I have to admit that I am not, nor ever have been, a big Darts fan. Back in my youth I used to pe partial to a game of arrows over a pint or six but that’s as far as it went. Seeing todays darts players being worshipped as sporting hero puzzles me somewhat, although I myself recall being star struck, and lost for words, upon meeting the likes of Ivan Marks, Ian Heaps and Tommy Pickering back in my early match fishing career so each to their own I suppose. The great Darts players of the past such as Eric Bristowe, Jockey Wilson and Bobby George held little interest for this fishing mad teenager, but I suppose the fact that I still remember their names shows I must have been paying attention somewhere along the line.
“So what the dickens has this got to do with fishing?” I hear you ask. Well the aforementioned Bobby George is a keen fisherman and has a beautiful mansion with three fishing lakes. “Good for him” I hear you say. Ah!… but did you know they are open to the public to fish on a day ticket? Oh!… now you are interested eh? Not only that but he lives but 5 minutes drive from my home so I thought it would be rude of me not to pay a visit, so I did.
Firstly his house George Hall (and why not) is not easy to find but Google knows so that’s ok. Once there you will find the whole site is very well kept and neat & tidy. Bobby is seen most days on his ride-on mower which doubles up as personal transport when he comes round for the ticket money and a lovely chat.
The three lakes (ponds?) are but a short walk from the car park. The first to the left is small, round with an island and some Lilly pads. Bobby tells me that it has a good head of small Carp 1-2lb in addition to the usual Roach, Perch etc. He also claims there is a huge Grass Carp in there that he never new was present until someone caught it recently.
The next lake is bigger, also circular, with a central island. This also has a good head of Carp, Roach, Skimmers etc. All the swims are on raised platforms.
The third lake is rectangular with a long central island running down the middle at a distance whereby the (very long) pole can be fished tight to the island. Again very much a mixed fishery but has quite a few bigger carp exceeding 20lb.
I chose to fish the larger of the two round lakes. with simple float tactics. A small amount of Red Lake groundbait with some Explosive feeder mixed in as I like the crushed hemp content it has. I fished Red maggot close in where it was 3-4ft deep. Nothing initially but with regular loose feeding of maggots I soon started catching Roach, Perch, Rudd and small Skimmers.
Bobby advised that its important to keep the loose feed going in, so I did. I also tried Worm and Caster but with little success.
My beloved Sheena then appeared, strolling over from the carpark, Acolyte in one hand and chair in the other ‘Im bored, Thought I would join you for a couple of hours” she said and plonked herself down next to me and proceeded to catch a steady stream of assorted silver fish. Now I know to some the thought of their other half going fishing with them sounds like hell, I myself really enjoy our time together on the bank, we chat and laugh together in a way very differently to how we do at home. Anyway I digress. We both caught steadily for the next few hours including this lovely F1/Brown Goldfish/Crucian Carp shaped thingy.
The afternoon was drawing on and Sheena had to go and feed & walk the dogs so I kindly told her to leave her Acolyte and chair and I would bring them back with me. Little did she know I was hatching a cunning plan.
Now lets just say I don’t fish commercial waters much these days, it might sound pompous to say, but I just don’t really find them challenging enough. Sitting and hauling out 100lb+ of semi tame Carp from a vastly overstocked, over fed water does not float my boat. I get more satisfaction from eking a few decent Chub from a difficult to fish river. So why was I fishing at Georges? Well, firstly this place does have a large head of good sized Carp but not so many as to keep interrupting a nice days fishing such as I was having, and secondly regular readers of my blogs will recall a disastrous blanking session on the River Chelmer, and that was yesterday and I was yearning to just catch some fish. That said I have fished commercial fisheries enough to know what happens at the end of the day. Yes those bigger Carp that I had successfully managed to avoid all day will make an appearance, not out where I was fishing, oh no!, in the edge, right in the edge in less than 1ft of water, inches from the bank. So in anticipation of this daily occurrence I had been feeding small bits of pinched bread flake down to my left and I was watching for the tell tale swirl on the surface to indicate the presence of a ‘Lump’. Now the Greys float rod I had been using was perfect for the smaller species but nowhere near manly enough to deal with a bigger Carp. Oh how I wished I had something like Sheena’s Drennan Acolyte 13ft Plus Float Rod I gently mused to myself. And as if by magic there it was behind me. Happy days! A quick re-rig with a size 12 and a small self cocker set at 12″ and I was ready. True to form just as the light faded I saw the gentle disturbance of the surface tight to the bank. I gently lowered the pinched flake tight to the edge and watched it gently flutter down out of site to the feeding fish. As expected within less than a minute the float started to slide away and I lifted into a good fish and after a spirited fight and the predictable flat refusal to come to the top and be netted I finally had this lovely Common.
Mission accomplished and I packed up and headed home. Undoubtedly there were more fish to be caught this way but…. well … The urge had been quenched as it were.
So Georges Lakes …… a couple of miles out of Colchester, well kept, clean, tidy, comfortable swims. Toilets on site. Not the place for Optonics and Boillies but a very nice mixed fishery with a good chance of latching onto a bigger fish or two and odds on you will get to meet, and chat to one of Darts all time legends and a nice fella to boot.
LOCKDOWN BLUES Pt2
The Suffolk Stour. I had to put on hold my quest for a “proper” Chub from the Langham stretch due to the amount of rain we have had recently, once the levels had dropped slightly I was back at it and a late afternoon into evening session resulted in yet more nice Roach on bread flake and cheese paste.
As the light started to fade I switched to double worm on a size 12 fished tight down the near bank on a simple 2SSG link ledger where the flow was strongest, and almost instantly I had an enquiry.
The tell tale tap tap pull of a Chub and I was in. Finally I had my first good Chub from this River after 5 attempts.
Next week I an fancying a bit of a change, of venue and species, something a little different shall we say. Plans are afoot….. Watch this space!