Thursday, 29 May 2014

Charman’s Challenge – Sumners Ponds.

Charman’s Challenge – Sumners Ponds.

Date – Wednesday 28th – Thursday 29th May 2014

Venue fact file –
Sumners Ponds, Chapel Road, Barns Green, Horsham, West Sussex, RH13 0PR
Tickets Adult day tickets from 7am to dusk cost £8-00 for 1 rod, or 2 rod £12, concessions apply for both juniors and OAP. Night fishing restricted to campers or full season members, more details available from Alan the onsite bailiff. Tel 01403 732539.

Sumners Pond – Carp to 34lb, perch to 4lb, chub to 6lb, bream to 7lb, roach to 2lb plus rudd, pike to 15lb and eels to 6lb.
Farm Pond – Carp to 24lb plus the above species Inc crucians.
Match Lake – Barbel, chub, carp, crucians, bream and roach.
Ribbon Lake – Tench, chub, barbel, bream, crucians and silver fish.

Conditions – Drizzle on arrival soon passing leaving a warm night with temperatures holding up at 12degrees, A/P on 1016mb and the horrid north east wind easing.

I first acquainted myself with Sumners Ponds Fishery and Campsite around six years ago. I was asked by Anglers Mail to shoot an Action Replay feature with the brilliant Steve Saunders who was targeting silver fish on the pole. It turned out to be a fantastic day and when someone mentioned that the venue contained some big eels I left knowing that one day I would return with these in mind.
A few years past when a venue was needed to supply a few bream and I forwarded Sumners as a contender. Once again the main lake never let us down and with my friendship with the fishery and especially with Alan the onsite bailiff I chanced at asking if I could do an overnight session to explore the eel potential. The first night was one I clearly remember as I was up all night striking run after run. Fishing king prawn on the hook five eels graced the landing net, the best a shade over 5lb.
Since that first visit I have fished the venue a number of times, never out staying my welcome, maybe two sessions a year and always providing the complex with catch images as a thank you along with completing features for magazines such as Coarse Angling Today, Anglers Mail along with videos for both Tight Lines and It’s a relationship that works both ways and I look forward to my pilgrimage to Barns Green each season knowing that I won’t be disappointed.
Arriving at around 6pm Alan had secured a swim away from the holiday makers and come 7.30pm I had two king prawns positioned, one close to the island, the other close in. 9pm approached and with the light fading the first run developed, yet my hast to hook my first eel of the season saw the run missed as was the second a few minutes later. Expecting a hectic night things then slowed up and come 1am just as I decided to refresh the hookbaits both rods screamed of together. One missed but the other hooked and I was surprised after an angry fight to see a modest eel around 3lb in the net. Again that was it till dawn; however contra to what’s been written before I feel that first light is a prime time to catch eels, a time when the biggest often makes a mistake. Today was no different as at least six runs developed yet only one was converted, another three-pounder with three resulting in strange hook pulls. It was one of those nights when things could have been so much better yet with eel fishing missed runs are par for the course and knowing that the two eels caught were lipped hooked showed that they weren’t really having it.
My tackle for the night included Nash Entity 2.75lb t/c rods with 35lb Nash NXT Bullet braid as mainline. Although I’m not a lover of braid, for eel fishing and pike fishing I feel it’s a massive advantage in seeing bites early and setting the hooks before the bait is dropped. End tackle was the ever reliable J.S Eel rig comprising of the same braid as a hooklink which is extremely abrasion resistant and a dam site cheaper than Kryston Quick Silver, a 1.5oz running lead and size 6 Nash Gaper barbless hook.
I’m looking forward to a return very shortly, however before so I will be visiting the Match Lake for a bit of waggler fishing, a session that will appear in Coarse Angling Today later this summer.

Images –
  1. One of the three form last night’s session.
  2. Braid, a massive advantage when targeting eels.
  3. The Zandavan roll over bite indication system, simply the best! (
  4. Ignore a king prawn at your peril, they’re brilliant.
  5. I always take two nets, a 50inch carp and a big Gardner barbel spoon for those difficult ones!
  6. The J.S Eel rig covers 90% of my eel fishing.
  7. Get your tactics right and the rewards will come. A couple of Sumners whackers.   

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