FL02 PDF (212pp) - Page 186



In Search Of Monster Carp
Darenth Tip Lake’s Scaley at mid-20.
sation with Alan one day, Alan Smith,
and he said, “If you like, I’ll get you
some casein. I get it from Fred Wilton
for all the lads,” and I said, “Yeah, I
wouldn’t mind.” It was actually Dutch
casein, which probably doesn’t mean
anything to people nowadays, but
that Dutch casein made so much difference to our fishing. We were still
making 10oz mixes, but we used to
use something like 8oz of this Dutch
casein per 10oz mix, an ounce of
something to bind it, and an ounce of
vitamin/mineral type thing. From that
point, that really was the turning
point in my fishing. A good bait
depended on baiting up, but a good
bait is an instant bait as well. Alan
and I used to traipse off all round the
place; we got a kick out of fishing different places. It was always the thing
with the pair of us that on short sessions, when we first went to a lake, I’d
always catch a lot more than Alan,
but over the long term, because of his
ability to apply bait properly, Alan out-
186 FREE LINE
fished me, but we had some great
times.
I think this was about the time
when Kevin Maddocks came onto the
scene, and he started fishing various
Kent lakes. I think he was fishing the
mid-Northants waters and places like
Ashley Pool, and then he moved onto
Darenth, and then that was when we
started to take a little bit more notice
about rigs. On Darenth, I had my bait
really going well, and I was catching
regularly. I’ll always remember one
day in the wintertime, I was in a swim
called the Singles, and Kevin was in
the swim next door called the Willows. I think I had four fish in the
morning, and Kevin next door had
nothing. Then Kevin went back to the
car, and said, “I think our bait has
blown.” He came back with boilies,
and said, “I don’t know if you have
ever known anyone using a bait
smelling like this one, Lee.” I smelt it,
and I said, “It smells like curry.” On
reflection, I think it was maple flavour,
but what struck me when I picked
one of these baits out of his bait bag
was that it was like a stone – it was so
hard. Now bearing in mind when we
had a bite, we had to run back and
strike it about six times just to get the
hook through the bait, I said to Kevin,
“How the bloody hell do you strike a
hook through that?” He didn’t answer
me in any way, but that played on my
mind; I thought, you just can’t strike a
hook through that. I thought about
when we used particle baits, things
like chickpeas, and I did actually have
the hookpoint sticking out of the bait.
I thought that the next time I went
down there I’d try that, so I did it on
one rod, but I wasn’t all that confident
on it. I side-hooked the boilies, made
them a little bit smaller, and cast out
and sat there. I had a few little
twitches on the other rod, but all of a
sudden this one that had the sidehooked bait rocketed off, and I picked
up the rod. Instead of taking a long
while to strike into the fish, it was
hooked already before I had even
picked it up off the rod rest. So I continued fishing like that with both
rods, and the difference it made was
unbelievable.
Unfortunately the following season,
I wasn’t really fishing Darenth a great
deal, I was fishing up Lockwood
Reservoir in Walthamstow, so I wasn’t
too bothered about rigs. I was a bailiff
on Darenth though, and I used to walk
round there most days with my dog.
The guys were experiencing terrible
bite-offs, and by bite-offs I mean
when the fish has sucked in your bait
past its throat teeth, and it chomps
your hook link in half. By this time
Dicky Caldwell and Bill Young were
fishing there with the particles. In one
particular area, I think one of them
had gone in on the Monday, and had
put in loads of chickpeas, but not
caught anything. Then another one
had gone in on the Tuesday, thrown in
a load of chickpeas too, but also not
caught anything. Then another one
went in the Wednesday, and the same
thing, so you’ve got this great big
mountain of uneaten chickpeas. By
the Thursday these two other lads
who I knew were fishing the same
swim. I walked up to them and they
were almost in tears, and I said,
“What’s up?” They said, “Lee, we’re
getting a bite off at the rate of about
one every five minutes,” and I said,
“You’re joking!” While I stood there,

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