GOOD-VALUE CLUBS HAVE SO MUCH TO OFFER
ALAN BAKER, KENT
During my conversations on the bank, I have detected a steady trickle of anglers coming back to our rivers. Many appear to have become disillusioned by what commercial fisheries offer, particularly those stuffed with carp and F1s where everything you catch is more of the same. At my own club – Penshurst AS – which controls six miles of fisheries on the upper Medway and the Eden, its tributary: "We aim to re-introduce the back-to-basics angling that recaptures the kind of fishing unavailable on commercial lakes." There is no cafe, tackle shop or toilets. It is a long walk across the fields to get to the river. There are 15ft high overgrown banks where you have to descend on a rope and clear your own swim. Real back to nature fishing, where a mobile approach, stealth and watercraft are paramount. The rewards are the usual river species – barbel, bream, chub, dace, roach, perch and pike. There are a handful of carp and tench too. Forget casting a heavy swim feeder into a shallow peg. It's much better to freeline, fish a light leger rig, or use a float for long trotting or stret-pegging. And avoid using maggots and worms during summer. Buy a large sack of hemp. Four pints soaked and cooked is sufficient groundbait for a couple of short sessions. My top hookbaits are bread, cheese, corn, luncheon meat, prawns, tares and deads for pike.