holdsworth on peg 5 next to Martin was admitting to a decent Carp and Bream in the net.

Back at my peg a look on the pole line produced just another solitary Skimmer despite ringing the changes on hookbait, so I refed with a couple of pots of pellet and went back out on the maggot feeder. Casting to the same spot wasn’t easy with the wind gusting all over the place, but after 15 minutes the tip wrapped round and after a couple of minutes a nice F1 of about 2 lbs was in the net.

In the next hour and a half I added 4 more but felt I was having to wait to long between bites so with about an hour to go went back out onto the pole line once more. Almost straight away the float buried, but this wasn’t a Skimmer as yards of Black Hydro streamed from the pole. To be honest it felt more like a submarine and was obviously one of the large Carp present in the lake. On last years match I’d been fortunate enough to get one at the death that had won me the match, could lightning have struck twice? Well after 10 minutes and despite various encouraging??? shouts from around the lake, I still hadn’t seen the fish and the feel of it told me that it was foul hooked. I’d applied as much pressure as I dared, I could even hear the Hydro humming through the pole in the wind and with my arms aching I sat down, lit a cigarette and smoked it while the fish just plodded around. Once more I piled on as much pressure as I dare even getting on my box in an effort to get it up in the water. It finally surfaced about 15 yards out, a Big Common Carp just before the hookhold gave way. This was followed by some language that’s probably better not committed to print. Needless to say several expressions of sympathy passed around the lake about my loss…..yer right they did.

For the rest of the match I stuck it out on the pole line hoping against hope that another might turn up, but only a few small Skimmers had obliged by the time Dave blew the whistle at 4 pm for the all-out.
So on with the weigh-in, and we were treated to Bob Hucker looking well pleased to have caught a PB Carp of 10½lbs to make his day……

Kevin had managed 8 small Carp which took the scales round to 21½lbs for 3rd on the day, and with Dave’s level 19lbs having beaten Gladys’s 16lbs 2ozs I’d like to say that Dave was most understanding when my 15 lbs 10ozs came up ounces short of what was needed to beat Gladys on the day. Of course it wasn’t going to happen though, as Dave had taken more than enough stick from me over being beaten by his good lady last year, so I’m sure he’ll enjoy getting his own back by publishing the result on the various internet forums we both use.
Winner on the day was Martin with 35½lbs, his 1st ever match win in 5 years of trying. Well done Fella and here he is with the larger of his 2 Carp on the day……

Second place went to John Holdsworth with 31¼lbs which included a PB Carp of 13½lb and a PB Bream of 5 lbs…

So that’s it for another Marsh AC match. Next stop for me is 3 days at Rolf’s Lake at Holton in Oxfordshire from next Friday. The reports from that will appear in due course on my return.

Location: Rettendon, Essex, UK


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Sep 18, 2001
Rolf’s Lake. Holton. Oxfordshire. July 25th, 2008.

Dave”Yorkie”Moore’s Birthday Bash.

Well 24 of us assembled today at Rolf’s Lake at Dave Moore’s invitation to help him celebrate his 40th Birthday.
An early start so that I could drop Maria off at work meant that my favourite Café in Battersea hadn’t opened by the time I got there, but rather than wait for it to open I pressed on reasoning that if I arrived early it would give me a chance to get my bivvy set up in preparation for the weekend, ahead of the draw for the morning match. A couple of burgers and a coffee on route sufficed and saw me arrive at Rolf’s by 7·30 am. A good few of the lads from the North had travelled down the previous afternoon and were already buzzing with anticipation, as quite a few of them had never visited before.
So 1st things 1st, nets dipped and laid out to dry, then bivvy pitched and with Dai providing a welcoming cup of coffee I had time for a brief chat with John Bennett before the draw. John had been a busy chap since my last visit and it was good to see that he’d managed to finish the refurbishment of the hut…

Pride of place however went to the Rolf’s Memorial Bench paid for and provided by the members of the forums, that John’s sited looking out over the Little Lake, one of Rolf’s favourite views. A great gesture from a really decent bunch of lads.

So with an 8 am draw planned for the days 2 matches, the car park soon filled up, though as Dave had asked Malc to organise the draw it was bound to be late of course, even though he’d arrived the day before. Anyway by the time Malc had finished embarrassing Simon and Gemma, the draw got underway, with everyone going round twice to draw for both matches. I ended up with peg 40 for the morning and 19 for the afternoon. Opposite ends of the lake!!!! and definitely a barrow job.

For company on peg 2 I had Mr Maggotdrowning himself, Dave(Webbo)Webster.
It’s quite rare for matches to start so early at Rolf’s and the general feeling was that the morning could prove difficult, with hopefully better weights coming on the afternoon match. Arriving at the peg I found a Party Bag, thoughtfully provided at Dave’s wife’s insistence which straight away set the tone for the day ahead.

With the sun shining and a gentle breeze blowing into the peg I was quite hopeful of a few fish to kick the long weekend off and opted to keep things simple, just 2 pole rigs, the 1st to fish at depth at 6 mtrs and a margin rig to fish the bush to my left, that would double up as an up in the water rig. I also set up the pellet waggler and my feeder rod as I had them both with me in their ready sleeves. A quick stroll before the off revealed Gemma on peg 7 with just a feeder rod set up, could another Minxing be in the offing.

Clive was tucked round the corner on peg 9, a peg that in the past has been his Nemesis as he’d blanked on it the 3 times he’d previously draw there.
Looking across to the hut I could see the Birthday Boy himself chilling out with his thoughts prior to the off.

So All-in and a big handful of pellets by the bush to my left (it wasn’t hiding from me, unlike the last time Clive fished the peg) and 2 similar ones at 6mtrs and straight over it, but no instant action. However Gemma was soon shouting signifying her 1st fish of the day (could this mean that another Minxing was on the cards) and Paul Roberts was off to a quick start as well on peg 4.

Dave was fishing long and shallow on peg 2 but having no joy, and I had just had a single bite which resulted in the fish steaming off and resulted in a scale coming back on the hook. Dave the Fish having had a quiet start, had come down to compare notes with Colin after about an hour and a half.

and the word was that Clive was actually going well on peg 9 while most were struggling. Tony(Teepee) had drawn peg 34 which is normally good for a few fish, but like most he was finding it hard going this morning.

With nothing much happening for me on the Little Lake I decided to fill it in on the 6 mtr line and have a stroll round while it settled.
Clive was indeed having a decent time on peg 9 and although he was having a lot of foul-hookers he was managing to get most of them out…

Dave Lloyd had managed a couple from peg 19, my peg for the afternoon, so I made a mental note of where he was feeding and filed it away for later use. Next door on peg 20 I found Eric(ejayar) having his 1st visit to Rolf’s for a while as he hasn’t fished The Jinx Series this year, and it wasn’t going well for him (maybe it had something to do with his taste in football shirts).

Meanwhile Dai on peg 22 was having a grueller too and was beginning to wonder whether he was going to get as much as a bite, let alone a fish as it was proving to be a real struggle …

While Steve Wilson had managed a decent Carp that weighed in at 16 lbs 4ozs putting him in pole for the mornings largest Carp.

Malc was winkling a couple out on peg 28, but Simon was obviously worried that he was on for a Minxing and had decided to distract Gemma…

Returning to my swim I could see that Dave was still sticking at it on peg 2, still without any reward though…

Settling down I shipped back out to 6 mtrs where there was now a healthy patch of bubbles, and I was soon rewarded with a weigher to get me off the mark at last, which was swiftly followed by a net fish. Cyber and Tommo arrived at this point and must have thought that it was o so easy, and although it wasn’t, I managed a fish about every 20 minutes till the end.

So with the All-out called I got busy and quickly shifted my kit the length of the fishery up to peg 19 prior to the weigh in. Come the weigh-in and my 7 fish scaled 60 lbs and proved to be enough for a section win. Gemma despite having got off to a flyer had only managed 46 lbs for 2nd in section, losing her £1 to me as I avoided a Minxing. Clive had managed the only Ton of the match with his 139¼lbs giving him the match win and firmly burying his peg 9 hoodoo. On the next peg Mick King had taken 62 lbs for 3rd overall, while up on peg 16, 3 late Carp had allowed Simon to take 2nd place with 75½lbs. Dave Lloyd on peg 19 had managed a section winning 35 lbs, while Dai had managed to snare a solitary Skimmer and took the prize for largest Silver and on peg 28 Malc had managed to win the final section with 55½lbs.

So time for a quick drink and a sandwich and it was onto the 2nd match of the day. Starting at 4 pm, it had started to cloud over and I had Clive for company on peg 20, a peg he’d been eager to fish as it’s one of the few he’d never fished before. I was pretty relaxed having decided to concentrate on the bar at around 7 mtrs that Dave Lloyd had fed in the morning match.

So All-in and out to the bar with some pellets followed by the rig and within 5 minutes I had my first Carp of the session in the net. Clive was fishing at a similar distance and had plenty of fish fizzing in his swim but was having trouble getting bites while I was nicking a fish around every 15 minutes, Then when he did get one it wasn’t staying on the hook.

All through the afternoon more of the lads that were fishing the MD’s weekend turned up and as they strolled round watching word came back that Simon was really bagging up on peg 2 and Paul was going well from Clive’s morning peg. Malc of course had one of his moments leaping in at one point to retrieve his landing net head complete with Carp that came off as he tried to land it !!!

Clive and I both had loads of trouble with foul hookers during the match, with both of us playing the same fish on more than one occasion as they ploughed through our swims, needless to say Clive pulled out of all of them. I had one snag me by the boat that’s moored in the swim, and with a few of the lads watching I climbed into it to try and retrieve the rig. Of course the mooring rope came free much to the watching lads amusement and while I managed to get the rig back the assembled company had a right good laugh at my expense.

That was the highlight I suppose, and I just fished steadily after that taking a dozen fish by the time the All-out was called at 8 pm. The Lake had certainly fished better than the morning, with Simon taking the win with an excellent 204½lbs (his best ever match weight), which is some going in 4 hours. Paul Roberts with 159¼lbs and Steve Wilson with 151½lbs taking 2nd and 3rd. Dave(Webbo) managed his 1st ever Ton in a match with 132½lbs, as did young Mitch………..

………… who had fished the afternoon match in place of Dai putting 122½lbs on the scales from peg 34 to win his section, while Malc and Tony(teepee) took the other sections with bags of 146¼lbs & 137½lbs respectively. My weight of 117 lbs was the final Ton of the match. Mick King just missing out on a Ton by 4ozs but was probably most relieved that his £3000 worth of Airity pole had survived the day in one piece (mind you he fished the feeder down the edge for most of the 2nd match, playing safe).

So with the fishing out of the way for the day the pools were distributed amongst the winners as some of Big Dave’s lads were returning North that night. Then the barbecue got fired up and the beers cracked open as everyone relaxed and discussed the days events and looked forward to the weekend ahead.

Of course someone had to provide the amusement as the day drew to a close, and on this occasion it was Malc who decided to remove all the tent pegs from the tent that Simon and Gemma had retired to for the evening. It’s amazing how quickly an erection can collapse, at least I think that’s what Malc said before we headed to our bivvies in anticipation of the matches that lay ahead, but that’s for another report.


Location: Holton, Oxfordshire OX33, UK
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