Monday, 13 August 2012

Fordwich Frustration!

Of all the waters I fish, Fordwich is the one that promises to fulfil my boyish fantasy of catching a true monster carp. Ever since watching 'A Passion for Angling' as a child I have been obsessed with this quest and to a certain degree have been successful in my pursuit. However, the waters I fished until joining Canterbury & District Angling Association 3 years ago just didn't hold fish equal to the size of those in my dreams.
The one problem is, Fordwich is a hard water for those that do not know its secrets and by those in the know, the secrets are well kept.
Thankfully, it is one of the most beautiful places to spend ones days and, especially as the sun rises and sets, I have whiled away many an hour trying to capture its beauty whilst capturing its carp eluded me.

In the autumn of my first season on Fordwich, the very thick weed that had bloomed in the silty areas between the gravel bars had started to die back. The wind was westerly and coming directly towards me. I had both rods set up with the infamous chod rig and had spread just a handful of boilies across the swim. Admittedly, I am not in the know about which baits catch well here but had ascertained that fishmeal based baits are the way to go and so that guided my selection. Within 30 minutes of my first cast the alarms were screaming. Could this be the monster I had been waiting for?!! It certainly fought like a spartan and managed to remain deep in the water so I could barely catch a glimpse until it was near my feet. I reached for the net and foolishly allowed the line to slacken momentarily and with a roll and a splash the fish was gone. My biggest confession and deepest regret is that this happened two more times before the session was out.

The 'infamous' chod rig
I have tried to replicate this scenario on many occasions, sadly to no avail. I was once mocked by a neighbouring angler for using the chod rig. He has since become a good friend but I must admit resenting his comments back then as this was the first time we met. It's too complicated, he said, everybody is using it and the fish are sussing it out. He encouraged me to simplify my approach, advice I heeded gladly and have done ever since. Besides; copying everyone else will only ever work for a time until the fish wise up. It is far better to do your own thing.

So since then I have been using variations of a simple hair rig, tipping the boilie off with some maize or fake corn to balance the bait and blend in with the loose feed or stick mix that I am hoping will keep fish rooting around in the area. Unfortunately, whilst this approach has paid off elsewhere, at Fordwich I have still caught nothing.

Well, that's not strictly true! I have had 2 bream in excess of 10lb, which equals the club record. I wish now I had taken decent photographs and had the captures witnessed. I guess at the time, whilst pursuing carp, I did not value these bream as perhaps I should or would have if I had set out to catch them intentionally.
Another species I have been fortunate with at Fordwich is pike. Although my PB of 13lb 4oz was taken in the River Stour and hasn't been bettered here, I have enjoyed catching numerous jacks in Fordwich this last winter on float-fished dead baits.

A jack pike of around 5lb.
Until the magic combination of factors align serendipitously in my favour once more, I will continue to keep faith in my approach and keep it consistent. Hopefully someday soon I can write the final chapter in this story and draw conclusions on successfully tackling this formidable water.

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