After being on holiday for a couple of weeks we were at Carp Vale for hopefully a good days fishing, though I was a bit dubious with the last match fishing terribly.
My holiday saw me travel around Tuscany for a week, squeezing in a bit of fishing (of course). One of the campsites we stopped at backed on Lake Biguglia, a vast water that didn’t show up any information regarding fishing on a quick Google search, so myself and a couple of the lads rigged up simple waggler tactics on telescopic rods with a tin of corn for hook bait. We sat ourselves at the edge of a little harbour right next to the tents and on watching the locals, they were swinging in the odd roach which was encouraging although they were no more than an ounce or two. We cast in, sparked a fag, opened a beer and sat back in the evening sun and anticipated the roach sport! To our surprise when one of our floats did go under we were greeted with a fair bit of resistance, this was no roach! No it was a small common carp of about 2lb. In total we managed 30 between us whilst the locals caught about a dozen roach at best! This is probably the closest I’ll ever get to a European Championship, so thankfully I can reflect positively that we’d done England proud!
Back to the Carp Vale match. There were 15 of us on today with 7 on Cyprio and 8 on the Front Pool. I was undecided as to which lake I’d prefer today with the apparent lack of bites of both lakes on our previous visit. The draw bag decided my fate and peg 61 would be my home for the day. Tony Koz won the lake off this peg last time, and Stu had also won a knock up off this peg. Tony advised me that if I got my head down I could win the match off that peg today. No pressure then
You’ve probably already guessed the end to this story. The lake fished appalling again, in fact both lakes did. Six out of the eight of us on front pool didn’t weigh in as we’d either blanked or only caught a couple of bits. Stef Armitage ended up fishing corn long in the last couple of hours and had over 60lb, a credit to him for correctly judging the conditions! Cyprio was won with 37lb which is miles off the fisheries general pace but good enough on the day. I didn’t bother challenging the scales with my two roach..................
The next match up on the calendar was Woodlands, this time fishing on Skylark, and to my knowledge I don’t think I’ve ever fished this lake? I’ve fished countless club matches and opens at Woodlands yet never drawn this lake.
There were 15 of us in attendance again and we’d have 8 on the front bank and 7 on the back bank. Normally with so few in attendance we’d have a lake 1st and 2nd with a section per bank. However the middle pegs had apparently been out fishing the ends so the sections would work where the end two pegs on both sides would form a section of 8 and the remaining 7 in the middle would form the other.
Cometh the draw, cometh.....peg 25, this is in the middle so I could hope for a better day than the end pegs, have a smaller section and a better view of how everyone else was doing!
I arrived at my peg and noticed the margins had been cut quite far back which made them look very tempting. Prior to the match I’d thought to just ignore the margins as I concentrate so much of my time feeding it throughout the match to never catch from them that it’s just a waste of time. However these margins looked so tempting that I’d set a rig up and feed it anyway, however, if no fish materialised like normal then I’d know to knock it on the head completely in future!
My main plan was to fish shallow at 13m and chase them out a section if I needed to. I’d also fish a top2+2 line straight in front of me that I could feed by hand. I also had a couple of rods set up, one with a method and 4inch hook length, the other a running half ounce bomb with an 18inch hook length.
Bait for the day, I had 2 pints of micros for the method, 4 pints of 6mm for my pole lines, 2 pints of 8mm for the rod rigs and 2 tin's of corn for the edge. I didn’t anticipate on using even half of this but depending on how the fish wanted it, I was at least prepared.
For company I had Stu on 27 and Bob on 23. Opposite I had Cooksey to my right and venue expert Les Bolton to my left.
At the all in I took the pole out to 13m just to use as a marker for cattying bait in. I fired some pellets in and then shipped back and slung the method out to 25 yards and pinged some 8mm pellets over the top. I persevered with this for about 40 minutes, constantly firing a few pellets over the method, half a dozen pellets on the shallow line and a handful at top2+2 every 15 minutes or so.
After the first hour I was still without a fish. So decided to try the shallow line. I got a couple of indications which was either small fish or perhaps fish a bit deeper trying to suck the suspended bait in. I added a couple of inches to my depth and managed to put 2 in the net both of around 4lb a piece.
It then went quiet again but Cooksey was catching on the bomb so I decided to flick a bomb out to 25 yards and managed to put a couple of fish in the net. It was then a case of switching between lines and hopefully picking up fish. I ended up fishing two bomb lines, one in front and one to my right and eventually put a run of 4 fish together although it was slow going.
At the all in I had 12 carp, which is slow going for the duration of a match! Stu had done similarly to myself. Cooksey had caught relatively well on the bomb for most of the day. Les had bagged up, though I expected that!
Come the weigh in Stu weighed 49lb12oz. I was up next and thought it would be close. My 12 fish went 51lb12oz so I’d beaten Stu, I’d also beaten Bob but forget his weight? I ended up coming second on the bank with Mick Ayre putting 97lb on the scales from the corner peg. Mick’s weight was good enough for second in the match with only Les’s 130lb beating him. Typically this would mean I’d have won the section but with it being swapped about meant I had to wait for another week to try!! Sods law was the fact that the opposite bank fished miles better than our bank, so it would have been fairer to do a section a bank!
My last match was up at the Oaks, it seems an age since I’ve fished up here and subsequently I wasn’t sure how to approach it. We were on Maple and after having a look through my past blogs, we fished here in the middle of October in 2008 and I fished a maggot match and won my section. The conditions for the day were forecast very similar too so that was my mind made up. A day on the maggot! With this I bought half a gallon from the shop on Saturday afternoon and filled up my maggot hook length box in the afternoon.
We were on pegs 30 to 68 and with an eventual 19 anglers booked on it was perfect for peg one miss one. I wasn’t too fussed where I drew as I think that when fishing maggot you’re targeting every fish and not just the odd pockets of carp through the match. I hung back at the draw and with 4 or 5 left to pick from I got peg 55. This is a lovely corner peg that contains some lumps on its day although it’s not an ideal maggot peg! D’oh!
With half a gallon of maggots sat in my bucket with no other chance to use them it was still going to be a maggot day. This would include a line in 3ft of water to the edge of the island at 14.5m, the same rig could also be used for fishing my top 5 down the edge. This would be a 4x12 Malman Cedar on 0.14 mainline to an 0.12 hook length and size 16 Gamma Black hook, this was all complemented by a 12 latex elastic. I also set up a rig for fishing the same swim to the island with 0.12 mainline, 0.10 hook length and a size 20 Middy 63-13 finished with a doubled 5 elastic. This was only if the going was tough or there were a lot of small fish in the swim. I also set up a paste rig to fish 15m to the bush to my right, this was 0.18 mainline, 0.16 hook length to a size 12 PR24 and 14 latex elastic, my float for this was a self cocking Preston paste float.
Due to not planning on fishing anything but maggot, the only other bait I had with me was half a bag of Crazy Bait Green Gold, which would have to do for my paste. It mixes too far on the sticky side and is far from an ideal paste consistency in my opinion but it would have to do.
For company I had Cooksey on 53, Stef on 51 and Stu on 49. We were starting a bit later today due to the massive queue in the cafe so the all in was called at 10:30.
On the all in I shipped out to the island with 100ml of maggots. What I tend to do is use my big 250ml cup and use my smaller cups to measure the bait into the big cup. This way I know how much I’m feeding and it also makes a damn site easier shipping out with a cup that’s half full rather than filling a small cup up to the brim and spilling them everywhere! I also fed a further 100ml of maggots down my right hand edge and finally cupped in half a big pot of 4mm pellets and a few lumps of paste out towards the bush.
First put in on the island line and I wasn’t getting any indications, I expected it might take 15-20 minutes for the fish to settle and rightly so. After twenty minutes the float dipped and I struck into my first fish, a roach of about 2-3oz. Next put in I managed an Ide of about 6oz. I decided to double kinder a pot of maggots in and this resulted in two F1’s both of about 2lb a piece. Another Ide pushing a pound and the line was quickly fading. Normally, or at least on any other peg, I’d have pushed into the mud line to try and snaffle a few more but this peg doesn’t allow you that privilege!
I decided to big pot the island swim again and have a look down the edge. After a couple of shy indication I managed a couple of small roach before deciding it was probably worth big potting here too and wait for some better stamp fish to turn up. With this I went out onto the paste line, as usual the bites are all over the place and so was my striking at sail away bites. Throughout the match I only managed 3 carp and a tench off this line though had enough bites to warrant 500lb of fish!
No one was really catching that I could see so I was constantly swapping between fishing and feeding the edge and the island as the paste line had beaten me! The island threw up the odd fish as did the edge but the wind was proving difficult fishing to the island. I decided I’d persevere with it though whilst heavily feeding the edge.
With twenty minutes to go I reckon I had about 18lb. I decided to go for it down the edge for the rest of the match as it was only small roach and Ide showing on the island line. The last twenty minutes proved fruitful with two small barbel, a small ghosty, an F1, two chunky Ide and a Perch of about a pound and a half which in total would add around 10lb to my final weight!
The matched ended at half four and although it had been hard I’d enjoyed it. The weigh in ensued and Stu put 45lb on the scale, Stef 30lb, Cooksey DNW’d and my fish went to 29lb 4oz. On speaking to Mr Thackwray I’d beaten him by 4oz for the sacred pound! Back in the cafe and it had been a better day than I thought. Stu had won the match, Bob the Builder was second with 38lb, Rab was third with 31lb and Gordon, Stef and Myself had picked up the section prizes. This is my first pick up the year which is more than welcome!
The final 6 looked like this
1st – Stu “Superstar” Stott – 45lb
2nd – Bob The Builder – 38lb-12oz
3rd – Rab – 31lb-8oz
4th – Stef Armitage – 30lb-8oz
5th – Steve Lupton – 29lb-4oz
6th – Gorgeous Gordy – 29lb (must try harder)
I’m playing a gig in London next week so will miss the Brafferton match and the next match is on the old lakes at Woodlands which the last few times I’ve fished them, they’ve been naff! So we’ll see about that one!