28 January 2018

Medway Pike - Search for a 20lb specimen

I have fished the River Medway since I was eight years old with my dad when we used to target the river in Tonbridge, specifically Cannon Bridge and adjacent streams. I remember loads from theses sessions and look back with some great memories but realise now that we didn't have a clue what we were doing. In recent years I havent fished the Medway for pike very often which is a shame as it is my most local river however that was all to change this winter when I decided to target a 20lb river pike and it seemed logical to fish the Medway for my intended target.

The river Medway strat up near Hartfield in Kent and flows through Ashurst, Tonbridge, Yalding, Teston and Maidstone to Chatham. The river is ideal for large pike with a good head of silver fish and I believe it has produced un verified 40lb fish in the past but many verified 30lb plus fish. The pike population on the Medway has declined drastically in recent years and this has happened for many reasons including predation but mainly poaching by Eastern Europeans. I am not worried about stating this and for the record I am not stereo typing all Eastern Europeans some of which actually sport fish but my experience is that the majority are taking the fish home for the table. I have seen pike be stamped on and been met with aggression when I have confronted them, I have seen numerous people fishing with no nets, matts with no welfare for the fish most likely because it will end up on a plate. The river Medway has been absolutely gutted of most pike and it is actually a serious issue that will probably see pike gone from our waters if it continues. Not a lot of people fish the rivers anymore as most carp fish and the waters are not bailiffed enough to monitor what is happening so the fish are being taken in massive numbers. As I write this I have fished six days of my campaign and not caught one jack pike and I have fished over six miles of river in various towns. I did manage some nice fish but no jacks to date and no way near the quantity of fish that I should be catching. Anyway enough ranting on about things I cant change, I suppose we have to just get on with it and accept that the rivers will one day be empty. I have fished for over twenty five years and the last fifteen years for specimen fish sometimes fishing four nights a week in venues all over the country and I have never, not once seen a EA officer! Moving on .......
I stared my campaign on a section of the River Beult which is a tributary of the Medway in Hunton but after a days fishing with no fish I move down to the Yalding stretch for my next session. I found a couple of nice areas to fish and in the afternoon I managed a nice 11lb pike (pictured left) that took a small roach in eight feet of water. This was the only fish of the day but I was off the mark on the Medway Pike campaign and so I was really happy to have bagged one.

My local stretch of the Medway is above Tonbridge and so I decided to target the Medway around theses areas but staying away from all the "known sections" that have produced big fish in the past. It seemed that the further out I went into the wilderness the more Polish beer cans I would find discarded on the bank and I started to feel like I was fighting a losing battle. Are they even in here anymore I asked myself and with every blank I started to become pessimistic.


27 January 2018

Catching Wildies - September 2017

During the month of October I had perch on my mind and so I made my way to a local lake that contained some decent size fish to target. Although the perch are not massive in this particular lake they are great sport on light kit and It seemed the great venue for a peaceful day out on the bank. The session was more of a social event and my brother in law Jamie also joined me. The lake is a beautiful small estate lake set behind Hever Castle set in tranquil surroundings. It is stocked with most coarse fish and also contains some lovely wild carp that I was to find out about later on in the session.
I started of the day trying to catch some live baits for the perch but struggled to get any of a suitable size. After baiting for a while the bigger roach and Rudd started to appear and I managed a few fish close on 1lb. It was great to see such beautiful fish and of such decent size but I only managed two live baits so the I had to try and target the Perch on worms.

It was far from a typical Autumn day with really mild weather and it didn't take long before the carp were cruising on the surface. That was enough persuasion for me and I grabbed some bread from my sandwiches and went about setting up a floater rod to try and catch them of the surface. I walked around the lake and found numerous fish in the pads all of which looked good to take a bait. I started to feed the swims where the fish were located with some mixes Jamie had brought down to the lake after I called him and mentioned the carp were on the surface. Instantly they started to gobble down the mixes building confidence and it was then time to cast out . After some adjustments I had the rod in position and waiting for the carp to swing round, head back to the baited area and then BAM. I managed to catch a stunning little wild looking common carp and on such light gear was fantastic sport. So much for the Perch fishing.

Throughout the day this continued and we managed well over ten fish each up to around 10lb. Once the sun began to set we had them feeding so confidently it was a fish a cast and I even managed a nice brace of stunning commons for the camera. So although we didn't catch our intended species we had a fantastic day on the water and that's what really matters in fishing.