This week we were on Mallard up at Woodlands. Mallard is one of the older match lakes at up at Woodlands and is rarely used as an open match lake but more for club matches and pleasure anglers. The last few times I’ve fished any of these older lakes they’ve fished very poorly, this is put down to a rumour of a big fish kill last winter during the deep freeze. The lakes have subsequently been stocked with small carp to boost the abundant roach and skimmer population. It was probably down to these reasons that there were only 10 of us booked on today. With 1st and 2nd prizes and a section a bank it was well worth putting in a decent performance as there was a 40% chance of picking up a brown envelope! Success would probably ride on the draw though, with the corner pegs generally out fishing the rest of the lake, especially at this time of year.
Prior to the match I’d decided on targeting the skimmers on a couple of lines and trying to get my head down for the day as it would be a race to catch as many as possible! The draw ensued and the last 3 pegs left in the bag were 1,10 and 19, all corner pegs. John drew 10, Stu drew 19 which left me with 1. So the plan would need to be revised somewhat as there would be a potential of catching from the side bank at the end of the lake.
I set up three rigs in total, one for fishing to a small bunch of sedges on the right hand bank at 15m, this was a 0.2g BGT shallow long float on 0.14 Ultima Power Match mainline and an 0.12 hooklength with a size 18 B911, this was complemented with a size 12 latex elastic. My next rig was my skimmer rig for fishing at 11m with a swim at 11 o’ clock and 1 o’ clock. This was a 0.3g Preston silver on 0.12 mainline and an 0.10 hooklength, this was finished off with a double 5 latex elastic. My final rig was the same as the skimmer rig but for fishing shallow, the only differences were the float which was a 4x10 Preston PB2 and the elastic was an 8 latex.
For bait today, I had a pint of whites, half or reds, some green swim stim groundbait, this was mixed on the dry side so it would only just hold its shape after a good squeeze. I also had an array of expander pellets for the hook from 4-8mm, and feed pellets were soaked 4mm hard pellets. The skimmer lines would be a maggot and groundbait approach with the odd 4mm used on the hook as a change and hopefully to pick off the better fish. I would fish either 6 or 8mm hooker on the carp line towards the sedges and feed 4mm rather than micros so to not get plagued by nuisance small fish, 15metres is a long way to go when your only bringing roach back!
The match kicked off at 10 o’clock and I shipped out to my first 11m skimmer line with a pot of groundbait and a dozen maggots, I repeated this on the second line before feeding the long line with 20 4mm’s.
First put out onto the right hand 11m swim and the float dipped and it was roach number one in the swim, I repeatedly swapped between the two lines before catching 2 fish off the right swim and one off the left as the bites were quicker on the right swim. After maybe a dozen roach I had my first skimmer of about 3oz, closely followed by a lull in bites of a minute or two and then two small stocky carp of 8oz a piece. Both swims then went quiet so I decided to re-feed the same again and have a look on the long line as Stu opposite was catching some sizeable fish off the aerator.
I went across armed with a 6mm hooker and half a dozen feed pellets and straight away the float was dancing all over the place, soon enough though I hooked a decent fish, up on getting to the net I saw it was around 2lb and then hook pulled! Marvellous! I put it to the back of my mind and went straight back across. I managed a run of maybe 10 fish before it went quiet again, they were all between 8oz and a pound so I wasn’t putting a huge weight together but I was easily winning my bank from what I could see although I knew Stu and John were catching fairly well too.
I re-fed the long line and fished for skimmers again for half an hour but wasn’t really getting anywhere, I was having to wait far too long between bites and the fish weren’t of any size. By now Stu was well in the lead and I’d heard John had caught quite a few so it was a case of getting my head down to push for second place and at least cement the section prize.
I went back over to the long line and managed another 7 or 8 carp in about 90 minutes, so it was fairly slow but they were all about pound each so worth having.
It went really iffy again and with only half an hour left I thought I’d try bag up on a few silvers to add those vital ounces! I’d been throwing half a handful of maggots to 4m in front of me and there’d been the odd swirl from small fish so thought it worth a go shallow. I went out with the shallow rig, slapped it in, fed and managed a roach of 2 ounce before repeating, I ended up putting a long lash on and essentially fished my top kit like a whip, I managed over 20 roach and rudd in fifteen minutes for nearly 2lb before I saw a big swirl on my long line. I dropped the “whip” and went straight onto it and managed 3 further carp for about 5lb in the last 15 minutes, which was a much welcome bonus including one on time!
The match had fished odd, I’d have expected more results from the skimmer lines but they dies as quickly as they started, with catching in spells and catching a lot of small fish I was unsure as to what I had but I’d hopefully won my bank.
I packed up quickly and due to being on peg one I was weighing in. I weighed 25lb 12oz and was fairly chuffed, I must have had 70-80 fish in total! Perhaps I was catching in longer spells than I thought! Mick Ayre on the next peg didn’t weigh in, we had a guest on the next peg who had a lovely net of silvers for just shy of 10lb. Rab was next with 12lb ish I think and last but not least Cooksey had 15lb off the other end peg. So I’d definitely won my section but was awaiting the other banks results. Honest John weighed over 36lb so I’d have to settle for the section, Stu romped the match with 91lb (this was nearly as much as everyone else’s weights combined!!!). Gordon ended up winning their bank by double default with 13lb, which meant I’d taken another quid from his pension!
So two sections on my last two matches are showing that things might be getting better, with our last scheduled match next weekend up at the Oaks can I make it 3 pickups in a row?
Top three looked like this.
1st – Stu “Superstar” Stott – 91lb
2nd – Honest John – 36lb
3rd – Steve Lupton – 25lb 12oz