So Mark had the fun of re-organising this 'event' at short notice, thankfully (and appreciatively) the good lady at The Puriton Inn sorted out brekkie along with Vic Bush's idea to book Orchard Lakes in New Milton (nr Bournemouth, in the New Forest). We originally had 30 due to fish, but this dropped to 19 with the re-arranged plans.
Now from what info I had gained, Orchard lakes was a venue rammed with small carp, we were fishing the match lake, a horseshoe type arrangement with 44 pegs, though it was quite ok to look at.
I was told that at least 250lb should win, but don't be shocked at 400lb winning........reputations can be knocked a bit by our guys...lol.
So we all met at the pub at 7:15am for a 7:30 breakfast, some people arrived worse for wear than others, but everyone was looking forward to the day.
The breakfast was slightly late, but was really decent(I don't do breakfast usually just a banana or bowl of cereal). I had seconds....so must have been nice. The club paid, so a big thanks for that from the members.
We set off from the pub at 8:15 and was expected to take a couple of hours. Unfortunately for me as we approached the first Shaftesbury turning on the A303 my car decided to go into limp mode and the oil warning light popped itself on. So I made my way to Gillingham, found an ASDA and topped up the car with oil. I waited 20 mins before heading off again. Luckily this was the way I was going to drive to the venue, though it seemed as though everyone went via Salisbury.
Upon leaving Gillingham I called Mark and said I would be late, he said keep him informed.
After travelling across parts of Dorset I had never seen I arrived at Orchard Lakes at 10:25. I was one of the first to arrive somehow, so my route must have been quicker. As others filtered in the time was getting on. But once we bought some pellets(fishery own skrettings..!!) we decided to fish 12-5 and pay top 4 places plus 2 sections.
After a look at the lake, where there seemed lots of fish....they were coming to the sound of stones being dropped in...!!
The draw was made, there were not any pegs which were deemed 'hot', but the ones at the entrance end had a ripple on them so possibly were likely to do better. We would see if that was the case.
I drew peg 16, right at the far end with the central channel opposite me, everyone else had a far bank....lol.
To my left on p15 was Nick and a couple pegs to my left was young Philip. I could also see Chris 'Giffy' Ware on p12.
Peg 16, Orchard Lakes.
Rig wise all I set up was 2 top kits, one with a longish line from float to pole, a Nick Gilbert inline dibber type float and band for 6mm pellet and another for 6mm pellet but with a Preston dibber, this was on a shorter line between float and pole. Both were on 0.22 mainline to 0.20 to a size 14 B911x. Laccy was the usual middy solid 18-20. Bagging gear. Lol.
I also got the no.4 section out, but only as a last resort would this be used.
Bait wise I had 6mm expanders, a small tub of 6mm meat, 5pints of fishery pellets and some 8mm hook pellets. I also had a couple pints of paste for if it was slow and I could target the better stamp of fish, they run to double in the match lake.
Rule about keepnet limits were that 'silvers' and carp under 1.5lb in one net, anything else goes into another (or 2 others).
During the set-up process Nick caught a carp in a fin and Giffy kept bumping fish with a plummet. I didn't plumb the depth, I just planned on fishing between 18 and 8 inches deep, top kit distance out in front and occasionally to my right in the edge.
The all in sounded and I hooked a fish right away, I swung in a small crucian and promptly missed the keepnet...I did this with the next 7 fish, all crucians of 3-5oz and a single barbel of a pound or so...I also bumped a couple small carp so slackened the elastic. This seemed to work as I started to catch fish, the water is stuffed with carp and each feed saw mouths on the surface, the water turning over due to the amount of fish chasing the feed...
Nick was getting a fish a chuck, mostly carp. I kept getting tench up to 6oz, crucians between 3 and 6oz and the odd rudd, the carp were not getting a look in. But that soon changed. But I was missing loads of bites. After an hour I had maybe 40 carp and a similar amount of 'silvers'.
The second hour saw me cut the bands off the rigs and use 6mm expanders or 6mm meat on the hook, this slowed the missed bites and I was getting more carp as the took the hookbait more cleanly, but I had to re bait after each cast. Though they were mostly between 4oz and 1lb in weight. I could have done with the average stamp being about 8oz or so bigger.
Philip on peg 18 was getting less fish but they looked a better size, he was getting his fish on 8mm pellet down the edge.
I did give paste a go but this didn't change the fish size so stayed mostly on the meat.
So for the rest of the match I kept putting fish in the net, not as regularly as Nick on Peg 15 or so it seemed. Giffy was catching in spurts and had the odd barbel. A few others had caught barbel, which it seemed averaged bigger than the carp. I even managed a carp using a minnow as bait (I netted loads when landing each fish).
The last hour was a pain for me, the fish were slightly bigger, but I trashed 3 rigs due to tangles and this definitely caused me to lose my rhythm. I had to re-tie a rig for the last 20 mins and put 25 fish in the net during this time..
The all out sounded and everyone was pleased with their days fishing, commenting how 'awesome' it was. Sadly I felt there were too many fish, they looked starving and a lot of the mouths were in less-than-great condition.
I packed up quick enough and caught up with the scales after 2 people had weighed. The 1st weight was 52lb, next was 196lb 4oz. Then Colin Haggett put 72lb 7oz on the scales, Mike Davis' catch went 128lb+.
I commented how I think I had between 150 and 170lb, but really couldn't be sure.The next 100lb+ weight was Brian Gattis and he had landed 106lb+, the next 100lb+ was Giffy with 129lb, Nick's catch was 115lb 7oz.
The scales arrived at me, my silvers and small carp went around 50lb, of which probably 20lb was tench and crucians. My next few weighs took me to a total of 221lb 3oz......I only had 1 fish over 2.5/3lb.....so lots more fish than I thought.
The scales continued around the lake, there were lots of 70-90lb weights, but for the next 100lb+ catch we had to wait until peg 25 where Jamie Cook had fished, he was unsure what he had caught, but after a few weighs the board showed he had landed 161lb 15oz.
Vic and Eric were soon to weigh, Vic was convinced Eric had won easily and Vic himself wasn't too sure how he'd done which could be seen as ominous...!!
Next up was Kev Locke, his catch went 99lb 3oz, not quite the 100lb mark.
The scales arrived at peg 29, Eric's peg.......well after what seemed like 30 minutes later his weighed was called out.......he'd landed 347lb 3oz. In the last hour he'd had 16 fish over 3lb.......the rest of his fish looked a better stamp than mine. He had over 160lb in one of his nets. That's some fishing. Well done him.
So lastly we came to Vic. As we watched his catch get weighted he mentioned something about my arse cheeks twitching, but to be fair I wasn't bothered if 2nd or 3rd was my final position. But it looked like it'd be close, and several weighs later Mark called Vic's weight as 217lb 1oz.
We had witnessed some big weights and a good few members went away delighted with their bags of 75lb or 80lb etc, which was great to see. A refreshing attitude was shown by all.
So after what was a lengthy weigh in, everyone finished loading the cars and vans and we went to see the results. These were:
1st Eric Fouracre, 347lb 3oz..THREE HUNDRED AND FORTY-SEVEN pounds 3 ounces. Brilliant.
2nd Lee Williams, 221lb 3oz.
3rd Vic Bush, 217lb 1oz
4th Paul Lock 196lb 4oz.
The 2 sections were won with 'only' 161lb 15oz and 129lb 9oz to Jamie Cook and Chris 'Giffy' Ware respectively.
Weigh Sheet, Orchard Lakes 7/9/13
So a very eventful day with some big weights. Everyone went away pleased and would defo come back.
Apart from carp to 9lb (most are 8oz to 2lb) we saw plenty of tench to 1lb, crucians to 8oz, rudd and roach, skimmers to 8oz, chub to over 1lb and barbel to 4lb+.
Maybe I could have had a better weight after my early 'bumping' of fish, sorting hookbaits and the last hour's mess of rigs, but would Eric's weight been under threat? ..........No chance.
The total weight of 2392lb, averaging almost 126lb per angler.....WOW.
Next up for me is a match at Bradney on the KSD, brilliant. Back to my youth. I am looking forward to it a great deal.