We had both the specimen and match lakes, my preference would be somewhere on the match lake, pegs 11-19 would do. Specimen lake's 'most wanted' pegs are 31-34 as they are the most likely for a day's fishing, especially 33 and 32, these two pegs frame at the very least in most matches. But having read various blogs and looked at the results from the fishery, peg 34 is the least favoured of the 4 given it hasn't framed much recently, but usually gives a few fish.
With the weather on Saturday being very wet, the forecast was brighter for today, so the sun and the reflections would be a pain at times should you be pegged on the near side swims. We also had a touch of frost in the air overnight too, which wont help anyone.
I arrived in plenty of time, I had to open the gate so I could park up, but around 10 minutes after my 7:40 arrival other guys started to turn up. It was the club's 1st match of the year and is often well attended (as are most matches really, which is great).
I loaded up my barrow and had a chat with a few guys before the 8am draw (at 8:10), we would fish 9:30 to 3:30. I picked my ticket about 6th in the line, pulling out a decent peg, peg 34. Vic Bush commented on my drawing ability....I mocked, a good peg is only a good peg if there is a decent angler on it, or words to that effect....well he had peg 8, so most pegs may seem decent to his....haha.
I don't know who else had what on the match lake.
Peg 34, Landsend Speci Lake (inc my brekkie)
Anyways I wandered my kit to the swim in 2 trips as I wasn't in a hurry. For company I had Chris Higgs on flyer/consistent peg 33. Chris 'giffy' Ware on peg 36. Peg 32 (golden peg) had the entertaining Sandra, while the other 'wanted' peg (p31) saw the club's match secretary and all round decent fella Mark Hembery sat there.
I sorted my box out and set about having a cup of tea.
Once refreshed I pulled the pole and 3 topkits out of the holdall. I mixed up a bit of wet-ish groundbait and softend the micros and pumped some expanders in 2, 4 and 6mm. After reading a few write-ups of the recent matches on there and a brief Facebook chat with Ken Rayner it seemed micros as main feed was the way to go. I did have other ideas, especially after last week at Avalon, I figured that groundbait would do well, cupped in loose.
I had some prawns, red and white maggots and a pint or so of caster.
I assembled the rigs all using NG XT Margin floats:
0.2g version on 0.18>0.14>size 14 b911, this would be for the near margin to my left and for 3 spots partway up the far shelf. Laccy was 10/12 middy solid.
0.3g version on 0.14>0.10>size 18 b911f1 for 2 swims at 7m and also at topkit length. Middy 8/10 solid was my elastic choice.
0.3g version on 0.18>0.14>size 16 b911 for the same swims as above. Elastic was 14/16 middy solid set very soft, but would only be used if I was catching plenty down the middle.
Once set up I went and told Chris on p33 that he should win from there....no pressure...haha.
I put my nets in and had another drink and ate a banana as I was peckish.
The whistle sounded so I cupped in some caster along my r/h margin, some micros at 7m in the 2pm direction. I also cupped half a pot of very damp, loose, groundbait at the 10 o'clock line again at 7m.
Over towards the island, all at 14m, I fed one area at the point of the island direction with some casters and red maggots, another spot by the bush I fed a decent amount of white maggots with the intention of fishing the prawn here. Lastly I fed some micros at 14m in the 1 o'clock direction.
I started over the shorter micro line with a 4mm soft pellet on the hook, but nothing happened here for ten minutes or so. I then put on a couple red maggots and placed the rig over the groundbait, 10 minutes later the float dipped and I missed the bite.
Meanwhile Giffy on p36 had attached himself to a carp, which after a spirited battle he netted, calling down that 18lbers shouldn't be match fish....(remember that fish.!!)
Elsewhere on the lake not much had been caught. Chris H. next door on p33 had missed a couple bites along the end bank.
After about an hour I had another bite over the groundbait, which saw the elastic stretch a bit before the rig came back with a scale attached, next drop the same happened and the 3rd put saw an identical scenario. So I left that line and tried over the micros, ten minutes passed and all I had happen was a missed bite.
Giffy had landed another carp, this time he said it was around 13lb....he too had lost one or 2 fish, both foulers.
At around 10:45 I tried the baited area by the bush, putting on half a prawn I lowered the rig in. A minute of lifting and dropping the float sunk away and a perch of about 1.5lb was placed in the keepnet. I then had a couple more from this line before re-feeding with white maggots.
I came back over the groundbait and promptly lost 2 more foul hooked fish, I think they were active over the groundbait but wouldn't settle properly.
I went back out long, this time over towards the end of the island, baited with double caster I had an instant bite, resulting in the elastic stretching well, after a 5 minute or so battle I netted a carp close to 8lb, hooked properly in the pectoral fin!!
Back out to the same spot and another foul hooked fish was attached, but after a few minutes the rig came back. I think the fish were just moving around, not feeding, in the warm-ish and brighter conditions. A look over the 14m pellet line only produced a couple knocks, so it was back with the prawn by the bush.....the next couple or so hours so me net a few more perch to 1.5lb and a couple F1's.
Chris on peg 33 had landed 3 or 4 carp, while Sandra also had a couple, things were not exactly hectic, but my silvers seemed to be building nicely.
At around 12:30 the sun was shining brightly towards the end bank of pegs 33 and 32, this was the catalyst for Chris on 33. All of a sudden his swim resembled and aquarium, he had 10-20 carp mooching around the surface layers occasionally sucking stuff off the top, it was rather 'summery' and the carp had responded to the extra warmth from the sun and come to the surface.
He quickly shallowed one of his rigs to fish around 18" deep with what looked like 3 red maggots on the hook. He set about swinging his rig on a long line, towards where the fish were.
After maybe 3 seconds he was in, landing a 7lb fish a few minutes later. The next 3 or 4 drops resulted in the same result for him. The fish never really moved much either, so it looked like the match, or lake at least, was wrapped up as he continued in the same manner until around 2:30 when I told him to get another net......he used the other net he had set up as he only had 1 tench in there.
At around 2:30 I had maybe 15lb of perch and F1's, all of which had come to prawns by the bush. I had also managed another carp on the same rig, so I had 3 ok sized carp for maybe 16lb. My micro's lines had not produced a bite and the groundbait saw me lose another carp, maybe it was the lighter elastic allowing the fish to run too much? Maybe I should have changed to a heavier grade?
At this point I chucked 1/2pt of caster over the topkit line in the hope the perch may come close.
I continued over towards the island, the bush gave me 2 more perch of 10oz each and the swim towards the point game me a mental F1 of maybe 3lb. I did try over the caster on the topkit, but the double caster bait was picked up by a lump, which decided just to keep swimming away from me and soon the rig was back in my hand...I had lost maybe 9 carp by now, but I am sure maybe 6 or 7 were foul hooked fish.
As the 3:30 all out approached it was fair to say it had fished hard, infact the car park had been rather busy since around 2pm.... Giffy had landed his 3rd carp, which was maybe 8lb, so he reckoned on maybe 39lb given he said he's had a 18lber a 13lber and the final 8lb fish....
Chris Higgs had gone an hour without mugging a fish, but the sun had gone in..!! He did land 2 more 4lbers late on though. He maybe had 80lb I guesstimated.
The last 15 minutes saw me land 2 more carp, so I think I had maybe 22lb or so of carp and possibly 18lb of silvers, so close to 40lb. So I had done ok on the lake.
Sandra had maybe 4 carp and Mark H. had a couple from what I could make out.
Further up the lake a few guys had packed up and Eric Fouracre had landed a chub..!!
On the all out I packed my kit up rather quickly and took the rod bags back to the car. A few guys commented on how hard the match lake had fished to everyone except Lewis Hembery on peg 15.
Infact the car park was at least half empty!!
I made my way back to my peg and waited for the scales. We weight in Chris on peg 33 first, I gave him a hand lift his nets as he has a bad back from his precious injury of a broken neck.
His bunch of carp and solitary 2lb tench gave him a very decent 78lb 13oz, probably enough to win the match.....
Next up was my nets. I tipped my perch and F1's in to the sling, they totalled a very good 20lb 3oz, which gave me a chance of silvers money. My 5 or 6 carp gave me another 26lb 13oz. So 47lb dead was my weight. I was pleased enough with that.
Giffy weighed next, his 3 carp gave him 30lb 6oz.....his 18lber weighed 13lb...haha. He needs a bigger landing net methinks..!!
I lumped the rest of my kit to the car and once loaded up, I stood around chatting to the Clapp twins and a few others. People commented that my silvers was miles ahead of any other silvers weight, also I was 2nd on speci lake.
Alas, Lewis Hembery on peg 15 on the match lake had landed 50-odd pound for the best weight off that lake, so this gave me 3rd overall. Nice.
1st - Chris Higgs, 78lb 13oz from peg 33 - mostly caught shallow along the end bank
2nd - Lewis Hembery, 55lb 1oz from peg 15
3rd - Lee Willams, 47lb from peg 34, including 20lb 3oz of silvers. Mostly caught on prawns.
Silvers - Brian Gatis, peg 16, 8lb 9oz
Sections winners were Chris 'Giffy' Ware(p36), Mike Levy(p13) and Phil Manning(p24)
Looking at the sheets, it seems that there were plenty of dnw's, well most of these caught, but mostly less than 5lb of fish. So it was a difficult really in the bright conditions after a cold-ish night.
So all in all I enjoyed the match, I only wish I had landed a couple more of the foul hooked fish I lost, a couple were definite lumps, one was a big ghostie (mad things!!). I am pleased that I only lost one perch as they can have a tendancy to fall off.
I am also glad I gave prawns a go, infact going by most people I spoke to, I was the only person to catch on them, maybe it was the white maggots that helped?
One thing I did find odd was that when I had a prawn on I was getting knocks and bumps on the float, I presumed from small fish, but when a maggot or caster was put over the same spot I didn't get any indications.............do the perch grab the prawn and let go quite a bit? The bit was getting whittled away with these indications, so I was only 'hittimg' bites when the float properly disappeared.
I am also inclined to think that maybe I should have cupped in my groundbait in ball form rather than loose as this may have lessened the foul hooked fish over this line, but then I was getting action of sorts which was a lot more than anyone else was getting down the middle.
So next up for me could be the Saturday open on Acorn Paddock lake next weekend. After that is the 4th round of the Avalon Teams of 3 Series on the 2nd of Feb.
Until next time, Take Care