After a week of bad weather I was massively unsure of how this match would fish. I had a little think the week previous and thought that I tend to plan my match in my head before I get to a venue and don’t take into account the day itself. So this week I decided to make my plan once I’d got to the venue and tailor my approach to the conditions.
I arrived a full café at half eight and paid on. By the time my sandwich order came through at five to nine I decided to get it take out and eat at my peg. I popped to the shop and got some fishery pellets before loading my barrow. I was making my way back to the café and the draw had nearly finished. With only four pegs left in the bag I drew peg 5. Dependant on the day, depends whether any of the pegs will fish or not so I was still unsure what to make of it, although Andy Nattrass had over a ton off I think this peg, on a previous match.
For company I had Martin Dodsworth on peg 2 and John “I’ve only got 8” Livesey on peg 7. On sitting down at my peg, it was evident that someone had been there recently as all the bushes in the left margin were nicely hacked back and there were what looked like a lot of soggy 8mm pellets littered around the platform. I levelled my box and sat down for a few minutes assessing what my days attack would be. I finally decided to concentrate my main swim fishing shallow at 13m, with it being warm but overcast and a gentle breeze blowing through causing a nice little ripple I fancied it for a few shallow. I would also plumb up a deep line at 13m to fish paste when the shallow line died off. Whilst i was prepping the 13m swim I would fish a line slightly to the left at 6m where I’d hopefully mug a few fish. I also plumbed up down the left margin for the last hour as the fish can really come onto the feed late on and they tend to be big, not that I ever seem to catch them! Finally I had my method rod set up to fish into open water should I need to, although I’d change this to a running bomb if I had time.
I plumbed up all my swims to dead depth and marked my top kits in case of any breakages or tangles, this way I could adjust my float back to the mark and be sure that I was fishing at the correct depth again. This is something I used to do all the time in matches and pleasure sessions but I seem to have not bothered over the last few months, when I wish I had!
My bait for the day was 4 pints of 6mm pellets, 2 pints of 8mm, a big bag of corn and a tub full of green swim stim paste. I also had a few 6 and 8mm expanders for the hook if the going was tough.
The all in was called at 10am and we were away, I went out to the 13m line and big potted some 6mm pellets in from a reasonable height to cause a bit of a disturbance. I also big potted corn down my edge but sneaked this in with my pot under the surface. I went out onto the 6m line with a 6mm expander and tipped in a dozen hard pellets and a few bits of corn. I started pinging a few pellets over the long line to begin my shallow approach and everything was falling into place. In the first half an hour I was half heartedly fishing my 6m line whilst prepping the long line. First put in on the 6m line, my float had barely settled before the float buried and elastic was pouring out, I’m assuming it was foul hooked as it snapped my 0.16 hooklength somewhere in the middle of the lake. I put a new hooklength on, re-measured my depth and we were back in business. I only managed 4 small skimmers in the first half an hour before deciding to have a look on the shallow line.
I baited up my shallow rig with an 8mm hard pellet, the rig was set at about 20 inches, with a 10 inch lash so I had plenty of scope for altering the depth up and down if I needed too. I shipped out, fired some feed out before slapping the rig half a dozen times and finally letting it settle amongst the feed. I repeated this every 30 seconds or so and after five minutes the tip of the pole buried under the surface and it was fish on. I fired a few more pellets about after guiding it out of the feed area and shipped down to my top five, normally I’d ship down to the top kit but with limited space behind I had to break down twice. When I’d got it back to the top five, I trapped it between my knees and fed again before attempting a go at landing the fish. After a fairly big tussle I had a mirror of about 8lb in the net. I re-fed before unhooking it and slipped it into the net. I decided to tighten my elastic up a couple of turns on the bung just to make sure they didn’t snag me on the margin boards. I repeated this again and although not frantic, at the half way point of the match I had 10 fish for an estimated 65lb. This was far beyond my expectations and I had my first Starbeck ton set firmly in my sights! Honest John had moved shallow too but wasn’t getting many indications on the pole and was now on the pellet waggler and was admitting to a dozen. I couldn’t see many other people bagging but everyone was catching a few.
Rab walked past and asked how I was getting on, this essentially killed my swim, I only managed 2 more carp, a tench and a couple of smaller carp for the remainder of the match, this was by switching between shallow, paste and the margin. Looking back I should have fished bomb in the last couple of hours but because my rod was set up with a method I dismissed it as I couldn’t be bothered to change it (which would have taken all of a couple of minutes!). I was so set on making my shallow line work for the rest of the match that I had the blinkers on to make anything else work, even when watching Paul and Tony catching opposite on the bomb!
Come the weigh in, Martin was first off peg 2 and weighed 76lb odd. It would be close between the two of us again as I was admitting to 75lb. Two weighs later and I recorded 79lb11oz, this is my new Starbeck PB so all wasn’t lost! Honest John was up next and his 18 carp went 113lb! All the weights on the remainder of our bank beat me with a couple of 80’s and another ton.
The top 3 looked like this:
Stu “Superstar” Stott – 132lb odd
Stu Turner – 116lb odd
Honest John – 113lb odd
The match on the whole had fished very well, out of 14 anglers, my 79lb was only good enough for 7th, Rab managed 103lb or so and didn’t even win his section!
We’ve not got a match next week so I’m not sure where to go, I’m off on holiday the following week though so I’ll have to cram somewhere in!