Situated immediately next to the tackle shop at Stones Fishery is the kidney-shaped quarter acre Childrens Pool which can accommodate about 30 youngsters and their parents. Constructed with decking around about three-quarters of the water, the pool has a bowl shaped bottom and goes to about eight feet at its deepest in the centre although it has been kept to just two feet round the edges for safety reasons.
Childrens Pool is stocked with a variety of fish of sizes which are easy for novices and children to handle, the biggest being mirror, common and koi carp to between 4lbs and 5lbs, brown carp and ghosties to 2lbs, crucians to about 1lb and small tench, roach and rudd to 8oz.
Because of its size, Childrens Pool is ideal for learning to fish the waggler or pole, with maggots and expander pellets being the most favoured bait.
Fishing on the bottom or up in the water whilst loose feeding with small amounts of hook bait are both successful although the large number of fish in the water really make it unnecessary to plumb the depths before fishing.
In summer it also pays to fish floating bread on days or evenings when the pool is quieter.
As is to be expected, the ease of fishing Childrens Pool make this an ideal venue for youngsters coming into the sport or a place to try out new techniques or bait mixes whilst the wide decking around much of the water provides a clean, even and safe area for younger anglers to sit.
Although Stones' Match Lake is pegged for up to 50 anglers, competition numbers are restricted to 36 at any one event to reduce the pressure on the fish and to give anglers more chance of taking bigger weights. It also leaves plenty of room on this popular water for pleasure anglers.
At about two acres in size, Match Lake is unlike most match waters in that it is not a 'canal' style venue with an even bottom and fairly few features. In contrast, it has bridges, lily pads, beds of reeds and plenty of bankside vegetation alongside the wooden platform pegs to provide a very pleasant if not somewhat unusual water.
Although the majority of the fish run between 2lbs and 4lbs, there are plenty of mirror and common carp to 15lbs as well as bream to 6lbs.
As well as ghosties and F1 hybrid carp, both of which run to 4lbs, there are chub to 4lbs; perch and tench to 3lbs; crucians, brown goldfish, roach and rudd to 2lbs; and golden rudd to 1lb. In addition there are a good head of goldfish and fan-tailed shubunkins which are regularly caught to 2lbs in weight.
Whilst the average depth is only about four-and-a-half feet there are two holes of significance - one 14 feet deep at the far end of the lake and another about 10 feet deep near the entrance. At the back of the islands the water is generally about six feet and the lake shallows towards the margins.
The presence of the holes make it worthwhile spending a few minutes plumbing the depths before starting to fish, particularly in winter when the cold weather can send the fish down into deeper water.
Although Match Lake is used for competitions, it is also a popular pleasure water and because of this has been designed so that there are features to fish to from every peg, although there are no particular 'hot spots' where the bigger weights regularly come from.
Again, Match Lake is heavily stocked and pleasure anglers can expect to catch between 40lbs to 50lbs although several anglers have reported bags of more than 200lbs of fish at one sitting. For competitions, the match record currently stands at just under 100lbs. During matches the backup weights can also be virtually guaranteed to be good with most anglers turning in worthwhile weights.
As one would expect with a good general mixed fishery, Match Lake is popular with both pole and waggler anglers and the fishing is usually good whether you head for open water or snuggle up to one of the many features.
In addition to fishing the features it also pays to try in the margins where the sport can be extremely good, particularly when the water is not busy and there are few anglers around.
When it comes to baits, anything goes with pellets, flavoured meats, sweetcorn, maggots, worm and bread all being effective on their day. In warmer weather Match Lake is also a good water for fishing floating baits.
Proving that appearances can be deceptive, Specimen Lake looks more like a match lake than a big fish water, but with common and mirror carp to just under 30lbs and a good head of bream running into double figures, this is the place to go for if you are looking for big fish.
About an acre in size, Specimen Lake holds 26 well-spaced begs on both banks and has a gradually shelving bed running down to about our-and-a-half feet with a six foot deep channel down the very centre of the lake. In addition, at either end there are eight foot holes which can form holding areas for the fish, particularly in colder weather.
In addition to the commons and mirrors, Specimen Lake holds koi carp to double figures, ghosties to about 7lbs, green and golden tench to just over 3lbs, and barbel to about 3lbs but averaging between 1lb and 2lbs. The barbel are putting on weight quickly because there is always an undertow in Specimen Lake which keeps the water moving.
If you like bream fishing, this is the water to go to. The lake record, taken in September 2004, now stands at 10lbs 10oz and a lot of fish are regularly caught between 6lbs and 7lbs.
Although popular as a waggler and ledger water, Specimen Lake also attracts a lot of pole anglers who are recommended to fish the margins with a 20 elastic to a 12 or 14s hook, although those after the bigger fish are probably better sticking to more traditional rod and line techniques with a minimum line strength of 8lbs and a size 10 or 12 hook.
Whatever your preference, it pays to fish slightly on the light side and not to bait up too heavily as this can throw the fish off. Unless you are fishing a feeder, fish you bait over a light bed of pellets, maggots and sweetcorn little and feed hook samples little and often.
Because Stones is a fairly open fishery, the angling on Specimen Lake can vary according to the time of year. In summer it pays to fish the margins or on the surface with floating crust, dog biscuit or floating pellet whilst in the winter the fish tend to stay near the bottom, particularly the deeper water when it gets colder.
This is when fishing the feeder or a free-running method feeder comes into their own, although all year the best baits tend to be worm, bunches of red and white maggots, halibut flavoured pellets and meat baits. In summer, paste baits are also well worth a try.
Like the other Stones Fishery waters, the pegs on Specimen Lake are well built timber platforms or gravel filled double to treble pegs offering plenty of room.
Whilst anglers can take up to 150lbs of fish at one sitting in the right conditions - the individual lake record is again 200lbs - it is worth remembering that the best results are usually taken by anglers fishing into the wind or in pegs at the furthest end of the lake from where the wind is blowing.
Stones Fishery has its own website where information on the development of the venue together with details of future expansion plans, news of latest individual and match catches and information on forthcoming events is posted. In addition, the site has a guestbook and section where you can download photographs of the lakes for use as wallpaper on your computer. To visit the site please click here.
How to get to Stones Fishery on the Isle of Sheppey
After driving over the Kingsferry Bridge onto the Isle of Sheppey along Sheppey Way, turn left at the first traffic island into Queenborough Road. At the next roundabout take the third exit - still Queenborough Road - and continue to the traffic lights at Halfway Houses.
Turn left into Halfway Road and when you reach the mini roundabout take the first exit. Continue past the golf course and the entrance to Stones Fishery is the next right at Stones Nursery. Drive to the end of the car park.
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