Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Back at Monk Lakes

I received a message from Peter Morton saying that he and Red Leader (Dave Webster) were going to visit Monk lakes for a few hours fishing on Sunday so I decided to go along for a few hours myself. Bill Gibbins was also going to join us so it was turning out to be a bit of a Maggotdrowning day out. I met up with Bill at Hawkhurst fish farm around midday so he could follow me to the venue and after about 15 minutes we were pulling in to the car park at Monks. He told me that he had just heard from Dave and that he and Peter were running late and wouldn't arrive till around 1 o'clock so we decided to have a coffee and a walk around to find some suitable pegs.

Most of the match lakes were very busy with matches on lakes 1 & 2 and it soon appeared that lakes 3 was busy too with a small 15 peg club match on the far bank of lake 4. After looking around for a while longer we settled on a few pegs on lake 4 well away from the match. As we got back to the cars to collect our gear my phone rang and it was yet another Maggotdrowner, Dave the Fish asking where we were as he'd too come along to fish for a few hours. Soon enough we arrived at our pegs and set about targetting the lakes fish stocks. I had travelled light today and had just taken along my pole so set up just 2 rigs both with 4 x 14 Malman "Thicko" floats, one a margin rig to be fished tight to the reeds to my left and the second at 6 metres set full depth. Plumbing up straight in front I found about 4 feet of water at 6 metres although the bottom seemed to shelve off slightly the further right I went, the margins had around 2 feet.

As I had fished the lake a few days before I knew it wasn't necessary to cup my feed in so just threw 3 good handfuls of 6mm Skrettings carp pellets on my main line and a couple in the margins. First put in resulted in a small but perfectly formed mirror carp around 8ozs which was followed by it's twin soon after. Things continued like this for some time before I connected with one of the lakes resident tench which gave a good account of itself before being safely netted. At just short of 5lbs it was a lovely fish and one of many I hoped.

Shortly after catching the tench Dave and Peter arrived and set up in two my to my right. Dave had travelled all the way down from Yorkshire to drop his wife and daughter in London so they could go to the Prince concert at the O2 arena so looked a little jaded as he set up his gear. Peter had brought along his new Shakespeare Mach 3, 11ft micro pellet waggler rod to give it another work out. He'd used at Rolfs Lake firt time out and it had handled Rolfs big fish very well. It certainly looks and feels a very nice rod.
All around the lads were catching fish, well almost all of us as Dave was doing his usual garden Gnome impression, perhaps if he wasn't such a tight arsed yorkie he might feed enough pellet to actually draw some fish in to his peg. Bill to my left was bagging small carp and to be honest was getting a little bored when he latched in to something better. He too had managed to find a lovely tench and soon after had snared another. Dave the Fish was busy feeding the margins with copious amounts of hemp whilst taking afew few fish from around 5 metres. Being the nice man that he is he popped off to the food wagon and bought us all coffee and burgers, good on ya Dave and we took a break.

Red Leader started catching a few fish after this and was well pleased to also land a nice Tench.

By now the match on lake 2 had finished and Peter decided to move across to it and catch some fish from the margins as the swim was alive with fish. It seemed to be a wise choice as soon enough his rod was bending under the strain of numerous carp to 5lbs and about a dozen barbel to 2lbs. Bill, having only caught one barbel before of arounds 6ozs, popped over to Peter and borrowed his rod to try and beat this. Despite trying hard he just couldn't catch one it was carp after carp for him. After 15 minutes of trying he handed Peter back his rod and as he stood and watched in disbelief as Peter immediately caught another barbel. Poor Bill was gutted especially when a little later I dropped in to the peg next to Peter and caught one of around 2lb 8ozs soon afterwards.
All in all it was an enjoyable few hours on the bank. Bill will have to come back again to break the barbel hoodoo and I'm sure Peter and the others will be there to cheer him on.

Monday, 3 September 2007

Monk Lakes - Match Lake 4 - 3rd September 2007

As I was due back to work on Wednesday 4th September after 6 weeks holiday (I work as a teaching assistant) I decided to finish my summer break with a visit to Monk Lakes at Marden, Kent. One of the main reasons was to see how a trapped nerve in my elbow affected my fishing especially as I've got a couple of matches coming up. A while ago I had watched the old catfish lake being emptied, dredged and re-stocked and fancied a day fishing what is now known as match lake 4. The lake is stocked with all the usual suspects, as far as Monk Lakes goes, although there are a larger amount of silver fish rather than carp. I had read reports recently of winning match weights of 100lbs+ so was looking forward to a good day.

Upon reaching the lake the wind was blowing quite strongly, no surprise there then, so I looked for somewhere reasonably comfortable to set up. I finally decided on peg 140, a featureless peg compared to many of the others, but with the wind off my back making fishing a little easier.

My plan of attack was going to be a main line at 5 metres and a margin swim to my right in case the main line failed. Both rigs consisted of a Malman floats 4 x 14 Thicko, 5lb main line to 4lb hooklength and a size 14 Preston PR28. Plumbing up I found 5 feet at 5 metres whilst the margin swim had around 2 feet. I started by cupping in 3 pots of 6mm skrettings pellets on the main line and 2 of the same in the margin swim before baiting the rig with 2 grains of corn. First put in and the float buried after about 5 seconds and I found myself attached to one of the smallest tench I've ever caught. Still it was fish so no blank for me today.

Back in with the corn and this time I was attached to something a little better, a small carp about 6ozs in beautiful condition. The tail was a very bright red colour something you don't see that much.
The next 2 hours continued in similar fashion with loads of tench in the 6-8oz bracket as well as a few carp, then things started to change. I wondered whether any better fish may have been sitting slighlty off the feed so added another section. Shipping back out, this time with 3 small grains of corn, the float dissapeared almost as soon as it had settled and I was suddenly attached to something stretching my Vespe 14 solid elastic to it's extreme. I had heard there were a good number of decent tench in the lake and hoped this was one of them, and so I proved when I slipped the net under a tench of around 3lbs.

Ron, the bailiff had agreed I could use a keepnet if I wanted to for some photo's at the end of the session so I laid it out gently in the margins in the hope that there were more larger tench to come. Back in and again there was decent resistence on the strike, it looked like the bigger fish had finally found my feed. and another tench of the same size was safely deposited in the keepnet. The next 2 hours were fantastic as quality tench came one after the other until I packed up at 2.30pm.

My final tally was 103 fish, 63 small tench to 8ozs, 8 carp to 1lb, 10 skimmers to 1lb and 22 tench in the 3-5lb bracket. A lovely bag of fish and barely a carp in sight. Below is just a few of the fish I caught.
All in all it was a superb days fishing, one that I look forward to repeating soon. My arm stood up to the fishing fairly well although it wouldn't manage fishing anything much more than 5-6 metres or catching anything that pulled back stronger than those I caught today.

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Southern Intersite, Willow Park 4th August 2007

For the 2nd year running I had volunteered to captain the team for the Southern Intersite match at Willow Park. We had assembled a motley crew of anglers all keen to do well, although the usual way to do things with the Maggotdrowners is to come last in section and finish last overall.

The match was held over Small, Middle and Big lakes meaning there were a number of options to tackling the fish. I had opted for Big lake as this involved a lot of feeder flinging which suited me. Drawing peg 59 I was quite pleased as the area had been throwing up some decent catches of bream in the weeks previous. For company on peg 57 I had something of a venue expert, Perry Stone, although he wasn't admitting to being very happy about his peg as he said it was just out the the area he wanted to be.

There was a light breeze blowing across the lake so feeder rods were set up for a thirty yard chuck to a gravel bar and a margin pole for any lumps that may be hiding under the bush to my right later in the match.

The all in sounded and everything went well with a bream of around 2lbs coming to the net first cast. 2nd cast and another fish was on it's way in , a little smaller this around 1lb. Then it went dead, no bites, no liners nothing. I fired out a a few balls of groundbait and fished under the bush with the margin pole for 3o minutes to let the feeder line settle. A few 4 oz perch took my maggot hookbait before I went back on the feeder. Unfortuantely it still seemed dead on this line but I decided to stick at it. After about an hour I had managed another couple of reasonable bream but not much else. Things continued like this till the end apart from the huge carp I hooked and lost under the bush with 10 minutes to go. It just didn't want to stop. At the weigh in I put 6lbs on the scales only just beaten by Perry on peg 57 with 87lbs !!!!!! No wonder I coudn't catch anything he'd got them all in front of him. (so much for a peg he didn't fancy)

Back at the clubhouse things were looking like they normally do with most team members finishing low down in their sections, a couple managing less than a pound. The results were announced and at least we'd kept up the tradition of coming last in these events.

Thanks to Dave Pearson for organising the day, can we go somewhere else next year ?

Friday, 10 August 2007

MD Pairs Weekend - Rolfs Lake 28th/29th July 2007

This was a fishing outing I'd been looking forward since last year and it proved to be another fabulous weekend in wonderful company. The fishing Saturday was a little difficult to say the least but if it was always easy we wouldn't enjoy it would we. 6 bites and 5 fish from peg 28 was not much of a return for 5 hours fishing but I still enjoyed the day. The evening proved to be even better with a superb BBQ and copius amounts of alcohol consumed by some, well mainly by Simon (me) who kept us all amused by falling over his chair, staggering around and generally making a complete arse of himself. It was good to see Rolf turn up to watch the proceedings and also great that he felt up to staying around into the evening. I finally clambered into the car to sleep around 1am, tired but reasonably sober.

Sunday morning came and I drew peg 25, just along from where I was the day before. this time I was deternmined to do better so set up 3 rigs, 1 margin rig, 1 for 7 metres and a shallow rig for fishing long. I also decided to put a feeder rod together for the first hour. As with Saturday things started slowly although I did manage 1 carp of around 3lbs from the 7 metre line. Next peg along was Gemma who was clearly not happy and just couldn't seem to get in the mood for fishing. (too tired from the day before catching all those fish I guess ) Bites were slow to come by but I did catch a few more small carp on the feeder before even that line dried up. Desperate times called for desperate measures and with an hout to go I threw the pole up the bank and set up a pellet waggler. With 11 mm banded hard pellet on the hook out went the float and almost immediately I was into something substantially bigger. At the scales it went 15lbs 8ozs, a lovely common in fabulous condition. Back to my peg and out went the waggler again, 10 seconds later and I was in again. This was another common which took the scales around to 10lbs. Third cast and another carp was on, this time 12lbs 8ozs. I started to wonder what was going on. Then everyting went quiet. The fish had disappeared. 30 minutes later and carp no.s 5 and 6 finally arived which took my total on the board to 50lb+. Soon the all out sounded and I was left wondering what might I have caught if I'd fished the pellet wag all day.The weigh in went with it's usual precision and Dave finally announced that Peter and Tony had won the pairs trophy. Well done guys. A bigger shock was to come though when he said Chin and I were runners up !!!!!!!!!! I really thought my day 1 performance had confined us to mid table mediocrity.

A few final thank you's, Dave for all his hard work organising the whole thing, John and John at the fishery for looking after us so well,Gemma for letting me win my pound back on day two, Simon (Me) for making me laugh so much Saturday evening, and finally to everyone who came along and made the weekend what it was, thanks guys, it would be difficult to find a nicer bunch of people to spend time with.