Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Woodlands - Skylark - 6th May 2012

After a very wet, very blustery weekend last week, I was expecting more of the same this week, especially as it was a Bank Holiday! I couldn’t have been more wrong though, according to the met office website it was to be sunny most of the day with broken cloud, highs of 10 degrees and maximum winds of 15mph. This would at least give me chance to get all my gear spread out behind me to give a final air through from last week’s drying efforts. This weekend we were at Woodlands on Skylark. It’s been quite a while since I last fished one of the big squares at Woodlands so was quite looking forward to it. There were a million and one rumours going around as to how the previous weeks fish stocking/netting had gone, that in the end I just ignored all of it and assumed to fish it as normal. After an expensive and rather disappointing breakfast I got the barrow loaded, which I came to realise isn’t big enough to take my new box, the draw then got underway. I held the bag and most people wanted to be somewhere in the middle which is ideally where I wanted to be, but with Stu taking the last but one peg, I was left with peg 34, right in the corner, right at the opposite end to where the wind had been blowing, and right next to where every Tom, Dick and Harry would march past throughout the day! Miffed? Face On? You Bet!! I trudged my gear round to my peg to see that it was near enough the only part of the lake with no wind on, and looked up to the far end where you could see the vast amount of scum covering the top 2 or 3 pegs, proving that the wind had definitely been blowing up that way. I had Paul Cromie opposite on peg 2 and Stef to my left on peg 32, who were also both rather miserable about the anticipated days fishing. To my surprise, whilst setting up there were quite a few fish rolling in my swim, from my fee right out to the aerator, whether they would feed or not was a completely different question entirely. I set up a few rigs to hopefully cover every eventuality. My main rig would be to fish out at 13-15m on the deck. This was a 0.4g BGT shallow long float on 0.18 mainline, 0.16 hooklength, size 14 Gamakatsu Pellet hook. This was finished with a solid 14 latex. If it was really hard going I’d also set up a lighter version of this rig for the same swim but hopefully wouldn’t need it! I also set up a shallow rig for over the top of this line, this was a 0.2g Rizov RF83 on 0.18 straight through to a hair rigged band and size 16 Drennan Power Hair Rigger. This was again on a solid 14 latex. My final rig was to fish at 15m tight to a clump of grass on my right up the side of the lake, this rig would also serve my left margin too and was a 4x12 Malman Cedar on 0.18 mainline, 0.16 hooklength, size 14 Gamakatsu Pellet hook and a solid 16 latex. I also had the bomb set up for fishing towards the aerator. My rig for the right hand side of the lake would hopefully come into play later on in the match once the disturbance had died down from everyone walking to their pegs. Bait wise today it was all pellet, I had some 4,6 and 8mm feed and also 4,6 and 8mm expanders. I had some corn in my bucket too but this would be a last resort/change bait. With my 4mm feed pellets, I’d left them to soak for 10 minutes before draining the water, this made them a bit softer, seeing as I was expecting it to be quite hard today, these pellets would break down much quicker and I’d hopefully get in amongst the skimmers as well as any bonus carp. At the all in I’d not even put my keepnets in, so I decided to feed my 13m line with a kinder pot of soaked 4mm pellets, feed a few 8mm pellets towards the aerator and then chuck my nets in whilst these settled. Once my nets were in I had a quick look down my left margin as there had been plenty of swirls and boils whilst I was setting up so I was hoping for a bonus early carp. After a few minutes of watching a still float, I fed my 13m line again and threw the bomb out. I had a few casts and continually fired one or two pellets over the top whilst also topping up my 13m line. The tip eventually went round and I was rewarded with my first carp of the day. At around 4lb it was a welcome start. By now the wind was steadily blowing down to my end of the lake but with it came all the scum, my rigs were constantly covered in blossom and the feathery bits off the willow trees. An hour in and the open match lads started walking past to the other lakes which wasn’t helping my side swim calm down but what can you do!? I had a further couple of fishless casts on the bomb before having a look on the 13m line. I had a carp, again about 4lb and a skimmer in my first two puts in but was getting liners all the time and the fish were obviously shallow. I went out over my 13m line with my shallow rig, fed a few pellets, slapped a few times and after 5-10 minutes of repeating the feeding and slapping, the float bobbed and I lifted into a fish. This was much bigger and after a hefty tussle I slid the net under a 7lb common. I went back out hoping for a few more, the float once again dipped but this time my lift resulted in an angry foul hooked carp tearing off into the middle of the lake before we parted company and I only had a scale as a souvenir. The next put in, the same happened again, so with this I decided to shallow up and was now fishing 10-12 inches deep, however I now couldn’t get an indication, the clouds covered the sun and there was a definite change in temperature, the wind had also dropped leaving the lake flat calm so I decided to have a look back on the deck. I carried on swapping between the deep and shallow rig, with the deep rig providing a few more fish throughout the day. With two hours to go, I had around 25lb in my net, Stef must have had around 50lb as his second net had gone in, Cromie probably had a bit more than Stef but was admitting to a lot less! I decided to have a look down the boards at the side of the lake and went out armed with a 6mm expander and a few 4mm pellets. It was a nightmare to see the float at 15m due to all the scum on the surface however managed to make out a bite on my first put in. There wasn’t yards of elastic pouring out but it felt like a half decent fish, after a one sided battle a barbel surfaced and I had another 2lb in the net. I was hoping that his brothers and sister were also lurking down there! For the remainder of match I caught a few small stockies around 12oz off the boards and half a dozen fish around 5lb. I think I lost three that were obviously foul hooked as most of them surfaced at the aerator before either shedding the hook or on one occasion snapping me. There were still a couple of people walking round and whenever they walked down my bank I had to wait a lot longer for a bite, up to 20 minutes in some instances, which when you’re catching one near enough every put in, this drastically affects your catch rate and could cost you valuable fish! The match drew to a close and from what I could tell it had been a hard match for most, Cromie admitted to 45lb but I knew he was telling porkies, I reckoned I had 55-56lb and that Stef would have beaten me though there wouldn’t be a lot in it. I packed up my gear and being on the end pegs, Stef and I were weighing in our bank. We started up on peg 18 to work our way back down and up until Stef, Rab was winning the section with 28lb10oz, so it had fished a lot harder than I’d suspected. Stef’s two nets weighed 68lb4oz so I knew I was beaten. My first net weighed 36-08 and my second 24lb12oz giving me a combined weight of 61lb4oz. Cromies “45lb” weighed just over 80lb so he won the match with Stef and I coming 2nd and 3rd respectively. So after a miserable trudge to my peg in the morning, it turned out the “wrong” end of the lake wasn’t the wrong end after all! I just hoped that not so many people were walking around as I think this would have helped me to push further up the placings! Gordon had tipped back, and judging by the shine on the pound coin he gave me I think he’d been polishing it for most of the match! Acko also hadn’t faired too well and after disappearing last week we had double or quits this week, which he graciously handed over in the cafe! The final results looked like this: 1st P. Cromie – Peg 2 - 80lb 06ozs 2nd S. Armitage – Peg 32 - 68lb 04ozs 3rd S. Lupton – Peg 34 - 61lb 04ozs Sec1 A. Nattrass – Peg 6 - 33lb 10ozs Sec2 R. Ogilvie – Peg 28 - 28lb 10ozs Were at Brafferton next week, hopefully the weather, and the fishing will remain positive!

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