As in last year's match it was held on the local reservoir, Durleigh. A cracking piece of water of 80 acres, plenty of bream and roach, silver bream, perch and rudd, oh and a decent head of carp (don't count in this match).
As usually it was a strong line up fishing, some tidy silvers anglers. Vic Bush, John Fuidge and Eric Fouracre to name but 3, but every one of us had a chance.
Recent matches on the venue had shown that in a few weeks the bream weights had fallen somewhat since Mark Bartlett did 110lb a few weeks back. They had also been a bit patchy, but the end pegs and the point were still the better spots.
The whip weights had been a bit patchy but a few upper 20lb nets had been had. The inconsistency, in my opinion, has been due to the fact that the water level has been kept high and was several feet, a few metres in distance, higher than normal levels at this time of year.
Anyways back to the day, I had the wife with me and the weather looked somewhat better than the last time she came along (Acorn Series last match). I chatted to a couple people and paid my pools.
As for the draw, I wanted, ideally to be down in the shallows, further up the ressie, as I am more a whip angler than a feeder chucker. I fancied that end to produce more whip fish and the near end more feeder fish. I drew around 5th in the queue and peg 3 stuck to my hand, not my choice but a reasonably decent peg......for someone who likes feeder fishing, ho-hum.
Actually years ago I enjoyed it, fishing up the res, on the Huntspill and some of the local club waters. I did ok, but commies came along, I drifted away from matches and my feeder fishing became, well, obsolete almost.
I got to my peg and watched the water, hoping to see plenty of small fish topping. They weren't but the odd dimple and I saw 1 or 2 pike meant there may be some whip fish about.
I mixed up my groundbait, 2kg of Fishmeal Lake and 1kg of Sweet Fishmeal F1, plus some Sensas Roach to add weight. I wetted 2pts of micros with plenty of liquid additives for the method feeder.
I had a few pints of caster, 1/2pt maggots, a tub of worms for the hook and an array of wafters/pellets/boilies for the method hookbait. I also had 3 pints of hemp.
3 feeder rods assembled, 1 with a standard open end feeder at around 40 turns, a method feeder to fish at 70 turns and an open-ender for the same distance.
2 whips made up, a 3.5m and a 4m version. The 3.5m rig was a DT Pencil, 0.2g to fish off bottom in around 4.5ft of water (the shallows would have 2.5ft), the 4m rig was a 0.4g DT Chimp style float, this would be for on the deck. Both rigs were set on 0.14 mainline and 0.10 hooklength to a size 18 in a b611 pattern (4m rig) and b911 with a band for caster (3.5m rig).
|Peg 3 at Durleigh Reservoir|
The all in was called and a couple balls of groundbait on the whip line and a dozen or so feeders of bait on both lines, groundbait on the shorter feeder line, micros on the long line.
I began on the whip and had fish right away, but only 1oz roach and rudd. After half an hour or so I switched to the feeder as the little fish on the whip were relentless.
Vic had landed a couple skimmers on the long range method line and Steve I thing had one shorter.
20 minutes of the feeder saw only a liner for me, so back on the whip, again only 1oz fish with the odd 2 or 3oz 'bonus'. You need 3-4oz+ fish to compete on the reservoir most of the time.
I kept plugging away, spending 20 mins or so on the feeder every now and then, sometimes chucking the feeders out every minute to keep the feed going in. The whip line was still mostly little fish.
I had my 1st skimmer after 2hrs, a 2lber on the method, but it was a loner. But I felt I was maybe spending too long on the feeder without response, but the guys to my right were getting a few.
My 2nd came around an hour later, another 2lb fish on the method, but I wasn't getting indications.
So at the halfway stage I had 2 skimmers on the method and perhaps 3lb on the whip, I had hooked a couple lumpy perch on the whip but the hook pulled each time, annoying and maybe costly. But that's what you risk when fishing flick-tips, but for me the flick-tip outweighs laccy if catching well with fish to 4oz.
Vic and Steve had around 10 skimmers and bream each, so maybe 20-25lb each. I couldn't see anyone else to be accurate on what was being caught, but a couple walkers said most were struggling, so I pretty much decided to stay on the whip, only stopping to put some bait out with a few feeder full and have the odd 10 minute 'look'.
|The wife's view of my peg...|
I altered my feeding on the whip as it seemed the more caster I fed, the smaller the fish got, so I upped the groundbait levels and fed hemp more, only feeding caster when bites slowed.
I was swapping regularly with the shallow rig and deep rig, often coinciding with pike activity, when I had a pike in the area I would drop to the deck and I began to get better fish, mostly 4oz silver bream but the odd similar sized roach and perch too. I was even getting fish really shallow at 8 inches, but found 15" more productive with hittable bites, just the fish were strangely smaller, usually the better fish come shallowest. Vic and Steve had stopped catching and could see me catching and a few comments were forth coming, but I knew I was well behind their nets. Mike Davis though was catching netters on the whip, I could see the splashes regularly under the trees. He'd been doing well all day I believe.
90 minutes left and I needed a call of nature, so I lobbed the method out and got off the box...Back on my box it wasn't long before the tip twitched, and again, so I struck and a solid thump on the end.....
A nice bream of 4-5lb was plodding in and it was around 15m out when the poxy hook pulled....bollocks. But this happens and I don't let it get to me, but I was a touch gutted. I gave the feeder another, fishless 15 minutes. So going into the last hour of the six allotted, I had probably spent 2.5hours or more on the feeder for 2 skimmers, 1 liner and 1 lost bream.
I decided to stick with the whip for the last hour, in a bid to increase the size of fish I tried mixing my groundbait into a slop to cloud the water, last chance really.
The final 60 minutes flew by, but I saw Steve land a couple lumpy bream and a couple skimmers, so maybe 10lb. Vic had a couple and added maybe 6lb or more in that spell. There seemed no routine to how they caught during the day, it was odd to see as both are capable guys, even they said they couldn't figure it properly.
I managed to get among some silver bream and would get a fish a chuck, but the average size was a little better than the previous 5hrs. The slop worked well. The all-out was called.
A quick glance in my net and it looked like 12-13lb maybe....well I am pants at guessing my silvers nets!!
I packed up and waited for the scales, by the time they got to me we had lots of 11lb nets and Ziggy with 28lb. Mike Davis has 32lb and then I tipped my fish on to the scales and it went 24lb 7oz.....12lb my arse (or similar) was mentioned at least once....
I knew Vic and Steve had more than me, I was expecting them to put 90lb between them on the sheet, actually Vic had 30lb and Steve 42lb. So that put me 5th on the day, and a quick glance saw me have the default section win as Steve, Mike and Vic were 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively. So that lost bream and 2 lumpy perch (plus the few bumped fish...which I can live with) possibly cost me 2nd as that would have been 8-9lb or so. But that's fishing.
Would I have caught 35lb on the whip if I hadn't bothered with the feeder? I really don't know, I would think so, but only if those better fish turned up earlier, but all ifs and buts..!!
We congratulated the winners and monies given out. I had a few chats with how their matches went and it was generally seen that the feeder was patchy and that the whip had lots of 1oz fish.
The 'also-rans' match held in tandem with the final saw a 30lb net of whip fish by Rob Dodd. But it was hard all through it seemed.
1st, Steve Fouracre, peg 1 - 42lb 10oz
2nd, Mike Davis, peg 4 - 32lb 8oz
3rd, Vic Bush, peg 2 - 30lb 4oz
4th, Ziggy Slowinski, peg 9 - 28lb 1oz (sect win)
5th, Lee Williams, peg 3 - 24lb 7oz (sect win)
Until then, have fun.