I didn’t deem the previous weeks match a write up, I fished the open on Cedar at Sessay and struggled sat amongst the worm lads and up until the last hour I only had around 8lb in the net, I started feeding a black groundbait slop across and put small F1’s in the net up until the end and weighed in 27lb to slightly spare my blushes.
The following Monday was my birthday and I managed to sneak in 3 hours at Sunrise near Spofforth. I fished peg 11 and managed 26 F1’s and small mirrors for about 45lb, lovely afternoons sport and glorious weather to boot!
On to this week, with other commitments over the bank holiday weekend I decided to fish the Friday open up at Sessay, seeing as I wasn’t fishing for the rest of the weekend I’d have to make the most of it.
This would be my fifth time at fishing these lakes so I’m still relatively new to them and I last fished them in November last year and managed 45lb for 6th in the match. This time around I drew peg 15 on Sycamore, I’ve drawn on Sycamore twice before and always found the fish in here to be a lot smaller stamp than in the other 2 lakes. Peg 15 is right in the corner and with the wind blowing down towards me and the Steve Hawkins being the next angler on peg on my bank I had plenty of room, though everyone seemed to as there were only 6 or 7 anglers on each lake. I had Mark opposite me on peg 18 and Draw bag Whale on the end peg on Beeches behind me, everyone else was too far away!
After speaking to Rob before the match he recommended fishing slightly to my right away from the corner in order to draw more fish in to my peg rather than hammering the fish in the corner. I plumbed up right along the shelf from 13-14.5m left to right and found it to be fairly consistent apart from the odd deviation of an inch or two. I set up a rig to fish all these lines on top of the shelf and I’d have to alter my depth slightly here and there when required. This rig was one on my own 0.2g slim pencil floats on 0.12 mainline and 0.10 hooklength with a size 18 Gamakatsu pellet and paste hook, this was finished with a doubled 5 elastic. I also set up a rig for fishing 3 lines in the deep water, this was identical to the other rig but with a 0.4g version of the float.
For bait today all I had was half a bag of fishery micros, swelled up to make two pints of feed and some 4 and 6mm expanders.
At the all in I went straight out just past my 13m section pointing to my right, I was fishing in line with Marks peg so it was nice and easy to get the float in the same hole every time. I lowered the rig in with a 4mm pellet and tipped in a full fruit shoot of micros over the top. I didn’t have to wait long before my first indication and my first fish, a small F1 around 8oz, I repeated the process putting 4 fish in the net whilst Mark had seemingly lost his first three hooked fish. I altered the feed for the first hour and managed to put 12 fish in the net although they were all small fish.
I carried on in the same vein for the next hour or so and seemed to be doing OK, Mark was catching a few but I thought I had the upper hand, I could see Bert catching a few in front of the little hut but he was probably catching at the same rate as Mark. I heard Whaley tell Jonesy that he’d had 20 and I think at that point I had 16 so I wasn’t doing too bad. With these being five and half hour matches the half way point was 13:15, at this time I switched keepnets to do half a match in each net and at the half way point I’d had 36 fish and seemed to be doing OK though there were rumours of Dean Smith and Richie Newton both catching well on Beeches.
In the second half of the match I decided to move swims or at least give my original swim a rest as it had marginally slowed down from how it started.
I went over to my left at 14.5, I was fishing a couple of metres of the rushes still in the deep water of the shelf as it slopes up quite shallow into the reeds so I was still fishing at my original depth.
I kicked off with a kinder sized pot of bait and hoped to feed after every couple of fish, the fish were having it on the other line with a full pot every put in but I was waiting a few minutes for a bite. Hopefully feeding a fruit shoot of bait after every few fish I’d get quicker bites.
I was straight into fish and although I didn’t seem to be catching any faster from putting less feed in, it was quicker to not feed purely through filling the pot etc. I was still catching well though I was now getting a few liners and lifting into thin air. I didn’t think it was down to my feeding as I’d dramatically cut down by now, feeding after every three or four fish. I foul hooked maybe four in a row and was starting to get annoyed as I lost them all! I shallowed up by about four inches and started hooking fish again, I was back into a similar rhythm before the lines started again so I shallowed up another couple of inches, this worked a treat and the bites kept coming, considering it wasn’t that warm and after the midweek snow they were more than happy feeding off bottom.
Then I suffered a setback, I hooked a fish of a similar size to the others but just I was about to land it, it snapped me just below the loop to my connector so I lost the whole rig! I couldn’t understand it!!
I didn’t dwell on it and shallowed up my track rig to the same depth as the previous one and was straight into fish again. I managed to finish the second half of the match with 42 fish and a total of 78, I had 39 fish in each net so it would be interesting to see what they weighed.
Mark asked if I had 80lb, to which I replied “you must be kidding!”, the average size of my fish was probably 8oz, I thought I’d have 40lb though Jonesy reckoned I’d have 60lb with that many fish, we’d have to wait and see though.
Ash had fished really hard with most anglers just scraping past the 10lb barrier though Ian Exley managed a lake win and section with 37lb odd. Beech had fished relatively well, with Dean Smith weighing 65lb off around peg 7, Richie Newton then went into the lead with 88lb, Whaley finished off their lake with 53lb odd. Onto our lake and with Mark Calvert weighing 50lb I was dubious as to whether I’d get the section, my first net weighed 30lb dead and my second net 30lb6oz, so I’d won the lake and managed third overall on the match. Though I must split my fish a bit better and improve guessing my weight!
I was more than chuffed with this result and the final top 5 looked like this:
1st R. Newton - B20 - 88,2
2nd D. Smith - B6 - 65,0
3rd S. Lupton - S15 - 60,6
4th P. Whale - B25 - 53,8
5th M. Calvert - S6 - 50,4
Going back, it wasn’t until the next day that I realised why my rig had snapped. Normally with my bottle tops, I thread a loop of elastic under them and attach them to my top kits with the tight loop of elastic, rather than damaging my pole with the rigid plastic. I’d done a couple of fruit shoot lids by cutting a slit from one hole to another so I could thread them on and off without having to take my rig off. I remembered at one point my rig had got caught in the slit as I was unhooking a fish but I just sorted it out and carried on fishing, this must have damaged the line without me knowing! I’ll definitely go back to my elastic cups for the future as one day a mistake like that could cost me! The larger downside of this was obviously that a fish would now be attached to this rig, hopefully it would spit the hook fairly easily, then someone will be the proud owner of one of my homemade floats!