Friday, 17 August 2012

Oaks Thursday Open 2nd August

After a good result at the weekend I was hoping to make the most of a rare midweek match by putting a few in the net. I think the main reason why I don’t seem to put decent weights together on Cedar normally is because of the amount of people fishing. Normally on our club matches on here there’s over 40 anglers on the lake with a few clubs fishing at the same time. Hopefully this midweeker with only 17 on the 80 peg lake, I’d be able to beat my personal best of 56lb. The draw got underway and peg 26 stuck to my hand. I wasn’t too bothered where I was to be honest because on looking through the past results, a decent weight is doable from most pegs. I had Whaley to my right on peg 28 and couldn’t see anyone else, but if I could keep pace with him, I’d probably be doing OK as he frames fairly often. I planned on two main swims today, the deep water at around 10-11m and a shallow line to my right. I also set up rigs for my right margin and the mudline but hoped I wouldn’t need them. My three main rigs were on 0.16 mainline with 0.12 banded hair rigs and size 18 hook and doubled 5 elastic. I had a 0.4g pencil for the deep and used 0.2g dibbers on my shallow rigs which were set at 10inch and 18inch. Bait today I had some casters, a few worms, some 4mm feed pellets and some 6mm pellets for the band. At the all in I pulted a full pouch of caster onto my shallow line to get it going, I’d then feed half a dozen casters here for the first 90 minutes to two hours depending on how it was going. I shipped out to my deep line with a 6mm pellet and tipped a few 4mm’s over the top. I didn’t have to wait long for my first bite and soon had an F1 in the net. I kept on with this and although it wasn’t frantic I was catching a few. After 90 minutes I’d had 12 fish, which was OK but Whaley was catching fairly well and Adam was catching very well on peg 31 by all accounts so I needed to up my game. I pulted a few full pouches of casters onto my shallow and then dropped in the middle of it. I had a few nuisance silvers at first but eventually had an F1. Rather than getting bogged down with the caster I decided to change over to feeding pellet sooner rather later because I knew I’d just get annoyed catching roach and rudd all afternoon. I was soon into a decent rhythm catching an F1 every put in. If it went slow I’d fire a full pouch in, which seemed to draw another ball of fish into the area. At one point it went almost dead so I dropped my full depth rig in over my shallow line and managed two fish off the deck whilst continually spraying pellets at my float in order to drag them back up in the water again. This did the trick and for the rest of the match I caught fairly well again although I did throw an F1 straight back in the lake! I even dobbed a lump off the top by near enough dropping my pellet in its mouth, this was the only decent fish I had at around 7lb and was most welcome, though it took a while to get in on the light elastic. By the end of the match I knew I’d beaten my old personal best but by how much? Catching in spells made it difficult to keep track on what I’d caught but reckoned I should have somewhere around 70lb. Following the weigh in round there were a few ton up weights before we got to my peg so it was all about beating my PB today. My first net weighed 44-12 and my second net 47-00, so I’d smashed it with a total of 91-12. Whether it’s down to the lack of angling pressure or a few tips I’d picked up the week before I’m not sure but I’ve finally managed a big weight on Cedar (by my standards anyway). The weights really show how good this fishery is, my 91lb was only good enough for 9th! With Gaz Malham winning with 158lb and Adam Richards coming second with 148lb. Unfortunately though, Delboy Brady beat me today, taking the bragging rights north across the border. His 30lb guesstimate actually weighed 92-06. He’d beaten me by 10oz!!!! The difference was probably the fish I threw back!!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

July 29th - Brafferton F1 Lake

We were back at Brafferton today and after a few not so good results we should hopefully have a better day today as there were only 14 of us booked on and we had the whole 80 peg lake to go at. After breakfast I held the bag for the draw and with two pegs left, I drew myself peg 53, leaving Stu with peg 7. I’ve not been down the arm for a long time so was quite looking forward to it. On arriving at my peg I had acres of room with Steve Cromie on peg 57 to my left and no-one to my right until peg 29! I had probably a third of the lake to myself! The back straight doesn’t seem to produce match winning performances that often so they’d been left out. I set my box up remembering all the lessons I’d learnt on the Monday and set about my rigs. I was going to concentrate on two lines today. One in the deep water in front of me and a shallow line to my left, just far enough away from deep line so they didn’t get confused. My deep rig was a 0.4g homemade wire stemmed pencil float on 0.16 mainline to an 0.12 hooklength, size 18 Drennan Power hair rigger and a small bait band tied to the hair. Although the swim was around 7ft deep there wasn’t much tow on the lake although there was a bit of a ripple that got stronger as I was setting up. If the tow picked up then I could switch over to a heavier pattern should I need to. This rig was finished off with a double 5 elastic and a newly made sprinkle pot. I had two shallow rigs set up one for fishing 6-12 inches and the other for 12-24 inches. Both of these were the same line, hooks and elastic as the deep rig but with 0.2g Rizov shallow floats. For bait today I had some 6mm hard pellets for the band, 4mm hard pellets for feed, two pints of casters, a handful of maggots and a few worms. The all in was called and I armed the deep rig with a 6mm pellet, filled up my pot and shipped out. I lowered the float in slowly, before tipping a few pellets over the top. Constant twitching of the float and drip feeding saw bites come nearly straight away and after a few minutes I was slipping the net under my first F1. I carried on in this way whilst constantly firing half a pouch of casters onto my shallow line. After an hour and a half I had 10-12 fish in the net and seemed to be doing OK. I even managed a small F1 around 6oz from under my feet whilst I was filling my pot up! Although I thought I was doing OK and seemed to be catching fairly steadily, the shallow line was calling. Although I planned to feed this for two hours before going on it, the water was erupting every time I fired some casters in and I couldn’t resist any longer!! I went out with the deeper shallow rig fishing around 18 inches deep and was into fish straight away, by constantly flicking a few casters out every ten seconds or so I was catching one every put in! Be it a chub between 6oz and a pound or an F1, I was always putting something in the net, it was solid! I tried the shallower shallow rig but the better fish seemed to be sitting a little bit deeper, I was just getting plagued by roach and small skimmers in the top foot of water. At the half way point of the match, as always I switched to my other keepnet and three hours in I reckon I had 42lb in my first net, which made a nice change! The fishing started slowing down a little and the stamp of fish were getting slightly smaller. It was more than coincidence that my supply of casters were running out too! I was being a little more sparing with them to make them last but it was having a big affect on my catch rate. I’d only taken two pints as with the forecast intermittent thunderstorms predicted I wasn’t sure how effective the shallow approach would be. I started firing 4mm pellets onto the same line but it wasn’t the same, or at least to start with. It took probably half an hour to convert them onto pellet though I did get the odd one in this drier spell. I was soon into a rhythm of catching one near enough every put in though I did lose a couple, which I think is down to the length of the hair I was using as I noticed I landed the odd fish hooked in the nose rather than the mouth. Eventually it was a case of fishing 6 inches deep with as short a lash as possible, slap the rig a few times, stir the surface like mad with the pole tip and wait for the laggy to rip out. I only fed pellets when I was playing fish to keep them in the area. The fish were really on the feed now and I remember looking at my watch and seeing there was only seven minutes left. In this time I had 4 F1’s and lost one! The match drew to a close and I’d really enjoyed myself, by my reckoning I had 80lb, with 42lb in the first net and 38lb in the second net. John and Martin started the weigh in, Martin had 38lb and John 34lb if I remember correctly? I was up next, my first net weighed 47-08, so a little more than expected, my second net at first glance looked bigger than my first and this was confirmed as the 50lb scales went round twice! Had I done my first proper ton on a match? After tipping a few fish back into the keepnet my second weigh was 43-12, my third and final weigh of 9-08 meant I’d done it 100lb 12oz, a lot more than I expected and proof that I’d taken on board a few tips from Mondays master class! Going up the lake there were some more good weights, including Gordy’s 45lb (that’ll be a quid ta!!) and 88lb from Steve Cromie which was good enough for third overall. Acko (I’ve got anything between 70 and 100lb) had to spoil things though by weighing in a fantastic 111lb from peg 63! In the end I came second and had thoroughly enjoyed my day, it had been nonstop and even the quiet spells were busier than my normal bagging days! Roll on Cedar on Thursday!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Oaks, Cedar - 23rd July - With Alan Scotthorne

After a disappointing match on my first ever trip to Langwith on the Sunday I was looking forward to a day’s coaching with Alan Scotthorne up at Sessay. The days coaching came from the “Win a day with the stars” competition on the forum. I’d entered a few previous competitions to win days with anglers such as Tom Pickering and Bob Nudd but to no avail, so when I discovered I’d won a day with Alan I was over the moon. As this was a day for two I decided to invite Gordon along (as he needs the most help) and he’s been very good to me over the years with all things fishing so it seemed an apt way to pay him back. We met Alan in the cafe at the Oaks Lakes at 9am and had a quick chat over breakfast before deciding to do a bit of fishing. Venue expert Ghandi was on hand to give Alan the low down on what was working at the minute and what areas to concentrate on so we’d have a rough game plan. We drove around to the first arm and I eventually plonked all my gear on peg 15, with Gordon on peg 13 so it was more like match circumstances with a spare peg. I started to set up my gear, getting my box levelled and attaching all my arms and trays etc. Now I was under the impression that I had a relatively good setup and always seemed fairly comfortable. One look at my setup and Alan was already asking questions, why was my side tray so high? Why isn’t my box exactly level? The positioning of my nets? The positioning of my top kits? Soon all these queries were addressed and as soon as I sat on my box everything felt much more comfortable, closer to hand. Not that my setup was terrible in the first place but the creases have now been ironed out. Even down to putting my carryall a bit further behind me to rest my landing net on so that it’s a foot closer than it used to be, it’s all these little extra stretches, twists and turns that probably add to the equation of back ache at the end of a match. Now my station was set, I got my pole out and a few top kits. This last year I’ve taken to using lighter doubled elastics for most of my fishing, and on Cedar I generally use doubled 6’s. On stretching these softly set elastics from the pole Alan deemed them a bit heavy, and so we used my doubled 5’s instead which were also deemed a touch too heavy at first stretch. Being the top bloke that he is, Alan dug his top kits out from his bag for me to use but unfortunately they wouldn’t fit my pole. But having a stretch of the laggy in these top kits, they had a similar power to my doubled 5’s but everything was much much smoother, he had the Drennan Bungee in these, it was either green or yellow, being colour blind doesn’t help! So, now onto rigs. The first swim we’d look at would be in the deep water as far out before the bottom started sloping up again. I got out my usual slim pencil float rigs but these were soon turned down in favour of one of his own, not because they were wrong necessarily but because he obviously understands his own rigs and how they work so would be able to better understand how they were working when watching from behind me. This was a 0.3g slim Didier Delanoy Rive float with a carbon stem and a cane tip. This was on 0.16 mainline, which may seem heavy, but justified in the fact that it may see some stick throughout a session and with the pressure of the shot on the line there’s no point creating an unnecessary weak link, especially when you’re using a hooklength which is essentially all the fish should see. I’ve been doing this myself in recent months, tying my rigs to 0.16 and using hooklengths from 0.10 to 0.16 as it also makes it much easier tying lots of the same rig up instead of a couple on 0.12 a couple on 0.14 etc, turns out there was method behind the madness and not just making my life easier. Shotting was simple with six No.9’s spread two inches apart above the six inch hooklength. The hooklength was 0.117 to a size 18 hook and a micro band in a hair as close to the hook as possible as we were going to fish with hard pellets today. With the rig attached he shipped out to around half way across, lowered the rig in with a nice heavy plummet and found the bottom, he then shipped out half a section and did the same again, he did this until the depth started to shallow up. Back came the rig, moving the float down to the approximate depth and repeating the process to find the bottom of the far shelf, having a look left and right too it was evident there was a nice flat spot though it did go fractionally deeper the further left he went. So, rig ready? Not quite, with a lash of about 12 inches between pole tip and float, he equally space out two No.9 shot, these backshot would be held out of the water but would help control the line above the float and keep everything a bit more direct. Adding a small homemade sprinkle pot to the end of the top kit we were ready to rumble. Slipping a 6mm hard pellet into the band I started to load the pot up with hard 4mm’s before Alan told me to flick my rig into the water whilst I was filling the pot, chance of a bonus fish that way! “You’re not going to get a fish if the hook isn’t in the water”! So armed with hook bait and a full pot I shipped out, picked my marker on the bank and on my pole and lowered the rig in before tapping a few pellets over the top. Straight away I was getting dips on the float but I was still waiting for a “proper” bite. All these dips were “proper” bites, in fact they were the best bites, according to Alan. “You shouldn’t be choosing what bites to lift on, lift at every movement on the float”. When I started doing this, I started putting a few fish in the net, in fact one every put in. My strike was still too aggressive though, I thought that I was just doing a gentle lift, maybe lifting a foot to eighteen inches out of the water, but by lifting only the float out of the water at a bite, if I missed the bite, by only lifting this distance, you’re essentially presenting the hook bait right in the fishes eye line, this proved correct as when I started only lifting the float out of the water at a bite, if I missed I’d get a bite straight away again. If I didn’t get a bite then I’d lift in the same way as “striking” and present the hook bait again, if after another thirty seconds or so without a bite I’d tip a few more pellets in. It was very busy fishing, always moving, always working. Normally I’d ship out, tap all my pot of bait in and sit and wait for five minutes, if I didn’t get a bite I’d lift my rig out, drop it in again and if I still didn’t get a bite I’d ship and start over, not working very hard at all! I started putting a decent run of fish together and must have started doing it all correctly and feeding regularly enough because Alan had stopped shouting “lift don’t strike”, “feed”, “lift”, “feed”. If on the odd occasion I didn’t get a bite and I’d tipped all my bait in I then started pinging 6 to 8 pellets over the float to spark a response. Generally when I did this, I’d lift my rig, lower it down then feed, but I was told that the five seconds after your float has settled is probably the most important time to concentrate looking for the bite as the fish has seen your bait and will now be looking for it so by waiting five seconds you’re concentrating on your float and not feeding. It all makes perfect sense its now just a case of making it a habit. After a spell of a fish a chuck it went iffy for ten minutes, the float was also sitting slightly lower in the water making it harder to read bites, I brought the rig in and we nipped a no.9 off and put an no.11 on, back out and the float was now sitting taller than before and the bites weren’t as positive, it was quite puzzling as we nipped another no.11 on, went back out and started catching straight away again. It turned out I must have spun the pole round maybe a foot to the left (obviously not in line with far bank marker) and I was now in the slightly deeper water, with the weight of the pellet dragging the float down that extra bit. So an important lesson, something as silly as being a foot away from where you should be can make you go from one a bung to nothing, “once you’ve picked a marker, stick to it”. After a couple of hours I was still catching well on this line but it was time for a new tactic, now in a match circumstance I’d have stayed on this deep line as I was catching but it was purely a day of learning today. Whilst fishing down the track Alan had been telling me to feed a pinch of casters to 9-10m by hand. Now, I’m a left hander, so feeding casters this distance with my right hand posed a problem, I was throwing them all over the place! I kept trying but ended up using my catty instead to keep the feed more concentrated, it wasn’t as quick but a damn site more accurate. It’s something I’m going to have to practice though because I missed a few bites when picking my catty up to feed, apparently I’m the worst person he’s seen throw bait in (then again girls can’t throw). So after feeding the line with casters for two hours the fish were boiling on the top every time a pouch full hit the surface. There were quite a few silvers boiling on the surface too, hopefully they wouldn’t become a nuisance. Whilst I’d been fishing down the track, Alan had set up a shallow rig for me, he quickly talked me through it and we were soon fishing again. I’d feed half a pouch whilst baiting up the rig, then drop the rig in the middle of it, if I didn’t get a bite, I’d feed a full pouch and drop the rig in again, I was getting the odd twitch on the float but eventually the pole buried under surface with elastic pouring out and it was another good F1 in the net. I fished this for around two hours again and it was a fish a chuck, I had the odd silver get in the way but the odd 2lb Ide isn’t so much of a nuisance! The F1’s were all a slightly better stamp than the ones I’d been catching down the track too so it was proving more beneficial fishing here. It wasn’t even a case of fishing really, it was more just keeping a track on the feeding and letting the fish hook themselves, it was almost, dare I say it, too easy! Now I’ve caught shallow before but never to this extent. When the casters ran out I started pinging pellets instead, it took five or ten minutes without a bite and constant feeding before the fish gained the same confidence as they had before but then it was back in the same routine again. Feeding casters seemed to draw the silvers in, closely followed by the F1’s and carp, where as when feeding pellets the silvers didn’t show an interest and it took a little longer to get the carp going. Again, after catching for a few hours, the swim was still going strong but it was time to have a look down the edge. The right hand edge of my peg had been cut back nicely and I had a lovely area to have a go at. Alan had been feeding a cup full of stodgy groundbait in one hole for an hour or so and we’d seen the odd tail pattern so it was time to have a look. I had two F1’s on a single grain of corn before I could get a proper bite. By changing to half a worm I was soon attached to a margin lump. Even though only still using doubled 5 elastic down the edge I soon tamed a big common around 8 or 9lb. This would be my last fish down the edge as they’d obviously backed off. In a match this would be the time to go back on the shallow line and carry on as normal and hope to see more tail patterns down the edge, but the session was drawing to a close and we decided to call it a day. Unfortunately for Gordy, with myself being so useless, Alan spent the whole day sat behind me and didn’t get chance to observe Gordy, though he still picked up a few tips and I filled him in with all I’d learnt on the way home so hopefully it wasn’t a wasted day. Lifting my nets out at the end of the day for the final catch shot I had over 60lb from only a few hours fishing. I can’t wait to get back on Cedar next week and put all I’ve learnt into practice. I’d learnt more today than I’d probably learnt in the last ten years of fishing, my whole approach to a match will hopefully benefit from this day if I put all the tips and tricks into practice. It was also proof that there are no secrets in angling, all day we used normal rigs, normal baits, it really is down to feeding and presentation! As a final note, thanks must go to Steve Guy and Kev Allen for organising this and who both do a fantastic job for the Big Bash and a massive thanks to Alan for sparing his valuable time to sit behind a numpty like me for the day!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

The Oaks - Maple - July 15th

This week we were up at the Oaks to fish on Maple. I last fished Maple on the Jubilee weekend on the Tuesday open and managed 27lb off peg 10 for nowhere. There was 17 of us on today and with 35 pegs, this meant we’d have a decent amount of room. Come the draw there were three pegs left, 1, 10 and 27. I delved in and drew peg 10, I wasn’t too impressed as I’d not enjoyed it on my previous trip and would have much preferred peg 1, though I’d prefer 10 to 27 so all wasn’t lost. Acko drew flyer peg 1 which meant late arrival Steve Cromie was stuck with peg 27. On arriving at my peg, my section was completed with Rab on 7, Gordy on 5, Martin Dodsworth on 3 and Acko on 1. With not enjoying my last time on peg 10 I’d hopefully right a few wrongs today. Last time I didn’t concentrate my time on a particular swim and swapped between the edge and the island all day and therefore I didn’t really get into a rhythm. Today I’d fish to the island for at least the first half of the match and feed the edge to fish the last couple of hours down there. Rig wise I had two set up for fishing across, these were both some new homemade pencils in 0.1g and 0.2g, these were to fish in 3ft of water at 13m and 12 inches of water at 14.5m. Both of these were on 0.16 mainline, 0.12 hooklengths, size 18 hooks and doubled 6 elastic. I had a shallow rig to fish off the end of the build out on the edge of the island, and finally I had a rig for down the edge, this was quite a crude rig, with heavy line and heavy laggy but I wanted to give myself more of a chance than last time I fished this peg. I also had the method set up to chuck down the edge in case I needed to repair any rigs! For bait I had a tin of 4mm meat and some cat meat for down the edge. Micros and expanders for across and 4mm hard pellets for shallow. At the all in I went out to 13m with a 4mm expander and tipped in a fruit shoot of micros. I didn’t even think about feeding the edge and was trying to forget it until the second half of the match. I sat watching my motionless float, lifting and dropping every so often, re-feeding, waiting longer between feeding but after the first 90 minutes all I had was a small ghosty and half a dozen roach. Whilst fishing this line I was pinging half a dozen pellets onto my shallow line and I’d seen the odd swirl so decided it was perhaps time to have a go. I fed a pouch full of pellets and slapped my rig in over the top. I carried on this process and after 10 minutes or so was finally rewarded with an F1. I had 4 in succession before I waited another ten minutes without a sign. I changed my depth to about two foot but still wasn’t getting any signs. I decided to carry on feeding here throughout the match and hope that I’d be able to another handful of fish in the net as the day progressed. I fed a quarter of a pot of micros onto the mud line at 14.5m just before I started fishing shallow and although there wasn’t the tell tale signs of fish’s backs poking out of the water there had been the odd “ring” rippling off the bank. I dropped my rig in carefully, as tight to the island as I could and tipped a cap of micro’s in. I didn’t have to wait long until I put a further 3 F1’s in the net one after another until the bites stopped altogether. I decided to drop off the island and fish in about two foot of water as I thought they may now be seeking a bit more shelter from being spooked in the shallow water but it was more apparent that they’d just gone!. With two and a half hours to go, I had my first look down the edge. First of all I fed another quarter pot on the mud line and carried on pinging a few pellets onto my shallow line. I baited up with half a chunk of cat meat, I pulled the hook through with a baiting needle to get a decent hook hold (I was using cat meat as when using meat last time it was just getting whittled down by the roach and gudgeon, hopefully the cat meat would be a bit more robust). I dropped my hook bait in and tipped a dozen pieces of meat over the top. Just like the last time I fished this peg, the action was fairly rapid, after a few minutes my float dipped and I was ready to rip the head off whatever it may be to stop it getting into the reeds. After a very quick fight on my heavy gear I had another small F1 in the net. I had a couple more of a similar size and wondered why there wasn’t many sizeable fish down here. Then no sooner did I think this and I was almost being dragged in by a margin monster! It took me straight into the reeds and I eventually came back with a rig minus a hooklength (though my new floats were still in top nick!). For the rest of the match I carried on picking off the odd fish but it was slow. I rotated between my shallow line, the mud line and the margin and I think I finished the match with 18 or 19 fish. Clearly not enough to trouble frame and another frustrating day on peg 10! I think I hooked 4 decent fish down the edge, that all buried me, the only fish I did get out were small stockies. If I fish this peg again I might just ignore the margin, its more hassle than it’s worth! Acko took the lead off peg 1 with 63lb, Martin managed 18lb, Gordon.....................8lb, Rab had done well off peg 7 with 58lb and then it was my turn, 25lb 8oz, so I’d won the quid, but was a bit miffed I’d not beaten my 27lb that I had on the peg the previous time around. As it turned out, Acko and Rab came 1st and 2nd respectively so I double defaulted the section prize, happy days after all! We’re at Langwith next week, another new venue for me, but I’m looking forward to hopefully catching a few!

Friday, 13 July 2012

Brafferton F1 Lake - 8th July

I’ve not been able to blog in a month or so due to being so busy. I managed a couple of matches over the jubilee weekend, firstly fishing the Saturday open on Cedar winning my section with a lake personal best of 56lb, followed by a disappointing 27lb from Maple on the Tuesday. My last club match was also disappointing weighing just over 20lb on Horseshoe lake at Poppleton and also sacrificing another pound to the pensioner. It now stands 7-4 in the quid steaks, granted in my favour, but it’s about time I pulled my finger out again. This week we were back at Brafferton, I’d missed our last match here a week or two back due to being on holiday and the results weren’t great but neither was the weather by all accounts. The week running up to the match, the forecast was different nearly every day, thankfully when I arrived at the fishery, there was a gentle breeze running to the bottom of the lake and the sun was shining!!!! Come the draw I managed peg 20, I was quite optimistic as on previous matches, this has proved to be a consistently good area to be in. I eventually found my peg, there seems to only be peg numbers on half a dozen of the 80 pegs! This with the long grass and bogs it proved a tiring journey to my peg! Improvements to little things like this could make the fishery so much better! I finally got sat down on my box, I had Jim Atkinson to my right on 17 and Kev Bell on 23 to my left. I set up three rigs, a margin rig, which covered both sides on my top 4. A rig for fishing in the deeps at 5m and 13m, and finally a shallow rig as there were plenty of fishing cruising around and splashing whilst I was setting up. Finally I had the method rod set up to chuck to the end of the island as I couldn’t reach with the pole. At the all in I fed a golf ball of micros and a dozen or so 4mm’s at 5m and then chucked the method out. I was getting plenty of liners on the rod but most of these were from shallow fish away from the island. I started flicking half a dozen 4mm pellets to 13m at the 10 o’clock position to see if I could spark a response. After over an hour on the tip and only a 3lb mirror to show for my efforts I decided to have a go shallow, I’d fed it for about an hour whilst on the method so hopefully they’d be queuing up! Alas, they weren’t. I altered my depth, changed my feeding, slapped, didn’t slap, slapped more, slapped less. I couldn’t even get a sniff. They were rolling on the surface occasionally when I was feeding but seemed to be backing away from the pole. I shallowed down to about 4 inches, this gave me a lash of about two feet to swing the rig out and hopefully not spook them with the pole however this also wasn’t working. It was time to go on the 5m line. Previous matches this has been my get of jail swim. When all has failed I’ve always caught here. And so it proved again, for the next hour I put small carp, roach and chub into the net, I still only had around 10lb but looking round everyone was struggling and we all seemed to be doing similarly. Everyone else carried on catching the odd fish, with Jim and Kev both catching quite a few now, I was getting left behind, fast! The next three hours I didn’t even have a bite, I was even striking at blatant liners in the hope of foul hooking fish but even this didn’t work. On the positive side, I practiced casting my method for an hour or so, I say practiced, I was still fishing, but I think you have to catch something for it to be classed as fishing. The last hour I went back shallow, I kept it fed all day every now and then just flicking a few pellets out. After maybe ten minutes, my pole shot under the surface and it was fish on, it felt like a decent fish and after a decent fight, I slipped the net under a 4lb mirror. I had a couple of smaller carp soon after, then my pole vanished under water again but from all the slapping, my line had wrapped around the tip of my pole and we soon parted company. Thankfully the line gave way rather than the pole! Then that was it, the match finished and it had been a frustrating day, I’d also been well and truly fishcaked! Kev’s 58lb turned out good enough for the match and Jim’s 44lb was good enough for third. My 19lb was good enough for nothing (surprisingly). Were on Maple at Sessay next week, I’ll be hoping for a good day for a change. Although in fairness, I think this was the first match I’ve fished this year and it’s not rained!!

Monday, 21 May 2012

21st May, New Lakes - Sessay

With no club match this week I decided to chance my luck on the Sunday open at the Oaks. Last time I fished the new lakes I came third overall and won my lake so I was hoping for a repeat, or at least a decent days fishing. With the draw not being until 9:30 it was nice to have a bit of a lie in, especially after playing gigs on the Friday and Saturday night. By the time of the draw there were 23 on, with a top 4 payout and a section a lake. My hand went into the bag and I managed peg 22 on Beech. From keeping up to date with the results I knew Beech 7 was a bit of a flyer and my peg was opposite this so hopefully they’d come across. The wind, as per the last few weeks was blowing in my face and from my right to left so presentation may be an issue but that would be the case for most apart from the top pegs on Beech where there was no wind and it was flat calm, these two pegs being taken up by Dean Smith and Shane Atkin, and with Gandhi on the next peg to my right I’d have to keep a calm head to get anything from the match. I only set up two rigs to keep it nice and simple, these were both my homemade slim pencil floats, a 0.4g for 11m and an 0.2g for 13m, these were both on 0.12 mainline, 0.10 hooklength and size 18 Gamakatsu Pellet and Paste hook, both finished with a doubled five elastic. The 0.2g rig would also do for down the edge. Bait today I had 4mm and 6mm expanders, soaked micros for feed and also a few 4mm hard pellets to throw down the edge. Gandhi bellowed time at 10:30 and we were away. On plumbing up the wind was quite strong at times so I decided to start at the base of the shelf at 11m as it would be marginally easier than holding 13m. The lad opposite me on peg 6 was in straight away and looking at the length of his rig I think he was fishing on top of the shelf. My float soon went under though and it was game on. By varying the feed from a full fruit shoot to nothing, and everything in between I kept the fish coming, and at the half way point in the match I had 32 fish and seemed to be doing OK. I always do half a match in each net on these lakes as I think it gives you a good idea of how you’ve caught as the days gone on. Switching nets seemed to be the kiss of death though, In the next hour and three quarters I managed six fish! I couldn’t understand it, from feast to famine in a blink of an eye. I put a shot directly under my float to enable me to check my depth is still correct and after a few bites with no resistance I had a look and my float had moved a couple of inches over depth, hopefully adjusting this would see me back amongst the fish? No, still liners, so I shallowed up a floats depth and the bites stopped altogether, I gradually altered my depth half an inch at a time but the liners eventually turned into a motionless float. I tried a few times on the 13m line but only managed a couple of fish, they were far from queuing up! Bob and Mick on the end pegs to my left were now catching me up, both fishing down the edge. I’d been feeding the odd few pellets down there and I had nothing to lose. It turned out to be the right decision as it was solid, I managed 18 fish in the last hour and a quarter and finished the day with 56 fish. I was pretty sure my fish averaged about 12oz so that would give me about 42lb. I knew I'd done OK but thought that the bad middle of the match would cost me today. I packed up all my gear and followed the weigh in round, Simon Medd was leading with 63lb, there was a 49lb and then Bob on my lake weighed in 50lb, so I knew my chance had gone, the lad opposite me on peg 6, who I'd caught a similar amount to weighed in 43lb so I thought my estimation was about right. Shane Atkin had tipped back off the end peg, Dean Smith on the opposite end peg weighed 55lb, then Ghandi weighed a high 40lb. Next up was myself, the first net, with 32 fish, weighed 31lb 8oz! So maybe they were a bit bigger than I thought, my second net of 24 fish weighed 21lb 12oz giving me a total of 53lb 4oz! That pushed me up into 3rd place so I was hoping the rest of the weights were obviously less than mine! Unfortunately Mick to my left had sacked up in the second half of the match down the edge and weighed in 58lb, massively making up for his slow start and a cracking result on his first attempt at these lakes. I'd not heard of any other weights so I was hoping to cling onto 4th place, until Ant Stock weighed 53lb 5oz, ouncing me into 5th! Back in the cafe and I'd managed to secure 5th place overall and also won my section by double default. The top 5 looked like this: Simon Medd - 63lb 10oz Mick Grant - 58lb 2oz Dean Smith - 55lb 8oz Ant Stock - 53lb 5oz Steve Lupton - 53lb 4oz I can't fish next week due to other commitments, and we've no club match the week after either, so I might be back on the new lakes again!

Friday, 18 May 2012

Brafferton F1 Lake - 13th May

After doing well off a “bad peg” last week I was hoping to carry on in the same vain and put a few fish in the net. Whilst loading my gear out of the car I was looking out over the lake and it was set to be a hard day as the wind was pushing through and it was forecast to only get worse. Come the time of the draw and Gordon was holding the bag, I drew with about half the pegs left in the bag and drew flyer peg 1. Now it is a flyer, but with the wind being so strong today any peg would be difficult to fish, and with the wind blowing to the other end of the lake, would there be any fish up here still? Tony Haw was next to me on peg 3 and there was a chap on peg 80 on another match opposite me. With peg 1 you have the choice of fishing to the end of the island, down the long margin and plenty of open water, being on the end of the island though, today would be particularly tough with the strong winds coming straight into face. After levelling my box I decided I’d have three main lines today, and island swim, a margin swim and a line at 6m. Our last match on here, I was on peg 25, the complete opposite end of the lake to peg 1 but I’d caught small fish nearly all day at 6m as the wind was horrendous that day too so I was hoping it would work again today. For across to the island I had a homemade 0.2g pencil float on 0.16 with an 0.12 hooklength and a size 16 hook, I’ve started using bigger hooks on here mainly because more often than not, I’ll fish a 6mm pellet rather than 4mm because you get bitted out by gudgeon on the smaller pellet. Elastic was a solid 12.For the margin I had a 4x12 Malman Cedar on 0.16 with an 0.14 hooklength and a size 16 hook and solid 14 latex elastic. My track rig was a 0.75g BGT Blue on 0.16 mainline to an 0.12 hooklength and size 16 hook, this was finished with a solid 12 latex. I also set up a shallow rig and had the method rod set up to fish to the end of the island if I needed it. For bait I had some 6mm expanders, some micros, some dampened 4mm pellets and some swim stim for the method. Thanks to only person shouting “TIME!!!”, and them being at the other end of the lake, a few of us probably started ten minutes late as no one seemed to filter the call down the rest of the lake! I saw Tony go across straight away whilst I fed my short line and my margin. I decided to start fishing on the short 6m line and see how Tony got on in the wind. As it happened I caught a couple of small stockies straight away and although Tony had only managed one, it looked a lot better stamp to mine. I persevered on this line and started putting a run of fish together, it was far from frantic but I seemed to be faring better than Tony, who by now had also moved onto a short line but with no luck. The bloke opposite had only had a couple so I felt I was doing OK as I had around 15 in the net. The fish seemed to back off a bit from this line and for the rest of the match I chopped and changed and managed to keep a few fish coming to the net be it on the island line, the method or back on the short line. The margin didn’t seem to want to produce though and every time I looked down there I’d only get plagued by gudgeon or roach so I just kept feeding it hoping that the small fish would get bullied out. With all my swims fading away I spent the last twenty minutes down the margin hoping that they’d turned up, which they had! I had size carp in the last 20 minutes, all averaging a pound which was double the size of my average stamp. Just a shame they hadn’t turned up earlier, as time was called before I got chance to empty it! I packed up quickly as I was weighing in again! Tony Koz walked past asking how I’d got on, I reckoned to have at least 25lb but probably nearer 30, he thought I was telling porkies but I’d seen him catching fairly well, though he admitted he was half tempted to pack up early so we’d see! I was first to weigh in and my two nets went 33lb so I was relatively pleased as I had more than I thought, though I wasn’t sure how well everyone else had caught but imagined it wouldn’t be good enough! Tony Haw weighed in 16lb odd, which came as a surprise because I thought we’d caught a similar amount! Taxi Dave then had 43lb odd, Tony Koz 41lb odd, then the bank got stronger as we went along! We got to Gordon’s peg and his first net weighed 24lb odd, I said he’d better not have more than 9lb in his other net or he’d have done me for the quid. His reply was that he only had a few fish in his second net, but he’s been hanging around with Rab for too long and his second net weighed 35lb giving him a total of 59lb odd! I was gobsmacked, someone must have helped him! But credit where its due, I handed the pound over, but only for him to look after until next week!! It’s now 7-3 to me in the quid stakes so I’d best pull my finger out if I’m going to rub any more salt into the wounds!! Cooksy weighed in over 70lb which was good enough to win the match (even if he was on the wrong peg!!) The top 3 looked like this: 1st P. Cooksey – Peg 15 - 73lb 06ozs 2nd S. Stott - Peg 25 - 72lb 15ozs 3rd A. Nattrass – Peg 20 - 66lb 11ozs There’s no club match next week so I’ll decide on where to go depending on what the weather is like!