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 Maggotdrowning.com 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.