If there was any disappointment about England’s exit from the FIFA World Cup the previous evening it was not evident as the team from the East Kent Branch of the Masonic Fishing Charity gathered at Chart Fisheries for the third event of 2018. Or was it simply “the elephant in the room”? We shall never know! At one point this year’s visit to Chart was in doubt as the fishery had been closed for several weeks, and remains closed, due to the unfortunate motorcycle accident of the bailiff, Adrian, who had sustained a broken femur and hand which prevented him from attending the site. Our best wishes go to Adrian for a speedy recovery together with our sincere thanks to the fishery owners for honouring our booking and allowing the event to take place – an indication of the trust they place on our integrity, organisation and behaviour!
The visit to Chart is always eagerly anticipated by the East Kent team as it is probably the most popular of the venues, particularly with the casters, who always turn up in large numbers for this event! Much to the delight of both Warren Muckell, the Event Organiser, and Len Hopson, the Caster Secretary. Our venue, the 5-acre plus Coarse Lake, is very well stocked with carp, tench, roach, rudd and, from previous experience, one or two surprises! Notwithstanding the large head of fish in the lake, their size and quality is excellent, double-figure carp are not uncommon and good catches are always anticipated. This latest visit was no exception! The fact that the lakes had been closed for several weeks may have had some bearing on the fierce rivalry between the carp and the ducks for a share of the early offerings by the anglers! The ducks’ appetites having been sated the rivalry amongst the fish continued throughout the day and the winners were the anglers!
Our guests on this occasion were 16 pupils from two schools in East Kent – the Goldwyn School, Ashford, a Foundation Special School, and St Nicholas School, Canterbury, both catering for pupils with complex and challenging educational needs, together with their respective teachers and carers. Arriving separately, both schools were welcomed, briefed on safety, assigned to casters and proceeded to the lake to start fishing. With the water seemingly boiling with ravenous fish, coupled with more overcast and slightly cooler conditions than those experienced over the preceding weeks, expectations of good catches were high.
Under the watchful expert eye of their casters, the lake soon echoed with the excited sounds of the anglers into their first fish. As the day progressed, and the skills improved the fish landed became larger and more frequent. There was a fair sprinkling of roach and rudd but carp soon became the dominant species. All sort of bait seemed to succeed, from simple maggots, bread and sweetcorn to a variety of pellets, curry concoctions and even marshmallows! It wasn’t long before carp in excess of 10 lbs were being landed!
The usual BBQ lunch was greeted with almost as much enthusiasm as the fishing itself. To the obvious disappointment of the pupils the post-lunch fishing session had to be restricted to 30 minutes. At the end of this session the immediate Past Provincial Grand Master, Geoffrey Gordon Dearing (now President of the Board of General Purposes at UGLE) presented each pupil with a certificate of achievement. Geoffrey, who had arrived during the morning and spent time around the lake talking to the casters and their charges, thanked the team of organisers, helpers and casters for all their dedication and hard work. The teachers expressed their thanks for the great day experienced by their pupils and to all the organisers and helpers for making it possible and so enjoyable. The smiles on the faces of the pupils said it all!
In conclusion, another highly successful event, thoroughly enjoyed by all who took part – the perfect antidote to England’s World Cup elimination! The next event is scheduled for Longshaw Fishery, Canterbury on Thursday 20 September. We look forward to another excellent turnout.