Carp Angling at Harefield

In a recent carp angling blog I mentioned my old fishing friend Terry. We fished together for a few years. Before that I’d always fished alone. Meeting Terry at Nickolls, we immediately got on. He was just starting out on his carp fishing and keen to learn more. He was also a great organiser and cook, something I hadn’t got to grips with in my fishing. Packet of Hobnobs,tea bags and milk was my staple diet for most of the fishing I was doing at the time.

Paul with a nice pic of she that inspired the capture of my first thirty pound English carp

Paul with a nice pic of she that inspired the capture of my first thirty pound English carp

Harefield Mid 20 Carp Angling 3

Carp Angling Infancy

Terry had only fished locally, The pit and Hythe canal. He was interested in fishing further afield and to try to catch a thirty pound carp. I invited him to come along to Harefield where I’d just started to fish. We arranged a weeks trip on the 18th July 1986 to Harefield. Terry organised the food for every day, ensuring we didn’t go hungry. This was the early eighties, so carp fishing was still in it’s infancy from today’s standards.

my first ever thirty pound carp angling result, caught from the works bay at Harefield - 3

My first ever thirty pound carp, caught from the works bay at Harefield

Harefield Mid 20 Carp angling result

Carp Angling with Barrows

We didn’t have barrows, so we carried everything we needed on our backs like pack horses. We wonder why we’ve all got bad backs now! The first person I saw with a builders barrow was Dave Lane on Harefield. The penny soon dropped. Our first session saw us plotted up down the left hand bank with our backs to the famous Savay over the road. The lake seemed to be fished at long range by most anglers that fished there. One area being what they call “the causeway”; fishing from a high bank at long range to very rough gravel bars. So much so that we heard tale of getting takes and then being cut off before you even got to the rod. This certainly wasn’t my idea of fishing sensibly, I did overcome this problem on other areas of the lake: I’ll explain later.

my first ever thirty pound carp angling catch. caught from the works bay at Harefield - 2

My first ever thirty pound carp, caught from the works bay at Harefield

Harefield Mid 20 Carp angling catch

Carp Angling From the Edge of the Lake

So back to our first session, I found some great close in marks behind the marginal trees that didn’t looked fished. So that was our plan: fish in the edge and not out in the lake. I’d done this before at Fordwhich where most anglers fished long range with rods in the air and lines not touching the margin areas. We decided on Tigers and SBS milk protein baits – don’t think they are still trading. They always managed to get great ingredients for home made baits. Along with the Hutchie range we had all we needed to put some fish on the bank.

my first ever thirty pound carp, caught from the works bay at Harefield - 1

my first ever thirty pound carp, caught from the works bay at Harefield

a fella carp angler we knew as ginger with the much saught after fully scaled carp 1

A fella we knew as ginger with the much saught after fully scaled carp.

Two Rod Rule

With only a two rod rule we made the best use of the margins to the left and right of our respective swims. Not much was caught elsewhere on the lake, so we were pleased with our results. Terry had a lovely mirror, a personal best 29.6lb just short of our target of thirty pounds. Pleased was an under-statement.

my carp angling club record from lake two at Sittingbourne 1

My club record carp from lake two at Sittingbourne

a 28 leathery looking carp angling catch later in our campaign on Harefield again on the tigers 2

A 28 leathery looking carp caught later in our campaign on Harefield again on the tigers

Chinese Common Carp

I had what I believe they called the Chinese common at mid twenty and a mid double mirror. The margin tactic paid off with our balanced tigers nuts soaked in Hutchies sense appeal. We fished a couple of seasons on Harefield catching some lovely fish from the margins all round the lake. I did try the bars out in the middle a couple of times with my cunning plan: Sliding a large lemonade bottle down the line holding the line up above the rig and away from the bars. This did catch me a couple of bonus fish with this method, when the margins didn’t produce. I did go on to catch a thirty pound common from the lake. Terry unfortunately couldn’t go that weekend.

Chinese Common Carp

Chinese Common Carp that I caught back in the day

Mid 20 Scar Common Carp from Harefield 1

Mid 20 Scar Common Carp from Harefield

Carp Angling in Fresh Areas

I decided on the works area by a big patch of Lillys, an area I’d not been able to get on in the past. Two carp: 32 pounder and a 25 pounder and a nine pound tench. Again to the tigers came to my rods that weekend. I was inspired by Paul Foreward a few days before catching she from the school pool. I went over and did photos for him, sometimes you know when it’s going to happen. We did have some winter sessions on Harefield, it was hard going but we did catch a few again in the margins on home made Tuttie boilies. By this time everyone was using the tutie from Richworth and getting a bite on any other bait apart from the good old tiger nut was hard going. Not wanting to use a ready made in those days, I made my own with the flavour they used in the ready made.

My biggest carp angling catch from the school pool at 29lb

My biggest catch from the school pool at 29lb

a 28 leathery looking carp caught later in our campaign on Harefield again on the tigers 1

A 28 leathery looking carp caught later in our campaign on Harefield again on the tigers

Fordwich

After Hairfield Terry moved on to Fordwhich, I’d been banned from there as I no longer lived within the area allowed by the club. We never really fished together after that. Paul Forward and I moved on to Murston lakes in Sittingbourne. Mainly fishing the second and third lakes. My first year I caught a lovely 28 leather from the second lake winning the clubs carp trophy for the season. After that capture I moved on to the third lake where Paul was mainly fishing. He had also caught a similar carp of 26 pounds. But we both felt there was bigger fish to be had in the third and bigger lake.

me returning a typical pool common

Me returning a typical pool common

my club record carp angling catch from lake two at Sittingbourne 2

My club record carp from lake two at Sittingbourne 2

Carp angler Paul with his mid twenty carp from lake 3 at Sittingbourne

Paul with his mid twenty carp from lake 3 at Sittingbourne

Maple Cream Bait

Tigers soaked in Hutchies maple cream was our going bait on both lakes. The cherry tree swim, the longest walk from the car park was our most productive swim on all the lakes catching some lovely mid twenty mirror carp. These always looked bigger in the photos with their depth but no width to them. That lasted a couple of seasons until the gypsy camp was located by the entrance to the lakes. I never quite felt at ease on overnight sessions after that. The only place with any number of thirties in those days was the school pool. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a Faversham ticket so only ever fished there on day ticket.

me carp angling, playing a hard fighting mid twenty carp from the cherry tree swim moving it away from the rushes that formed a small island in front of the swim Sittingbourne

Me playing a hard fighting mid twenty carp from the cherry tree swim moving it away from the rushes that formed a small island in front of the swim Sittingbourne

Terrys lovely scaley 29 pound carp caught on our first session on the water on the tigers

Terry’s lovely scaley 29 pound carp caught on our first session on the water on the tigers

Carp Angling During the Day

The good thing about the pool was the carp did get caught during the day. I did manage a few from there up to 29 so feel my short time there was quite successful. Mostly catching from what we use to call the dining room in the middle of the lake mainly during the early part of the winter. Tigers and fishmeal boilies both worked to equal effect depending on time of year. During the eighties, rigs were fairly simple with rig tubing lead clips and normally used either a Cris ton or 15lb big game nylon hook length with size 6 drennan super specalist hooks. The most successful rig was the helicopter with the big game hook length. This was and still is the most tangle-free way to fish. Wavelock umbrella with two sewn in storm sides was the norm, just big enough to get a Woolworths sun lounger under without getting your feet wet.

me and Terry carp angling, landing a carp early morning wondering what we’d hooked this time

Me and Terry landing a carp early morning wondering what we’d hooked this time

Sittingbourne mid 20 Carp 2

That’s all for now. Tight lines, Trev

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