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.