This week we were up at The Oaks and we were fishing on Cedar. After doing a bit of reading through old magazines and trawling through the internet I’d decided to finally fish maggot for a full match. The method seems to work pretty well up there as you’re catching Ide, Barbel F1’s and anything that swims. After a quick chat with Ghandi though, he said if you fish maggot now you’ll just get bitted out by small Roach, something I didn’t fancy, so once again I’d be trying my hardest at fishing pellet whilst trying to meet my target of 40lb! Today was predicted to be hard, the winds were forecast strong with gusts up to 31mph, there had also been a lot of rain over night which followed a week of muggy overcast weather.
We were on pegs 50 to 80 this week, I’ve never been anywhere near these pegs on Club or Open matches so it would hopefully make a nice change!
Come the draw I took the last peg out of the bag and peg 61 was to be by home for the day. For company I had James on 59, Honest John on 62, Martin Dodsworth on 64, Cooksy on 65, Acko and Stu were also on the point on the late 60’s.
I already had my rigs set up on top kits, 2 method rods set up and all of my hook baits prepared so I had enough time for a decent plumb about. The wind was very strong blowing from left to right and it would prove difficult to fish the pole all day if it were to stay like this. I plumbed up one line in front of the sedges in two and a half foot water, I was able to fish this rig in front of 3 or 4 patches of sedges due to the depth being fairly consistent. I also had as rig set up for fishing tight against the bank, although this was much deeper than I was expecting, usually I look for 10-12 inches but I was getting over eighteen inches! I set up a paste line for down the track but didn’t really want to use it. I had a shallow rig that I could fish over the paste line too, just in case. Finally a rig to fish down each margin should the fish come over the feed towards the end of the match. A quick chuck of the method feeder to set my clip and I was ready, although only just, good job I had all my rigs already set up, plumbing all those rigs proved to take longer than I thought!
At the all in I fed both margins with a small handful of corn and would aim to keep feeding with a pinch of corn every ten minutes or so. I shipped out with the sedge rig, with a 4mm expander and some micros and we were away, the float bobbed before a little lift, I struck and was rewarded with a small skimmer. I repeated this a few more times until I had 4 skimmers in the net before finally getting my first proper fish, an F1 of about a pound and a half. The wind was very strong by now so I decided to come off the sedge line and try fish it with method instead. I was straight hooking a 4mm expander and hiding it in the green swim stim feed. I managed a couple more F1’s and small carp before I was waiting far too long between bites, looking back I should have maybe searched my swim with this as I got the feeling the fish weren’t in the settling mood.
John on 62 had managed to hook 3 shallow at 8m and put 2 out of the 3 in his net, this was a good invitation for me to have a go seeing as I wasn’t fairing any better on my other lines. I pinged out a few 4mm pellets to 8m, shipped out and slapped the rig a few times before letting it settle. The float dipped and as I struck I felt a bump signalling it was more than likely a liner. I slapped the rig again and this time was rewarded with a 2lb mirror. I carried on for another 15 minutes but no more bites materialised.
At the half way point I reckoned I had about 13lb and from what I could see and hear, no one was bagging anywhere. I had a quick look down the edge on the off chance and managed another small mirror on the first put in but this again was a lonely fish.
I decided to pile the bait in down the edge and try and force them to feed. Every half an hour for second half of the match I cupped in a big pot of corn on each line and eventually started cupping half pots of 4mm pellets in too to get there heads down.
I switched between all the lines for the remainder of the match but didn’t really get going on any of them, although I did manage a couple more F1’s.
The last hour arrived and I decided to stick to switching between the margin swims, depending if any bites were on the cards. I managed 5 fish in the last hour, 4 small mirrors and one big common at about 5lb.
The final horn sounded and I got the feeling everyone was glad that the match was over, as it had been gruelling! Mainly due to the wind!
The weigh in began and the first section, if I remember correctly didn’t have a weight over 20lb! James weighed a mid 20lb, I managed to stick 31lb 12oz on the scales, John weighed 25 ish, Martin weighed weighed 31lb 14oz, although I wasn’t sure if we were in the same section? Acko plonked a stand out weight of 60lb on the scale after feeding half the tackle shop down the edge and Stu managed 35lb.
Although I’d not done my 0lb target I was still fairly chuffed with the outcome although as it turned out, Martin had beaten to the section by 2oz! Overall I came 5th which is the best I’ve done since returning to fishing this year so I can take a positive from that at least. Oh and Gordon handed me a shiny pound coin too, which was nice of him!
The top 6 looked like this:
1st Mick Atkinson – 60lb odd
2nd Stef Armitage – 37lb odd
3rd Stu Stott – 35lb odd
4th Martin Dodsworth – 31lb 14oz
5th Steve Lupton 31lb 12oz
6th Rab – 30lb odd