It was apparently fishing tricky and the lake looked rather quiet when I arrived.
I popped myself onto peg 27, on the spit, and decided to fish from 10:45 to 16:45.
As it turned out, it was frustrating, bites were coming in spurts, mostly skimmers and roach, but the odd 'bream', eel, rudd and perch kept me interested. I also lost a handful of fish, probably foul hooked bream, but 1 was either a big eel or tench.
I finished up with 58lb in total (I had scales with me) for possibly my best net of fish from the lake.
|Around half of my catch.|
I had never seen the venue in the flesh and finding out anything other than 150lb+ nets in the summer are common-ish, but there is also a nice head of silvers from roach, to skimmers, tench and eels.
The weather was due to be warm in the afternoon but a little breezy and a chance of rain prior to lunch, and this is how it turned out.
I made the 80 minute drive up the M5 and through Gloucester and found the lake easily enough, I was greeted by the other 13 anglers fishing, all seemed to be in fine fettle, especially the piss taking of Chris 'feeder' Gay and Adam Caswell........as the day wore on it was star angler Alan Healey whom was the centre of much mickey taking.
When it comes to catching a carp it was said by many that you cant blank at Staunton (apparently), but Mr Healey did his best but came up short of not catching a carp by netting one with maybe an hour of the match left!!
The venue is set at the back of an industrial complex with units/warehouse things, flanking 1 side and the other 3 sides are rather nice and generally 'green'. I liked the look of the far end pegs where the wind was blowing.
Into the draw and I plucked my ball around half way through the rabble, peg 12 was my location for the next 7 or 8 hours. It was also the noted 'bin peg', some said it was good, others less appreciative of it. Either way the swim was the only one on the lake with spawning carp in it......so frisky non-feeding carp, loose vegetation and a venue I don't know didn't bode well for my hope in a change of recent fortunes.
|My view in front.....Staunton Court's 'bin peg'.|
|Left hand margin, Staunton Court's 'bin peg'.......better than the front view.|
3 rigs for carp were assembled, a shallow/mugging rig, a margin rig for topkit down to my left and at various distance further along.
The last rig for catching carp was for 14.5 down into the slight bay at the bottom of a ledge - this rig would also do for 2+2 at the 10 o'clock angle, both spots never gave a bite!!
The final rig was a deep shallow rig for silvers at topkit length at the 2 o'clock angle.
Bait was simple caster, 8mm pellet, 6mm pellet and 8mm meat.
For company I had silvers specialist Si Belcham on my right (p11) and Chris Gay on peg 13, he had to his left Steve Burgess in a rather fishy looking peg. Mr Gay also wanted a quid side-bet, so perhaps I would have to give out 2 quid today instead of the now regular £1 to Steve.
At the all in I began feeding 6mm pellets at 13.5m in front, some meat and caster went on the deeper rigs and I began by fishing against the reeds down my left edge and toss-potting meat over the top.
20 minutes in and I'd already foul hooked several carp and removed a few snags.
Luckily by the end of the 1st hour I had landed a couple 6lb fish, both took the bait on the drop down the edge. Some of the others had also landed a couple, Steve Burgess and Will Dearlove being two.
The silvers were plentiful, but rather smaller than expected.
At this point I fed a good helping of bait down the edge and spent 20 minutes catching silvers on that rig, I had some skimmers and roach up to 4oz, but Simon on peg 11 was now targeting these, so I left him to it and went out shallow.
15 mins of shallow fishing gave me bum all so I continued along my left edge. A few more carp came over the next hour or so, meat being the best bait.
The halfway stage of the match came and went and it seemed I was doing ok with 5 carp. But generally it was not fishing great.
Soon after this point I 'mugged' two fish on meat, so I wasted 30 minutes trying to 'mug' a few more in white water where it was obvious I wouldn't see any fish......but still my few happened to be a grand total of Zero...Nil...None.
I began to feed my topkit line to my left and soon enough fish were venturing in, but never seemed to settle and only 1 fish was had from this spot in the remainder of the match.
It was also at this point that up on peg 7 that Keith Ray began getting a bite a chuck from his right hand margin as was flying. Steve Burgess began a run of fish shallow (based on Adam Caswell on peg 8 or 9 catching a few that way) and had gone ahead of me in the fish numbers game.
We were soon into the last 90 minutes and I decided to try and pick odd fish off the shallow line in front and maybe a few would make an appearance down my left margins.
This ploy seemed to work as I put a few more fish in the net, I foul hooked a couple from down the edge but everyone was convinced Keith had won and it was between me and Steve for the bridesmaid spot..
Chris Gay had the silvers wrapped up hour before and his nearest rival was Simon, but by now he'd started amassing a few carp on his topkit fished corn.
The last 5 minutes arrived and Steve was on 14 carp, Simon 6 or 8, Keith had won, everyone else ahd maybe between 5 and 7, except Kev Jefferies (3 carp) and Alan Healey (1 carp). I was up to 13 carp and my 20 minutes worth of silvers.
Suddenly I had a bite down my margin and I was attached to a fish, Will called the all-out and I continued to play this fish, which felt bigger than the others I had caught all day.
10 minutes after the finish I landed the fish, a big ghostie of around 12 or 14lb, though it was empty after spawning (would have been maybe 17lb prior to it's reproductive activities).
I packed my gear away a rather happy chappy but was still convinced Steve had pipped my total.
I caught up with the scales as Keith was just about to weigh in, not much had been recorded thus far with several DNW's. Little Adam offered to help Keith and lift his nets in, which he accepted, but in typical Adam style a few fish missed the weigh sling but thankfully (for keith and adam) none ended up back in the pond!!
His 3 weighs went 42lb, 36lb 10oz and 32lb, which Adam deducted to 110lb 10oz within 2 seconds much to the astonishment of everyone else.....now Ads isn't the brightest but that was a touch of genius. Brilliant.
A couple other nets followed before Si put 61lb or so on the board before it was my turn, my silvers went 6lb which was nice for 20 minutes catching, then the pleasant surprise of 94lb of carp. More than expected obviously. My total was 100lb 4oz.
Next up Chris put 28lb of silvers on the scales and 26lb of carp. Steve Burgess put his 14 carp on the scales, but it turned out his were smaller than mine and his final weight was 78lb.
Last to weigh in was Will, he had 40lb 6oz.
So 2nd spot went to me, 10lb behind Keith. This was a nice result given my recent inabilities in both drawing and fishing......if there was less spawning activity and the associated rubbish in my peg then i may have had a few more.
1. Keith Ray (8) 110-10
2. Lee Williams (12) 100-4
3. Steve Burgess (14) 78-0 (section)
4. Simon Belcham (11) 61-8
5. Darren North (4) 56-6 (section)
6. Chris Gay (13) 54-4
7. Lee Waller (6) 54-0
8. Adam Caswell (9) 50-0
9. Will Dearlove (3) 41-6
10. Pete Uzzell (10) 31-10
1. Chris Gay 28-0
2. Simon Belcham 15-0
Next up is next Sunday at Avalon with the PSV guys, then the week after is Pawlett's all-winners final on Landsend Speci and John's Lakes.
Until then take care.