Our club season doesn’t start until the end of the month but an impromptu match had been arranged for this weekend on the F1 Lake at Brafferton. Our last match on here saw me win the match with around 25lb on a cold autumn day, with the weather making a dramatic u-turn in recent weeks and the sun beaming down us we were all hopeful of a few fish after the low winter weights of the previous few weeks.
We met up at the Oaks for breakfast and to do the draw as its only a couple of miles away. After a decent breakfast I helped Stu peg the match, with 20 of us fishing and the whole of the 80 peg lake to fish we’d have plenty of room. Stu had decided to give every angler an option on pegs, i.e. if you draw peg 1, you could choose peg 1 or 2 to fish, peg 4, you’d have 4 or 5 and so on. This would hopefully give the individual a bit more choice if their initial peg had any major obstructions such as branches in the water or a dodgy peg etc as most of us hadn’t seen the lake in since last year.
The draw got under way and by the end there was only Stu and myself to draw with peg 4 and 7 left in the bag, so either way we were next to each other. Stu gave me the privilege of drawing and peg 7 stuck to my hand, which left Stu with 4 (apparently THE worst peg on the lake)!! I believe you Stu though there are many that would disagree!
We set off in convoy to the fishery and arrived just after 9 o’clock. On arrival Honest John had realised he’d left the weigh slings at home so it was back to the Oaks for him to borrow one, so we were now fishing 10:30 – 16:30 so we had plenty of time to set up! I had the choice of pegs 7 and 8 and decided to plump for 7 so I had both the island and the gap to have a go at during the match.
With the lake holding some very sizeable fish as well as a dent average stamp I stepped my gear up for the first time in months!
My first rig was for fishing at 15m to end of the island where I plumbed up two swims a couple of metres apart, I could have done with that extra metre in fairness as I was a two feet off the island so if they backed off I’d be stuffed but decided to make this my main plan of attack. This was a 4x12 Malman Cedar on 0.16 mainline and 0.12 hooklength, size 18 Gama Pellet and Paste finished off with a 12 latex and pull bung. 0.16 may seem a bit heavy but it gave me the option to step up my hooklength if the munters were about!
My second rig was for fishing down the edge to a bush (collection of twigs), this was the same as my island rig but with an 0.14 hooklength and size 16 hook to a 14 latex.
I also set up a line at 13m towards the middle of the gap between the islands, I set up rigs for fishing on the deck in about 7ft of water and a shallow rig for over the top as there were fish (big fish at that) cruising the whole time we were setting up.
Bait for the day was simple, some soaked micros for feed with 4 and 6mm expanders for over the top. I’d also riddled off last week’s maggots to pile in the edge late on if I was struggling. I also had some hard 4mm’s for shallow.
The all in was called at 10:30 and we were away, I pinged out a few pouches of 4mm’s onto the shallow line and went straight over the top of it. I slapped and carried on feeding for the first ten to fifteen minutes but to no joy, meanwhile Woody was bagging on peg 1 and probably had 10lb in the net already!
I sacked off the shallow rig but would keep feeding until I saw any swirls. I shipped out to the island to my left hand swim armed with a 4mm and tipped in a dozen micros. I didn’t have to wait long for a bite and I soon had my first stocky in the net at about 8oz. I carried on in the same vain but feeding a full pot and catching two or three fish off it and it was all going swimmingly, I didn’t have to wait long for a bit and I was coming back with a fish almost every put in. The fish though were small, varying between 6 and 10oz with the greedy roach and gudgeon often getting to the pellet first. I started using 6mm hooker pellets and this put the tiddlers off a bit although I was still getting the odd one.
The first three hours were hectic and Me and Stu were probably fish for fish. Woody had slowed down massively after taking a toilet break and Stu and I had near enough caught him up. I caught all my fish off the same line, “if they’re feeding then why fish somewhere else?”, but it had slowed up and so I moved to my right hand swim and put another run of a fish together before that also went quiet.
I decided to put half a big pot of micros on the original island swim and give them chance to settle again. I’d still been feeding my shallow line but there was no evidence of any feeding fish and after another quick go with no results I decided to stop wasting my time on it. I had a quick look down the edge and managed one lonesome F1 before the silvers were bashing at my hook bait again. I’d now rested the island swim for 15-20 minutes and decided it was time to have another look, with only an hour or so left I’d need to put a fair few fish in the net to stand a chance of competing.
Stu had offered me a quid side bet as he knew it was going to be close, I ummed and aahed for a bit before lifting into another fish and duly obliging. With extra pressure of the newly formed pound the heat was on!
I managed to put another decent run of fish together in last hour and put a few more fish in the net than Stu but it would still be very close! The all out was called and it had been a good day apart from the frustrating middle of the match! Woody owned up to hooking a fish after time and as evidence we watched him put it back, all 7lb of it!
The weigh in ensued and due to everyone in the club owning up to a bad back when it comes to weighing in, it was passed on to yours truly!
Woody was first with a very healthy 64-14, Stu pushed him close with 62-10 and it was now my turn. My second half of the match weighed 20lb, I knew I’d caught a lot better in the first half but would it be good enough? Err, no, my other net weighed 38lb giving me 58lb dead so Stu had done me! Still working it out, we’d all had over a hundred fish each, not bad for the start of March!
Tony Koz was next up to take the lead with 89-02, he’d caught well for most of the day either against the island or down his left hand edge on peg 12. Even Howard surprised us all with an initial weight of 62-04 before finding another fish in the bottom of his net to take over Stu with 63lb odd. Andy Nattrass was next with 67lb odd for second overall! Our section had fished brilliantly and my weight was only good enough for 6th in the seven man section!
The middle strip hadn’t fished as well as our section with much lower weights although John and Steph but had 50lb. Steve Cromie managed to claim third 66lb odd off peg 63 at the end of the point.
On the whole the match had fished very well for this time of year, even Gorgeous Gordy managed 30lb, minus a quid!
With Mother’s day next weekend and being the model son that I am, I’m off to get battered on the Saturday open on Cedar at Sessay, wish me luck!