YOU CAN NOT BOOK YET but soon after Easter you'll be able to book a place at the Wingham Fish-In that runs from 7am on Sat 6th May to 7pm on Mon 8th May.
Wingham Main Lake is a syndicate water that, apart from the annual AN Fish-In, is open to members only. Previous Fish-Ins have produced fabulous catches including five 15lb+ bream to 16-06, loads of 8lb+ tench up to 10-04, carp to 36lbs (although they go to over 50lbs!), plus lots of 3lb+ perch to 3-14.
As many of you'll know there's a chance of breaking the bream record at Wingham. We had one of 17-14 in April 2004, and as this fish was at most only 11 summers old it had several years of growth ahead of it! It'll now almost certainly be well over 20lbs. Since then Wingham has produced several bream of 18lbs+ (and different to the 17-14).
Who can come?
Anyone who's a Forum member or who's a member of the Perchfishers. However, although the venue is 40 acres, places will be limited to approx 24. Those who missed out last year are guaranteed a place. If necessary priority will then be given to those who haven't been before. I'll also give priority to those who can fish the entire period. Non-fishing guests are welcome, but please don't wear bright clothing!
What's the cost to fish?
Nothing! It's a thank you to Elton for hosting the Wingham web site in the past, plus a chance to meet Forum members.
However please do put something in the bailiff's box in the clubhouse. They're unpaid volunteers and have worked their socks off getting everything ready, and will be working again all through the weekend - including running a taxi service at their own expense to take you and your gear to/from your swim. You don't get many miles per gallon in a 4x4 in 1st gear! Without the bailiffs the Fish-In simply wouldn't be taking place and you wouldn't be reading this!
Where is Wingham?
On a nature reserve in the middle of nowhere near Canterbury, Kent. The loudest noise is normally birdsong - especially nightingales at this time of year! It’s about 1 hour from the Dartford Crossing on the M25, but detailed directions will be sent to those attending.
When is the venue open?
It's a 3 day event with the fishery open from 7am Saturday to 7pm Monday. However, please don't arrive after 9pm.
Can I bivvy up and fish overnight?
Yes. If you don't have a bivvy and bedchair etc we can almost certainly arrange the loan of these items, or anything else for that matter. You can also sleep in the clubhouse (just to the left of the main gate) that has a lounge, kitchen, bait room, shower room and toilets. Alternatively you can kip in the car park. Accommodation can also be booked nearby.
On Sunday and Monday lunchtimes Peggy will be doing her famous mega BBQs - with enough even for Budgie! Please do let us know though if you're vegetarian. The cost will probably be £7.50 which must be booked and paid for in advance.
Which lake can I fish?
Normally the Fish-In is on the Main (Coarse) Lake only, which is 40 acres and contains most species. However if we're full up I’ll allow some of you who are both Forum and Wingham Main Lake members to fish for either carp or eels on the 15 acre Carp Lake. This contains 6 different 50s up to 60-08!
What restrictions are there?
No keepnets, nuts or fishbaits. No lead core or leaders of any kind are permitted, but tubing is fine. Also no barbless hooks above size 10 are allowed on the Main Lake, the opposite to many commercials. In these larger sizes please use barbed, preferably micro-barbed hooks. 3 rods are permitted. Full rules will be sent nearer the time.
What about lure fishing?
My syndicate members aren't allowed to lure fish at this time of year and so I'm afraid it wouldn't be fair to allow lures on the Fish-In.
What tackle should I bring?
The venue is very little fished and therefore the fish aren't tackle shy. With the very high average weights and sharp gravel bars a minimum of 6lb line and preferably stronger is recommended. Most members use 8lb line, with a lighter hooklength if necessary. Braid is definitely not recommended because of the bars. For ledgering most Wingham members use rods with a test curve around 1 1/2 to 1 3/4lbs.
I can't stress highly enough that if you're fishing after dark you should have heavy bobbins on at least a 24 inch drop (that's longer than it seems and much longer than carp bobbins). Otherwise you'll probably strike at line bites (that big bream are notorious for) and spook them. That'll then almost certainly have blown your chance of a record bream for the rest of the weekend!
If you have a short drop on your bobbins and line is taken off your reel you’ll also be getting up all night long to reset the bobbins every time you get a line bite (which might be every minute)! Believe me, you’ll never make the same mistake again!
You'll therefore need your rods up high, and so long bank sticks or storm poles are needed, especially if you're on a platform (these have slats to take banksticks/stormpoles).
I have 5 pairs of long banksticks (30 inch + 42 inch) plus 4 suitable bobbins that can be borrowed. Other Wingham members can also help out, so just ask as we have plenty between us. There will be a separate topic on the Forum about borrowing/lending any item of tackle/camping gear.
What baits would you recommend?
All common baits catch such as worm, maggots, corn and boilies, but remember the lake is very little fished and so unusual baits aren't likely to work so well as you can't pre-bait. Above all, do make sure you have worms, preferably lobs.
During the day I'd recommend that you hedge your bets by fishing worm, maggot or caster, perhaps in conjunction with corn, on all your rods as otherwise you could miss out on a 3lb+ perch. These are present in nearly every swim and 1 forum member has had more than 70 in a day from 1 1/2lbs to over 3lbs! Worms, especially lobs, have been better than maggots for the perch at Wingham, and worms are also very successful indeed for the Wingham tench!
After dark eels will probably make the use of animal baits a problem, unless of course you like eels. The vast majority are between 1 and 4lbs (almost no bootlaces!), but they’ve been caught up to 5-10 on the Carp Lake and 4-13 on the Main Lake despite almost no one targeting them.
I can order lobs or dendras for you if given advance notice (9.30 am on the Tuesday before the event at the very latest). The cost will probably be £7.50 per large tub (approx quarter kilo) but must be paid for in advance.
What are the best tactics?
The most important requirement is to keep quiet and still (no bright clothing!) as although the fish aren't tackle or bait shy they're very easily spooked due to the lack of fishing pressure.
The fish have definite patrol routes and they aren't likely to move off these routes. This is because of the huge amount of natural food. Wingham's the only water I know where your feeders come back covered not only with snails but snail's eggs! Gaffer reckons any weed you retrieve will crawl back in! So the best advice I can give you is to thoroughly plumb the swim and in the vast majority fish the margins as most of these are on patrol routes. Bear in mind though that most of the swims are deep, typically with 8 to 12 feet at the bottom of the marginal shelf. So if you're float fishing I'd suggest a slider. If you’d like a shallow swim though do please ask.
Another reason for fishing at close range is that Wingham is a mass of bars, humps, plateaux etc., and so casting and feeding accurately is a must. The bars are very steep, so if you're just a couple of yards astray you could be in 10 inches of water instead of 10 feet!
In fact, nearly all the fish from the Coarse Lake, including many of the bream, have come in the margins.
They'll be a series of enhanced satellite photos on view in the clubhouse, and I'll also point out hotspots in each known swim for those who'd like this info. However, some of the swims have little form as they've been fished on only a handful of occasions!
Bear in mind that the bream are almost entirely nocturnal. The perch feed best in low light, especially from just before dawn (sunrise will be at approx 5.15am), whilst the tench can come at any time, but particularly in the mornings.
Any heavy baiting up is thus best done late afternoon to allow the swim to settle. This is especially so if you're spodding bait out. Not only might this spook your own fish, but your neighbours' also.
However I’d suggest you don’t bait heavily on the first day. This is because you may be putting it in the wrong place. If you catch you can then put some more bait on that spot.
One of the best bits of advice comes from Anderoo. If you’re not catching when others are, then recast. You may just be a yard or two from the fish, and at Wingham this can make an absolutely massive difference!
You'll also find more questions and answers from a previous year at http://www.anglersne...ish-in bookings
What can I expect to catch?
Wingham is very unlike the artificially overstocked waters that many of you are used to. It's very much a big fish water, so although you're not likely to catch lots of fish you've every chance of specimens, especially tench and perch, not to mention record bream! Most years about half the guests catch personal bests, even if it’s just catching a bigger fish from Wingham! There are more details on the new Wingham web site at www.winghamfisheries.co.uk.
How do I book?
YOU CAN'T YET!
Look out just after Easter for an announcement saying bookings are now being taken.