Well, after a week off the Club matches we were back this weekend at Oak Tree Leisure on Pond 1 again. I’ve had mixed results here this year, the first match I blanked and the last match we had there I came 2nd with 42lb 8oz. Overall this year the pond has fished, well, crap! I’ve also heard through the grapevine that the owners have been transferring fish from this lake to the other lakes, whether it’s true or not I don’t know but it would explain such low winning weights from a venue that last year you needed over 100lb to win.
Anyway on the Saturday I prepared my bait and checked I had some adequate rigs. My plan was to fish pellet to the island, have a couple of margin rigs and a rig for down the middle that I’d try a bit of paste. Above all else I had decided that my main priority would be to land every fish I hooked as I knew it would be a hard match and one fish could decide whether you frame or not with the average stamp being about 3lb.
I arrived at the venue at about ten to nine for a 9am draw due to a lot of the roads being either closed or flooded; luckily the draw didn’t happen until the usual quarter past so I still had time for a butty and to load up the barra.
My hand went into the bag and I pulled out peg 38, this doesn’t really mean a lot to me as I’ve only ever fished here 3 times. I knew roughly where it was and so headed towards the far corner on the nearside bank. My peg was 2 or 3 up from the corner and due to the venues recent form there was only 19 fishing on a 50 peg lake so I had a couple of spare pegs to either side. I had an aerator to my left in front of peg 39 and the island was about 14-15m away. I had no real feature in the margins apart from the spare platforms. My platform was also under 6'' of water too so it was a case of get all the splashing out of the way and then stay sat for the rest of the day!
Bait for the day I had, well, everything. I had 4 and 6mm expanders and a big bucket of micros for fishing toward the island, three tins of corn for the margins and finally some Green SwimStim paste and some hemp for my middle line which would now be towards the aerator at 8m. I also had some maggots as a change bait for the island.
As far as rigs go I had BGT shallow floats, 0.2g for the far bank and margin lines on 0.17 Powerline, the island rig had a PR36-16 and the margin a size 14. My paste rig had a Preston PB13 4x14 on 0.18 Silk Shock with a Kammy Animal size 12.
There was roughly 2-2.5ft depth on the island shelf and the margin shelf and it was 4-4.5ft next to the aerator where there was quite a large flat spot.
At the all in I cupped in some corn down the margin and planned to feed little and often throughout the duration of the match. I also cupped in a potful of 4mm next to the aerator and then proceeded to go out to the island line with a 4mm expander and a kinder pot full of micros. As expected it wasn’t hectic and I had to wait 20 minutes before getting any sort of indications. I was taking it slow and feeding a potful every 10 minutes or ideally after every fish. I was getting silly line bites so shallowed up six inches but no more bites were forthcoming so I re potted and went back to dead depth. When I finally hooked my first carp after about 35 minutes, I soon got it in, a small mirror of about 3lb. I quickly went back out, inches from the island and hooked another carp, possibly foul hooked as I pulled out and 3 or 4 other fish were spooked and sent waves right down the far bank. Seeing as this had happened quite a lot on previous visits to the lake I decided to rest the swim for ten minutes and let the fish gain a bit of confidence.
I fished the left margin with double corn but no indications; I once again potted some 4mm pellets out to the aerator and then went back to the island. I managed another 3 carp of a similar stamp, 2 on 4mm expander and one on triple maggot. So two hours in and about 12lb in the net. Cooksy had had 5 by this point and lost a couple and I don’t think Howard to my right had had any. I then sat for three hours without a bite, whether I fished the paste line, the margin or the island, Cooksy had also stopped getting any bites and Howard probably had 7 fish in those three hours putting him on for the section.
With the last hour descending upon us I potted three big pots of corn down the margin in a hugely desperate bid to snare a monster. I left it for 15 minutes before dropping my rig. No sooner had the hook bait hit the bottom and my top kit was nearly ripped out of my hands and pointing straight to the middle of the lake, I quickly put on 2 emergency sections and followed it before getting it under control and shipping back to the top kit.
I knew this was a good fish and took my time as I knew this could possibly win me the section, this was a real solid fish as when ever I lifted into it the connector would still just hover over the surface of the water and more elastic would come out. After a ten minute tussle, with no bullying whatsoever it just pulled out, gone! I was hacked off to say the least, after a few choice swear words I was tempted to pack up I was that annoyed, but persevered until the end.
Come the weigh in the whole lake had fish poorly, Howard to my right had 22lb, I weighed 11lb 12oz and Cooksy weighed 18 odd. Next was Alan Whittaker who plonked 46lb on the scales for 1st place, he’d managed a couple of proper lumps to double his weight, Nige was next with 26lb for 2nd place and Gordon put a bigger 18 odd than Cooksy on the scales, much to his delight and Paul’s dismay!
Another poor match at a continually poor venue, next week we’re back at Sessay on Maple which also hasn’t been fishing well of late, for me at least, I’ll be hoping for a kind draw and hopefully the fish will be a bit hungrier than last time! Although I imagine the persistent rain might ‘dampen’ (excuse the pun) proceedings.