We cannot underestimate just how much a benefit it is having a facility such as Grove Farm Fishery, based at Hadlow College, and the role it plays in our work with young people – often those with some pretty serious learning difficulties.
This private facility with a lodge ( classroom ) and just 15 metres away being a cracking lake that has fish of the very highest standard. Offers us huge advantages both in learning and also, “fun” aspects of the work in which we do.
This is the place our schools and mental health truly learn how to fish; but also an area offering both beauty and privacy.
Moreover another vital aspect of our association with this facility is that it is often a stepping stone for our students to go on to higher education when they leave school; something we are seeing more often, each year and a progression, which in any other sphere ,might be wholly unattainable to students from the types of learning backgrounds that some our youngsters have come from.
Brian Bailey is the Commercial fishing manager at Hadlow College; and this entails managing the Bourne Hatchery at the college - a key element for aqua-culture and Fish science within the campus – but also creating and running Grove Farm lakes and the practical aspects of the college courses.
Brian’s days are diverse; and range from running an angling event , to teaching families to fish or surveying a river or lake for fish stocks .Brian might be running commercial driven feed trials (so essentially to not only fish stocking but the greater commercial growth of food/famed fish for the table) with degree students or cleaning and feeding fish. Brian gets to work in an environment where teaching and learning are paramount - and every day is different.
I asked Brian, on a recent visit to Grove farm for his “killer” seasonal fishing tips...
“ Well…. Tips-wise for autumn/winter, I would not overlook jigging for large perch. I would focus on doing it around sunken structures, such as fishing platforms as we know that is where the predators hang out. Look at different types of jig lure and the size that perch would take (larger than you think). It’s a great technique that allows you to move around a great deal; also the style of fishing ensures you are keeping active and warm. It’s also great, as you also study the water and look for signs of fish, especially if you are feeding other baits in as attractants, such as maggots.
Lure fishing for Perch has become really popular in recent years, we have noticed at the Grove farm Fishery , - and there have been some clonking Perch caught in recent times. We have found when coaching at the venue, and the regular feed of maggots going into the water really attracts the Perch. In these situations we have caught some big Perch on the whip or Jig fishing where the Jig is often mistaken by the Perch, as a fish being put back into the water after being caught. That sounds slightly harsh…. But it is fish eat fish world down there!
I can recall , a new student to fishing - a really nice lad – fishing at one of his first sessions actually, catching a 3lb 2oz Perch – that was on the simplest method of all : fishing with a Whip and a single red maggot.
I can remember telling him at the time, what an angling feat he had just performed, getting a quality fish on the bank with such light tackle then telling him I would have loved to of caught a Perch of that size using a whip.
His reply to me, was, If you want; you can tell everyone you caught that Perch.
You have got to laugh.”