Saturday, 25 March 2017


Nothing, not even a line bite
Well, what a let down. First time out since the beginning of November and I was home by three o'clock!

I had been so looking forward to today. I had all my gear ready, bait organised and ready to go in plenty of time. All I had to do, apart from the normal ablutions, was to get up, load the van and go. I needed to get some fuel so I left in plenty of time. It was getting light as I left, which always makes the drive more palatable.

Just around the corner is a petrol station but I never use it because it is much dearer then the others on the A20 way out to the M25. Sue will not go in there either, but that is because a few years ago, someone stole the numberplates from her car and used them on a car they filled with petrol and then drove off. Even though the police and the filling station know what happened, and the latter has changed hands several times since, she is still convinced the numberplate will be recognised and something bad will happen. Anyway, my point in mentioning this is that my usual filling station was selling fuel, both petrol and diesel at the same price as was every other filling station on the way - even the ones out in the countryside that are usually a few coppers dearer. Very strange. The only exception to this was the motorway services who were selling fuel at 14p per litre dearer! How on earth can they justify that? I am sure I don't know.

Still musing on the seemingly suspicious uniform pricing structure of the fuel, I pulled into the drive at Beaver Fishery a good twenty minutes before the gate was due to open. There was a queue! I sat there until the gate swung open, observing the fishery's cat making his way to the gate to inspect the assembled visitors.

The cars in front of me parked up and I pulled up alongside the office. As I made my way to the front door I was suddenly aware that the occupants of the car in front of me at the gate were falling over themselves, and the cat, to get into the office before me! I am amazed how petty people can be. The cat stood there watching the proceedings and when the commotion had settled down came over and said hello, he seems to recognise me now even though I have not been there for a few months.

Over the winter, the two specimen lakes have been refurbished and emptied of 'nuisance' species. Part of this meant that over 600lbs of bream were relocated into Maze Lake. I have a soft spot for this lake as it was the first lake I ever fished at Beaver. I also had a really good day last July on Maze with just a single float rod and not much else. Today was not a patch on that day.

Looked like it might hod the odd fish - but nothing
Maze lake was originally dug as a match lake but other than the odd club match it is only used by the odd pleasure angler. For some reason it has not been fishing well for a while. I think the design of it is too complicated and there are plenty of places for the fish to go to get away from a lone angler. All this I knew before I left, but I still decided to give it a go. I set up on the far side of the lake and put a flat-backed method feeder out just short of the far bank. I had decided to buy a two rod ticket so I could fish the feeder for long periods while I was doing something more energetic with another rod. After about fifteen minutes of inactivity on the feeder rod, I went for a retrieve. As I wound the handle of the reel, I witnessed the feeder rise out of the water. Although I had seen the feeder plop into the water, what I had not realised was the hook had caught an overhanding piece of vegetation. My line was now taught with the feeder appearing to hover above the water as the hook was holding fast...

There I was contemplating walking around and retrieve it 'manually' when the hook let go and the feeder plopped back into the water. Result! Several more casts, and a bit of playing around with my elasticated whip/pole thingie, was absolutely fruitless. What's more I had not seen any signs of fish. After a couple of hours I decided to move.

Now on the other side of the lake, still nothing...
There are times when having the van really pays off. Open the back doors and put the chair, rods and bait waiter (still on its tripod) in the back and drive around to the next destination. It is a bit of a convoluted journey via Moat Pond and the southern side of The Major's lake only to get back to the other side of Maze Lake. I set up on my favoured peg, on this side of the water, and started to fish. another couple of hours went by and I was now starting to think I was wasting my time. Andy the bailiff arrived on his son's old mountain bike. He is on his own on Saturdays an is constantly getting call back to the office by new arrivals to the fishery. Just as I was telling him my stories of woe and bleating about the lack of fish, the rod tip swung around and I had a fish. It turned out to be a nice roach of a few ounces, caught on a cage feeder packed with maggots and groundbait. I did not bother to photograph it as I suspected I would now start to catch. Sure enough, as Andy rode away the rod tip started to flicker and then bent double as I picked up the rod.

"That's not a roach!" Said Andy and I agreed as the small 8½ft picker rod bent almost double. My reluctance to hold the fish meant that it had now parked itself in the lily pads that were only just showing a few tatty looking leaves. Try as I might, I could not get it out and eventually the hook straightened and the fish was gone.

Oh well, things were looking up, maybe it was not going to be so bad. A few minutes later and my second rod's top was showing some signs of life and sure enough There was one very lively common carp tugging at my line. I landed it but it was still thrashing about too much to get a picture so to be kind to the fish I returned it to the lake, again thinking this was only the start and I would get some fish pictures later. By now it was about 11:30AM.

Two and a half hours later, after trying different baits and methods I gave up. I suspect that because Maze is a strange layout that fish can avoid a lone angler and hid in other parts of the lake. I gave up as it did not look as if I was going to get any other people joining me and scaring the fish over to my side of the lake, so the kit went into the back of the van again and I decided to find another lake. By this time it as approaching 2:00PM and as I cruised the complex looking for somewhere to fish, I realised that all the decent pegs were full and even the not so good pegs were occupied. I hate going to commercials on a Saturday, they are always packed with families enjoying a day out in the sunshine and that is great, but I prefer to go during the week when it is a bit quieter - I must be getting old and grumpy.

Time to call it a day.