Having only fished the F1 Lake on one previous occasion (and not doing too well) I was more looking for a days fishing than a push for prizes. Come the draw I handed myself peg 64, this meant nothing to me until I got to my peg, I’d fished 63 on the previous match and with them both being on the end of the point, they’re essentially a mirror image of one another.
I set up a few lines to experiment with throughout the day, first of all was the method feeder, for a small chuck into a hole in the island. I then set up to fish the pole at 15m, to a couple of spots a foot or two away from the island, with the water being so shallow tight up. I then set up 2 shallow rigs, one to fish between a foot and 2 feet and the other to fish between a foot and a couple of inches. Finally I had a margin rig, set up to fish 4m to either side, there was a tempting bush to my left and the right was more open with the odd tuft of grass.
For company, I had Stu on 67, Woody on 69, Bri Gascoigne on 63 and Owen on 60. At the sound of the lacklustre hooter I set about feeding my margin lines each with a big pot of cat food. I then set about my pole line at 15m. Seeing as I’d seen Stu go straight over whilst I was feeding and caught two roach, seemingly on pellet, I decided to band a 6mm hard pellet instead to keep the roach at bay. I waited maybe half an hour before a proper bite but eventually snared 4 F1’s all around the 1.5lb mark. The swim died long after this run of fish and there were no swirls, tails or boils like there had been previous so I decided to have a quick look down the either edge, but after 5 minutes on either side I was just getting bitted out by small fish so I re-fed another big pot of cat food in both swims.
Due to the sun beating down and a healthy ripple on the surface it was time to have a go shallow. I fired out half a dozen pellets at 13m to my right, wind milled the rig a few times and let it settle for 20 seconds before repeating the process, it was hard work but eventually I started to put a run of fish together, much to my surprise as I often struggle to get them going shallow. I managed 8 in 8 chucks before the cloud came over and it got noticeably cooler, which probably sent them down a bit further, but with trying the deeper shallow rig I still wasn’t rewarded with any more fish.
A quick try on the method tight up to the island proved a worthy effort as I managed probably half a dozen before this also went dead, the trouble was keeping a run of fish together. I caught the odd fish rotating lines throughout the rest of the match and after going down the edge in the last hour I managed a total of 23 fish, which was far from off the pace as i didn’t have enough quantity or quality fish. I ended up with 23 fish for 37lb 8oz. Owen weighed 41lb odd, so that was once quid down. Stu next door had 70 odd, including some good fish down the edge from piling corn in, tip for the future! Acko won the match with 104lb 12oz so another quid down. Mr Thackwray hadn’t let me down though weighing in 27lb!
The following week we were up at Woodlands, I’ve not fished here this year yet so was looking forward to it, not that I do particularly well here but I at least tend to have a days fishing. We were to be split over Kestrel and Curlew, with 15 on Kestrel and 8 on Curlew. Stu gave the run down of the prizes which confused people more than anything and we were all under the impression that wherever you finished you’d get a payout! Come the draw I managed to snare peg 51, which worked out to be peg 11 on Curlew. Now peg 11 is one up from the corner peg 12, and with no one on 12 it meant I would have the corner to fish. I must admit I’m not a massive fan of fishing the corners as they tend to be feast or famine pegs. With Woodlands, it is good as you can see nearly everyone so you know how well you’re doing. I had Owen next door on peg 8, Gordon on peg 5, Vince on peg 2, opposite me was Cooksy on 14, Stu on 17, Les Bolton on 20 and finally Woody on 23.
Rig wise, I had the method set up for fishing the boards, I had a margin rig for either side and a line at 13m, with a rig for the deck and also a shallow rig should the conditions suit. When setting my clip for the method, I was on maybe my 3rd practice cast, when I foul hooked a decent carp with a bare hook! I played the fish for 5 minutes before we parted company, thankfully I didn’t get in netting distance as I’d not set my landing net up! It must have been solid I thought, however, the doubt was also in my mind that that little episode would have scared them all off, perhaps I’d have been better landing it?
At the all in I fed both margins with a potful of corn and some pellets out to the 13m line. I then cast the method to the boards and fired a couple of 8mm pellets over the top. To cut a very long story short, I didn’t have a fish or even a proper bite in 5 hours! Thankfully on the stroke of the last hour I swapped the method for the straight lead and managed my first fish, an F1 around a pound and a half! After this first fish I eventually managed 9 fish off the tip in 20 minutes, but as soon as they arrived, they disappeared! Two skimmers off the margin and I was done!
So I had 9 fish which totalled 23lb, Gordon had a dozen fish for 50lb and Owen next door had 12 also for 74lb! Why can’t I catch the bigger ones eh? Cooksy opposite had caught all day, similar fish to mine and weighed a big 50 I think. Les managed 123lb, I was sick off listening to his baitrunner by the end of the match, and Woody managed 109lb! So a crap day, and another £2 down!
The 8th of August saw me return to Woodlands again, upon getting out of the car, I was greeted by Acko and Andy, who informed me that Nige thought I’d joined Territorial Army? This was later explained that putting “Ta, Steve” at the end of a text was perhaps a little confusing, although everyone else seemed to be aware it purely meant thanks?!
The match was split over Wagtail and Curlew and my home for the day was to be Wagtail, I can’t remember the peg number, but it was in a corner, on the Kestrel side bank of the lake and the opposite end of the lake to Curlew. After my rather disastrous match the week previous I had slightly revised my plan of attack in the hope that I could snare a few more fish!
I had a rig for my right hand edge as I couldn’t comfortably the left hand side, I trimmed back as much foliage as I could without falling in and it turned out to be a lovely little spot just under an overhanging bush at a top 2 plus 2. I had another line at 14m for fishing pellet both on the deck and shallow. To finish I had the bomb set up for fishing tight to the boards and also straight out in front. Bait for the day I had a couple of tins of corn as a change bait, six pints of 6mm pellets for the pole lines and 2 pints of 8mm for the bomb. I’d also borrowed a bait drill off Uncle Les to try quickstops as an alternative to banding the pellet on the bomb.
At the all in I fed the margin as well as my open water line and then pursued the open water bomb line, flicking a couple of 8mm pellets over the top every few minutes. I was feeding the same amount towards the boards as an alternative cast. It was a slow start but after half an hour I managed to hook my first fish, a carp of about 1.5lb. I carried on with this line picking off the odd fish but it wasn’t happening quick enough and the fish weren’t big enough. I decided to have a go on the open water pole line but after 20 minutes of not even a liner I decided to re-feed and have a quick look down the edge. The same happened here so it was another re-feed and back out on the bomb. This is how it went on for the rest of the match however I did manage to land a carp of 5lb which was my biggest fish of the day, although it took me the best part of 5 hours and 4 pints of pellets to tempt it down the edge! I understand when people say “sometimes, they just aint there”, but its every week they’re not there for me!
Anyway, my lake was won with 69lb by Les, I weighed 44lb odd and forfeited a quid to Acko however gained one back off Mr Thackwray! Rab won the other lake and the match outright with 121lb, all caught down the edge, it must have been solid!
On to my final match of this blog, after 12 months of anticipation the Northern Intersite match was back again up at Sessay. This year with 9 teams and a total of 62 anglers it was all prepped to be a good event. After the painstaking process of gathering monies and sorting the teams out we could then anticipate the number of anglers in attendance to get the match pegged out. We had Alders and Cedar this year, so put 40 on Cedar, every other peg, and then did Alders peg two miss one. So there were a few pegs left at the end but it was the only way to do it. Once everything was sorted the team captains came to draw their teams pegs, it was amazing how some captains managed to draw nearly all cedar or all Alders rather than a more even split. Talk Angling were to draw last and with only five of our 6 man minimum team we were behind before we started! I managed to snare peg 19, which is a couple up from the outside corner on 21. I had Tim “Ringer” Moran on 15 so had my work cut out, I also recognised a couple of faces from previous years also.
We had an age to set up so there was no excuses for not being prepared today. With this in mind I got cracking with getting more stuff together than I needed but it would hopefully pay off! I had a little Preston method set up on a 10ft Shakespeare Mach1 XT teamed with a Shimano Catana Reel loaded with 5.5lb Preston Direct Mono.
I had a 3 inch hooklink of 0.16 Ultima Power Match with a hair rigged micro band and a size 18 PR36.
Rig wise, I had one set up for in front of the sedges. I had two mud lines on this peg so I was hoping to switch between them to keep the fish coming. I plumbed up in front of all the sedges and found that there was only an inch difference max. For this line I set up a 4x12 Malman Cedar on 0.12 Ultima Power match to a hooklink of 0.11 Powerline to a size 16 Gamakatsu Pellet hook.
My second pole rig was for fishing further up the slope. Although there wasn’t the change in grade I was hoping for, it was nice and flat. This rig was the same as the sedge rig apart from a 4x10 Malman Cedar. Both Rigs were teamed with 12 latex.
My final rig was for down my left hand edge, this would hopefully only be used as a backup! This was again a 4x12 Malman Cedar, this time on 0.14 Ultima Power Match, to a hooklink of 0.12 of the same material to a size 14 B911.
For bait today, I had some Fin Perfect Micros which I’d left to soak for an hour so they were nice and springy, I had some 4mm Ringers expanders for the pole lines across and some hard 6mm pellets for the method. For down the edge I had catfood and corn. I like to mix a bit of water with my catfood to get a nice soup, this way it dissipates in the water a bit quicker and doesn’t just sit as a clump on the bottom, the corn was to be used as a loosefeed over the top, as its quite difficult to loosefeed catmeat!
The all in sounded at 11am and the match was underway, I fed a pot of catmeat down the edge and then it was onto the sedge line. The action was far from instant and I didn’t have my first fish in the net until 15 minutes in, and this was a gudgeon! After a couple more gudgeon, roach and skimmers I went onto the other sedge and was instantly rewarded with my first carp, be it a stocky of about 6oz. I put a few more in the net and ended alternating between both sedges. After the action had died down a bit I decided to change rig and search a bit further up the mud for them. This worked a treat but only until the wind came howling through. Rather than persevere and get annoyed with myself, I switched straight over to the method and bounced it off the mud into the shallows. The method was a lot slower but I was managing the odd fish, although still only small stuff.
Towards the middle of the match the far bank lines had all but faded and the action was very slow. With this in mind I had a go down the edge. Baited up with single corn I dropped in and got a good F1 at over a pound. A few grains of corn flicked in whilst I was playing it and it was plain sailing, I think I managed another 3 or 4 before the bites dried up again.
I ended up switching between the far bank and the margin picking off 3 or 4 fish before resting it and this worked a treat right to the end of the match. None of the fish were of any size but I was always putting something in the net. Come the last hour after catching on and off and not really keeping my mind on how much I had I thought I’d start using my second net, I knew I had no way near 50lb but thought it might be interesting to see how much I could catch in the last hour now I got into a bit of a rhythm!
The match was brought to an end at 4pm and I’d really enjoyed it, i’d caught plenty of fish even if I didn’t have a massive weight to show for it. I ended up weighing in 39lb13oz which turned out to be 4oz less than section winner BudNudd, the odd dropped skimmer to blame there perhaps! I’d also beaten Owen for the first time this I think as he weighed in 20 odd. Woody managed a section win and a 7lb grass carp for the big fish award off Alders too.
Overall it was a very good day and Talk Angling didn’t come last even though we were a man short, well done team! Congratulations to Total Fishing for winning overall.
Roll on next year!