Monday, 29 December 2008

Happy New Year

Just a line to wish everyone who has read my blog

I look forward to welcoming you
all back in 2009

Oast Farm Fishery, Buxted


I awoke this morning to a very heavy frost and wondered at my sanity as I packed the car for the drive to Buxted. The day didn't start well as I noticed a front wheel puncture which I duly sorted and after de-icing the car I was on my way.

Arriving at the fishery the usual suspects were there, Peter, Bill, Mick the Chippy, Ryan and Kevin to name a few and all were looking worried as the lake was half frozen and it looked like the fishing would be hard to say the least. The draw was made and Bill complained that he'd drawn the peg next to the flyer which was the worst place to be as there are never any fish in these pegs.

I'd drawn on the middle of dam wall with an outfall in front of me at about 4 metres which looked like it may hold a few fish. first job was to break the ice which proved harder than I first thought as it was quite thick Soon I'd got a good clear area in front of me and I set up 2 top kits for the pole, one to fish against the outfall and the other to fish in open water at 6 metres. Plumbing up I found the depth was pretty consistent with about 4 foot in front of me. bait today was to be maggots, worms and corn although I had a few soft hooker pellets if the carp showed.

I started at 6 metres an cupped in asome 4mm pellet and fished with double red maggot over top. After that I was pestered with tiny plucks which came to nothing. Straight away the float buried and a small roach came to hand. I decided to change to corn to see if things would improve as Bill hhad already landed a Carp on it. the outfall line had also failed to produce. peter over on the sunny bank was also struggling depsite sitting in what looked to be a cracking peg with a large reed bed to fish to. After an hour I was still waiting for action and popped round to Bill to have a chat. He'd had a couple of more carp by now and it transpired he was feeding micro pellets and kindly gave me a good couple of handfuls to use.

Back at my peg I fed a pinch of micro pellet and dropped thea corn baited rig back in. Unfortuantely nothing happened and I sat bitelees for another couple of hours. It was proving hard for most, Ryan to my left had snared a carp early on but was now targetting roach, Peter too was struggling although Mick seemed to be doing Ok catching plenty of raoch.

Despite changing to maggot hookbiat things didn't get much better although at least I was catching a few fish now even if they were tiny roach. By the time the all out was called I knew I hadn't got much and so it rpoved with just 1lb 10zs to show for my efforts. I'd hoped that maybe I'd finish 2008 taking a £1 off Peter but it didn't happen as he'd decided with 2 hours to go to target roach and had caught well putting 4lbs odd on the scales. Bill slaughtered us all taking 37lbs 8ozs of Carp from that unfacied peg, the rest of us (7 anglers) managed 38lb 4ozs between us !!

All in all it wasn't a bad day and I'll definately go back when the weather improves as Bill told me it fishes really well with loads of carp to go at and bags to 100lbs regularly taken.

So thats it 2008 has been an enjoyable year even though at times I didn't do too well. 2009 will hopefully be better and I've set myself 2 targets,

No. 1) Win a few £1 coins back from Peter and

No. 2) Catch 100lbs of fish from Rolfs Lake in a match.

Both are realistic targets so with any luck by mid year I'll be setting myself some new ones.

Southern Fur and Feather, Wylands Farm - House Lake

Dear Santa, I need New waterproofs !!

Today saw 14 nuttters assemble at Wylands farm for the annual Southern Fur and Feather. The weather was attrocious, pouring rain and very windy so a draw with the wind off your back was going to be the order of the day today. After an enjoyable bacon roll the draw was made and my home for the day was to be peg 9 next to Nick Gilbert.

I made my way to my peg and set up a waggler and a 4 metre whip with a view to targetting the silver fish stocks. After feeding both lines I started on the waggler and caught a roach first cast.

I started well with a few fish in the first few casts although I wasn't expecting a Gudgeon. Best fish for me was a Roach of somewhere between 1lb 4ozs and 1lb 8ozs along with a few skimmers around 3/4 lb. After about 2 1/2 hours it all got too much and I went and sat up by the cafe for an hour and a half before venturing back out for half an hour. Unfortunately due to being absent for a while the fish had dissapeared from my swim (you would have thought Nick would have carried on feeding it for me) so I packed up.

I tipped back about 8lbs which in the conditions I was fairly happy with. I look forward to having a bash at the House Lake in the better weather. Just don't let Zak (I'm a BOK) Gibbins know when were going back. Thanks Trev for your organisation, and well done to Moleman (Mark Hathaway) on his win.

Despite getting literally soaked to the skin, I enjoyed the day in the company of my fellow Maggotdrowners. Roll on 2009 and some decent weather.

Mansfield Lake, Broad Oak, Canterbury

Mick the Chippys Knock Up

Saturday 22nd November

As I had no transport Bill agreed to give me a lift and arrived around 7.30am. The family had heard about his celebrity status and being Emmerdale fans were looking out the door to see if he really looked like the head of the Dingle clan. Bill duly donned his flat cap and posed to keep them happy.

The journey to the venue was uneventful due to me taking my Sat Nav along for the ride and we arrived in good time which was probably a good thing when confronted with the huge breakfast roll being dished out by the food wagon.

A quick look at the lake confirmed that a peg with the wind on your back would make for a reasonably comfortable day so I opted for peg 18. This looked good especially as no one was at to my left effectively making it an end peg. (Unfortunately Jeff decided the wind on the other bank was too much and took away my end peg status by sitting on what I think was peg 21)

My attack for the day was originally planned to be either waggler or feeder however I decided at the last minute to set up the pole to fish at 4 metres if all else failed. Maggots were to be the main bait with worms and corn as change baits. I'd also got various tubs of soft pellets to try if the carp showed.

First cast with the feeder to the far bank produced a wrap round bite but I struck into nothing. Unfortunately only tiny little plucks on the tip followed this and I and I went on to the waggler after about half an hour. First cast and roach no.1 was safely in the net (at least I wasn't going to blank today).

A few more tiny roach followed before a slightly better sample showed up, at around 6ozs it was most welcome. It was interesting that single maggot wasn't producing many bites but 2 or 3 maggots did so I stuck at it. More tiny roach continued to take the bait before another better fished came along in the form of a skimmer bream.

As bites were a little difficult to hit I decided to try the pole on the same line but for some reason it wasn't so productive. Looking to my right I could see Peter was catching a few roach but thought that maybe I was just in front of him for now. Mike provided the entertainment a while later when hooking one of the resident carp, I thought it must be pretty big judging by the amount of elastic stretching from his pole but it transpired he was only using a no.4 laccy. After playing the carp for what seemed like ages it was safely netted by match organiser Mick. (Mick, Please note, A trophy, medals, arranging a tea wagon and paying the peg fees is fine but landing others anglers fish is just taking things too far, unless of course you were trying to knock it off)

Mick soon hooked a carp of his own which lead him a merry dance. I fully expected Mike to repay the compliment and net the carp for him but he stayed firmly sat on his box. Either he was frozen stiff or he was hoping Mick would lose it. My match continued in similar fashion with small roach coming in small bursts but none of the better fish wanted to play. Soon it was time for the wiegh in and I was 2nd to weigh. My meager net full net 2lb 4ozs not a lot but I'd still quite enjoyed my days fishing. A couple of pegs later and we reached Peter. Looking at his catch I knew it would be close and so it proved with the scalesman calling 2lb 4ozs. Well at least I hadn't lost another £1. Peter however was obviously incredibly hard up and disputed the weight. A number of others looked at the scales and weights between 2lb 3ozs and 2lb 5ozs were offered as his weight. My personal opinion was that we got equal weight. Peter had obviously paid some one off as his weight finally got agreed at 2lb 5ozs and I'd lost by 1 ounce. The weigh in continued and it appeared that no one had caught that much with just 2 or 3 pounds being brought to the scales by most. Well done to Mike on his win and also Colin on catching a lovely roach. It looked quite an old fish and had probably been in the lake for many years. The journey home was not so good as the Sat Nav battery ran out and with the cigar lighter not working in Bills car we had to follow the road signs. Somehow we went wrong and had a scenic tour of Ashford before finally getting back on the right road.

Once again thanks to Bill for the lift and for helping me back to the house with my gear. An enjoyable day out once again in the company of the Southern Maggotdrowners. I look forward to fishing the lake again when the weather warms up. Some of the pegs had lily beds and reeds which looked very inviting.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Marsh AC match - Hawkhurst Fish Farm - 11th October 2008

I was meant to be fishing Sams Lake in Headcorn today but due to circumstances beyond my control I wasn't able to and ended up joining the Marsh AC lads at Hawkhurst Fish Farms match lake. I know many of the members as they are friends from the website and enjoy fishing with them.

When I arrived just after 8.30am it was quite foggy but for a change I actually fancied I'd catch a few today.My home for the day was to be peg 18 one I'd not fished before and for company I had Keith (Ghandi) on 17 to my left and Bill Gibbins on 19 to my right.

This was to be a civilised day with everyone setting up their tackle first and then retiring to the Cafe for breakfast. At 10.15am with every one full of bacon, eggs and sausages the All In was called.

I'd chosen just a couple of lines today, the margin tight in under a bush to my left and straight out in front at 5 metres. I cupped in a liberal helping of 4mm skretting pellets and baiting with a GOTbaits 6mm catmeat soft pellet dropped the rig out at 5 metres. It was like a jacuzzi over the pellet feed and I expected a bite fairly instantly however nothing happened. After half an hour I had only managed 1 fish, a small carp around 1lb.

Hours 2 and 3 were not much better with only a couple more fish to show for my efforts. Despite changing hookbaits, depth and hook size I was suffering badly with foulhooked fish. Even changing to my margin rig and fishing it really shallow didn't help.

Not long after I received 2 phone calls I could have done without. The first was to tell me the wife was taking her Mum to Hospital as her dogs had had a fight and ripped her leg open and the second to say Dad had collapsed again (twice in about an hour) and wasn't too well.

With my head not really in it my peg not doing much I sat back and looked around to see Bill catching well and he looked likely to be the leader, Peter was also picking up a few so It could be a close run thing.I cupped in some more pellet and had a wander with my camera to take a few shots and popped down to have a chat with Peter. He told me he too had been suffering with foul hookers but was picking up a few better fish using 8mm hard banded pellet. I went back to my peg and tried again, this time I was beginning to connect with a few more fish and a small flurry of Carp followed. As the match wore on Peter was still catching well and it seemed that he may now be in the lead, my match plan had now gone completely out the window and I was just waiting for the final whistle.

I left very soon after the "all out", not bothering to weigh in but estimated my 14 fish at around 35lbs, certainly not enough to trouble those who had been catching all day. I had loads of bites but just kept coming back with scales.

Peter did indeed end up winning with a hard caught 118lbs, Bill finished a close second with 106lbs 8ozs. Dave the organiser had also included a pairs match which was won by Bill Gibbins & Kevin Loveland .

Despite everything that had happened I still enjoyed the day in the company of some decent people who made me feel very welcome.

I will one day to get to grips with the match Lake at Hawkhurst maybe not till next year though as I shall give the place a miss till things warm up again.

Dawns Vale MD's match - 4th October 2008

My journey to Dawns Vale was quite eventful to say the least. First of all my Sat Nav wouldn't find the postcode for the lake so I was almost travelling blind. I'd printed some directions from the internet but they weren't exactly brilliant. I had a rough idea where I was going but would need help once I got close. Making my way along the M25 I was merrily driving along minding my own business when suddenly the car just in front swerved all over the road and ended up embedded in the bridge parapet. I stopped to see if I could help and found that the car had suffered a front tyre blow out. The young girl was in a state of shock and after waiting with her for a while until she had calmed down and helping her change the wheel I made my way to deepest darkest Essex. (Incidentally, she rang me tonight to thank me for stopping to help her, which I really appreciated). I eventually found the fishery but only after a call to Peter for help, I don't know why I bothered ringing him, he hadn't got a clue as he was following Dave The Fish. In the end I used my sense of smell and arrived at the lake just as Dawn was cooking up Bacon and Egg rolls.

My first look at the lake was a pleasant one, although not that large the lake looked very fishy indeed and I hoped we would be in for a good days fishing. the overnight frost however had me a little worried. Dai and Mick the Chippy were already in attendance and were soon followed by Peter, DTF and Colin. Not long after Dave and Geoff turned up along with Tony and of course Max the mad Boxer. Max was obviously hungry after his long journey and joined the queue for his bacon roll.

After the bacon rolls were consumed amd teas and coffee drunk everyone made their way to their chosen pegs. I settled for the shortest walk and sat right next to the caravan. Dawn had told me it was a popular peg with the locals and often threw up some decent fish from under the overhanging tree.

I had planned a 3 pronged approach for toady which consisted of the pole at 5 metres in front and close in on both margins, a feeder rod for a chuck to the deep water in front and a carp rod rigged up for fishing a boilie.I filled in both margin pegs and sent the feeder out in to open water to hope for an early mug fish. An hour later I was still waiting. In the meantime Dai and Geoff had been slowly bulding a weight of small rudd.I decided a change of tack was needed so picked up the pole, baited with corn and dropped it in under the tree. I somehow expected an instant response but The lake had other ideas and try as I might i couldn't buy a bite. I also tried the left hand margin but that was just as useless.I chucked the pole up the bank baited the feeder with 2 red maggots and sent it back out in to the depths. this time there seemd to be a little interest and suddenly the tip whacked round, the reel churned and I struck...................................................... into thin air. B*GGER!!!!!!!!!!Next put in resulted in another bite but it was only a tiny Rudd. Nothing followed for the next two hours on any line so I baited the carp rod with a smelly squid and octopus boilie cast out under the tree and sat back waiting for all hell to let loose. Unfortuanately I had a long wait and eventually decided I was wasting my time. I chopped and changed for the rest of the match and managed another itiny Rudd before the all out was called.Highlight of the day was watching Dave's new pink knicker elastic stretched to the limit as he tried to subdue what was obviously a decent fish. A number of us had assembled behind Dave giving him encouragement as well as Malc on the phone being his usual polite helpful self.
Finally Dave managed to land the fish and was well pleased with his catch and Max seemed quite interested too.. Throughout the day Peter had been picking up the odd fish and I thought I'd better get a pic of him as he looked like he might just win. Alas when I looked up he'd dissapeared still never mind I took a picture of his empty peg. It's probably a better picture without him in it anyway.

All in all despite not catching much I'd enjoyed the Dawns Vale experience. Meeting up with friends from MD's is always a great way to spend the day even if some smart arse suggested that I should present Peter with his trophy, sorry but I can't print my reply, it's a family site.Thanks to Dawn and her hubby for letting us fish and for looking after us so well. Bacon and Egg rolls to start, Cheeseburgers half way through and copiuos amounts of steaming hot coffee to keep me awake during fishless periods (there were quite a few) were all very welcome. I will definately be going back and Peter and I are already planning a 2 day session for sometime next year once the weather warms up again.My journey home was as bad as the one on the way to the lake. 4 miles from the Dartford crossing the traffic ground to a halt and I sat going no where for over an hour. It turned out a lorry had caught fire right on top of the bridge and the bridge had been closed. This meant everything had to go through the one tunnel that was open (one was closed for maintenance). I finally arrived home at around 9.45pm completely knackered.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Mote Park knock up - 28th September 2008

Today was the day a few hardy souls ventured out to Mote Park, a 30 acre park lake in the centre of Maidstone, for a friendly match hopefully sacking up on the resident roach stocks.

Arriving in the car park numbers were somewhat low with only Trevor and Hemphead (Andy) in attendance. Shortly after Mick the chippy arrived so that made just 4 of us which was shame when we were hoping for 10-12. After paying the bailiff he opened the gate to let us drive along to our chosen pegs on the jetty. Unfortunately there were already a few anglers there so we squeezed in between them. Trevor sat to the right with Mick next to him then Andy and finally me 3 pegs to the left under a low willow tree.(yet another end peg)

I called the all in at 9.30 and all apart from Andy started on the waggler. After balling in 3 babies heads of original Swimstim, first put in and Roach no.1, about 6ozs was safely in the net. A minute later and Roach no.2 followed this time slightly bigger around 10ozs.The others were all catching too so things looked good for a decent days fishing. The bright sun wasn't helping things though as for a while the fish seemed a little finicky not wanting to take the bait properly but after a change of hook size to an 18 things improved. After about an hour I hooked something somewhat larger but unfortunately didn't get chance to see it as it charged off to my left under the jetty and just continued on it's way to the other side of the lake. It was probably one of the lakes Carp that had taken a liking to my maggot hookbait, however I shall never know. Not long after Andy suffered a similar fate. Trevor seemed to be catching a few and had his own fan club watching him, probably the only bird he's likely to pull.

Andy hooked into what he thought was another Carp so I quickly grabbed the camera for some action shots. However it seems he was just playing to the crowds as it turned out to a roach hooked squarely in the dorsal fin.

Mick in the meantime had been catching a few but for now seemed more interested in his sandwiches.

Try as I might I couldn't seem to get in a rhythm, I don't think fishing under the willow helped as it was difficult to cast any distance, the Roach just didn't want to feed close in.A few casts on the feeder produced nothing.Nick turned up around 2pm and proceeded to bag up, catching Roach every put in. It was interesting watching him, one thing I noticed was just how inaccurate his casting was, one left, one right one straight. I'm sure Matt's mentioned this before. Perhaps it's a ploy to lead everyone in to a false sense of security.

The all out was called at 3pm and Mick was first to weigh. His net went, 9lbs 7ozs, Andy followed and it was clear he'd got more than Mick and this showed when the scales settled on 17lbs 8ozs.

My net was next. I lifted out and couldn't help but think I caught a lot more than was in the net, maybe I'd over estimated but I didn't think so as I reckoned I'd had at least 12 to 13lbs. Putting the fish on the scales it was clear I hadn't got that and a measly 6lbs was recorded.
Finally it was Trevors turn. Another decent bag of fish came to the scales and after some light hearted banter the weight was agreed at 17lbs 8ozs, the same as Andy.All in all it was an enjoyable day out but I went home puzzled about how I could have got my weight so wrong. The answer however came when I hung my net up to dry in the garden when I got home, there next to the ring just up from the bottom was a split about 4 inches long. I don't feel quite so bad now apart from the fact I'll probably have to buy a new net as I'm not sure this one can be repaired. Southern Pairs - 23rd August 2008

20 of us lined up for the first ever Southern Pairs Championships at Hawkhurst Fish farm.

The pairs were organised so that each person from the pair would be on opposite banks.

At the draw bag I fancied and end peg and duly drew out peg 20, an out and out flier that I'd seen many a decent bag of fish caught from. happily I made my way to the peg expecting a great day. The aerators were on and fish could be seen all across the lake. After setting up breakfast was taken and then the serious business of catching a few fish began.

Below is what I wrote on the forum after the match, it just about sums up my day.

Got up, went fishing, caught naff all, went home, wished I'd stayed in bed. I think that just about sums it up.
Oh and I must not forget that Matt got a visit from a couple of young girls half way through the match. (I expect he thought they'd heard he was a good angler)
Mind you, I thought Bill was a bit mean,........when he started singing Gary Glitter's "Do you wanna be in my Gang".

Actually I ended the day with 15 pounds of hard earned carp, the lake had fished terribly, worse than anyone could remember the top weight being a measly 38lbs. This meant the pairs result would be close and so it proved with 2 pairs eneding withe same number of points.

Congratulations to Dave the Fish and Clive on winning the pairs match on weight.

I did at least see a few fish caught although Nick had a little trouble landing them on his knicker elastic.

All in all it was an enjoyable day in good company, lets just hope next years match fishes somewhat better.

MD Southern Champs -Hartleylands Farm - 12th July 2008

Today was the day of the Southern Champs held on the Reservoir at Hartleylands Farm fishery. My peg for today was to be peg 6, not where I really wanted to be but it did hat least have some from having once held the lake record. I settled on three lines both margins, left and right and out in front at 7 metres. I'd also set up a pellet waggler if the fish started showing on top.
Across the lake I could see Bill Gibbins settling in to his swim and he looked quietly confident as fish were crashing out the water in front of him.

I cupped in 2 large pot fulls of 6mm skretting pellets on each line, baited with a 6mm GOTbaits soft hooker pellet and waited, and waited and waited. 3 hours later and I'd got 2 fish to show for my efforts and they were only small skimmers. Peter on peg 1 was suffering a similar fate although Bill was absolutely bagging with fish lining up to take his paste bait.
Paul east over on peg 19 was also building a tidy net full.

At the end of the match I with a poor 13lbs 11 ozs and another £1 lost to Peter.

Peg 1 Peter Morton 23-0

Peg 2 Dean Lockwood 55-1

Peg 3 Jeff Driscoll 15-15

Peg 4 Tony Clark DNW

Peg 5 Mick Pearson 4-7

Peg 6 Vince Gould 13-11

Peg 7 Trevor Little 13-3

Peg 8 Alan 18-4

Peg 9 Bill Brice DNW

Peg 10 Matt Love 105-11

Peg 11 Darren Smith 20-0

Peg 12 Empty!

Peg 13 Wily Coyote 30-03

Peg 14 Stuart Wilson 62-6

Peg 15 Bill Gibbins 156-0

Peg 16 Tony Roberts 23-3

Peg 17 John Haigh 52-7

Peg 18 Nick Gilbert 49-2

Peg 19 Paul East 91-7

Peg 20 Nick Costa 34-14

Bill ended up taking the honours with a fine 156lbs with Matt love not a million miles behind with 105lbs 11ozs many of which he caught on the waggler.

At the moment I'm suffering a poor run oif results, hopefully it will change soon, I'm running out of £1 coins to give Peter.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Nicks Forum Match - Hartleylands Farm

Bramley Lake

Well today I'd planned an out and out Pellet waggler attack on my visit to Hartleylands to fish Nick Gilberts forum match. Luckily I drew peg 18 on Bramley, a fairly decent peg with the wind off my back so things looked good. Chucking the pellet wag out before the match to find the range to clip up I hooked a carp with a bare hook so there were obviously fish in the swim.

At the "All In" I fired 6mm pellets out to the island and followed with my wag baited with a 6mm banded pellet and immediately was in to Carp no.1. As this was my first really serious go at fishing the Pellet Wag in amatch I'd set myself a target of 75 Carp, 15 an hour, which I thought may just be enough for around a 100lbs so this was a good start. The first hour continued with a fish coming almost every cast and by the end of it I'd hit my tagert of 15 fish. The only problem was most of them were around 12ozs and not the 1lb - 1lb 8ozs fish I'd hoped for.

I changed hookbait to a banded 8mm pellet and this improved thing slightly with a few slightly larger specimens but there were still too many small ones. By the end of hour 3 I was still on target with 47 carp now in the net.
Hour 4 was a little better with 24 Carp gracing my net and in this were a few better fish, I still felt frustrated that I was catching so many smaller samples though.

Into Hour 5 and I was hoping to pick up a few bigger fish from the margin line I'd been feeding all day. By now there were tail patterns everywhere so there were obviously some decent carp rooting around tight to the reeds on my right. After 15 minutes more on the Pellet Waggler I put it to one side and shipped out my margin rig, a Malman Thicko with a size 12 B911 tied direct to 5lb maxima, bait was a large lump of paste. Straight away the pole was almost ripped from my hand and I was attached to a rather angry Common carp of around 5lbs. Eventually the elastic did it's work and the fish was safely netted. Next put in and the same happened, this time a Carp of around 3lb being the culprit. Then the margin line died. All I could connect with was a few roach and a skimmer of about 12ozs. Another pot of pellets went in and it was back on the Wag for 15 minutes.
4 carp later and I went back on the margin line, now it was really solid and Carp after Carp came to the net right up until the "All Out". I was still frustrated though as they were still only smaller Carp. My final fish count was 92 so I'd beaten my target but would I beat the 'Ton', I was doubtful, those 12oz Carp might just not be big enough.

Word going round was that, surprise surprise, Nick had caught well and so it turned out with him winning Peartree with 117lbs 1oz. Matt Love was 2nd on Peartree with 88lb 10ozs. Rusty Groves was 1st to weigh on Bramley and he had a superb 137 fish going 125lb 1oz almost all caught shallow. Next it was my turn, 3 weighs later and the final total was......................... ................... .............................................................................. 80lb 10zs. Oh well, not the 'Ton' I'd hoped for but still a decent return from my first match fishing the Pellet Wag.

I'd enjoyed the day and got seriously sunburnt in the bargain , I just didn't realise how hot the sun was, the breeze off my back was keeping me quite cool all match.I was pleased to see I'd beaten a few decent anglers on the day including Derek Gladwin and Andy Silver.

Congratulatons Rusty on the match win, even though you were pegged next to me I didn't have chance to watch your display of shallow pole fishing, never mind there's always another day.

Can I do it again? who knows, but I'm certainly looking forward to the next time I get the chance to fish the Pellet Wag.

Sunday, 15 June 2008 Individual Champs
14th June 2008
Packington Somers Fishery Meriden, Coventry.

Today was the annual Maggotdrowning Indivdiual Champs for 2008. Some superb prizes had been donated and the first 3 anglers were to the lucky recipients of a brand new seatbox kindly donated by Jim Burton of Matchbox. 6 reels had also been donated and were to form the 4th place prize and for each of the section winners. These had been kindly donated by John at The Matchmen, Nottingham.

Here's my take on the day.

My Individual Champs experience started with a 166 mile drive from Kent on Friday the 13th. I left home around 3.30pm hoping to miss the worst of the M25 traffic and was quite lucky until I reached Heathrow. 3 miles in about and hour wasn't exactly what I'd planned. Fortunately after this hold up things went well and I finally arrived at the B & B around 8.30pm. I booked in, dropped some stuff off in my room and popped off to the pub to find Bucko and his lady wife.
After an enjoyable pint we all left to make our way back to the digs, however I forget to tell Bucko I was popping down to the Bull in Meriden to say Hi, to Simonelsey, Aigy and CroydonAngler. Bucko being the nice caring soul that he is started panicking and was soon ringing his way round the Maggotdrowners trying to find someone who had my mobile no. Peter and Dirk both heard from him, however, they were wasting their time trying to ring me as I hadn't got any signal on my T Mobile phone anyway. (Bloody things got to go.) Rumour has it Peter told Bucko "I was probably at the bottom of a ditch somewhere but he was sure I'd find my way home soon". Thanks for showing your compassionate side Peter.

After a decent nights sleep I woke refreshed and ready to go and was soon pulling in to the fishery, mind you it was only 3 minutes from the B & B. First impressions were very good, a nice looking golf course along side the drive and lakes in the distance. Arriving in the large car park I could see a number of MDers standing around chatting clearly looking forward to the day. By the time of the draw 42 excited MDers had turned up and an orderly queue was formed as hands went in the draw bag hoping for a favoured peg. Before the draw John, the fishery manager, had told me he thought the match would be won from one of the island pegs in the mid 40's so when I saw local expert Missabite had drawn 44 I was fairly sure he'd be somewhere in the frame come the end of the match. For the record Peter drew me peg 37, he had peg 48 and Dirk was miles away on peg 15.

Arriving at peg 37 it certainly looked very inviting, probaly the nicest peg I'd seen all the way round the lake. Llillies either side of me and a bay in the island with reeds fringing it. I stood and surveyed the peg before settling on what to do.

My plan of action was to fish the feeder tight across to the island and also feed two pole lines, one at 8 metres and the other in the margins close to the lillies. At the All In if potted in a couple of pots of chopped worm and caster on each pole line and then cast the feeder in to the bay opposite. 10 minutes in and no bite so I picked up the pole and tried the 8 metre line. first drop in and the float sailed awy. However I didn't meet with the expected hard fight of a Crucian but the jig jagging of a tiny perch. Next put in and the same result so I decided to go back on the feeder.
As the hour mark approached the tip flew round and Bream no.1 was soon in the net, a nice looking fish of around 2lbs or so I thought. (more of that later) A couple of casts later and another Bream was in the net slightly bigger this time. As the match progressed I'd take a couple of Bream and then have a quiet spell befoe taking another couple. At the 3 hour mark I was happy and estimated I'd probably got maybe 30lbs. Next cast and as I waited foir a bite I rang Peter to see how he was doing, I think I managed a couple of words before I had to drop the phone and dive for the rod as it tried to make it's way in to the lake. Haning on for dear life I managed to turn the fish before it got too far through the reeds and slowly managed to gain some ground. This was clearly much bigger than anything i'd caught so far so I took my time suspecting it may be one of the large resident Tench. Sadly for me as the fish surfaced beside the landing net I saw it was a Carp of about 10lbs so I skillfully knocked it off the hook without the need to lift it from the water. Next cast and I barely had chance to put the rod in the rest before the tip bent double and another good fish was on. i wondered whether this may be a Carp too as the fight was similar however, I was happy to see a nice looking Tench surface just in front of me which was safely netter. I guessed it was about 4lbs. Back in again and I was on again this time a Bream of maybe 3lbs. I eventually got round to ringing Peter again and perhaps wished I hadn't as after telling him about my last few minutes he didn't sound too happy and hung up muttering something about 2 tiny perch and a skimmer.
With about 30 minutes to go word reached me that that I was catching better than most and was apparently in the lead, well that made me smile and I celebrated with another Bream. By now I thought I'd got maybe 50lbs. A few more smaller bream/skimmers and it was time to blow the whistle for the end of the match. Dry Nets to my right came to see me and said he thought I'd probably got around 60lbs and must be in line for a win as he hadn't heard of anyone else having that much. In no time at all the scales reached my peg and a quick look at the wiegh sehhts showed Matt Nutt in the lead with just over 40lbs and Mike Globe next with 38lbs. I was pretty sure I'd beaten both of them and was feeling quite good for a change. Then my day turned sour, the scalesman shouted 29lb 13ozs, are you sure? I asked him to check again and he said 29-13. I was absolutely stunned. I was so shocked that I checked my nets for any large holes the mice might have made. Drynets just looked at me in disbelief. I can only think the bream were hollow after spawning which accounted for them not weighing anything near their size. Still I was in 3rd place and hadn't heard of much being caught from the pegs after me so was still in with a shout of a frame place and a lovely shiny new Matchbox Seatbox. My joy was to be short lived when only 4 pegs later Missabite put 43lbs 12ozs on the scales to push me down to 4th. I followed the scales round to Peter and couldn't help smiling inwardly when he weighed a huge 5lbs 9ozs . Sadly with all the roganistion I'd been doing for the draw I'd forgotten to have our customary £1 side bet.
The last few pegs were weighed and I held on to 4th place but couldn't help but feel disappointed as I'd used my clicker to roughly estimate my weight and it showed 47lbs. How did I get it so wrong?
Back at the clubhouse and after I'd worked out the places the presentations were made, with special thanks going to Ray Best for arranging the superb prizes and to the fishery staff for looking after us so well and carrying out the fastest, most efficent weigh in I'd ever seen.
A huge array of raffle prizes were up for grabs and thanks were given to Bucko's wife (I can never remember her name) and to Roger for sorting out the raffle. It seemed to take forever, but was worth it with £224 being raised to be split between The Kent Air Ambulance and Great Ormond Steeet Hospital for Sick Children.
After everyone had I left I sat and looked back on the day, I concluded that it had been a great success. the fishery was lovely, the company excellent as always and the banter up to it's usual standard. Highlight of the day had to be when halfway through the raffle Dave realised someone had picked up the bottle of wine he'd won earlier on. he'd put it on the table in front of him and one of the later prize winners had picked it up thinking it was still up for grabs, the look on his face was priceless.
Will I run it all again next? Of course I will, I just need to start considering a venue.
I made one final note to myself before I left and that was to speak to Nick Gilbert about lessons in weight estimation, we all know how good he is at that.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Charity Fundraiser - Monk Lakes - 17/05/2008

Arriving at Monk Lakes the weather was looking decidedly dodgy , for a moment I thought Malc was visiting Kent . A good number of Anglers, Danglers, Maggotdrowners, Venue Experts and Paul East (looking tired as usual) were eagerly tucking into sausage sticks from the food van and looking forward to a decent days fishing. Dirk had rung to say he was stuck on the M25 behind an accident and would be late.The talk was all about which pegs people wanted to draw or perhaps didn't want to draw and estimates of the winning weight varied from 70 - 150lbs.

The draw went smoothly and my home for the day was to be peg 61 half way along the causeway, not where I wanted to be as the wind and rain were to be right in my face all day.I settled on fishing 3 lines today, 2 in the margins to my left and right and out in front at 8 metres. As a back up I'd brought along a feeder rod set up in a ready rod bag in case things were tough. As is customary I'd joined in a £1 side bet with Peter, Paul and Dirk.

2 large cups of 6mm Skrettings pellet went in on each of the margin lines with 3 pots going in a 8 metres. Leaving these lines to settle I chucked the feeder about 20 metres and sat back and waited. The wait wasn't long as Carp no.1 was soon in the net after taking my paste hookbait. Back out and within seconds the tip went round again and an Ide of about 1lb was quickly landed. Then things died and the tip sat motionless for about 10 minutes. On to the right hand margin line with 6mm expander and a small skimmer was the first to take the bait. 2 more put ins and 2 more baby skimmers made me think I should leave the margins for a while longer. A trip to 8 metres proved no better so it was back to the feeder. 2 more Carp quickly followed and then nothing. The match for me continued like this for the next 3 hours, the odd fish from the margins and a couple of fish from the feeder but I just couldn't get them to feed confidently.

Looking around throughtout the match it seemed no-one was particularly bagging although Peter told me Simon Edwards was doing quite well. Every so often I would take a slightly better fish but in the main they were all quite small. No Green Tench, Golden Tench or Barbel seemed to be present in my swim so it was a case of sitting it out for the Carp. I carried on taking the odd fish on the feeder till the end of the match and felt a little dissapointed that I hadn't done better but they were just too finicky.As the weigh started James North was leading with 52lb 12ozs till we reached John Haigh who had 58lbs. Phil Brice then bettered that with 66lbs 8ozs from peg 48. A lot of people were complaining about how bad the fishing had been but it was clearly down to the change in the weather since last weekend.

By the end of the weigh in Nick Allen ran out the winner with a creditible 73lbs 12ozs on a difficult day. Well done Nick. Most of his fish were Carp taken 3 sections out on paste. I finished with a dismal 27lbs 6ozs beating Dirk and Paul , however Peter took another £1 from me with 34lbs 40zs. Unfortunatly the weigh sheets got rather wet during the weigh in and by the time I'd got home they had welded themselves together making them impossible to read. Luckily I'd already started making a new list which stayed dry so I'd still got the top twenty weights.

  1. Nick Allen 73-12
  2. Phil Brice 66-08
  3. Peter Allen 63-12
  4. Graham Flynn 62-00
  5. Ian Carley 61-00
  6. John Haigh 58-00
  7. James North 52-12
  8. Simon Edwards 52-08
  9. Dennis Price 50-12
  10. Trevor Little 46-00
  11. Dave Barr 36-08
  12. Peter Morton 34-04
  13. Gary Cross 34-02
  14. Steve Holden 33-12
  15. Simon Elsey 32-08
  16. Jeff Driscoll 32-00
  17. Alan Loader 30-08
  18. Mike Jameson 28-04
  19. Vince Gould 27-06
  20. Matt Love 27-04

Section 1 P Brice 66-08 J Haigh 58-00

Section 2 P Allen 63-12 G Flynn 62-00

Section 3 N Allen 73-12 S Edwards 52-08

Section 4 A Loader 30-08 C Pritchard 21-08.

The main winner from the match are the two charities who benefit from the charity match series, Rainbows Childrens Hospice and Macmillan Nurses. The match, the 2 auctions and a donation from Lexus Park Lane brought in £540. Finally thanks to everyone who took part, helped with the organisation and especially Braham & Murray who gave us 4 cases of their hemp products which we gave out to every competitor. As soon as all the money is in I'll forward a cheque to Dirk.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Hawkhurst revisited

After last weekends poor performance at Hawkhurst Fish Farm, Al suggested on the Maggotdrowning forum that we go back for another go. Unfortunately a few from the previous visit couldn't go but 9 of us cdecided to try again.
The match lake is renowned for it's huge catches but as last week showed conditions have to be right. This weekend looked much better with reasonably settled weather the week before and warm sunshine greeting us on arrival.

As the cafe wasn't opening till 9am it was agreed that we would do the draw, set up and then go for breakfast before the all in at 10am. The favoured draw today was either peg 1 or peg 10 both end pegs. Hands went in to the draw bag and everyone was keeping quiet. I drew peg 4 which was OK as there was to be no-one on peg 3 giving me a bit of room. Trevor Little (M.T.Net) had peg 10 whilst Keith, who had only been fishing since christmas drew peg 1.

My plan of attack today was to be 3 lines, one at 5 metres in front, one at 3 metres tight to the boards on my right and one at 5 metres tight to the boards on the left. 2 cupfulls of 4mm skrettings pellets were fed on each line and I started by fishing tight to the bottom at 5 metres with paste. Despite a few taps and knocks, after 5 minutes I was still fishless whilst all around me everyone seemed to be catching. A switch to 6mm soft pellet did the trick and fish no.1 was safely netted, a carp of around 2lbs. Back out and carp no.2 was soon in the keepnet with it's brother. Things continued like this for about 3o minutes when suddenly the line died, I'd been feeding a small pinch of pellets every put in so wondered whether one of the larger residents had disturbed things. I fed another pot of pellets and dropped in on the margin line to my left.

No sooner had the bait touched bottom and the elastic shot from the pole and an angry, foul hooked fish charged away. Elastic today was a preston 12 solid and this handled things comfortably and soon enough the fish was netted. By switching lines I kept fish coming and was fairly happy with my catch rate although Colin and Dave the Fish both seemed to be doing alittle better. With about 2 hours to go I got another 3 pint bait box of pellets out of my carryall and promptly knocked the whole lot straight in to the lake right next to the platform. Unfortunately that was all the feed pellet I had left apart from a few left in the previous box. I worried that this may cause me problems but soldiered on. Shortly after my family arrived and sat behind me eating lunch before disappearing of after about 45 minutes.

During the time they were there I had lifted the pole in to a fish on the 5 metre line which seemed intent on trying to stretch my laccy to the limit. eventually I managed to get it under control and started to lift it to the surface ready for netting. I was a little surprsied when I noticed another length of line hanging from it's mouth together with a complete pole rig. I had hooked the fish perfectly in the mouth so It was obviously not affected by the rig it had been towing round. At around 5lbs it was my biggest fish of the day.

Back to the margin line and it seemd that the family's visit had upset things and the fish had been spooked. I continued to catch a few fish but the catch rate had dropped right off without any feed pellets it was going to be difficuklt to do much about it.

At the whistle I guessed I'd got maybe 85lb, not bad, but clearly not enough to win as Dave had had a fabulous last hour whilst there were rumours Trevor had caught well on Peg 10.

As the scales made there way along it appeared that the weights were much improved on the previous week, a special mention must go to Keith on peg 1 who fishing only his 2nd knock up had managed a creditible 47lb 8oz. Ali on peg 2 led the way with 167lb 8oz with Tony just behind on 157lbs when the scales reached Dave the Fish. 3 weighs later and Dave had taken the lead with a superb 190lbs. Finally the scales got to Trevor who told me at the end of the match he may have around 130lbs (we'll see). Again 3 weighs later and some carefull addition Tony's net of fish went exactly 200lbs. A cracking weight but somewhat more than his estimate, if he continues to estimate his catches that badly he'll be rivalling Nick Gilbert.

My final total was 88lbs, an enjoyable days fishing but one which could have been so much better had I not been so clumsy.

Joseph's first fish

A couple of weeks ago my 5 year old son started pestering me to take him fishing. Those at the recent Hawkhurst get together will remember that he was still pestering me a week later.

I finally relented and the next day we decided to pop along to the small pond close to the mother in laws home. Some time ago I'd bought him a little 3 metre whip and set it up with a small dibber float with a size 16 B911 tied direct to 4lb maxima. Bait was to bread punch. After feeding a small nugget of liquidised bread the first put in resulted in solid resistence and with some expert coaching from me he landed a small common carp.

I can't ever remember seeing some one so excited about catching a fish and he insisted on posing for the camera with his prize.
We continued to fish for about an hour until he got a bit restless but in that time he managed to catch another 15 small carp and a couple of roach.Somehow I think he'll want to go fishing again.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Wet and miserable at Hawkhurst

Today was the day out at Hawkhurst Fish Farm in deepest Kent. As with most of these get togethers they turn in to friendly matches and this was no exception. 20 guys turned up on a cold wet morning and after devouring a nice cooked breakfast we set about tempting the resident carp to feed. There are certainly plenty to tempt as there are over 4 & 1/2 tons of fish in the lake.

The match lake is the small strip lake on the left and holds 20 pegs.

I was situated in the top left of the lake.

Here's my report on the day.

My day was somewhat of a disappointment to be honest. I hadn't really fished much so far this year so was up for some serious bagging. It started well enough when Clive having travelled all the way from Reading very kindly drew me Peg 1, the so called flyer peg. I'd been informed that when Peter and one or two of the others looked upon arrival there were so many fish in the swim that I could have walked across it. Off I went with a smile on my face looking forward to a real bagging fest. After 2 & 1/2 hours I'd only got two small carp to show for my efforts and then the rain started.

Whilst I'm really pleased with the Boss box I bought from Peter there's no easy way of attaching a support to attach my brolly to so I moved my box across to the side of the platform and stuck the brolly in the grass. 2 minutes later and the brolly fell over landing with a crash behind me. Oh well up the bank it went and I sat there in the rain unable to buy a bite.

I tried close to the boards a metre from the corner, 4 metres from the corner and 6 metres straight out in front but the fish didn't want to play ball. I shallowed up and tried up in the water but that didn't work either. I decided to cup in a pint of pellet at 6 metres in front and went for a wee. When I returned after having a chat with DTF I shipped out and caught a carp of around 2lbs first put in. 2nd put in and it's brother followed, maybe I'd cracked it. However it wasn't to be. An hour later and only 1 other fish a goldfish of about 1lb to show for my hard work and I was getting frustrated. There were bites happening but they were really iffy just little taps and dinks and they wouldn't take it properly. I tried changing a few things but that didn't work either. The only good thing was Nick G 2 pegs along was having mare and I was beating him.

I struggled on till the end managing to occasionally snare a fish or two until the all out. It had been hard work and as far as I could see quite a lot had struggled like me. Apart from DTf who had really wound me up by catching pretty much all day from the peg directly in front of me and from what I could see he was doing nothing different from what I was.

A chat with the bailiff after the match made me feel a bit better when he said my peg never fished well with an easterly wind so I wasn't quite so upset at my performance. Maybe next time I go to Hawkhurst the sun will be out and I'll draw the peg again and really bag up, mind you I doubt it.

The final indignity was having to give Peter £2 as he'd well and truly beaten me, look after it Peter and keep it shiny, it's coming back to me next time we fish together.

Smile Pete, that cost me a quid that did.

Oh and Petermid the new landing net was all my own doing I hope you like it, although the look on your face when it was presented to you told me you weren't too happy about your latest bit of Preston Immitation kit. I wonder what you'll get next time the MD's go out perhaps it will be a seatbox leg attachment for your jam jar.

My next serious trip out will be a charity match I'm organising at Monk Lakes on the 17th May in aid of Macmillan Nurses. Before then I hope to have a few pleasure sessions including one at Hartleylands Farm before it changes to a private membership fishery.

Monday, 11 February 2008

Back to Shannons - 9th Feb 2008

After my practice day a couple of weeks ago it was back to Shannons match lake to see if things had improved.

Well as usual it was a nice day out in great company. I wasn't surprised when Peter stuck his hand in the draw bag and picked the peg next to me, especially after all the stick I'd been getting before the draw. Still at least I'd have a chance to see what he was catching and try to beat him (not something that happens too often).

Things started slowly with the odd tap on the feeder which didn't come to anything so after half an hour I dropped a couple of maggots in on the pole line and the float buried. The strike was met with solid resistance and.....................................a 2oz roach was landed without too much trouble.That proved to be it for a while until a change back to the feeder started to bring the odd bite which I missed with ease. On about the tenth cast the feeder had just hit the water when the rod was almost ripped rom my hands and a rather angry carp did it's best to go and visit DTF on the far bank. With only a light hooklength it was clenched buttocks time and hold on especially as I'd clipped up and had no line to give. eventually the carp swam towards me and after a few minutes was safely in the net. The lake owner Shannon said "nice fish, probably about 5-6lbs" which proved to be a bit of a Nick Gilbert estimate as the fish went 9lb 4ozs when weighed at the end of the day.

Another smaller carp followed about half an hour later before the feeder line died. I managed 1 gudgeon, a miniscule perch and a couple more roach before the end but was left to rue two lost carp, one on the pole with about an hour to go and another on the feeder as the whistle went. Again this carp seemed intent on getting round the back of the island and unfortunately the hook pulled. Felt like a good fish too.All in all a fun day out made all the better by beating Peter for once.

Thanks to Bill for organising the day and I look forward to going back when the weathers warmer and the fish have got over the two floods the lake has recently suffered.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Shannons Fishery - Eridge Green. 27th Jan 2008

A week or so back Bill G posted asking for someone to take him fishing so having not managed to get out on the bank for a while I jumped at the chance of a day out. Now where should we go? Monks, Hartleylands, Framfield, Mushroom Farm all sounded appealing but I wanted to go somewhere I hadn'y been before. I decided to see whether there was any chance of a sneaky days practice at Shannons match lake ahead of our plannned get together on the 9th February. A PM to Bill was all that was needed to secure a day out and it seemed I wasn't the only one with the same idea as arriving at the fishery Bill told me that Dave the Fish and Tony (Spamwham) would also be joining us.Being the friendly people that we are we let Dave have his usual swim just inside the gate whilst Bill, Tony and I opted for pegs on the right hand bank. This was to be my home for the day.

Following Bill's advice I set up a top kit with a 12 elastic to fish at 9-10 metres. I potted in a large cup of pellet baited with 2 red maggots and sat back and waited for a bite. The lake had flooded heavilly recently so that was possibly going to have an affect on the fishing. 2 minutes later and fish no.1 was landed. It was only a small Roach but hopefully things would get better. As the day wore on it quickly became apparent that the Carp were not playing ball and the only fish showing were the Roach. Tony did finally manage a Carp of around 6lbs his peg at the far end of the lake but was finding the going hard. After suffering loads of tiny twitchy bites which came to nothing I decided to have a wander over to the small river that runs alongside the fishery to see what I could catch. Reports from Bill of loads of Chub and some Barbel had whet my appetite and to be honest anything was better than the tiny Roach I had been catching. First run through showed that the depth was only maybe 3 feet and the flow was quite strong but I still fancied it for a fish or two. After a couple of unsuccessful swims I settled beside a lovely long (approx 30 yard glide) that just screamed Chub. After feeding a small handful of maggots I baited with 2 reds and started the 1st run through. Halfway down the run and the float buried and I was attached to my 1st Chub of the day. After a little difficulty due to the over hanging trees and a landing net that wasn't really long enough I safely landed the fish. A nice Chub of around 2lbs was soon back in the water and my run 2nd through had started.

(Sorry about the picture quality but I took the photo with my phone.)

As before the float reached about halfway down the run and buried again. The strike was met with somewhat more resistence and a rather angry Chub did it's best to get in to any snags it could find.After getting caught in the trees a few times I finally netted the fish and this time it was a better Chub of around 4lbs.The next hour or so continued in similar fashion and when I finally decided to go back to the lake I had caught 6 Chub between 1 & 4lbs 5 Roach between 6ozs and 1lb and a soilitary huge fat Gudgeon.I'd really enjoyed fishing the river, it was something I hadn't done for far too long.Back to the lake and I potted in some more 4mm pellet and again dropped the rig in baited with 2 red maggots and waited. Unfortunately the Roach were still there and a succession of them between 2 and 4ozs frustrated me for the next hour. Bill started to pack away as he had a prior engagement to go to and as he came up to say goodbye I hooked into something slightly bigger. the 12 elastic did it's job well and a beautiful Mirror Carp of arounf 5lbs nestled in my landing net. It really was a stunning fishing with gorgeous scale patterns and will look superb when it gets to 15lbs.Tony and Bill had both managed to catch Carp but poor Dave hadn't had a sniff of one. I expect he'll come up with some excuse but then a bad fisherman always blames his tackle (or in Dave's case, someone else's tackle as in his excitement at having a sneaky days practice he left all his top kits at home) .
Thanks for the day out Bill, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
There wasn't much I learnt about the match lake prior to my match there in a couple of weeks time, but I did learn something from the day,
1) pack a shorter rod for the river,
2) take a longer landing net handle and
3) pack a feeder rod as the island in front of me looked so inviting.
I'm looking forward to the 9th when hopefully the Carp will come out to play.