Well after a night of heavy drinking on the Friday the last thing I needed was a lads day out at the races on the Saturday so come Sunday morning I was feeling a little worse for fair after a couple of days on the pop. It’s amazing how any other time I’d have stayed in bed for the day but when there is fishing on the cards I’m first out the traps once my alarm goes off! The plan was for Gordon to pick me up at five to eight and with me doing no preparation for the match I more or less just chucked all the bait I had into my bait bag and hoped I’d not forgotten any major items of tackle.
Now there are two things I don’t like about Carp Vale, there isn’t a café and you can’t push a barrow round the lake due to it being quite narrow and having steps every now and then. However hopefully the fishing would make up for this!
Gordon and Rab turned up and rather than just pushing my barrow into the back of the van like normal it was one item at a time, the trouble is I take that much stuff that i was thinking it would take me a couple of trips to get my peg!
We arrived at the venue in plenty of time and had time for a quick look round and to get dressed before the match got underway. With our match being spread over two lakes it was decided that on the front pool there would be a 1st and a section prize for the whole lake and that match pool would have 1st, 2nd and two sections. The main reason for this was that the front pool was guaranteed to out fish the match pool.
By the time of the draw I managed to squeeze in between Gordon and Acko and when my time came I was praying to be on the front pool, when peg 59 stuck to my hand I was on the right lake! I don’t fish Carp Vale from one year to the next and have never fished the front pool before so didn’t know what to fully expect although I had a few ideas. Martin Whittaker who’s been fishing the Tuesday evening matches up there was confident with his draw of peg 58 next to mine and told me that they are both tip pegs and that my peg generally out fishes his. Basically peg 58 and 59 have islands in front of them and a 20m gap between them so we each had our own island to fish to albeit that Stu Stott was opposite me and Gordon was opposite Martin and we would therefore have to steal each others fish throughout the match.
First thing to do was obviously get the box down with all the metal attached and nets in. Now for a change I took my tip rod down after Woodlands last week so had the chore of setting up the tip before I thought about plan B pole lines. I was using an 11-13ft Ron Thomson medium feeder rod on the 11ft length today with a front drag Ultimate reel loaded with 8lb Maxima. Down the business end I started off with a small Maver method feeder, in front of this a soft rubber bead, a Korum quick change bead and a 3 inch hooklength of 0.16 Ultima Power Match with a size 16 Preston PR36 and hair rigged band. I decided to start with a single hair rigged band and change to two if I felt the need. The reason for starting with one is that the method feeder I was using would have looked quite ugly with 2 8mm pellets hanging off it and there wouldn’t have been much room loose feed!
I set up a rig at 7m slightly to my right to fish cat food as from what I’d heard this was doing quite well at the venue.
Bait for the day I had a couple of tins of Morrison’s My Cat, 3 pints of micros dampened and dusted in pellet power 4 to stop them breaking down too much on the bank. I also had my box of varying pellets for the band. I had a plethora of bait left in the bag but hopefully this is where it would stay!
At the all in I cupped in a big pot of chopped cat food and dampened micros on my 7m line and then cast out to the post marker on the island. My first cast of the day was a beauty, exactly where i wanted it, I sank the line and after a few minutes the tip arced round quite slowly to my surprise, at first I thought it was a big liner but when it went slack I tightened up again before the rod nearly jumped off the rest! A brief tussle entailed and a small mirror of about 2lb graced my first net. I re-cast and didn’t have a bite in 5 minutes so reeled in, in order to keep the bait going in. I managed to put 3 further fish in my net to round off the first hour with about 14lb from four fish. I thought if I stuck at it the line would get stronger but over the next two hours and continual casting by the time the third hour had arrived I only had 9 in the net for a guess of 26lb. Martin meanwhile had had 18 fish from chucking in a different spot every time as he said they weren’t settling in one place.
I was well behind and with only the winner and one section being paid I now had to concentrate on winning the section as to catch up with Martin would be a big ask as he was still catching fairly regularly.
I’d topped up twice on my 7m line and on the halfway mark I decided that seeing as the tip wasn’t producing anymore I would try the pole for half an hour. Six instant fish one after another made me feel as though it was the right decision but as soon as they came they’d gone and I was now sitting on 15 fish for about 44lb and Martin was near enough waiting at the finish line for everyone else! One fish I caught was by far the luckiest moment in my angling career. My float dipped and I struck into what felt a good fish, I netted it and it was probably pushing 5lb. I was quite confused as to what was going as my hook was no where near the fish? I’d managed to hook a stot shot on a piece of trailing line that was hooked into the fish’s belly! ‘’Better to be lucky than good!!!’’
Stu and Gordon opposite were both catching in a similar pattern to myself and picking off one or two in spells before it went quiet.
I mixed and matched lines with no more fish coming for an hour. I’d seen Martin was using one of the Preston method feeders with the new mould which was considerably bigger than my feeder so I swapped over to a Middy inline elasticated method and the double banded hair rig to try spark a response. With an hour left I knew I needed at least 5 fish to stay in contention although Stu had caught in my blank hour so I felt he was ahead. So back on the tip and into the last half an hour without a bite, just as I was contemplating reeling in the tip flew round and again and again and again, until I put 6 in the net in 30 minutes before the all out was shouted! I felt I’d fished as well as I could have done and rang the changes to keep fish going in the net. I finished with 21 carp, a skimmer and a roach for about 66lb by my estimation.
Everyone congratulated Martin as it was evident he had won the match by considerable margin and had put 53 carp into the net over the course of the match. Mally had had a frustrating day on peg 61 losing a lot of fish but we’ve all been there so hopefully he’ll shake off the demons by next week.
Come the weigh in and everyone who’d been on match pool were cursing that it had fished rubbish and I think the lake winning weight was 18lb less than the lowest weigh in our pool! They weighed our lake backwards meaning Gordon was weighing in first as Robert had tipped back. Gordon’s two nets went 65lb and it was going to be very close as to who won the quid for the day! Next up was Stu and he managed 83lb and I knew I’d lost the section! Still I’d caught a few fish again and once again underestimated. My first net went 31lb dead and my second 43lb dead for a combined total of 74lb, beating my Starbeck top match weight again! Martin finally had his score on the board after 4 weighs to record 143lb 4oz, not that the ounces really mattered! So well done to him, fantastic job!
So I’d won the quid off Gordon, but he kindly reminded me that he’d paid for me at Morndyke a few weeks back, so I reminded him that he owed me a weigh in form a few matches ago so we’re quits now!
Got Alders this coming weekend, a venue that’s treated me very well on occasions so a good draw and a few fish in my peg wouldn’t go amiss to make it three good matches on the trot!