Return to pastures new

Wed 29 May 13


What a nightmare of a year so far, well relating to time spent on the bank. As I write this I have just got back from only my fourth session of the year and we are into May already, that mad concoction of the 3W’s, Women, Work and Weather has really scuppered so much of my fishing time. The weather especially this year has been a nightmare; it was either torrential rain or freezing cold and in many cases a mixture of the two.

My plan had always been to fish through to late February/early March on one of the Medway Valley fishery waters before moving back onto the low stocked lightly fished water they have once the weather picked up and the fish would hopefully become more active. Mainly due to the weather it was April before I ventured out down there.

Before I go into detail I did have a weekend in February at Elphicks fisheries in Kent, it is not somewhere I would go very often due to how busy these well run commercial venues get however, it was for a friend’s birthday and we had booked out West End Lake to ourselves. Needless to say we had a great weekend and Mark, the fishery manager made us very welcome and did his best to try and help us catch, which at that time of year even with the high stocking is still not an easy task.
The weather was kind to us and on the final day when the sun did come out the fish switched on and I was rewarded with a 37lb mirror, Dave, the birthday boy, even managed a 25lb mirror so a good weekend was had by all.

Return to pastures new image 1

So from February until early April despite many attempts to go fishing for whatever reason I didn’t manage to get out fishing again. As the weather started to warm up, the banks dried out a little and the water level on the gravel pit receded to a level to make it fishable again, although the temperatures were still way down on where they should have been for the time of year it was with a big sigh of relief from my girlfriend that I got back out fishing again.

Last year’s efforts had been truly scuppered by the floating weed beds but thankfully the weed has not really started growing in anger just yet. There are a few of us fishing and the main plan of attack is to try and create feeding areas so the fish can come to us, with the lake being around 35 acres with many bank areas being unreachable without using a boat, which we have since discovered seems to seriously spook the fish. I picked a swim which whilst not the easiest is fairly comfortable, there is a 5 foot bank to clamber down to my rods, but where my bivvy is set up is comfortable, and definitely not liable to flooding.

So far I have been using a mixture of particles and boilies to try and clear two spots to fish with the third rod being used as a roaming rod which I will try various things, even chods! The spots seem to be slowly clearing thanks to the bird life, tench and hopefully the carp too, so I am hoping that from now on I can stick to a boilies only approach.

I have also seen all sorts of weather so far, it’s a fairly mature gravel pit with trees all around which offer a little protection from the elements however, on the first weekend we had a strong wind blowing onto us with some moderate waves, that was perfectly fine and I even felt a little confident that we might see some action, then the misty, drizzly rain started and I was forced to spend most of the weekend inside the bivvy drinking coffee to try and stay warm and dry.
This weekend though has been the best so far, with it being the May bank holiday I decided to hold off going to the lake until Saturday so I could get some extra brownie points at home, arriving at the lake on Saturday afternoon it was a complete switch around from the previous week, most of the trees had leaves and there were hatches of insects happening all over the lake, I plotted up and quickly got my rods out, it’s only a small lob to the spots so the rods were out fairly quickly, kettle on and I sat watching the tench rolling. My personal best tench is only 6lb and I am well aware that there are a lot of tench in this water which will break my PB quite easily.

I also heard something this weekend which I never realised happened, I woke up on Sunday morning, it was still dark but I heard the birds singing so thought it must be just before dawn, so I stuck the kettle on for a cuppa. I am not normally an early riser but felt I’d had a good night’s sleep so decided I could always go back to bed for a few hours during the day if needed. Anyway something didn’t seem right, I couldn’t see any semblance of the dawn and it was only then I decided to look at my watch, it was just before 1am! In all my years fishing I have never heard birds singing in the middle of the night, I spoke to one of the bailiffs later in the day and was told that it was probably a nightingale.

Although the fish haven’t shown up yet I am pleased with how things are going, I have seriously reduced the amount of tackle I am taking but I am also more than happy that I have not forgotten anything essential that I might need, I have never known my barrow to be as light as it is, but the key thing is it allows me to be mobile should the situation arise.

Return to pastures new image 2

Tight lines,