Catching Cats at Manor Fishery

I’ve not done much Catfish fishing over the past few years and my PB was only 15Ib 8oz so after an offer from Mike Morrison of Manor Fisheries to fish on the Catfish Lake I couldn’t refuse.

Heading down to the lake I must say I was very excited like a kid at Christmas, the fact is this lake holds catfish to over 50Ib and the thought of a big moggy just got the adrenaline pumping. I was surprised to find that there was nobody fishing any of the lakes which allowed me time to get accustom to my surroundings and a free chose of any swim I fancied. After about 30 minutes, no tell a lie 5 minutes because of excitement I settled on a swim facing the island.

I used my tried and tested coarse fishing tackle with a set of Delta XS rods in a 3lb test curve. The TF Gear V8 reels with a 15Ib mainline, this should be up to the job and little did I know they would be tested, a dumbell rig with lobworms as bait on the surface was my first choice of rigs along with a running ledger with Cotswold Bait Creations 22mm Crab pellets being the second. Both rigs had an eagle eye hook size 2 tied with 70Ib braid.

I strategically placed the pellet rod in the middle, between the island and the margin, hopefully to intercept any fish coming from depth. The surface worm rod was placed under a tree next to the island to target fish coming around the island following the flow. I sat down for a cup of tea and by the time the water had boiled the worm rod was away, left right forwards backwards it was a crazy fight but it wasn’t long before it came in. On the scale it read new PB, 15Ib 8oz so before I had even started my PB was broken.

Personal Best 1

My confidence was high but the night only produced a few aborted takes so come dawn disappointment had set in, that was until the alarm screamed in to life, a battle of the giants had commenced. With every yard of line gained the fish would take five and it was ten minutes in to the fight that my arm started to ache but I knew it was a big fish so I couldn’t let up the slightest. The head came to the surface and I wasn’t sure on the size, that was until I lifted the net only to see that the fish was half in half out, it did go in eventually and looking down at the fish I had to sit down and compose myself before dealing with it. On the unhooking mat the size was amazing I’d never seen a fish so big, (only on tv) but there it was and I was the one who had caught it, the scales read 38Ib 4oz so it was a new PB for the second time, Fantastic.

Personal best 2

The day was extremely hot at around 27 degrees C and you would have thought the Catfish would have fed but I didn’t get a bite all day until dusk which to be honest I wasn’t really bothered about as I was still buzzing about my new PB. I wasn’t expecting much on the last night but I didn’t get any sleep as run after run came my way with a multitude of double figure Catfish hitting the bank. The last one was slipped back at dawn and I really needed some sleep but didn’t want to reel the rods in so I left them out just in case. On my bedchair and in the sleeping bag I was nice and snug and ready for some shut eye when the alarm sounded… bleep… bleep… Blurry eyed I stumbled to the rod and bent in to the fish only the be greeted by heavy resistance and a fish trying to go around the island. I must say the Delta XS rods really surpassed all my expectations and handled this and all the other Cats with ease but this Cat wasn’t giving up and half an hour into the fight it was still going strong but with time and patience it was in the net, just. Now I thought that the 38 was big but this was bigger and my scales bottomed out at 40Ib’s so with nerves shacking I borrowed some scales from another angler and they read 42Ib 8oz. I couldn’t believe it I had broken my Catfish PB for the third time in one session.

Personal best 3

A real red letter day and it really has given me the bug for Catfishing so I’ll be trying to go a lot more but I have a long way to go to beat my new PB.

Till the next time tight lines and best fishes…

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary Apr 11

My latest sea angling competition was the Dungeness Angling Association’s Dick Penny Memorial event in aid of the RNLI, and with it being small fish season it was another opportunity to practice for the forthcoming World Club Champs in Belgium where I am fishing with the Dover Sea Angling squad. The match at Dungeness is usually a dab event at this time of year, so I went geared with my Belgium tackle. A three piece TF Gear Delta quiver tip, 12lb Nano mist mono and a fixed spool reel. Terminal rig was a light weight two up one down mono paternoster with size 4 long shank hooks. Not everyone’s ideal outfit, but for tiddler match fishing just the gear. In the event I finished fourth with 16 small fish, my best was a 250 gram flounder. But here is the rub, the match was won by Folkestone match angler, and Dover team mate, Martyn Reid. He had drawn badly for dabs and decided to fish at extreme range with crab and sandeel for dogfish and had been rewarding for his daring with three small smoothhounds. Which all goes to prove that spring is well and truly here in Kent and I guess in much of the UK as well! Time to go after the plaice, rays, smoothhounds and soon the bass and bream.

The spring angling grapevine says that the plaice are in at Chesil beach (West Bexington and Cogden are producing an average fish of 12oz with the odd bigger fish) Deal pier in Kent has reopened after the completion of repairs to the lower front deck and the first thornback ray of 4lb fell to local angler Wayne Shorter on the morning the pier re-opened.

A common problem for match organisers is anglers booking places at events and then not turning up. This happened at the Dungeness AA event which was in aid of the RNLI. Despite 70 anglers having pre booked the limited places, only 45 turned out on the day which not only reduced the donations etc to the RNLI but denied some keen anglers the chance to fish. Disgraceful on the part of those that promised to support the match but failed to appear. Small wonder more and more competition organisers are using pre entry forms for events and blacklisting those that book but don’t appear. Mind you the RNLI had a bonus donation at Dungeness because of the failure of the entry to catch a single sizeable codling, so the biggest cod prize of £500 put up by Dungeness AA went to the RNLI, brilliant.

My other outing this month was to fish the Pollack Challenge out of Brighton aboard Brighton Diver which also had the Sky TV crew aboard filming Tight Lines. Paul Dyer skipper of the Brighton Diver found us some pollack and I landed five although my best of just under 10lb was not good enough to frame. That honour went to Phil Calver of Brighton who fished aboard Chris Bray’s charter boat, Great Escape where he landed a 15lb 1oz specimen pollack. At the presentation I found out Chris Bray’s secret – He cut his engine during the drift and it seems that made the difference because his crew bagged three of the top four fish! Lure wise the results revealed the Sidewinder as popular and successful, although unlike last year when the rhubarb and Custard (red and orange) lures worked best this year pink and silver seemed to have the edge and the smaller models. Mind you the sea at 30 miles off Brighton was absolutely full of sprats.

Brighton Pollack challenge

I am in the market for a rod tube when I fly to Sardinia at the end of May for the Magrini Championships. Anyone out there know of one suitable for three piece beach casters a brolly and rod rest get back to me on email: In the past I have always used a long section of plastic soil pipe but now with the more delicate three piece continental type beachcasters I think I should have something more purpose made. Someone has suggested a Sportstube which are essentially for skis – anyone with any info on how good they are for fishing rods?

Next month’s Sea Angler magazine (issue 466) has a free TF Gear DVD, featuring myself on boat fishing, with full details of the new range of sea fishing tackle from TF Gear. One not to be missed.