Seeing as we the cafe at Brafferton is now closed we met at the Oaks and did the draw from there. The draw got underway early for a change and I managed to draw 72, which is about half way down the right hand side looking from the car park. This is in the middle of an island, the ends of the islands often fish better as you’ve a bit more water to go at and you have the potential to draw fish from the other side of the island. I had Gordon to my right on peg 70 so I’d be able to keep an eye on my quid for the day. I also had Bri Gascoigne to my left on 74. I set up 3 rigs in total, two rigs were the same, a 4x12 Malman Cedar on 0.14 Ultima Power match to an 0.12 hooklength of the same material, one had a size 18 Gamakatsu Pellet and Paste, the other a size 14. These were finished with 12 and 14 latex elastics. The smaller hook and elastic was for fishing to the island at 14m in two swims, the larger hook and heavier elastic was for down my right hand side in the marginal reeds. My final rig was a 0.4g BGT shallow long float for fishing 6.5ft down the track, this was for lines at 5m and 11m, this was again 0.14 to 0.12 with a size 18 hook, 14 elastic.
For bait today, I had 4mm expanders and dampened micros for across and down the track. I also had a bag of black swim stim mixed up for cutting down the feed across and down the track but primarily for dumping down the edge. Finally I had my pint of maggots from the week previous, I’d riddled off all the dead ones and the casters but they were turning to casters gradually through the match! These would only be used as a get out of jail anyway so I wasn’t too bothered.
The all in was called at 10:15 and we were away, I initially went out with a fruit shoot to 11m and tipped in some micros before feeding a big pot of loose groundbait down the edge. By the time I’d baited my deep rig both John and Stu behind were catching from their island swims! I planned on fishing in the deeps for an hour or so before going across into the shallow water. It took 20 minutes or so before I got my first real bite after twitching the float every 15 seconds or so. The float gently slid away, I struck and it was all go, after a brief tussle I had my first carp in the net, all 5lb of it, this was a great start as I knew that John and Stu were both catching relatively small fish up to a pound. I dropped back in but only managed a couple of gudgeon and a small F1 the size of my hand. I’d started thinking that the first lump was a bit of a fluke and that there wasn’t much else down in the deeps although Bri was catching the odd F1 on the same line.
I read an article by Steve Ringer in the Angling Times and he said one key thing to his success is decision making, e.g. making the switch to a different swim when you think it’s right and not waiting half an hour catching nothing on your current line before making the switch. This is something I’ve taken on board over the last few weeks and it makes a lot of sense. I switched onto the island lines, first looking on the left swim into the sedges, literally in the sedges (according to Gordon, watching me fishing to this feature was better than television!). After freeing myself from the sedge three or four times I finally got the rig where I wanted it and tipped some micros in over the top. It wasn’t long before I was into a fish, another carp of about 3lb, this put up a good scrap on the soft 12 elastic but it was soon in the net. I decided to try my right hand line on the next put out but after 5 minutes and no indications I dropped back in on the left and was again rewarded with another carp, this time only about a pound. I constantly swapped between the two island lines and managed two more decent carp at 4lb a piece and although I wasn’t catching a great number of fish, they were all a much better stamp than everyone else, though rumours of Terry having a ten pounder were doing the rounds.
With an hour to go the bites had dried up on all my lines so decided to pot in half a big pot of maggots on the 5m line. Throughout the rest of the match I managed another 2 small carp, 2 tiny barbel and a few bits of this line swapping between maggot and caster on the hook so it turned out to be a worthwhile move.
The match was drawn to a close at 3:30 to the joy of everyone as it had fished very hard. I had 7 carp including 4 decent ones, Bri must have had 15 or so but they were all around a pound from what I could see. Gordon caught well towards the end and I thought it’d be close between the three of us. Bri reckoned he had 18lb, I thought I might have 22. Stu was first to weigh in and his 12 carp went 10lb odd so they must have all been small, just to prove he is human after all! Honest John managed a section win with 14lb from the next peg up from Stu. Onto my section and there were a few better weights, but only slightly with Gordon winning the match with 16lb odd. I was next with 25lb 14oz, so my quid was safe! Bri was next and I was keen to see what he weighed as I thought it would be close, his 22lb however fell short of the mark! So I was still winning the match and with Terry rumoured to have 30lb it would be interesting, he weighed 19lb, his 10lber was also probably about 7lb, rumours eh!! Tony Koz was last to weigh and put a slightly bigger 19lb on the scales than Terry to win the section. So I’d done it, it’s taken all year but I’ve finally won a match. This also means that I’ve picked up three times in my last 5 matches and also narrowly missed out on a payout on an open, things are looking up!
I’m back on the open at the Oaks next weekend, hopefully the weights will surpass those of this week!