In my last article I wrote about one of my favourite Barnet waters, London Colney, and how much of a challenge it has proved to be over the years, but also how rewarding the fishing can be when the conditions are right, and the angler takes advantage of them. Try to fish early morning, and I mean early! Turning up at 8 or 9am on a sunny day is usually a waste of time, start at 4am if possible in the summer months, so even if the forecast is for a bright day you should at least get three to four hours in before the sun gets fully up, or if you are not an early bird fish in the evenings, the last hour before dark can be very productive. But I digress, the main reason for this article is to tell you about the story of the "Golden Maggot".
The basics mentioned above have held me in good stead in my annual battle with my old fishing mate Alan Howard for the "Golden Maggot". As I mentioned in my last piece I learnt my fishing when I was a boy visiting the local ponds & lakes with a group of friends, in the summer holidays we would spend many a day fishing the Brewery Pond or Jacks Lake, sometimes even night fishing. Most of that crowd have now moved on or given up angling, but Alan has always been a keen fisherman, and he joined BADAC in 73/74 season a few years after I did. From those early years we have always had a friendly rivalry as to who could catch the biggest fish or the best bag for each season, the general rule is that it is the biggest fish of the season that takes the prize, but occasionally it is the best catch in one session, as was the case for last year, where Alan landed six barbel between 6lb-8lb from seven bites on the river Loddon during a heavy thunder storm, a top effort.
The original Golden Maggot Trophy was just a size 2 gold carp hook with a very dead dried up maggot attached to it as you can see from this old black & white photo of me from 1981 (or you could if Alan had got it in focus!) That trophy has long since been lost, and for many years we have been fishing for the Golden Maggot in name alone. But this season I have decided to buy a proper trophy to celebrate the occasion, and also with a 20lb mirror carp and a 40lb catch of tench already in the bag I think I have a very good chance of regaining it!
Our contests for the trophy have been pretty even over the years, I tend to have the edge at London Colney when the winning catch comes from there, but Alan usually comes up trumps when we fish the Loddon. They can also go right to the last few days of the season. I can remember three or four years ago that I was leading the contest with an 8lb barbel taken from the Lodden in October, the last week of the season had come round and as many anglers do Alan and I took two or three days off work to fish. We had fished the river on the Saturday, and I had not done very well in my usual swim so I decided to try a different spot when we returned on the following Tuesday. I walked down to the end of the stretch to fish the swim on the bend near the railway bridge, where an angler had told me he had caught a couple of good barbel the previous Saturday. Alan decided to fish in my usual swim, and I expect you know what happened, after an hour he walked down to tell me he had caught a couple of nice chub of around 4-5lbs, an hour later he appears again this time its a 7lb barbel, followed in the afternoon by a fish of 8lbs, and to round it off a 9lb'er! I ended the day with a 2lb jack pike caught half an hour before we packed up! Game,Set and Golden Maggot to Mr A. Howard.
But I did get revenge a couple of years later, the 99/00 season was coming to an end and Alan had the lead in the contest with another good Lodden barbel. I headed off to fish Lake Victoria in Uganda few days after our river season closed, and for anyone who has read my Nile Perch piece on this site you know that I was lucky enough to catch a fish of a lifetime, 143lb Nile Perch along with twenty or so other fish between 14lb & 60lbs. On my return from Uganda Alan picked me up at Heathrow, when I told him of my catch he graciously conceded the trophy for that season, even though the "Golden Maggot" has always been based on fish caught on Barnet Club waters. So far that is the only time the trophy has gone to a fish or catch from an away venue. But I know Alan is going on holiday to France later this month, and he is taking his rods!
Keep a look out on this site for more news of G.M.T I will let you know if Alan makes a comeback in this years contest later in the season. Otherwise my next article will appear here after my Australia trip in November.
By the way I am planning a trip to Africa to fish both Lake Victoria & The Zambezi in late August/ September 2002, spending 3-5 days at each venue. If anyone is interested in going on this trip please contact me by e-mail.
Article written by Bryan Garnett - 2002