Well it’s been a while since I have fished an Army Angling Federation match and with me being on Easter leave gave me the perfect opportunity to get back on the bank.
Todays venue was Todber Manor with 38 anglers split between 2 lakes with 2 sections on Park lake and the other section on white posts. Ideally I wanted to draw park lake due to the fact I had fished it a few times in the past but by no means an expert.
Having made the journey down the A303 I pulled up at the café for a breakfast, nice to see so many familiar faces, some I had not seen in a while.
With the draw soon taking place it wasn’t long before my hand was in the bucket and out came Park lake peg 7 (meant nothing to me at all but was happy with the lake I had drawn).
On getting to my peg I had the island 16 meters across with the island finishing just off to my left. Having fished the lake before the first plan of attack was to fish pellet long and see if we could drum up the F1’s from the far bank.
With a bit of space to my left I wanted to use this to see if any fish moved into the area as it couldn’t be covered by the surrounding anglers and with a ripple on the water was an ideal spot to see if I could get the fish up in the water and catch F1’s.
With a margin to my left with a tree starting to over hang the water I noted this as my margin swim and with another line on the inside of top 2 plus 2. 4 lines in total and was confident I would be able to get a good run of fish going throughout the day.
My long line rig was made up of the following; Browning hollow reflex yellow 8-10 rating, Browning Cenex 0.12mm main line to 0.10mm 4 inch hook length. Float of choice would be a 0.2gr Hillbilly Oliver finished off with a B911F1 hook.
My 14 meter shallow line of to the left would be a jigger float set 2 ft deep with a banded pellet on a size 18 B911F1 hook elastic choice Browning hollow Reflex blue 10-12 rating.
My short line (top 2 plus 2) consisted of a 0.2gr hillbilly Chump and was set on the yellow 8-10 hollow and would be a positive rig with the bulk shot closer to the hooklength with 2 droppers.
My margin line of to the left saw me reach for another Hillbilly pattern this time an AK47 which I would dot right down. This time the elastic was upped to cope with the fish that might be lurking down the side and my choice was Green Reflex Hollow 12-14 rating.
The plan was to feed sparingly on my of my lines with a little and often approach less for the margin swim.
Bait for my of the day would be hard 4mm & 6mm pellets fed on all 3 lines with 4mm expander upping it up to a 6mm if needed.
For my margin swim I planned on lose feeding groundbait adding a few grains of corn and meat with every put in. This gave me the option to change hook baits when required.
With the all in it was time to get to work and try and build some form of rhythm up. It wasn’t long before I was into fish on the far bank with small F1’s coming to the net on a regular basis. I could see there was quite a bit of activity on the far bank with fish topping it was just a matter of keeping them there. The float shot under with yellow elastic streaming out of my top kit (this clearly wasn’t an F1 and gave me a run about for about 5 minutes before it was scooped up with an 8-9lb carp in the net. With the feed going in on a regular basis on the far bank and shallow line it didn’t take long before 2-4 ducks on the lake took notice with them closing in on my far bank swim as well as hovering around my shallow line intercepting my bait as I fed with my catapult, not what I wanted or needed but carried on never the less.
This sort of affected the fish and I could see that the activity of the far bank was becoming less and less with the ducks started to muscle their way in. Then it came, I couldn’t buy a bite switching between my far bank and shallow line brought a few fish but nothing constant (it was all starting to go wrong and I quickly needed to put some fish in the net)
Having persevered for the next hour or so trying to get the fish back in the swims I decided to have a look down the margins as I was slipping down the pecking order and looking like doing nothing within the match with it half way gone I was positive there would be a few down the left hand side.
Looking down the edge there were signs of fish as the water was starting to colour up as the fish gained confidence and started to feed. On went an 8mm cube of meat and it didn’t take long before the float buried and a better stamp of fish started to come to the net. Over the next hour the margin seemed to be holding a fair few fish, with regular top ups of lose groundbait and a few pieces of corn and meat things seemed to be on the up.
Looking at my watch there was an hour and a half to go and I was thinking to myself if I could keep this up I should be able to redeem myself and scrap a frame within the section (the fish must have heard me as it turned out to be the famous last saying) I foul hook a fish in the next put in which completely destroyed the margin, there were bow waves everywhere as the fish within the swim were clearly spooked by the commotion of the foul hooker and made a bee line for the open water.
After that I spent the other hour and 15 mins as a spectator as Danny Jones and Mick Craddock caught fish after fish down the edge and were putting a good run of fish together.
With the all out called I knew I hadn’t done well and had a guess I had 40lb in the net with the pegs to my right easily beating me.
With the scales coming round my thoughts were proven with me weighing in 23kg’s with Danny and Mick respectably weighing 30kg and 45kgs clearly and soundly beaten.
On the bright side the weather had been nice with the sun shining with a steady breeze, couldn’t help think that the sun seemed to play a part in the fish not wanting to play once it was up at midday as the fish could be seen cruising just under the surface also enjoying the sun.
Looking back I could have changed things earlier which could of seen me land more fish but at the time I tried to push the swim to make what I had set out work.
Oh well always next time and as always its good to just get out on the bank and catch a few fish.