Canterbury Tales Part Four

Thu 27 November 14


Keeping up appearances

This episode of the Canterbury tales see’s Iain taking a different path for his spring campaign in 2013. Targeting The Reed and Blue Lagoon lakes on the Mid Kent fisheries complex and Stonar Lake on the Canterbury & District Angling Association ticket, which is famous locally for the Viagra factory located along its banks. So here we go with Iain’s latest instalment of the Canterbury Tales.

As the 12/13 season drew to a close, The United Kingdom was still locked under an Arctic airflow but I was fortunate enough to net a few barbel, chub and a pike to bring my seasonal campaign to a satisfying close. On the last very last day of the river season, I planned to meet up with my mate Del to show him a few spots where he was likely to break his pike PB. As Del’s pike PB was only about 6 or 7lb he was desperate for a chance to better it. So of we went to try the river on a few of my personal favourite spots to try and settle this score for him. After a short while on the bank and to Del’s delight, he managed to net a lovely fish of 18lb 14oz beast which fell to legered Sardine. Del did make me laugh though, it was a bright enough day, but in no way was it a warm one. Del decided to remove layers of clothing for the pictures to show off his tattoos, vanity at any price eh!!! But all of that aside, a big well done to Del, mission accomplished!

To get my 2013 campaign up and running, I decided to put more effort into dedicating my time targeting big tench from a local still water. In previous springs I’d just gone fishing for either tench or carp stalking the odd carp on warm days on the same old venues but now I wanted to target a 7lb tench. I figured 7lber was a fair target for the lakes I’d joined but what about the bloody weather!!! We had snow in April, snow and sleet showers in May and to cap it all off, a ground frost in June!!! Anyway he who dares wins and in April my first tench from my new lakes eventually slid over the rim of the landing net. It was a mid 5lber that had fallen to a standard corn presentation. Whilst playing, landing and unhooking this fish, there was a brief snow shower (it was April for Gods sake!!). Weather wise, towards the end of April, things were now showing signs of improvement with some milder days occasionally putting in an appearance. Despite the mixed an unseasonal weather, I still managed to net a far few tench in the 5-6lb bracket between April and May on what is known as the MFK reed lake.

During the first warm spell in May, I noticed some nice carp patrolling along a reedy margin, so I decided to have a go for them. After some leading around I found a nice hard gravel spot with depths of 8 to 9 feet and I fished a pop up over a small amount of loose feed. To my joy, I was rewarded with a few carp to just over 24lbs (well chuffed) which run me a merry dance in these very deep margins. After satisfying my angling needs, I then returned to the job in hand, my search for the 7lb tench that reside in this very productive venue. Over the next few weeks I caught plenty of tench between 5lbs and 6lbs plus out of the Reed Lake but nothing bigger. So I opted to try the adjacent Blue Lagoon on the same complex. This lake is totally different entity. This lake is very long and narrow and was once upon a time part of the river until it was re-directed. In the main this lake is shallow and weedy with 3 substantially deeper areas. Anyway after a few more fish in the 5 to 6slbs category, I finally got my target fish, a lovely looking fish of 7lbs 1oz on a late August evening. Now totally happy that I’ve finally reach my target, next year I hope to join the tier 1 lakes that hold the real monsters!

I still wanted to catch a big rudd from the Canterbury District Stonar Lake. Stonar is a 50 plus acre hole in the ground, with depths to 53ft, the margins slope of steeply and a 20 yd flick can see you fishing in 30ft of water in some swims. There are no visual features such as trees or islands in the water, just reeds in the margins. At one end of the lake is the massive Pfizers building where many a Viagra pill has been made (this could be the reason this venue is so hard). At the other is an industrial estate and along the other bank is the main road. It’s very exposed to the elements and is regularly battered by some very strong winds. It holds carp to over 30lb, bream to well into double figures, rudd and roach to specimen size, plus a few tench, perch and eels as well as a few surprises including bass, mullet and flounders. The lake which has brackish colouration is able to sustain these mixed and varied species but the species to connect with are the carp simply because they fight like stink in the deep water. Once hooked, they go straight down the slope and stubbornly try to stay there.

Because of work commitments, I only fish short afternoon or evening sessions on this unusual venue but hardcore bivi dwellers do well with the bait and wait approach, fishing to plateaus often using large quantities of bait to attract and hold the fish. Anyway, I’ve not had my 2lb rudd yet but I’ve managed to land three fish up to 1lbs 14oz so until I reach my goal, I’ll just have to keep on trying. Over the summer months I’ve had a lot of fun with the resident carp though with plenty of double figure fish, with a few offering marathon fights on the float rod, with the best being a mirror of 21-09. Stonar is a strange place and like Marmite you’ll either love it or hate it but me personally I love it!! With all this going on I’ve not had much time on the river this year but I’ve had a few barbel to 12lbs 14oz and with it now getting close to my winter river campaign, beware barbel, I’m coming to get you!!

All the best and tight lines

Iain McDonald



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