Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Bridges Lake revisited

Bridges Lake, Monk Lakes Fishery
A few days ago Bill G sent me a PM saying that him and Peter were popping over to Monk lakes to day for a session on Bridges Lake and asked if I'd like to join them. Unfortunately the night before Bill had to drop out as his wife wasn't well so it turned in to a head to head between me and Mugger. I'd had a great day there last week so was looking forward to it, What a difference a week makes.
I arrived about 7.45am and had a look around to see if I could find a couple of pegs close together. It was fairly busy already and there weren't many free but I saw that the 2 pegs on the end of the same island that I fished the other day were free. I made my way around the lake and not long after parking the car Peter arrived. We went and had a look at the pegs and being the nice guy that I am I chose to fish the same one I had a few days ago. That left Peter the peg right on the end of the island.
One thing I forgot to mention was the wind was blowing a fairly strong northerly, right in to Peters face.
I'd only brought along the pole today so found the rig I'd used previously and set up one top kit with a Maver 12/20 elastic, attaching a Drennan Carbo .75gm shotted with an olivette and 2 small droppers to a size 16 B911. On my 2nd top kit with Black hydro I put a 1.5gm Maver float (sorry don't know the name) again shotted with an olivette and droppers but this time with a 14 B911.
This was my swim.

By now Peter had started moaning as he had found he only had about 2 feet of water at 8 metres whilst I had at least twice that at 6 metres. He kept saying something about being tucked up, I just kept quietly grinning to myself. Having set himself up Peter decided to have a look in the swim to my right just to see of it was any deeper so off he trot, pole in hand to plumb the depth. Having reached the swim and dropped his plummet in he was met with a volley of abuse from a 'Carper' fishing on the right hand bank who seemed to think he could fish anywhere he liked including in the swim Peter was plumbing. Peter not being shy sent a volley back before deciding to stay in his original swim. For the rest of the day I heard the 'Carper' telling everyone and anyone about the pillock (word changed to protect the innocent) fishing on the end of the island. It sounded something like being an employee of somewhere you deposit your money.

Anyway back to the fishing, things for me started slowly with nothing for the first 10 minutes until finally I hooked into a bream of around 1lb 8ozs. Peter by now had caught 3 or 4 having decided to fish the waggler because of the wind. To say it was awkward would be an understatement, the water was towing heavilly to my left and even with the heavy rig on I was having trouble holding the rig still. I even fed a line even shorter but that was the same. In the end I had to under shot the float to stop it disappearing in the waves.

I persevered and managed to catch a few every now and then but spotting bites was difficult. A mixture of Bream to 3lbs 8ozs, Tench, Golden Tench and Chub made up my eventual catch of 29 fish. I guess they probably weighed around 40lbs +. Of course it wouldn't be right if I didn't hook a lump so I did just that, however it was gone in a hurry after stetching the Maver 12/20 to alarming lengths. Peter was having more success with the waggler and was catching some lovely Bream the best I saw him have was around 6lbs and ready for spawning. I had to go around 3pm so left Peter to it, I gather he finished with 57 fish so all in all not a bad return on a difficult day because of the wind. I'll definately be back, hopefully when it's lovely and hot and with no wind.

On a different note I spoke to the bailiff about matches on the lake and he said they could only be held in the winter. In that case maybe I'll organise a match on Bridges later in the year, maybe somewhere around Christmas. With the margins in some swims being fairly shallow it will be probably be a waggler or feeder event for most, but that will make a change from the pole.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Hawkhurst Fish Farm - 10th April 2009

Hawkhurst Fish Farm Match Lake

A few weeks back Paulvis posted a thread suggesting a Maggotdrowning day at Hawkhurst on Good Friday. As the venue is about 3 minutes from home this was one I wanted to fish so my name was added to the list.

The forecast leading up to the day was not looking good, so much so that Matt Love dropped out as he didn't want to get his waterproofs wet. Heavy winds and a steady wind were apparently what we were to expect.

I arrived at the fishery at 8.30am to find everyone else already there. My wife dropped me off and left me to have some peace and quiet away from the kids. I paid my entry fee and was a little dissapointed to pick peg 2 from the draw bag. Although everyone says a match here can be won from any peg I've never liked this area, peg 1 supposedly a flyer sits in a corner and it's here where everyone tends to congregate before the match. I'm sure this has a negative effect on both pegs 1 & 2.

Anyway I set up my gear and had a two pronged attack planned, a line at 5 metres hard on the deck and two margin lines tight to the boards both left and right. Bait for the day was to be 6mm GOTBaits cat meat hookers, corn and some 8mm Skrettings pellets to fish on a band. Feed would consist of 4m Skrettings pellet and I'd also got about 3 pints of almost dead maggots which I might feed on one of the margins. I'd also knocked up a small amount of paste but thought it might still be a bit cold for that to work well.

To my left was Peter, my arch nemesis, we always have a £1 side bet and unfortunately it's beginning to get expensive. I was really hoping today would be a better one and maybe a £1 would be coming my way. As you can see Peter wasn't at all confident as he looks like he's praying to the fishing gods.
After breakfast was taken the all in was sounded at 10.30am and I potted in a couple of pots of 4mm Skrettings pellet and a few bits of corn on each line and shipped out to 5 metres to see whether the fish wanted to play ball. 30 seconds later and carp no.1 was in the net, not big at around 1lb but a welcome start. The next few put ins resulted in the same thing and I was beginning to feel confident of catching a few today.
For some reason things suddenly slowed and for the next ten minutes only one more fish came to the net. Then almost a soon as it slowed things picked up again and a few more fish soon joined the others in the net. This pattern was continue throught the match, catch a few then nothing, catch a few more, then nothing. It was incredibly frustrating especially as Peter didn't seem to be catching much either.
Throught the match I picked up one or two better fish including one of around 7lbs but most were what appeared to be newly stocked F1's. One thing I did notice was how slimy the Carp were, not something I'd come across before.
Anyway after around 3 hours my bladder got the better of me and I made a trip to the loo but not before potting 2 more pots of pellet on the 5 metre line. Returning from the loo I decided tio have a look at the margin lnes to see whether there were any fish there. First drop in and the float buried and a nice mirror of around 3lbs fought well before I eventually netted it. As I suspected the fish was hooked squarely in the pectoral fin, no wonder it hung on a bit.
No more fish followed during the next hour, despite signs of fish in the swim, from either margin so it was back out to 5 metres.
I decided at this time to try the paste, what a difference, the float buried straight away and a 2lb carp was soon netted and for the remaider of the match I continued to pick up more even though the bites were very finicky. during the last hour the forecast rain arrived although not as heavy as expected.
By the all out I knew I hadn't done nearly enough and certainly had been beaten by Peter yet again as while his catch rate improved mine never really got out of 1st gear.
Peter next to me was first to weigh and put a creditible 86lbs 5ozs, I ended up with 32lbs 50zs for no where. As the scales made their way round it was evident that most had caught a few but many had suffered long biteless periods just like me.
The eventual winner was Paul East from peg 7 with 125lbs with Keith Driscoll a fairly 2nd with 112lbs. The only other to break the 'ton' was Nick Allen with 101lbs.
One of these days I'm going to have a decent day at Hawkhurst but for now I'll just look forward to my next trip out which will probably be another visit to Monk lakes for another assault on the Bream and Tench in Bridges Lake. This time I'll make sure my camera batteries are fully charged.
Sorry for the lack of photo's in this report but with the likelyhood of rain I packed the camera away early to save it from getting wet.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Monk Lakes - Bridges Lake - 7th April 2009

Well what a day !!

I asked last night online for some suggestions as to where I should fish today. The only person to reply was BillG who said I should go to Monk Lakes and have a bash at the Bream in Bridges Lake. So after taking the mother in law to the hospital for an appointment I packed the car and headed off to the fishery. I arrived around 1pm, paid for my ticket and drove round looking for a comfortable peg to fish. Whilst the sky was quite clear with some bright blue patches there was a steady breeze blowing which made the temperature feel much colder.

I settled on a peg on the end the 2nd island, on the right hand bank, which meant the wind was off my back. As you can see it was an easy chuck to the island so I started on the feeder baited with double hair rigged corn. Before casting I baited the pole line at 8 metres with 2 large pot fulls of 3mm skrettings pellets and a few grains of corn in readiness for later.First cast on the feeder the tip wrapped round and a bream of about 2lbs was soon netted.

Soon afterwards his brother was on his way to join me.

I baited again, this time with 3 grains of corn and soon after I had another wrap round. This time I just had to hang on, the clutch screamed and what appeared to be a huge carp tried it's best to get round the back of the island. Unfortunately I had to tighten down to try and stop it and then everything went slack, the hook had pulled. I suspect it was one of the larger residents of the lake, they run to over 30lbs in Bridges.All the time the pole line was fizzing like crazy so I put the feeder rod behind me and dropped in with a grain of hair rigged corn for bait. Immediately the float buried and Bream of around 3lbs came to the net. The next 2 hours continued like this with bream after bream finding a liking for the corn. After the two hours I'd caught 27 of them, all 'peas in a pod' weighing about 2lbs. By now the wind had change direction and I was really feeling the cold so I took the opportunity to get my coat from the car and visit the loo. Before leaving I potted in another couple of pots of pellet.Suitably refreshed I shipped back out and waited. this time it took a bit longer for a bite but when it came the strike was met with with something altogether different. The 12 elastic streamed from the pole and the fight was nothing like before. After a minute or so I slid a barbel of around 3lbs in to the net. It was in immaculate condition and fought like crazy.

Next put in and the float buried again. This time it felt completely different again and very soon this was sitting in the bottom of the landing net.

It seemed the change of wind direction has brought in a different range of fish and the bream and all but dissapeared. For the next hour all I could catch was tench or barbel, almost all the tench being the golden variety with exception of one.

For some reason things changed again with the next ten fish all being bream of about 2lbs.After a few more golden tench I baited again with two more pots of pellet. This had the effect of bringing in some better fish, firstly a decent golden tench,

and then a real elastic stretcher, this barbel which just didn't want to give up.

I carried on for another hour and a half and continued catching well before it completely died. I couldn't buy a bite and was getting a little puzzled, then I found out the reason, the carp had woken up and pushed everything else out.This was the first and smallest of 3 that I caught, all on the pole, this one went 8lbs 6ozs

Unfortunately the camera died after this pic, guess which pillock didn't charge the batteries last night I carried on for another hour catching a few more smaller carp before hitting in to what what turned out to be the biggest of the day. A 19lb 4oz beauty that really tested my Maver 101 pole to the limit. The guy in the next peg had a camera so took a couple of pic's which he said he would e/mail to me so when they arrive I'll post them here. I decided this was a good time to pack up so I chucked the feeder out onto the pole line while I cleared everything away. Having almost got everthing sorted the tip slammed round and the reel churned and there was obviously something substantial on the end. After a few minutes i slid another lovely looking mirror in to the net, this time it weighed 11lbs 12ozs. Again the guy in the next peg came and took a couple of photo's before going back to his peg, no doubt cursing my luck as he'd been there all day fishing with boilies and hadn't had a touch.

My final tally for the day was:

2 Green Tench,
14 Golden Tench,
37 Bream,
11 Barbel,
and 2 Mirror Carp.
At a rough guess I must have had somewhere in the region of 200lbs of fish, all in pristine condition. They really are a credit to the fishery management.
My next day out is a match on Good Friday at Hawkhurst Fishery with the Maggotdrowners, I hope I catch a similar weight, but this time they will almost all be Carp.