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19-21st May: Wingham 2012

Posted by AddictedToScopex , 22 May 2012 · 4,984 views

Well it was that time again. Wingham 2012. The dream of a monster tench had returned.

The first day of the fish in saw me waking up at 6am full of enthusiasm. I loaded the car, said goodbye to the wife, new born daughter and cat and began my 300 mile journey. The hours flew by and I was soon pulling in through the fabled gates. It was almost 1pm by the time I landed. I was as keen as mustard and minutes after I arrived Terry and Sam were at my car with the trailer after a nice welcome and was loading up ready to take me to my swim. I was so excited. I picked up my lobs from the bait fridge and then walked over to the carp lake to see a man about a bed chair. Budgie had kindly agreed to lend me one for the weekend. I said hello to Budgie and Si and congratulated Si on his lovely carp. I was very keen to get to my swim and so we chucked the bed chair into the trailer and I jumped in Steves car while Terry proceeded on the tractor.

5 minutes later we arrived at my swim. A quick chat with Steve about a few features and before I knew it I was on my own. I looked out over the lake and watched the bubbles rising here and there. It looked ideal. Sadly it wasnt to last. Stuart then appeared round the corner with the bivvy Paul had agreed to lend me. The service at Wingham always strikes me as being amazing.

Steve had warned me about an impending change in the weather so I set up my bivvy, kindly lent to me by Paul (Tinca Tinca) and began to think about tactics.



My plan was similar to the year before. I wanted to try two different groundbait and two different hookbaits. These were to be a fishmeal based groundbait and a sweet one.

The fishmeal groundbait contained the following:

  • 2.5 Bags of Brown Crumb
  • 1 kilo of Sonubaits Exploding Fishmeal Groundbait
  • Half a Kilo of 5mm Halibut Pellets
  • 1/3 Kilo of Hemp
  • Half a Bottle of Dynamite Pred Plus
  • Half a Bottle of Dynamite Liquid Worm
  • 1.5 Pints of Maggot and Caster




To say it stunk was an understatement. Hook bait was 2 lobs.

The sweet groundbait contained the following:

  • 2.5 Bags of Brown Crumb
  • 1 kilo of Sensas 3000 Carp & Specimen Fish Groundbait
  • 1/3 Kilo of Hemp
  • Half a Bottle of Dynamite XL Scopex  cool.gif
  • Half a Bottle of Dynamite Liquid Corn
  • 2 Large Tins of Corn
  • 1 Large Tin Tutti Fruti Corn




It smelt almost edible! Hookbait was to be corn combined with fake corn or a small yellow popup.

I made up the groundbait and then rigged up the rods and planted the banksticks. The first job was to get spodding. I wasnt enlisted for the BBQ on the saturday so I spent my time setting everything up and getting comfortable. At one point JK came to vist from the next swim and we had a chat about the plans for the weekend and exchanged numbers in case we needed a fish photographing. Something that came in handy when he nailed a 15lb pike on corn!



Once the BBQ was over it was down to launching out spod after spod of groundbait once I had been given a lift by '3 doors down' with some marker work. The hookbaits were cast out with a pva bag of the matching groundbait and I settled in for the day. It was to be a fairly long afternoon with no action but I just sat and enjoyed the scenery as you do at Wingham. I decided the only thing I could add to this scenario to make it better was bacon butties. I fired up the camping stove and cooked 10 rashers of bacon and packed them onto 2 buns and wolfed them down. Proper job!



As the day drew to a close I couldnt help but smile at my surroundings and I carried out some more spodding as the sun was about to fade and put my baits out for the night. I climbed onto the bed chair as it went dark and relaxed watching some family guy on my phone. It didnt take long for the first beep. I leapt up but there was no second beep. This happened once or twice not long after and then silence.

I half nodded off but then heard the sweet sound of multiple beeps ringing off my alarm. I had my first action of the trip. I played the fish in and knew instantly what it was. Harldy surprising given that it was my lob worm rod. It was an eel. I unhooked it and admired it for a second before slipping it back in. It wasnt huge and I didnt take any photos as there seemed no need to prolong its time out of the water. It was around 2lb. I rebaited and fired it out on the line clip again.

Half an hour later another series of beeps had me out of the bivvy. Another eel about 2lb. I wondered if it was the same greedy so and so.

I cast out again. It was getting a little later now and I was getting very tired following the journey. I had another run on the lob rod. I knew what it would be before setting the hook. Another eel. Better this time though at 3lb 2oz. It was the first that looked worthy of the weighing scales. By this time I was exhausted and it was time for bed. I decided to not cast back in with the lob worm rod and got my head down. I probably could have had quite a few more eels but enough was enough.

I woke at 5am after 4 hours sleep. I played with the idea of casting out again, thought better of it and turned over for another 2 hours sleep  biggrin.gif

At 7am I got up and pulled the other rod in. I had a visit from '3 doors down' again. I really apologise but I didnt catch your name despite a lengthy conversation or two! We chose some new spots and I clipped up and got down to spodding the new spots. 20 spods for each spot. I cast out and settled in again until the BBQ was ready.  No sign of action apart from some fish rolling in my swim. Another chat with JK and then off to the BBQ.

As I stuffed ribs and burgers into my face I couldnt help but let my mind wander to the night before. I couldnt tell whether I was suffering from sleep induced mania or not but I  kept getting thoughts that I had actually enjoyed catching my eels. I think a trip to the doctors may be in order.  huh.gif

As I returned to my swim I began to get the feeling that something had changed. Some deep seated dislike had lifted but what was it? As I made up a rig with a short braided hooklength and an unmistakeable worm hook it dawned on me. I had gained respect and admiration for the very creature that I used to loathe. A creature that struck fears of ruined hook lengths, slime and deep hooking across the hearts of thousands of anglers. A creature deemed so disgusting by some that it was given all kinds of horrendous nicknames. The eel was to be my new quarry!



I made a decision that I was to come to be very pleased with. I had decided to fish for eels over tench. It was as though the world had been turned upside down. Had the lack of sleep finally pushed me over the edge?

I had a visit from Steve Burke as I was tackling up and explained my thoughts. He informed me that a 4lb eel was deemed a specimen comparable to an 8lb tench! That was it. The fire had been lit and I was focused on getting myself a monster eel. I added a little more pred plus and liquid worm to my groundbait mix and pulled out about 20 lobs and dispatched them with multiple chops of a knife. They were a worthy sacrifice for what I had in mind. I made sure to leave enough for hookbaits.

I spodded out about 25 spods worth of the putrid red mix of pure predatory attraction! If I was a pred I would have loved to wallow around in the mix of various proteins, amino acids and fishy particles. It had eels written all over it. After the mix had gone out I put two worms on the hook and chopped off the last 5mm with a knife to prevent them from trying to dig in to the lake bed. As I was using a groundbait on the deck it made sense to keep the bait on teh deck with it.

I spodded a load of sweet groundbait out too but have to say I was much more keen on seeing the effects of the fishmeal based one. I finished spodding and cast out my second rig with a yellow popup on which I had boosted with scopex flavouring. After all this I had a quick tidy and climbed onto the bed chair.

It didnt take long to get indications. The worm rod instantly registering line bites and pulls. Half an hour later at ~10pm I had the first take. I played the fish and felt the characteristic rapid pulses followed by a long drag. It was my first eel of the night and I smiled to myself. It was working. I weighed it at 2lb 6oz and slipped it back. I was very pleaseed with myself.

I settled in again after recasting and the beeps began again after 20 minutes or so. The feeding must have been very good around the baited area. At about 12pm the alarm went off again with a solid tone followed by a few single beeps. I half expected a pike this time as it was the same as the year before when I had my pike on a swim around the corner. As I played the fish though it soon became apparent from the fight that it was another eel. As I netted it and put it on the mat I smiled again. I was more than happy with two eels caught by design. It weighed in at 2lb 6oz again. Not the specimen I was after but I was happy with that. I put it back and went back to bed.

I nodded off this time and awoke to hear a distant beeping. As I came round more I realised it was my bite alarm. I jumped out of bed and hit my head on part of the brolly frame. The only issue I have with a brolly type system  biggrin.gif . I reached the rod and lifted into the fish. This felt much better. The rod hooped over nicely and I felt the rapid pulsing coming down the line followed by something seemingly dropping anchor and stopping dead. It was a great fight. This one was a runner too and pulled me around a bit. I had to get it landed. This was an adventure in itself. Due to a groggy tired mind I was struggling to net it and as I thought I had it in the net I lifted and inadvertently hooked the net with the hook. I had no choice but to lift the eel out of the water using the rim of the net attached to the hook to get it on the bank. As I got it over the bank it fell off. I panicked and scooped it up in the net just before it slipped back into the water. I was very lucky as I learnt later the following day. I weighed it at 4lb 2oz before photographing it and returning it. This was my first mistake. I did not realise the importance of 2 mistakes I made that night. Firstly I hadnt zeroed my scales. While looking at the photos the next day before posting to AN I made a horrible discovery. They were well out. I ran to the car and got the scales out of my bag. They were 12oz out!!!! How had I done this? I didnt remember zeroing the scales at all before I started fishing. I had been weighing all my fish wrong. The next mistake was not realising the size and calling someone to see it. They may have spotted the error on the scales and allowed me to re-weigh it and call a bailiff to witness it as my eel would have been a new Wingham record. The previous record for the coarse lake was 4lb 9oz and my eel would have gone 4lb 13oz had I weighed it correctly. I was kicking myself. I think I now know why I didn't zero my scales. I had weighed the eels in a plastic bag to avoid them getting out of the net during weighing as has happened in the past. Normally for a plastic bag I dont need to zero the scales. Had I been weighing in the net I would have almost certainly zeroed the scales for the weight of the net when wet.



I cannot hold it against myself though as it is a very simple, although costly, mistake to make and I am still over the moon with my new pb. It was one hell of an eel and was very thick all the way to the tip of the tail. A real specimen.

I slipped the eel back and got back in bed. A broad smile from ear to ear. I had got my first specimen eel and intentionally to boot. I fell back asleep only to be woken by a quick screamer on the boilie rod. I shot up but it had stopped. I decided to leave it out on the off chance that it would go again. I fell back asleep and heard nothing for the rest of the night. Upon waking I had a quick rebait and began to pack up. The Wingham dream was over for another year. I popped over to see JK to see how he had fared over the night. He had asked me to let him know if I caught a 4lber and I did text him but he had slept through. I wished him luck and left him to it before returning to my peg and finishing packing. Stuart came to collect me at 9:30am and it was time to leave. I packed the car and said thanks to Stuart, Terry and Sam and had a quick word with Andrew Burgess as I left. I had had a great weekend and was still smiling about the eel. Then it dawned on me that after about 10 hours sleep across 2 days I now had to drive 300 miles home. All worth it in the end.

Massive thanks go to Steve Burke, The Groombridge clan, Stuart, Peggy, 3 Doors Down, Budgie and Tinca Tinca for enabling me to have such a great weekend.  thumbs.gif




May 2019

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