Going Back to my roots

Tue 28 July 15


Often as carp anglers we sit and reminisce about the old days, the venues you used to fish and how you’d love to go back, Pinewood fishery in Kent is one of those places for me. However, on many occasions when you get the opportunity to re-visit it’s never quite as you remember, all too often you arrive at the venue to find it poorly maintained or sometimes just not quite what you hoped for. The truth is that as we go through our carp fishing life what we are looking for evolves and so the venue often cannot offer you what it had in the past.

At the end of last year I’d heard rumours that Pinewood was going through a face lift. The owners of the lake had decided that they wanted to take over the running of the venue and bring it up to the level expected of a high-quality syndicate water. I decided to keep my ear to the ground and see if I could maybe get a ticket back on there, truth be told I’d only let my ticket go when funds were tight but had never been able to get back on the waiting list.

To start with I heard stories of mass destruction but having been involved myself in helping to tidy up lakes that had become overgrown I decided to hold off on judgement until I’d seen what was going on with my own eyes, that married with the fact it was February and no lake looks particularly good at that time of year! So I made some enquiries and got my name put on the waiting list. To start with the response was that all the existing members had indicated they were staying, but I had an inkling that some would leave and it was a case of keeping my fingers crossed.

As the months went on I was hearing some seriously positive things. One thing I have always quite liked is some kind of close season, not just to allow the fishery a rest but also to give the chance for work to be carried out around the lake without anglers in the way and finally to give myself a break. That said most years any sort of close season in the traditional sense from March to June is then followed by a few weeks in June or July where the water reaches the desired temperature and the fish decide to spawn, so more time lost. So I was pleasantly surprised to hear that there was going to be a close season but it was going to be June and July! So not only were they going to close the lake to rest it and carry out work it was being done at the best time of year with spawning in mind. The more I heard about how the owners were going about running Pinewood the more I liked the sound of what was happening and I became almost obsessed with getting back on.

Then next few months were torturous, I heard nothing and despite asking around it was just impossible to find out how many of the current membership were staying. Late in June I got a message asking for my details from a guy who was helping with the membership as there was a possibility that some of the existing members would not be renewing but that I shouldn’t get my hopes up as a few were in front of me on the waiting list. Again everything went quiet, all the while I was hearing about work being carried out and swims being rebuilt, Pinewood was getting a massive facelift.

A whole month went by and nothing, it was now into July and the season was only 10 days away, to be honest I’d all but given up hope for this year and from what I was hearing it was unlikely I would be getting on anytime soon with the improvements being made. I’d even heard of the final work party being carried out on the weekend of 25th & 26th. Then on Tuesday 21st July I was sat at work when my phone rang, normally I won’t take calls at work as the boss isn’t over keen about us taking personal calls but as I was waiting for another call back from the bank I decided to take it, I can tell you now I am seriously glad I did, it was Maverick a member of the family that owns Pinewood and I was being offered a ticket for this year!!!!

To be honest in my excitement I can’t really remember much about the rest of the conversation (sorry Mav hope there was nothing too important) other than to confirm my email address as he was going to send out some details to me, sods law the phone line went a bit weird and I wasn’t sure if he’d heard me but 20 minutes later there was an email newsletter about the work that had been carried out and the plans. Now I had a week to get my membership money together and to clear it with the other half to be at a work party for the weekend, luckily both proved easier than I thought.

Saturday morning rolled around and I pulled up in the car park with quite a bit of trepidation, since I’d accepted my ticket I had been added to the Facebook page and seen a lot of photos of what had been happening. Whilst it looked great in the photos part of me was worried that maybe some of the character that made Pinewood what I remembered had been lost, after all part of me could have been chasing after times gone. I grabbed by work tools, a barrow and a pair of waders and headed out of the car park.

As soon as I saw the lake it was immediately apparent that nothing had been lost, the work that had been carried out had been done with serious care and whilst a couple of areas had received considerable construction, in the shape of pontoons, any fears soon disappeared. A path had been laid around the full circumference of the lake; a large section needed barking which was one of the jobs for the work party. Also a couple of swims had been removed as they fished the same water as others and two new swims had been added into areas that had largely been unfishable due to overhanging trees and large lily beds. The next thing that struck me was that the membership, old and new, had bought into these improvements as on Saturday and Sunday there was a good turnout of hands to finish off the work. For my part, having waders meant I was on lily removal and relocation duty for the weekend, as where the venue had been drained down to remove the bream and carry out maintenance, the shallower than normal water and recent warm weather had encouraged the lilies to spread like wild fire to the point that some of the swims had become closed in.

The hard work that has gone into making this venue look as stunning as it now does cannot be under-estimated and the group of people that worked with the owners to perform the major renovations that had clearly taken place deserve massive thanks, all too often we hear of owners taking money but putting nothing into the venue but at Pinewood it is completely the opposite. I came away at the end of the weekend aching, well I am just a desk jockey I’m not used to all this manual labour, but seriously look forward to spending some time at the venue I’d enjoyed in the past.

This Friday were having a bbq to signify the start of the season, with 14 swims available I have got to try and get a swim in the draw, failing that I am sure it will be a hugely enjoyable social.

Hopefully I will get the opportunity at some point to sit down with the family that owns Pinewood and hear the history of the lake, I think that would make an interesting change to my articles.

Tight lines,