Charman’s Challenge – Buckland Lake Fishery.
Date – Thursday 7th August 2014
Venue fact file –
Buckland Lake Fishery, Buckland Road, Cliffe, Nr Rochester Kent ME3 7RT.
Tel 01634 220005 or 07946 522076
Day Tickets – Main lake by appointment only £40 per 24hrs also Syndicated at £500 per year which is now FULL (names can be placed on a waiting list). Two coarse lakes, Specimen Lake cost £15 for 10hrs, £18 all day, £20 overnight and £28 for 24hrs and the Coarse Lake costs £10 for 2 rods and concessions apply on this lake only.
Stock – Main lake rudd to 4lb plus roach, perch, pike and carp to unknown quantity. Specimen lake offers carp to 30lb. Coarse Lake offers plenty of carp, tench, perch and pike plus rudd to well over 3lb and there is a trout lake containing brown and rainbow trout to over 12lb.
Conditions – With storm Bertha hitting the south east it was never going to be easy but it actually worked in my favour. Warm humid with heavy downpours and thunder and lightning and the wind off my back, a south west.
Every now and again someone does the honourable thing and this time it was my good friend Fred Healy who after discovering a rudd goldmine, and knowing my love for the species called to tell me to get my arse down to Kent. Now I have to admit that although I love catching big fish but travelling all over the country just isn’t my thing yet when he asked what my personal best was and I told him it was 3lb 5oz his reply really started to get my mind working as his answer was, well your beat that easily! I nearly dismissed the information as I had a full weeks work but knowing that its whereabouts would soon be out to the angling world and that it was also fast growing interest to be syndicated I just had to cancel an appointment and as Fred said, get my arse down there!
To be honest I rarely travel more than an hour to a venue and my first thoughts were that Cliffe in Kent was about 2hrs away, yet a quick postcode tap into the satnav showed just 70mins, so my mind was made and the car loaded. A quick look at the weather showed an awful weather front moving in, storm Bertha it was called and its was going to hit worse, yes you’ve guessed it in Kent. Fred had informed me that he had been catching on the float yet I needed plan B up my sleeve and decided to take a couple of 1.25lb t/c rods with helicopter rigs set up as I knew that sometime during the day these would be called for.
The alarm sounded at 3am and I was on the road by four arriving well in time for the 6am opening. Five pints of red maggots wriggled in a bait bucket but little did I know that these would only be used a feed as the hoards of small rudd made using them on the hook impossible. Luckily Scott the onsite manger has a small tackle shop on site and I was able to grab four tins of corn yet after a quick look at the swims and an hour fishing the float all I had to show for my efforts was one tiny rudd. Scott had told me to keep my eyes pealed and move if I saw rudd and after an hour I did just that as the odd rudd could be seen to my right. The problem I was faced with was that the rudd were moving some way out and I just couldn’t see them being caught as I had been told they do in the margins. The reason for this was obvious as the wind was coming from behind and the rudd weren’t confident coming in close on it. In all honesty I felt I was in the worst place possible but with limited swims had to continue yet the odd big rudd rolling kept up my confident. Another hour on the float three rod lengths out proved unsuccessful, not that surprising seems it was over 20ft deep and all I could do was fish at a maximum depth of 12ft.
Then it happened the clouds darkened and the heavens opened as well as the wind swinging momentarily 180 degrees. Time for the feeders and batten down the hatches. A simple underarm cast saw the feeder landing where I had been feeding and with a maggot feeder and a helicopter rig with a piece of normal corn popped up with some yellow foam slowly descending I expected to sit out the storm. How wrong was I as on the way down I felt a tap, then a pull and played in a rudd weighing 2lb 9oz. This was followed by more, five in fact all over 2lb 7oz and two in excess of 3lb, one bang on the money and another of 3lb 4oz. With rudd it’s often a case of stop feeding stop catching and by permission from Scott a keepnet was employed just for such an occasion which prolonged the feeding spell without any detrimental effect to the rudd. When the bites dried up and the weather improved I quickly weighed and photographed the catch before resuming feeding. Although happy with the mornings result I was kicking myself as I lost far more big rudd than those landed. The problem was a dense weed bed around a rod length out, well out of sight and one that saw my line bedding down in when the line was tightened against the feeder, something that’s paramount in the effectiveness of the heli-rig. If the rudd didn’t shed the hook then the hooklink would part so after collecting my thoughts I rigged up with a 6lb12oz hooklink, size 12 hook and swapped the corn for a 10mm Nash Airball Pineapple Pop-up. The afternoon started on a more positive note with nine of the next ten rudd landed with a couple coming to the float. This pop-up tactic also accounted for a much better stamp of fish and although only one was quickly weighed which set a new personal best of 3lb 6oz I never knew until the shoal moved on exactly what I had in the keepnet. Weighing the rudd they weighed in at 3lb 1oz, 3lb 8oz, 3lb 9oz 8drams, 3lb 10oz and 3lb 12oz 8drams, truly remarkable.
The lake is classified as a Quarry and there are no proper swims created at the moment as it’s rarely been fished before and all you do is make yourself as comfortable as possible. Unfortunately with the rain falling the banks become lethal and I slipped at around 3pm coming down heavily on my knee cap which by 6pm had ceased completely. What I could have achieved if this hadn’t happened is mind-blowing and the drive home was certainly not one I wish to remember.
Passing my results on to my mate Chris he headed down the following day and although the fishing wasn’t as good he still managed five rudd over 2lb 6oz with the best two weighing 2lb 15oz and 3lb 6oz!
Fortunately I managed to get my name on the waiting list, at the top in fact and Chris is second so cant wait for a place to become available yet I’m not expecting any of the lucky twelve to opt out for a while.
Good luck lads go fill your boots!