Just as I was planning my day and arranging to meet my mate John there, I received an e-mail from Ian, another mate of mine, who has also featured in my waffle in the past. He was asking if I wanted to fish over the weekend. As the estate lake is a rather exclusive affair, and away from where Ian lives, It was not practical to invite him to join John and me on Friday. After not being able to go fishing, hardly at all, over the past few months, I really fancied going, especially as Ian was suggesting we visit a venue I have not fished before. Could I really go twice in three days?
I mentioned this to Sue, who without hesitation, almost worryingly so, insisted that I go as I had not had the chance for a while and once we get the moving dates, I will not be able to go for the foreseeable future. No more encouragement was needed. The weather was looking good, and I really fancied spending a couple of days fishing with friends. The itinerary was to fish the Estate Lake on Good Friday and Mousehole Lakes, another new venue to me, on Easter Sunday.
|The mist starts to clear over the estate lake|
Estate LakeThis lake is set in the grounds of an estate that is open to the public at weekends and some days during the week. It is also used as a music venue once a year, and there is the odd wedding held there. As syndicate members, we are allowed access from dawn to dusk from April through to the end of December. With relatively few members it is a very peaceful place to fish. My mate, John, who lives just a few miles from where we are moving to has been a member here for a while and introduced me to the place. This was my first visit as an angler, although I have seen the venue before and been aware of its existence for a long while.
The journey from here in South East London is about an hour. An early start got me to the estate at around 07:00. The lake is situated at the bottom of a grassy slope that runs down from the car park. Permission is given to drive to the lake, unload and return the car to the car park. As this was my first time, I thought better of running my LWB transit down to the lake, fearing I might get it stuck on the soaking wet grass on the way back up the slope. Making a few deep ruts on the manicured slope might not put me in a good light, especially as this was to be my first visit. I thought better of it and decided to carry the gear to the lake. I was not fishing with that much gear, and I had a backpack tackle bag and a strap on my seat, so it should not be too arduous. Going down the bank was easy enough, getting back up at the end of the day was a different matter, this 63-year-old, bloke suddenly realised he was not as young as he used to be. That on top of nursing a leg injury, after the 'Herne Bay' incident a couple of weeks ago, when I took a tumble and spread myself all over the road, meant I was completely knackered (can I say that?) by the time I got back to the van! Next time I will take the trolley, although that might be hard work to push up the slope... Now I sound like an old man - don't say a word!
|The floating seeds and other derbies slowly started to disperse|
|First fish out of the lake was a small rudd|
I had only taken a float rod and a small tele-pole with me on this first trip just to see what I could catch. It was hard work getting past the small fish, but perseverance paid off eventually, and the fish started to get bigger, not much, but at least they were going in the right direction. First fish worth noting was a nice fin-perfect roach. This was the first of many. Try as I might it was hard to get past the smaller fish at close range, using the short (5m) pole. I decided to have a go with the float rod and cast out to the open water about 20m out. This was more successful in that I was catching some better fish, including some skimmers, but the big fish were hugging the far bank.
|A nice looking roach - the first of many...|
|...and one of the skimmers. All the fish seem to be in perfect condition|
There are some nice tench, including some recently introduced golden tench, in the lake as well as a small number of crucian carp. It is early days yet, this was only my first visit to fish, and I have a whole list of possibilities for the coming year.
|Never mind John, you'll catch something soon|
|Swift Lake at Mousehole|
Mousehole LakesMy second day out over the weekend, lead me to Mousehole Lakes, near Paddock Wood, in Kent. Again, this is a water I have never fished before, and it was suggested by another friend of mine, Ian. He introduced me to Beaver Fishery when he lived up here in London too. I had spent several days fishing there with him a few years ago, but after he moved we did not get to meet for a good while. He suggested that we meet at Mousehole Lakes on Sunday.
What a great venue. I have to say, the people are very friendly, and they have beautiful, well-kept grounds and swims as well as excellent facilities. The weather also helped, with one of the best Easter weekends I can remember, Sunday was a glorious day. As usual, I got up and out to miss the traffic on the south circular, that can get busy, even on an Easter Sunday. A simple drive from here got me to the lakes by 07:00. I found the guy taking the money and paid over my £10.00 for a two-rod ticket. He even offered to drive me and my gear to the swim. Although appreciated, I declined his kind offer as I had my trolley with me this time (after Fridays experience). A short walk along the path lead me to the lake, and I picked a spot on the near side of the lake that was in the sun. I like to feel the sun on me these days, these old (ish) bones are no fan of chilly, wet fishing trips!
|A small skimmer was the first fish from the first put-in of my cheap tele-pole!|
|The fish were getting bigger, not vast, but better than the small fish the maggots were attracting|
|A nice 4lb bream caught on the tele-pole. A real handful on light gear!|
|Gudgeon. Little fish with a big heart. I do like catching these little fellows|
|Tench - it may be small but they fight like a much bigger fish, and they have just as much slime as their bigger relations!|
|Ian baiting up after returning yet another fish caught on corn|