After a chat with Gordon, we decided to book onto one of the Maggotdrowners knock ups at the Oaks, these have been running for a while now and with the majority of Club matches not beginning again until spring there always seems to be a good turnout. Despite the weather being freezing and the previous days match being won with a low 20lb and 9lb being good enough for third it was good to see 31 anglers brave the banks.
After a hearty breakfast I was set up for the day and was hoping for a decent draw and a few fish. We had the whole 80 peg lake to go out so there would be plenty of room, the straight nearest the woods (pegs 71-80) had been left out apart from peg 72 because although the aerators were on the night before, the previous days match saw this start to freeze over again before the end of the match! The draw began at quarter to nine and we weren’t staring until ten so we had plenty of time to get sorted. I dipped into the bag and came out with 72, I was gutted to say the least, it was going to be a hard day and a cold one at that as these pegs never see any sunshine because of the woods! Still I remained upbeat and thought I’d have to remain positive to get anything from the match.
One thing about this time of year is that you expect to catch very little and it’s a case of keeping disciplined in order to not kill your peg by overfeeding. With 9lb being good enough for third the day before I thought this would be a good target to aim for and would also help me gauge how much to feed.
Gordon was on peg 2 and because there was nobody else on the straight meant that we were actually pegged next door to one and other albeit a gap of ten pegs!
I set up three rigs for the day, knowing it was going to be hard I set up a 4x10 Preston Chianti on 0.12 mainline to an 0.10 hooklength and a size 18 Gama Pellet and Paste hook, this would be for fishing a single grain of corn right across the far bank in about 2.5-3ft of water, this was finished off with a size 8 latex elastic.
I also set up a rig for fishing across with maggot, I was using one of my own home made pencil floats, an alternative version to the one I used the week previous, this was a 0.2g slim pencil body, with a wire stem and a fine plastic tip, this was again on 0.12 to 0.10 but with a size 20 Middy 63:13 and size 6 latex.
For down the track I had an identical rig to the maggot rig but with a 0.4g version of the float and a doubled 5 elastic, this would be my pellet rig and so I used a size 20 Gama pellet and paste hook.
For bait I had some corn, dampened micros, black swim stim, 4mm expanders and last week’s maggots that I’d riddled off.
At the all in I went over with the corn rig and lowered it in on my left hand swim, I had 4 lines along the far bank that I could drop this in. My plan was to fish it in one swim for ten minutes before moving to the next one. I’d try this for the first couple of hours before using my other lines. On my first put in I realised my backshot was a bit too close to my float so I shipped back to move it up an inch or two and whilst I was doing this Steve Hawkins was into his first carp on peg 70 but they soon parted company, probably foul hooked. I went back out and had a bite almost instantly and after a few seconds I had a big F1 in the net at around 2.5lb, good start! I then rotated between the lines with corn for about an hour and a half but no more bites materialised, perhaps I should have come off this earlier as they obviously weren’t there, where as Steve on peg 70 was putting one in the net fairly often. They’d obviously decided to hide around the corner for the day!
I decided to have a look down the track with the pellet rig, I dropped in with a 4mm expander and tipped in half a dozen micros and a fruit shoot of ground bait. Just as the float settled I heard a commotion on the next peg. Steve had landed a fish but his landing net handle came apart, as he went to reach for it he tripped and end up laid in the water edge on top of the reeds! He managed to grab his net, get back on his box and eventually land the fish! I would have asked him if he was alright but I was far too busy laughing! Thankfully he had some spare clothes in his van otherwise it would have made for an even colder afternoon!
The pellet line eventually came good and I managed two more F1’s about a pound each but I was going nowhere fast! Even though Steve decided to go for a swim it didn’t affect his fishing and he carried on putting fish in the net!
I eventually ended up scratching for silver down the track on maggot and managed a few roach half a dozen dumpy perch. Then that was it, the all out called after a very tough match!
Steve ended up winning the match with 40lb, a fantastic result considering the conditions! I scraped a section win with 6lb 3oz, Rab managed his section with around 12lb and Gordon tipped back a lonesome F1!
There’s another knock up arranged for next week which is programmed for Maple if it’s not frozen over!