With Fishing for Schools Kent instructor Bob Goble

My how the time flies! It’s October already, with cooler days, shorter daylight hours and the potential for frost. So we need to make the most of our fishing before the onset of winter.

Fly fishing for carp has been excellent of late as the water is still warm – especially at Monk Lakes and Hadlow College’s Grove Farm Lake, the main two waters the Kent team uses for Fishing for Schools.

Although we teach a variety of methods on the courses, I specifically try to catch with the fly rod. A big thank you is due to Monk Lakes and Hadlow College for allowing us to fly fish for coarse fish in their waters, especially for carp.

The students have caught well and the biggest to date is a near 20Ibs common carp, from Grove Farm Lake. As you can see from the picture it was an impressive, hard fighting fish, especially on fly tackle!

It took patience to land this one but sadly we do not have permission to use photos of the student who caught it, so you’ll have to make do with me.

The youngsters have had great fun catching this and a number of other weighty carp but I have no doubt that with the onset of winter the carp will slow down and be more on the bottom and feeding less.

Trout fishing really comes into its own now. The trout are hungry and will hopefully be chasing fry and smaller fish like roach, rudd and perch in order to fatten up for the winter period. This means fly selection is from the usual suspects – boobys, blobs and cat’s whiskers, in white, black, orange and so on, not forgetting the buzzer in various hook sizes. In in fact anything with movement in the tail like marabou will catch.

My go-to fly is the Minkie (see picture). In hook sizes 10s and 8s mink fur is very mobile and pulsates with every retrieve of the line. Again try using white, black or orange or a combination of colours and use leaded and unleaded ones to determine the cruising or feeding depth of the trout. This is probably the most important thing to find out.

Using a 9 and half foot rod, a 6 or 7 weight fly line and a 9-10 foot tapered leader of 8Ibs breaking strain, cast out and use a countdown method of say 1 – 20 seconds.  By this I mean at 1 you retrieve straight away and at 20 you wait 20 seconds for the fly to sink deeper then start your retrieve.

Retrieve the minkie slowly using a figure of eight or slow short pulls. If you are experiencing  slight pulls and taps while retrieving do not strike or lift the rod, keep retrieving until you get that firm solid hold then lift smartly into the fish.

A few waters to try in Kent this autumn are Spring Hill Trout Waters at Pembury near Tunbridge Wells; Tenterden near Ashford or Bewl Water near Lamberhurst, where it should be possible to start to fish from the banks.

Keep warm and safe but most of all have fun,

Best, Bob G