I’ve had a quite hectic week this week getting all my gear ready, seeing as I still store all my gear at my dads it makes it rather difficult to get stuff ready during the week so seeing as I was back over that way for band practice on the Wednesday night I decided I should at least set my rods up, so I set up the method rod and also set up a waggler rod just in case I drew one of the wide pegs on Alders. It was then a case of taking my box back to the flat to get rig making! Now most of the venues we fish I had catered for when tying up my rigs over winter, however I’d not tied any silver rigs, so a couple of full depth and a couple of shallow rigs had me nearly there before a marathon night of tying hooklengths!
I was at a 21st party on the Saturday which was held at a Casino, I luckily managed to win a few quid so I quit whilst I was a head as I thought it would cover my days fishing, bonus!
Well Gordon arrived at 8 o’clock with Rab and we chucked everything in the back of van and in the back of my mind I knew I was missing something but I had all my major gear, box, carryall, bait bag, rods, rod bag etc so I must have had everything! Or so I thought….
After a hearty breakfast with an extra sausage thrown in for good measure I was set up for the day and come the time of the draw I was looking forward to being anywhere but the top end! Luckily for me then I drew peg 8 which is the last peg in the narrows at the bottom of the lake, this would do nicely as I knew I could reach the island and it would hopefully be good for a few carp! My plan was to fish for carp in the first and last hour and fish for silvers in the middle to make up the rest of my weight. I walked over to the van to start emptying my stuff out and it hit me, my bib n brace and my boots! Still in the shed at home, thankfully Gordon had a spare bib n brace in the van, there was also room for someone else in them too if I got bored during the match ;o)
For company I had Nige to my right on peg 6 and Acko on 9. With Rab only up the road on peg 12 we were sure not to have a quiet match!
Rigs for the day were simple, I had a carp rig for tight against the island which consisted of a 4x10 Malman Cedar on Ultima Power Match 0.16 to an 0.14 hooklength of the same material and a size 16 eyed B911, elastic for this was size 14 latex. I then had my depth maggot rig for fishing 13m straight in front, this comprised of a 0.5g Preston Classic 10 on Ultima Power Match 0.12, a hooklength again in 0.12 and size 18 B911 spade and 10 latex. My shallow rig was the same as this but obviously shorter and with a 4x8 Preston PB3 float on a 12 latex. I did have a couple of 8 elastics ready with connectors and loops for the bungs and if need be I could have run them through a spare kit. My efforts putting the rods up midweek had paid off, or not as they stayed in half on the floor for the day, though if I’d have drawn 75% of the other pegs I’d have definitely used them.
Just before time I decided I best get some bait sorted. I quickly soaked some micros and drained them off and also pumped some 4mm expanders, I then went on the maggot run to the shop and got a pint of whites and a pint of reds. Thankfully I borrowed a maggot riddle of Acko, I think there was equal measures of maggots to maize in my box and if I was to be spraying maggots all day I’d have been blind by the end of the match!
The hooter sounded at 10:15 and the match was underway, two pouches of maggots out to the 13m line before shipping out in search for a carp! I was armed with a 4mm expander and a fruit shoot full of micros. I tucked the rig right into the far bank vegetation and tipped the feed in. Nothing, nothing nothing. I fished this line for perhaps 2o minutes without even a nudge, meanwhile Acko was catching silvers one a bung and I felt I’d perhaps made the wrong decision. I carried on feeding the maggot line and after 30 minutes with nothing to show off the far bank line it was time to go after the silvers before I got too far behind!
I shipped out with deep rig and a full kinder of maggots and lowered the rig in. I was into fish straight away albeit small roach, I maybe put a dozen in the net before I got the kiss of death! A Perch! I think by the end of the match I had 16 Perch, for about 3oz! You could see through them if you held them up to the light! I decided to big pot to spark a response from the better Ide in the lake, I dumped over 200ml of maggots in from a height to make a disturbance and it seemed to work! I put half a dozen Ide between 6oz and a pound in the net before I got a big one pushing 2lb but then the little fish moved back in! Another big pot and I was into a better stamp again. Thing is, I was quickly running out of maggots, I’d used my first 2 pints in about an hour and a half! Luckily Chris was having a walk round and he kindly agreed to get me a couple more pints! I carried on in this vein for the rest of the match, I tried a couple of times shallow but struggled to hit bites, so stuck to the deep rig and altered my shotting pattern instead. Every time I fed a full pot I’d get bigger fish and by changing hook size to a 16 meant I could mount up to 4 maggots and be a bit more selective to the size of fish I put in the net. I had a couple of Ide easily pushing 3lb but because they don’t fight you can fish relatively light! The time was now 3:00 and I’d dumped my last pot of maggots out and only had a handful of hookers left to persevere with! I managed a few more fish before I was completely out of maggots and then and then had to go for the carp on the far bank again. Nige had persevered with paste all day and the last 90 minutes he reaped the rewards and started to put some good fish in the net. I managed a couple of liners before bumping off a carp and that was the end of the match. I’d fed 4 pints of maggots in 4 hours and me and Acko realised that when ever either of us introduced a dump of bait the fish would move between our swims until the next person dumped so it was paramount to keep the feed going in. I could have easily put a gallon in but its not justifiable to spend £20 on maggots, £20 on the match fees and still not be guaranteed a pay out.
The weigh in got underway pretty sharpish, Bob Sinclar managed 34lb 12 oz and the next big weight was Nige with 46lb odd, next up was myself, I didn’t have a clue how much I had and was pretty glad to put 35lb of silvers on the scales, but it seemingly wasn’t enough, Acko put 43lb 8oz in the sling and because Steve Hoddo and Vince had caught on the other side it meant I missed out on my section once again. Still overall I came 5th but once again I played the part of the ‘nearly man’ with a decent back up weight. Acko had the right to feel aggrieved at missing out because if I’d have stuck to fishing for carp he’d have pushed on for 3rd place as we wouldn’t have shared fish all day, although he did congratulate me on fishing a good match and said that if a muppet had been next to him he’d have done it but because I twigged what was needed for the day it meant he had to put up with a section prize!
The top six finish looked like this:
1st – Vince O-Connor – Peg 32 – 68lb – Method feeder
2nd – Steve Hodson – 49lb odd
3rd – Nige Carter – 46lb odd
4th – Mick Atkinson – 43lb 8oz
5th – Steve Lupton 35lb
6th – Bob Sinclair – 34lb 12oz