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Wednesday, 1 July 2015

River cam summer league

Last week I was on the river cam for the 2nd round of the summer league. I drew peg d3 and the last 2 years this peg has been bang on the money, normally loads of bream in the area, so I couldn't have drawn better, so I thought!
Turns out the bream had moved further along today so I unfortunately never saw one!
I did manage to find some eels though and got 9 out of the 12 I hooked to weigh 13lb 11oz for a second in section. The winner came from d1 next to the a14 bridge catching several bream for 31lb.
In the other sections massive weights of 64lb 72lb and a whopping 94lb of bream were caught, there certainly still are some fish in the rivers!
On the day my peg was about 11 foot deep, with a fair flow, so I opted for a 2g Jean desque float, laying 6inch of line on the deck and had all the shot and Olivette just above my 6inch hook link. The reason for this was because the river was absolutely stuffed full of weed, I did manage to find 2 relatively clear spots to fish, one about 6meters and the other at 14m, and I basically had to bomb the rig in and not move it or I would constantly come back with weed. I fed 3 chopped lobs and a dozen dendras with some caster after each fish and simply alternated between the 2 lines all day, this seemed to work quite well for me as most times I had a bite on each feed, although I'm not particularly a fan of catching eels, more because I got through a pack of hooks than anything else, and despite being way off the pace on the individual front, something about the days fishing seemed quite enjoyable! More so when our team won on the day with 30 out of 36points. Not a bad result on what proved a rather Peggy river!

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Silver fishing my way to success at white acres

For the last week I have been fishing the White acres garbolino spring classic, this is a 72peg, 4 day festival. Those who know White acres festivals will know that you draw a section and follow that section around the lakes each day, I was in D section which meant I would be starting on high numbers at trewaters, then low numbers twin oaks, low numbers trewaters and then finally high numbers twin oaks.
Seeing as I'd never fished the lakes before I figured on the Sunday practice day I may aswell practice on the lake I was starting on, which was high numbers trewaters. 

Being there a tad late with several pegs in use, i opted to sit on peg 44, which had wind blowing towards it and looked like it might be alright! I decided to try a few things out and had no plans on bagging, I simply wanted to see what I could catch on certain baits and areas. I decided to start at 5m on pellet and caught a 3lb carp straight away, and f1 and several skimmers, which at the time I thought were a nuisance! I caught for an hour and it then went iffy and slowed up which seems to be fairly standard on a lot of places I fish. I then decided to fish the feeder, I opted for a micro pellet feeder, I caught a few fish on this but still it wasn't great, and the bites certainly coming fast enough for me to fish the confidently in the match, I'd rather be busy in a match putting something in the net. I'd been feeding caster down the edge and decided to have a look, it was absolutely solid with roach and skimmers. I only fished this for 20-30mins and it was by far the best way to put fish and weight in the net! My team mate had fished 2 pegs away from me and concentrated on feeder all day, it was quite apparent that bites mostly came in the first hour and last hour. With this info I was set for the match, I would start at 5m to see if I could catch any early bonus fish, have a look on the feeder and then go for the roach, maybe looking for carp late if I had too.

Day 1 trewaters peg 47
Drawing close to where I had practiced was a bonus, although on arrival I noticed my margins where Barron with no sedges at all, I was unsure if I would be able to bag on the silvers like before, the wind was also horrendous so there would be no long pole options for anyone today.
I started the match at 5m a couple of hand sized skimmers in 15minutes wasn't quite the plan, so out went the tip. 
I was using a micro pellet feeder and it was very much apparent that if your feeder didn't 'kiss' the bank you didn't get a bite! I managed 3 carp on this early for about 5lb. Not quite the required stamp!
At this point I was doing as well as anyone in the section so decided to take a look for roach. I'd been feeding caster and maggot either side from the start, action was hectic to begin but it only took 45minutes or so to slow, I managed to keep fish coming by alternating between left and right margin but they were not the required stamp from the day before, and as not a lot was being caught I stuck with this till the last hour, I picked up a carp and a couple of f1s on the tip in the last hour, I ended with 21lb 2oz for a section win, 10lb of which was roach!

Day 2 twin oaks peg 11

After drawing this peg and seeing it was last in section with 17lb the day before it didn't exactly fill me with confidence, but looking at the results they seemed to just get better the further down the lake you went, with my section being peg 7-12, I still felt I was the right end of the section.
Arriving at my peg I found Simon gould on peg 12, which had won the section the day before with 61lb.
I decided to start the match on a method across, feed a 5m line with meat and feed a roach line again as a back up. There would be no long poles or wagglers out today as yet again the wind was howling.
I started on the method and caught 2 fish for 14lb in the first 30minutes. Simon to my right then caught his first fish, a 15lb carp! He then proceeded to catch another and a couple smaller ones while my tip just sat there! I was behind and up against it! After an hour Simon said here comes the witching hour, he had stopped catching, I was no longer getting liners and I decided to look for roach! This proved a great move and I managed 150roach in the next hour for approximately 20lb by this time though this line was unfortunately starting to slow so was certainly not a feasible way to catch 60lb+. In this time no one to my left caught a fish and Simon had just caught a couple of f1s. It was only when Simon brought in another Munter that I decided I really needed some more myself and chucked the feeder out again. I'd changed to a pellet feeder and was really cramming the bait in, this seemed to work a treat and bites were far quicker.
I caught odd f1s and frustratingly smaller 4-5lb carp compared to the ones Simon caught, we were probably fish for fish at this stage of the match and I really didn't know how I was going to overtake him. Unfortunately I had an issue with a snag, lost 3 fish, 9 hook links and 2 feeders in it! A bit of a mare really and even Simon said I wasn't getting a lot of luck! Coming into the last hour my catch rate increased, I'd been pinging pellets 3/4 all day and also managed 2 lumps on this. Unfortunately Simon did the same and found another huge double!
I weighed in 81lb and Simon had 110lb, I'd come second in the section and although I felt like I'd fished a good match I still felt it should have been closer. Yet again those roach had boosted my weight and made 2nd in section far more comfortable. Fortunately Simon framed so I picked up section by default.

Day 3 trewaters peg 31

This peg looked like a good peg in the section, the wind was blowing this way down the lake and I felt like I had a good chance. My team mate had been on 34 the day before and had found the lake fished very hard, with most carp caught almost straight away before people sitting bite less. On the day he fished maggot short for bites and amassed a lovely 38lb bag on roach and skimmers for a section win.
Armed with this information I saw no reason why the lake would fish any better than the previous day, the wind was similar and it still felt very chilly.
I decided to start on a micro pellet feeder cast millimetres from the island, this is something we worked out too, if it wasn't close, you wasn't getting a bite. Fortunately it didn't take long and the tip went round with a small carp followed by 2 small f1s in the first 30minutes. In this time I'd been feeding one side of my keepnet with sloppy groundbait and maggot, and the other with caster. I felt it was time to change so on with a maggot and I flicked the rig to my right. The float went under immediately and I was into chunky roach one a bung, after 20 minutes or so I found a bonus 2lb skimmer. 30minutes later and the roach started to get smaller and I was catching odd small perch, a change to the left hand caster line produced good roach straight away, I had a good 15minute spell before that also started to go iffy. I then found myself in a rhythm, fishing one side for 10-15minutes a time and it seemed a perfect way to keep in touch with the quality roach, both lines also produced another 5 decent skimmers, and a couple of f1s.
Coming into the last hour I'd not seen much caught at all so I was pretty confident I was leading the section, bites became iffy in the last hour but this was probably down to the fact the big fish were starting to move around, I actually hooked something that tore off and snapped my 0.8 bottom, I stepped up to 0.10 and interestingly sat bite less for 10minutes, I'm sure those carp and f1s are incredibly line shy on these high pressured waters. Back down to the 0.8 bottom and in the last 45minutes I managed a few more roach, along with 5 decent f1s and 2 carp, one of which was 5lb, I was using double 5 preston slip elastic and a game black hook, it's amazing what you can get in on gear like this! I ended the day with 385roach 5-6skimmers 5-6fs and 3 carp. My total weight was 57lb 10oz of which 49lb was my silvers net all caught on a top kit! I'd won the section by over 20lb, finished 2nd on the lake and had a fantastic days fishing along the way! 

Day 4 final day, twin oaks peg 19

This was easily my best draw of the week, and I couldn't have asked for a better peg today, this peg had been first or second every day this week, and I needed to catch a big weight if I was going to win the festival, this was probably one of very few pegs I could do that on this lake, as with every peg in it was fishing incredibly hard. I decided on a very simple approach, pellet feeder tight across, long pole up the margin, the maggot roach line in front of me as a back up, and a short margin line if they would come that close late. All week it had been fishing very hard with almost every fish being caught on a feeder tight across, hence why I didn't even bother with a 5m or shallow pole line today, I really just wanted to concentrate on positive methods that were working.
I started the match on the feeder and had one 3lb carp in the next 30minutes I had loads of liners in this time, but after 30minutes they just stopped, the fish were very much not obliging at this point. The guy on the peg next to me who I forget his name also had one fish, while everyone remained bite less. Even Simon gould on peg 21 only had a small roach at this point!
Now in a peg like this I really didn't want to be fishing for roach, but I had to get the section win before I could start thinking of sacking up, and with the tip completely motionless and nobody catching a fish, I decided to go for roach, I caught 86 roach on maggot in front of me on a topkit for approx 10lb as I had a bonus skimmer and a 1lb roach in this, unfortunately the last 15minutes of that hour was hard to get bites, this also coincided with the guy next to me catching an f1 on the tip, so out went mine and up the bank went the roach gear! It's worth noting at this point I fed some grounbait long up the bank to my right, as I felt I may nick a fish or two here during the next few difficult hours.
I cast my feeder out after catching those roach and it flew round almost immediately, I had an f1 of my own! Over the next couple of hours I sat on the tip catching odd f1s and small carp, this kept me ticking over nicely, especially as no one else was hardly catching. Probably an hour and a half I saw some signs on my long margin line and managed to catch an f1 and small carp on worm here, I topped the line up but unfortunately not another fish turned up here all day! This didn't matter too much though as the tip was gradually getting better. With an hour and half to go I started throwing small nuggets of gb to my right short margin, with about 40 minutes to go I saw a huge tail waving at me, so on went 2 worms! I lowered the rig in where I assumed the head of the fish would be and the rig just carried on, I wondered if I was under depth and the worms pulled it under, when I went to lift the rig it was solid, before a head started to nod and the fish wallowed out into the middle of the lake, big lump on! After a 10minute struggle I finally caught a glimpse of what was a good 15lber! Amazingly though just as I went to net it, the hook pulled and I watched it slowly swim away, proper gutted!
I had fed a few nuggets of groundbait down the edge while I was playing this fish, and there was another waiting for me, so in went the rig and I had to sit and wait frustratingly for a good 5 minutes before the float buried, this time I had a baby edge dweller of only 8lb! Although it was still best fish of the day at this point! This fish had caused a fair bit of disturbance when I hooked it, and as a result there was no tails waving at me after I'd landed it. I topped up with a pot of gb and went out on the tip.
It wrapped round with a 5lb carp, I then went out again and had an f1. There was 5 minutes left on the clock, and there was a tail waving at me, not a double but not far off, I now had to make the quick decision if I fish for it and potentially not get a bite before the whistle, or chuck the tip out for an almost guaranteed bite from what would probably be a smaller fish. I chose the feeder and it turned out to be an inspired choice as I caught 2 carp for 14 lb in the last 5 minutes! What a finish!
I ended up winning the lake and section with 78lb 10oz, a great days fishing as the next best on the lake was 40lb! Yet again I felt like I'd fished a great match, by catching plenty of silvers in a time when the bigger fish simply weren't feeding!
Unfortunately though I knew I was 60lb behind Harry billing going into the last day, so he only needed a section win and 18lb to beat me, this turned out to be the case as he won his section with 50lb.
I'd finished 2nd in the festival with 23 out of 24 points and a weight of 241lb over the 4 days, over 85lb of that was silvers! They played a massive part in the week for me and I would have been nowhere in the festival without them!

At this point I'd like to thank all the white acres team for a really well run week, and more importantly my bills tackle team mates for the great info they provided me each day! They all had up and down weeks themselves, all having some really tough draws, but also I think they all won there section or framed on the lake at least once too, including banksy who managed to pull himself up the leaderboard with a section win on the last day after a 'slow' start to the week!
Congratulations also to Harry Billing for the win and Danny Edwards for taking 3rd spot!
I had a great week and will definitely be back for more!

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Southern supercup semi final at colemans cottage

This weekend saw me and my bills tackle team mates fish the supercup semi final at colemans cottage, this is a venue we know well, and have had a fair but if success at, although that's more in the individual front as a few in our team fished the recent spring league, myself included, and we fish the odd open and the big money qualifiers, including the fishomania where I managed to finish third overall.
As expected, everyone was saying we were the favorites in the run up to the event and at the draw, it was quite obvious that one of the teams was trying to put us off by piling on the pressure, as a team we simply shrugged this off and carried on as we were, most likely putting this pressure back upon there shoulders! 
Match fishing is a funny old game, and two things stand out to me as things that have a massive impact on your day. One of those is confidence, in this instance, in our position if knowing the venue quite well, we knew what we was doing on each lake, and if we were lucky enough we'd know how to approach a peg we'd fished before, and we knew what baits to bring in order to comply with the bait restrictions at the venue, an area no doubt people tripped up on. More importantly though, the other stand out factor is having a drawing arm! Our captain Danny mason seems to have one of these magical elusive limbs that everyone in match fishing wishes they could possess! When it comes to a team match, there's no point in having a couple of fliers and some rubbish, you need a good solid draw. It's fair to say we got just that, we had two good pegs on pathfield, pegs where there's always a few bites to be had, which should be maximised by our chop worm caster catch everything that swims approach, we had one very good peg on wood, with another decent peg in the shape of peg 29, this is one round from a corner which means you have room, which as we have found in the big money matches counts for more than anything on this lake, my mate Mark 'Paul' Banks drew this one so I knew he'd do the damage from there as this was a peg he'd won a 60+ pegger in the spring league.
Then is was onto step field where captain Danny mason was on a good reliable peg on old side, and he'd drawn me probably the best winter peg on the lake in shape of 56, I had this peg and the ones almost either side in the spring league probably more than any other angler so I had an idea of the area! 
After thanking the captain for our good fortunes and the use of his golden arm, we all headed to our pegs confident! We really wanted to win this match as last year we finished 2nd in the semi final at monk lakes and we really wanted top spot!
On arrival at my peg (which I pretty much ran too) I was the first person at the lake, I stood on the hill behind to get a picture of the lake and the wind was roaring down the end to the 30s and 40s, my peg was flat calm and I didn't like the look of it! In my experience of this lake, end pegs produce big weights of carp, whereas anything in between is an f1 race, I also new after an hour this race would slow up so you have to absolutely make the most of it.
My approach today was to start on a top kit with pellet shallow, pellet shallow is the method on this lake in the summer, and although I hadn't fished the lake since spring, I knew I could catch close early before it dies then moving out after, this worked for me in the winter so I saw no reason why it wouldn't be even better in the summer. Another thing about this lake is that, in the first hour, everyone can catch a fish from every inch of there peg, close,long,short,down the edge whatever is was you can get almost a bite a chuck. With this in mind starting on a top kit would allow me to catch more fish in that period than anglers fishing say 5m or 14m etc etc. I also had another tick up my sleeve, in the form of varnished lasood pellets, now being me, I leave nothing to chance, I spend a lot more time preparing than I do fishing, and this no doubt catches me more fish, in this instance spending time the night before lassoing and varnishing 15 hook lengths would be worth their weight in gold. I'd worked out if you spend 10 seconds unhooking a fish then rebanding a pellet, you would lose 10minutes of fishing in the first hour if you was to catch 60 fish, which is perfectly possible on this lake. Therefore my lasso approach should prove exceptional! And as it proved I caught 50 fish in the first hour on a top kit using just 2 pellets!
My rigs for the day were small dibber floats, with 0.15 main line for durability to an 0.13 hook length with an 18b911, although later in the day I changed down to 0.11 hook length. The 0.13 was more to bag up early doors. I set my rigs a foot deep as rules state and set up a rig for across on the deck for carp if I was struggling, along with a method rod in case it was hard too.
My feed today was sloppy groundbait, although it's not something I normally do, as I tend to fish and feed pellets, it seems to be the method as of late and is be daft not to try it, this also proved a brilliant decision and the word piranhas comes to mind with the reaction I got from the fish!
I started the match by feeding some slop and slapping my rig on the water, I hooked a fish first put in, netted it, unhooked it, slapped my rig again and as I was putting the fish I had just caught into my keep entry another was pulling the elastic out! I enjoyed this blinding action for the first hour and had around 50 fish for a brilliant start. I got into a lovely rhythm slapping, hooking fish, feeding, netting, unhooking, slapping, all the time I was just making the most of the early fish as I new it would die off!
Soon after I was adding a section to the pole and had to follow the fish out, this lasted another 40minutes before I was moving further out, towards the end of the match I was fishing 11 meters catching just the odd fish, as the fish had become very crafty to catch, it was very frustrating towards the end, I felt if I could fish shallower I could have still caught well as the f1s would attack the slop on impact then spook off but wouldn't feed deeper, I tried all kinds of ways to present the bait and the best was to slowly lower the pellet on top of the slop, hard work in the end, but I finished up with 140fish for 101lb and an important section win. The windward end had somehow not fished although it looked perfect, and the next best weight was 81lb further down the lake, I was buzzing and couldn't wait to get the gear away and find my team!
One we were all back we totted up our talley, which was 20points, this included my section win and team mate Alan lees section and match winning weight of 154lb from peg 6, and marks second in section and 4th in match 129lb from peg 29. Julian had also come second and dean and Danny had not had such easy days but still beat the anglers around them and secured good team points!
The results where called and we had done enough to win with second having 29points, it was a fantastic feeling and what we had came to do! We were all buzzing and I still am while I write this piece!
Hopefully we can have a better final after last years not so great result!
Thanks for reading and well done to all the other teams that qualified, see you at barston lakes!

Friday, 11 July 2014

My latest fishing fortunes

The last few months have been very rewarding for me, I framed in my one and only fisho qualifier of the year, finishing third, I won the first round if the essex inter club league at southminster pits, came 2nd at colemans cottage on a 36pegger on wood lake, I also added another evening league tital to my name, all in all I've seen lots of brown envelopes!
Il start with the fishomania qualifier, I started the day 46th on the reserve list, wondering if I would even come close to getting on, talk at the draw as usual was you wanted to draw copse, you have more room than anyone and it's not usually match fished every week so the fish are always ready to feed, otherwise having abut of knowledge of the venue, I knew wood could throw up a weight but didn't expect the other lakes to compete. I was fortunate to get onto the match as about 20 people didn't turn up (I think) I just about squeezed in and couldn't believe it when I saw peg 8 copse, this is a good peg (supposedly) and I was very happy to draw copse because at least I had abut of room. Despite the fact I have fished the venue few times in the last year, I've never fished this lake as it's not big enough to hold an open match. A quick chat with Paul the tackle shop owner and he told me Chris vandervliet(who drew just before me in the que) conveniently drew peg 17 on copse with the wind blowing into it, and Ross Harold was also on a decent peg, Paul told me they were both better pegs than mine so I new I would have a challenge on my hands to win.
I got to my peg very late, seeing as I had to wait for 120 anglers to pull pegs out, then wait another 30minutes In case any one turned up late who had tickets, this meant I arrived at my peg with 40minutes to get ready, which wasn't ideal.
I decided on a margin swim to my right which was abut like a 5m line as it had a spit going out with reeds that looked lovely, a swim to my left in shallow water next to some over hanging sedges that looked very inviting, and long pole to the island, although on setting up it was hard to hold in the wind. 
I started on my right hand swim with the idea of kinder potting, the left hand margin was big potted and long pole left alone unless I fished it. I had a good start catching about 30lb in the first hour, more than anyone else I could see before bites slowed up, a look down the left resulted in a good run of better stamp fish to get me upto about 60lb before yet again it died, at this stage I considered going long but on first attempt I almost took off with the wind so quickly the pole came back in, I considered chucking a tip over but the angler to my right had caught about 3fish all match and it was clearly not that great, he was also only about 3meters away from where I would have been chucking, so I discarded this and went back to the right margin. To cut a long story short, I kept a steady run if fish going by swapping between right and left side until the last hour when I only managed 4fish, this was frustrating, but after the match it seemed everyone on the lake had exactly the same thing, so I didn't feel I did much wrong.
I finished weighing 103lb, I won the lake beating Chris vandervliet who had 97lbi sh I think! Talk was that I had won it, but my hopes were dashed when a weight of 129lb came from pathfield, very unexpected, I was then relegated into 3rd after Gary bull weighed 145lb of peg 38 on wood.
Although I hadn't won, I was chuffed to frame in a big match like this, and even more chuffed to win my lake against top opposition. The feeling when people were saying I had won it was indescribable, and it's left me craving that feeling again. Next year I'm applying for more tickets and il be back to go that bit better!

My last big match win was at southminster pits, which was a 60 pegged. This is my third visit to the venue as I only go once a year on the inter club match, last year I was sat on a featureless peg watching every peg on the other side of the lake sack up in carp next to reeds in corners, it looked brilliant over there, I managed 13lb of roach for 5th in section that day, which was realistically as good as I could do!
This time however my fortunes had changed and I drew a corner peg on the same lake, it looked fantastic, loads of room and fish topping in the corner whilst setting up. Last year this peg had about 40lb and the match was win with 70lb so I fancied my chances. I spent a good 20minutes plumbing every inch of my right hand margin, and finally settled on 13meters down the bank, just past a little bush and more importantly a relatively flat bottom without tree roots, the rest of the swim was horrible and full of roots and snags which would have made fishing a nightmare. I fed a cup of groundbait (this was 50/50 sonubaits krill and sonubaits sweet f1, a margin mix that works everywhere I go and have complete faith in) with some dead maggots here and chucked a tip down the corner, after 10minutes I'd had nothing so thought I'd see if I could mug an early carp on the pole line, the float flew straight under and a short scrap later a nice 6lber was in the net, I went straight back in and had another one, by this time only 25minutes had passed and I had already matched my weight from the year before, not too shabby!
I topped the swim up with more groundbait and maggots and went on my roach line as there are some cracking roach in here and felt I could catch these until the margin was really ready. After 2 minutes and 2 decent roach I saw a tail sticking out the margin. I proceeded to catch 3 carp in 3 put ins and then topped up again. I decided this time to go straight back over the top, and had another withing minutes. I got into a nice routine catching 2 or 3 carp off a pot of groundbait with a few dead reds. I had a slow spell in the middle of the match, but otherwise caught very regularly. I finished with 26 carp for a match winning143lb, beating the 'reed' peg who came 2nd with 78lb.
I had a great day and was really pleased to win by such a great margin, I had got the feeding pattern spot on all day and hardly lost a fish!
The rig that did all the damage was a  Nick Gilbert margin float, I used a heavy 0.4g as the swim was about 2.5 foot deep these also feature a 2mm bristle which helps the float stay up when you get liners, personally I am completely converted to heavy margin floats for carp, regardless of depth, I'm happy to use a 0.4g which is about 4x14 in less than 18inches if the target is carp. I see no reason to fish any lighter, I have all the shot above a 4inch hook length, so my 10 maggots are on the bottom and not going anywhere, we all know how positive margin carp take the bait aswell so there's no reason to make life hard for yourself, after all what's the point in feeding accurately with a pole cup if you fish a light float that's going to waft about when a fish comes in!

I also came 2nd a colemans cottage the other week on a 36peg match on wood lake, I weighed 154lb which would normally be enough to win with this many people on it but I got pipped by Gary bell with 164lb. I won't disclose my tactics for this match just yet as the maver match this is coming up next week on here, but more importantly my team bills tackle are in the semi final of the bait tech supercup in 2 weeks where we will be trying to make out way to the final for a second year running.
These results also mean I have 7points after the first 2 weeks of the anglers mail/preston innovations matchman of the year, which is a great start! Although I am under no illusions that I could win this competition as I fish team matches all year round, if I'm to score points it will be venues I fish once or twice a year that can be very Peggy, this is much harder than fishing 2 or 3 local commercials that run big matches in my opinion. I also don't fish a Saturday and Sunday so will most likely fish half the matches if many! Hopefully though I can score a few points and keep my name on the leaderboard a little while longer.

Thanks for reading
I will be back with more!

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Colemans Cottage spring league F1 Bagging!

The last few weeks I've been fishing at Coleman's cottage in the spring league. This is run by the onsite tackle shop owner Paul chambers. This league is 12 consecutive matches, which in my opinion is a few too many as its hard for anglers to commit to that many matches in a row without having team commitments, an example being I had to miss the first round due to it being the same date as the Essex interclub league final round on Maldon canal. This meant I was on the back foot straight away and seeing as I will be missing the last two rounds, I will have no real chance of winning the league, but my goal has been to finish in the top 30, as the top 30 go through to a Final where you fish for (hopefully) a decent pay day. Being at Coleman's, which is a fantastic venue, it has drawn many top anglers in to fish, including big names like Simon Colclough, Terry Edwards, Gary miller, Tony Curd and Danny Grimsby  to name a few and with attendances so far up to 74anglers, it's not easy to frame. Sections have been 6 or 7 in a section, with a section win gaining 4 points, 2nd gets 3, 3rd gets 2, then if you weigh you get 1, yet again I personally don't favour this way, but I guess it is done so that people can't walk away with it so much and you can afford to miss a match or two.
I have fished 8 rounds of the league so far, I've drawn really poorly on some, and bang on with others, doesn't seem to be any middle ground for me so far, and I think I have 17 or 18points, which puts me roughly around 14th/15th/16th area of the league table, more importantly I think I have enough points to stay in the top 30 if I don't fish any more matches.
My most fun match of the series has to be when I drew peg 56 on stepfield a few weeks ago, this is one of the 3 or 4 best pegs on the lake, if not the best peg on there! it's fair to say I had abit of a grin on my face when I drew it out the drawbag. it's been a good section winning peg since the league started, and also framed in a couple of matches. new side of stepfield is full of small f1s, mostly averaging less than a pound. my way of fishing this lake seems to be abit different than others, most people tend to fish long or start on 2+2, but I start on a top kit! yes a top kit! providing I have at least 3 foot of water, if not on goes another section and that where I start. My aim on a match on here is to catch as short as possible for as long as possible, they always back off after a while, but you can catch very quick when you catch short, I basically catch till I can't get a bite and then add another section and start again.
I started the match on this day on a top kit plus one, as on plumbing up I had about 2 feet on a top kit, then a section further out it was like a cliff face and went down to about 5foot, although ideally id rather catch in shallower water, I couldn't find anything better short, and with such a feature underwater like id just found, it had to be the perfect place to start. I Also plumbed all the way across finding the depth, it gradually got deeper to the middle and then sloped up, and I found I could use the same rig from about 5 sections to 8 sections if I needed too, then I set up another rig where I had about 3 foot of water across slightly to my left, this peg has a lovely aerator straight  across but with the wind I never had a chance of holding the pole. I also clipped up a bomb rod next to the aerator in case I couldn't hold the pole at all (it really was blowing a gale with winds up to 50mph on the day) whilst clipping up I hooked a carp, in the mouth, it had actually taken my quick stop, must have been hungry! after that I decided the first thing I would do on the whistle was to chuck the bomb over and see if I could snag one or two quick at the start, as carp are not easy to come by on this lake, and are a lot bigger than the f1s! My rigs were all 4x14 malman slim f1 floats, these are basically a super strong Chianti float which is perfect for this type of fishing as you need the super sensitive presentation along with a strong float to withstand bagging. I dot my floats to a pimple, and then use bristle grease to hold them up, this is the best way to fish for f1s with pellet when fishing dead depth, I then use a strung out bulk of no 11s spread 1cm apart, starting from the 4inch hooklenght of 0.10 using an 18 b911 f1 hook, for me this has been the perfect rig set up. I also have 4x12s for shallower water, also 4x10s in case its incredibly hard and 4x16s for down the track in the 6- 7foot+ depths. although these floats may seem heavy for the depths of water, I have found its on the final 10-18inches of water that really matter to getting a bite, so the quicker you can get to that point the better, especially when your catching quickly.
On the whistle I put about 30micros on my top kit plus one, and chucked the bomb out with some pop up bread on a hair, I had 2 big f1s in two chucks, which was good! but not the carp I had hoped for, on my third chuck it sat for about 2 minutes before a small f1 so I came short on the pole.
I was straight into fish on the pole, catching a smaller stamp of f1s than usual, but I was putting fish in the net one a bung and from my experience of this lake it's hard for anyone to beat that even if they are getting odd carp and big f1s. I caught nonstop for the first 2 hours, feeding about 20micros in a small frenzee soft pot for every 2 or 3 fish. the reason I didn't feed every fish is quite simply because its way more time consuming filling a kinder pot up each time. I was fishing either a 4 or 6mm expander on the hook, I like using ringers expanders as they stay on the hook great just from pumping them and you don't need to add gelatine or anything silly. 6mm caught me bigger fish, but once id caught the big fish in the swim I then missed bites from smaller ones so it was important to keep changing to make the most of the peg. now a key thing I have found particularly on this lake, is how you lower the rig in, despite the fact I was catching one a bung, if I didn't lower the rig in correctly you could sit there and not get a bite, my method here is to bomb the rig so the float is out the water and a little line, maybe about 8inches in total from float tip to water, then lower it really slow, and I mean really slow, this never fails to get a bite! on the rare occasion it does, it probably means there's not allot of fish in your swim, but I don't leave it more than 10 seconds then I lift and drop again, this is a deadly tactic for f1s and one you should try if you don't already!
back to the match, after 2 hours my swim completely died, by this point the wind was so bad I had no chance of holding the pole anywhere across, I tried adding another section and I could barely hold 2+2! I knew straight away I was in mega trouble if I couldn't get the fish short again, I then decided I had to try the bread again and try my best to rebuild the short line. I simply threw 5 or 6 4mm pellets every minute over the short line whilst fishing the bomb to hopefully draw some fish back and get them confident while I wasn't fishing it. on the bomb line, I really didn't expect it to be that good, on previous occasions I've always caught a few carp on it, but only big f1s seem to have it as it seems too positive for small f1s, id also found a feeder was no good because however small a feeder you used it really was too much bait and they back off, fortunately though I had a really good hour on the bomb, catching a few carp but plenty of big f1s, I had possibly about 30lb in the hour on the bomb, which was probably more than id caught in the first 2 hours on the pole, so I wanted to get the most out of this, unfortunately id died completely and the bloke to my right started catching so I guess they had moved on.
At this point I came short on the pole again, and found myself missing bites! id clearly drawn the fish shallow by my regular loose feed, a quick try on a shallow rig just didn't catch the fish quick enough and they just didn't seem quick enough. I went back on the deck and started trickling in micros which really got the fish going again, I caught more and more as the day went on after this, especially the last hour it seemed to the best it had been all day, I kept having odd chucks on the bomb during this final spell, hoping to snag an odd carp, but only found the odd f1, and by this point they were no bigger than the pole line so just persevered for the remainder of the match, finishing with 150fish in total. A proper cracking days winter fishing that for sure!
My fish totalled 102lb so you can see what I mean by small stamp of fish! 2nd on the lake was further down the lake with 37lb. the peg to my right had weighed 21lb and the peg to the left had packed up and gone home! Id walked the lake, and section and even framed in the match taking 2ndplace payout, most fun I've had all winter!
The reason I say that was the most fun match I've had and not the best is because I was on the flyer and won easily, the best match I believe I have fished this series is when I drew peg 54, which is close to the flyer, but 55, 56 and 57 are certainly better pegs! On the day I managed to weigh in 89lb, and take the section win against some top anglers on all of the better pegs, and finish 3rd on the lake and 5th in the match. I fished identical tactics to how I fished peg 56, except on the day I actually managed to catch really well shallow on a top kit for the first hour to put 60 fish in my net before it started tailing off as the lake tends to do, 2nd in the section was peg 56 with 80lb on the day with a browning backed angler. so for me this has been my best match!

I've had a few other decent matches, but I've drawn horrible on wood lake and have been on the wrong peg on the wrong day on a couple of occasions, but I've beaten the anglers either side of me nearly every time, which is sometimes all you can do, these harder pegs have made me really work hard to get extra points, and without that extra effort i probably wouldn't be in the top 30, so I'm happy with that.

In the next few weeks my team Bills tackle will be practicing for the first round of the angling times/ bait tech super cup, we have drawn Colchester at their water so we expect it to be a tough match, but after we reached the final last year we are all going to be fighting to make it their again as it was a fantastic experience and a competition I would love to win. I will post updates once we have fished this match

thanks for reading,

Thursday, 25 April 2013

latest results

I haven't blogged in a few weeks, but some of my recent results are a win at rayne lodge with 71lb, a win at arrans lake with 120lb, a terrible result in my fishomania qualifier! My bills tackle team won our 1st round in the knockout cup. And ive had a couple good days where i didn't quite manage enough, like last weeks match at rayne lodge where i weighed 102lb which i struggled for, to miss out on the section by 3lb! although im sure that's nothing on what Grant Albutt must be feeling after his 8th second place finish in a fisho qualifier. I hope when he finally qualifies he doesn't finish 2nd in the final!

I shall try get back into the blog with weekly catch reports.


Thursday, 7 March 2013

Long Pond fishery

This Sunday our club went to long pong fishery, this is a really scenic lake in the summer with lots of trees and Lilly pads lining the place. I've never been here in winter though so on arrival it looked like a completely different lake! more so because it was completely iced over! sods law it had been warm all week with one frost on Saturday night meaning it iced up! fortunately it was breakable with a pole pot!
I had no idea what i was to be fishing for or what pegs would be good, so i was first in the draw bag to find my destination for the day. Peg 12. This has an island to fish too, and also some open water, although it is shallower than other parts, the island is 14.5 meters away as well with reeds on the end to make for awkward playing of fish! I've actually drawn this peg before so knew it was as deep next to the island as the rest of the peg, which gave me confidence to target this area.
I opted to fish 14.5 meters to the island and start by feeding a golf ball of micros and 4 mm with a couple of grains of corn, a balled in joker line at 11 meters in the open water, and a short line where i fed one small ball of joker just to make sure i didn't blank!
I started on the short line catching 7 consecutive tiny perch in 15 minutes, at least it was fish in my net! I spotted someone hook a carp across the lake so decided to give the carp line a go in case there was something there already, the float stayed for no longer than 10 seconds before flying under and carp no 1 was on, after a 5 minute battle it was in the net. I then put the rig in again and caught another one, then again and caught a lumpy 10 lb er! Id put 20 lb in the net in the space of 20 minutes. I didn't think i was going to weigh more than about 15 lb so this certainly wasn't a bad start! I also got those 3 in before the bloke opposite got his one in, as he had it on a 20 hook on an .08 bottom!
I went in again and foul hooked one, and decided that my small golf ball of bait must be gone! so i put another 2 p sized ball in and instantly caught another one. Unfortunately no more followed and i had to work my lines for bites, which weren't coming at all! the joker lines were dead.
It seemed as though I had caught some resident fish rather than drawn anything in, which i did expect having a deep island to fish too.
I spent next 2 hours just fishing the line against the island and introducing small amounts of bait through a kinder pot, i caught 2 bream in this time so at least it wasn't wasted time. I couldn't get a bite from a roach or anything anywhere else. I decided to spend the rest of the match on this line, trickling in the bait, I eventually hooked another which was foul hooked and came off, and straight after i put another in the net.
I sat bite less for the last 2 hours, and the bloke opposite had caught 2 more in the last hour which left me wondering if i had done enough!
I finally weighed my 5 carp and 2 bream in for 31 lb 9 oz, closely followed by the bloke opposite with 30 lb 15 oz. Those bream had been the difference as we both caught 5 carp each! Certainly a close one but my peg is no where near as good as the other blokes in the summer, so maybe its better for holding carp in the winter as well. The backup weights were not so good, with one bloke weighing 18 lb of roach and clearly having a ball of them in front of him as no body else had hardly any! Other weights with 11 lb and 9 lb of skimmers, and the rest were all 6 lb or less. so it had been an incredibly hard day for most.
I was happy to bag my third win in a row though, and win the club championship in style!

Next week I am off to Arrans lake in Ingatestone again, I've grown fond of this water even though ive only been 3 times, I already feel as though I've got it sussed! Hopefully ill have a good report for next week, can I make it 4 in a row?
Thanks for reading, and ill try to remember to take photos again next time!