Sunday, 14 September 2014

Saturday Open Bristol Avon at Sutton Benger 13th September 14



With the sun out and Phill Colins “easy lover” blasting over the car stereo plus getting some funny looks as I made my way through Marlborough it was just over an hour’s drive to Sutton Benger and the Bristol Avon for the Saturday open. I was keen to get on this when I found out they were running one as I am back there next weekend for the start of Wessex Winter league with Pewsey. Having never fished the stretch before it was sort of a throw away match with me looking to try and gauge how best to attack the venue and sort out the better stamp of fish.  

Having arrived I found out that we would be fishing the lower stretch from the weir down (meant nothing to me at the time but noticed the further downstream you went the less flow was around) I wanted to be as close to the weir as possible where there was plenty of flow and an area that screamed fish. Watching the locals get their kit out of the cars I noticed the lads had plenty of worms for bait (brought a kilo myself) and had already been told you need plenty of worm and maggots for the stretch, but lay off the groundbait or you will just get bitted out with small fish.

Having a quick chat with the other 2 Pewsey lads that had also booked on it wasn’t long before the draw, the golden peg was drawn and the locals said that if the right angler was on it then that would fall (well that wasn’t going to be me then) as I drew peg 16 at the weir, result ! just where I wanted to be. Whilst the peg looked uncomfortable setting up wise it had a few options to go at to find the fish with some good slack water close in and running water further out towards the far bank.
Plan was set 3 rigs up to hit the swim with the waggler as backup. I wanted to start short for as long as possible before having to move out, I noticed within the swim there was a load of weed and cabbage heads just off to my left and were clearly visible (nice perch holding area with the odd specimen lump hopefully lurking around) the next 2 lines would be concentrated in the faster moving water towards the far bank where there was a clear run off from the weir. The waggler was set up and would also be used on the far bank swim should the fish not want a pole over their heads. My rigs were as follows 

5 Meter swim straight out 7ft deep
Elastic number 8, Browning Cenex 0.12mm mainline, Sensas Jean Francoius 1gram float, 0.10mm 8inch hooklength finished off with a size 16 B520 hook. Rig to be fished 3inch laid on bottom to keep the bait still. 

11 Meter swim far bank 8ft deep Rig 1
Elastic number 8, Browning Cenex 0.10mm mainline, Sensas Jean Francoius 2.5gram float, 0.10mm 8inch hooklength finished off with a size 18 B520 hook. Bulk of weight 12 inches from hook. Heavy float in aid to get the bait down and hold back against the faster flowing water within the swim.

11 Meter swim far bank 8ft deep Rig 2
 Elastic number 8, Browning Cenex 0.10mm mainline, Dino Roach Royal 1 gram float, 0.10mm 8inch hooklength finished off with a size 18 B520 hook. Bulk of weight 12 inches from hook. Bait just touching bottom main purpose of the rig to trot it through and see if the fish preferred it running at them. 

Waggler 
Mainly for the far bank and set at half depth with the option going deeper should the fish be sitting towards the bottom. Kit used Champion choice 13ft match light rod matched to a Xitan MF 930 reel.
With the all in soon called it was straight out with a bait dropper full of chopped worm and caster on my 5 meter line. Leaving it to settle it was a pouch of bronze maggot and a pouch of hemp on my far bank swim before chucking the waggler over it and letting it slowly trot downstream. This brought a run of small fish but not what I was looking for. A shift to my 5 meter swim and it became apparent that the perch had moved in over my bait as a steady run of perch came in quick succession before the line died down. A quick re-feed through a bait dropper and again brought a run of quality perch to the net. Now in a rhythm of catching short whilst still feeding my far bank swim I hooked a nice perch, after a quick fight with it trying to head for cover and any snag within range I had its head up. I was just about to land it when smash a pike had gone for the perch getting the perch and cutting my hook length at the same time (perch must have been 1 ½ lb and the pike was a hell of a lot bigger).
New hooklength on and back out saw the line still producing but not as quickly as it had been doing. A run of yet more perch and a few more hooklegnths lost due to the know resident pike who was having his lunch on me the swim was now starting to slow to the point of the line taking too long to produce a fish and was becoming unproductive with regards to putting a weight together. With the far bank swim being fed for the last 2-3 hours I was hoping the fish would be lining up.

Shipping out and starting at the start of the run produced some good quality roach which were sure to build my weight but it wasn’t long before the pike had realised this and was still hungry for more. I was finding that some of the fish best responded to me slowing the bait down before inching it through and slowing it down towards the backend of the trot with the better stamp at the end of the swim. The only battle now was trying to get them in quickly enough before the pike had his tea as he had set up camp at the end of the swim as well. I adjusted all my rigs so I could break down and swing to hand on either my top 4 or 5 so I could get the fish in quicker but still the pike persisted and were quicker than me at times. With swim now starting to slow down I made the decision to rest it
before hitting the 5 meter line again.

Hopefully the perch were still there and the pike had moved off and this proved right with a big perch first put in to about a 1 ½ lb. Another steady run of perch and I was in again feeding far bank and quickly getting the fish out of the water on my 5 meter line. Once again it was evident that the pike had followed me back onto my 5 meter line and after a few more hooklengths and lost fish (one being my fault as the elastic streamed out of my pole with a bigger perch heading straight into the snags on the right of my swim) the swim again died. Back out on my far bank line for the last hour saw me frantically shipping in and out putting together another 2lb not knowing what everyone had as I was blinded from the rest further down the bank. 

With the all out called and a quick minute to reflect on the last 5 hours I felt I had spent too much time on my 5 meter line trying to make it work when clearly it had died and maybe lost a couple pounds across. Add that to the 2 lost perch reaching for a combined weight of 3 ½ - 4lb due to pike and one taking me into a snag I had lost a few pounds, still 85 fish and I reckoned I had 7lb. With no time to lose it was get the kit away and off downstream to do the weighing in. With the last 2 anglers on the stretch already passing me it looked like it had fished hard for some (still less to weigh in)
Going up the bank there were weights from 5lb-7lb and had a feeling it was going to be tight. With the scales coming round and my turn to weigh in, lifting my net I knew then I had more than 7lb and this was confirmed with 8lb14oz going onto the scales. A small smile on the face as I knew I had won the match but at the same time disappointed I hadn’t put double figures onto the scales. Still no need to beat myself up too much I had never seen the stretch before and it was good to come away with a result. 

Next weekend sees me back down where I think another simple approach will be required but at the same time fishing within a team means putting fish in the net and scoring points so depending on where I draw could mean same tactics or slightly refined one as to not let the team down.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Army Angling Federation Inter Corps Championship Westwood Lakes 31st Aug 14



Well it was a weekend road trip up to Westwood Lakes (nr Boston Lincolnshire) for the Army Angling Federation Inter Corps match. This match sees each arm of the British Army pit their wits against each other in a 6 man team shoot out, with the lowest points taking the title of inter corps champs and the braggin rights.
With me being in The Royal Artillery it was good to be on the bank once again fishing for my corps with braggin rights to be had and personal pride at stake, I see it as quite an important match which comes around once a year.
The journey started at around 2000hrs on the Friday with one of the team Simon Irwin turning up with the van to load my kit before the 4 ½ hour journey north bound. Simon was keen to show me the River Witham which he had fished as a kid and where he had learned to fish so a night by the river and camping beds out in the back of the van we were woken to the beautiful view of the River Witham first thing in the morning. Gutted we couldn’t get away first thing Friday morning as would of loved to have fished it for the day, still plans are afoot to come back soon and fish it for the weekend.
The plan for the rest of the weekend was to fish the Saturday open at Westwood lakes to try and 
gauge how the place fishes and what methods and baits work ready for the Inter Corps match on the Sunday, so Saturday was more like a throw away match. Meeting Rich Harris (another member of the team) it wasn’t long before we were tucking in to a large breakfast. The open was on Skylark and from what we could gauge it was full of F1’s and carp with a good head of silvers with pellet being the bait to use. With a verity of baits we wanted to see if we also catch on other baits that might just give us an edge on the Sunday or would we have to slog it out on pellet. With a roaming draw on the cards it was noted that whilst the 3 of us fancied the bottom end of the lake it was interesting to see the locals follow the wind and pick the top end of the lake (first note to myself). Having heard that chopped worm and caster can work on the lake I set about plumbing up the far bank at 11 ½ meters to find the shelf that I had been told about with about 2ft depth. A line down the track at its deepest of 5ft and another line down the margin saw me set up ready to go. Bait for the day was as mentioned chopped worm and caster, red maggot and sloppy fishmeal groundbait. With the all “All In” it was off to work and see how the peg would produce with the wind blowing off my back it was a comfortable days fishing with me working out what I thought would be an effective plan should I draw the lake again on the Sunday. With me catching 63lb of fish over the 5 hours most coming in the last hour or so I was happy with the day’s work. I wasn’t expecting to frame as I said it was a throw away match to gauge the fishing and come up with a plan and wasn’t surprised I was comfortably beaten by the locals on the top end of the lake with a ton plus taking first and a few 90lb weights going onto the scales.  With Craig and Felix turning up (another two of the 6 man team) it was time to put over a few ideas whilst in the bar at the fishery having a few cold pints before they had a fish themselves for a few hours. After a few more beers it was decided it was time to get our heads down before the match on Sunday.
With an early start it was back to the fishery with most of the teams there already it wasn’t long before the draw was made and we learned our fate as to which lake we would be fishing and who against.  The draw saw myself and H Harris on Skylark with the other 4 members of the team on Falcon lake.  As for the draw I was happy with the lake and found myself towards the top end of the lake where the locals had sat the day before. However getting to my bank I noticed the far bank was featureless with no reeds or cover that could possibly hold fish like some of the other pegs on the lake, still that was what the draw had produced so it was time to look at what other options I had.
My plan of attack would be 2 swims far bank at 13 meters one at 11 o’clock one at 2 o’clock. A swim at 12 o’clock 2 plus 2 and I would just one of the margins looking for around 1-2ft of water and somewhere where the fish could hide (empty peg to my right). Rigs for all the swims were as follows
11 o’clock swim 20 inches deep.

Browning yellow hollow elastic set slack on a pulla, Hillbilly Oliver 0.1g float 0.14mm Browning Cenex mainline to a 4inch 0.12mm hooklength fisnished off with a Tubertini size 18 808 hook.  Shot was number 12’s spread out. This would be my pellet line.
2 o’clock swim 20 inches deep
Browning Blue hollow elastic set pingy on a pulla, Hillbilly HK47 0.2g float 0.14mm Browning Cenex mainline to an 8inch 0.14mm hooklength finished off with a B911 size 16 hook. Shot was a simple bulk with 2 droppers. This would be my chopped worm and caster line and where I was hoping for a bigger stamp of fish.
12o’clock 2 plus 2 4ft deep
Browning Blue Hollow elastic on a pulla, Hillbilly Oliver 0.3g float, 0.14mm Browning Cenex mainline to a 4inch 0.12mm hooklength fisnished off with a Tubertini size 18 808 hook. Shotting was a bulk and 2 droppers and fed again with pellet.
12o’clock 2 plus 2 2ft deep (Shallow)
Browning yellow hollow elastic set slack on a pulla, jigga float 0.14mm Browning Cenex mainline to a 6inch 0.12mm hooklength fisnished off with a b511 size 18 hook with a banded hair.  Shot was number 12’s spread out. This would be my shallow pellet line should I be able to get them up in the water short.
Margin lines 1 ½ ft deep Right 7 meters down the bank fishing a ft from the bank.
Browning Blue Hollow elastic on a pulla, Hillbilly AK47 0.2g float, 0.16mm Browning Cenex mainline to a 6inch 0.14mm hooklength fisnished off with a b911X size 14 hook. Shotting was a bulk and 2 droppers fished with chopped worm only.
With a quick walk round the 2 sections on the lake I noticed that most had opted for pellet, ground bait and a few worms and maggots. With what I had learned yesterday with what I had on my tray either the pellet would work or the worm and caster. With the all in it was straight out onto the far bank with worm and caster not feeding my pellet line across or my margin swim. A handful of 4mm pellet thrown on top of my 2 plus 2 line and then time to settle on my worm and caster line across. With indications straight away that there were fish in the swim it was long before the float shot under and the elastic came ripping out shipping back saw the elastic go slack and fishless. This happened for the first 3-4 fish and it seems I was foul hooking them (looking back from yesterdays match I noticed that if I fed a lot then I ended up with a lot of fish in the swim but wouldn’t settle) today I had scaled down my feed but was getting the same problem. Over to the pellet swim and with 4-5 6mm pellet saw a return of fish and by the looks of it they were happy to get their heads down and feed. With my 2 plus 2 line now showing a few signs that fish were now short I opted for the shorter line to see if I could build a weight short instead of having to fish across. With my deck rig out it wasn’t long before I was picking off the odd fish but not in numbers like I had hoped, there were indications that the fish had come up in the water slightly so shifted to my jigga rig to search the water column and find out what depth they were at. This produced a few more fish but yet again the bites were cagey and they weren’t there in numbers.
Looking up and down the section it seemed I wasn’t the only one having problems and I could hear people saying it was fishing hard. Still perseverance and pride at stake it was time to scratch my head and start thinking about picking a few fish of each swim and then moving. With my trump card still to play down the right hand margin which I hadn’t been fed or looked at still in my pocket I wasn’t worried just yet that I could possibly blow out.
Looking back over the far bank on both the pellet and worm and caster swims produced a few more fish but yet again the bites weren’t frantic and forth coming, with time ticking on I notice a few anglers were looking to their margin swim and had started producing a run of fish. Still the plan was to keep going on my lines across and short before hitting the margin in the last hour. With about 15-20lb of small F1 carp in the net and with elastic starting to get pulled out from fish other anglers were catching it was time to play the trump card.
I believe what I had done is created a safe haven for the fish to sit down the right hand side, there had been plenty of pellet going in short and across and I feel the fish just wanted some space due to the pressure on the bank. With the lake being pegged 2 anglers miss a peg then another 2 and so on each angler had a free peg either to the left or right of them giving the fish space. I had looked at the margins yesterday and worked out that if I fed only worm I had a chance of catching carp, F1’s, Barbel and ide yet if I mixed it with caster in a groundbait slop the peg became too much and I was asking to foul hook the fish so a big pot of worm chopped up down the edge went in with half a worm over the top. Within 2 minutes the float shot under and a 4lb carp was in the net, Straight back out saw another carp hit the worm on the drop. This carried on for the last hour with the margin going berserk fish after fish was landed from quality Ide, Barbel up to 4lb and bream to 6lb and a good stamp of carp and a few bigger F1’s. The fish had turned on just at the right time and by the looks of things my trump card had paid off, still with the wind blowing left to right and watching the angler on the end peg to my right I had a feeling it was going to be close. After a frantic last hour I didn’t want the “all out” to be called as it was clear the fish had their heads down and wanted more. My Browning Z9 pole had taken a battering with my terminal tackle standing up to the job hitting fish and landing the quickly. With the all out called I wasn’t sure how I’d fair against the rest.
With the scales coming round and 15 kilo to beat I was confident I had caught more than that in the last hour alone. With 2 weigh ins due to split nets it became apparent that I had put 31 kilo onto the scales (68lb) and had not only won my section doubling 2nd place in sections weight I had also won the lake through the 2 sections with 19 kilo closest, Result !!
Rich Harris had done a 2nd in his section and with another section win from Felix, 2 3rds in sections from Si and Carl and a 6th in section from Craig from a difficult section we had 16 points and had a feeling we could creep into the top 3 as a team. With all of us trying to work out how many points each team had managed it wasn’t long before we were put out of our misery. With the teams being announced in reverse order and not hearing our name it was called that the top 3 teams had all drawn on points, us the AGC and the Royal Signals. To come out with a winner it then went down to placing which left the AGC team 3rd but we were still tied with the Royal Signals so the next port of call was weight count back and unfortunately we came up short with the Royal Signals taking the top spot leaving us in and respectful 2nd place. Close but not close enough, still considering we as the Royal Artillery didn’t enter a team into last year’s competition we sort of kept below the radar and with the result raised a few eye brows.
Having fished for the Royal Artillery (The Gunners) for a few years now, this has been our best result for some time and proves the talent within the team, we as a team now want to build on this having seen us come so close yet to be denied at last hurdle. Next year we want to win it and turn a few more heads.  

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Pewsey & District Angling Association Kennet & Avon Canal Match, Bowdens Bridge Stretch 7th Aug



An early start this morning with the alarm clock going off at 0630 (now if that was a work day I would struggle to get out my bed) but with a match on the Kennet & Avon canal calling it was up dressed and a quick sit down with a coffee before heading out the door. Driving through Pewsey and towards Wilcot I wasn’t keen on the weather, plenty of grey clouds and a slight drizzle of rain I was already putting together a plan before I’d even drawn or seen my peg. With the weather being on and off over the past couple of days it was going to be one of them where I would find myself busy or scratching around for bites, Still a day out on the bank is a day not sat in. 

Having made the walk along Wilcot road onto the bank and a short 5 minute up the canal to the old swing bridge foundation I was met by most of the other Pewsey & District Angling Association lads, with a bit of banter out of the way draw time came with me pulling peg 9 out of the bag. With Gary Williams on peg 8 and Si Irwin on 10 I was keen to make a mark and catch quickly within the first 60 minutes but then keep the bites coming throughout. 
 
Looking at the peg I had the far bank 13 meters across with brambles a few over hanging trees and a few rat holes that must hold some resident fish (mainly perch). Plan of attack was 3 lines across starting from the left and working over to my right and if the fish were there fish it out re-feed then move onto the next one, but all 3 swims fed in a slightly different manner. I also set up a rig for down the track which to my surprise I had some depth in the way of 5 ½ ft. Rigs for the match consisted of the following 

Left 11 o’clock swim far bank 13 meters
Exner 0.1g float (short, stable pencil bodied float with a fine tip and wire stem, ideal for fishing in up to 2ft of water on the drop) Browning Cenex 0.08mm mainline, 0.06mm 4 inch hooklength to a B511 size 22 hook. Tapered shotting pattern of no 12 shot. 

12 0 ‘clock swim 11 ½ meters
Tubertini Stix 0.2g 4ft deep Browning Cenex 0.08mm mainline, 0.06mm 4 inch hooklength to a B511 20 hook. Bulk shotting with 2 droppers using no 12 shot.

Right 2 o’clock 13 ½ meters
Image dibber 3x9 2ft deep, Browning Cenex 0.12mm mainline, 0.10mm 6 inch hooklength to a B560 size 18 hook. 4 inches laid on bottom to keep the bait in place. 

Track swim 2 o’clock 5 ½ ft deep 6 meters
Richard Lattimer 4x12 squatt float,  Browning Cenex 0.08mm mainline, 0.06mm 4 inch hooklength to a B511 size 20 hook. Bulk Shot with 2 droppers.  

My left swim would be fed with ground bait and pinkie with pinkie being fed over the top via catapult. My 11 ½ meter line would be fed in the same fashion however caster would be added to the ground bait so I then had a change of hook bait as well as something on the bottom to hold them there. My 2 o’clock swim would be fed with chopped worm and caster and would keep having a quick look over on it to see if there were any bonus fish in the peg. My track line would be fed with caster, worm in balls of ground bait to get it to the bottom, the plan was to start here and move if there were no signs of fish within 15-30 minutes of the match starting but same as with my bonus line go over it to see if anything had settled. 

With the all in called it was off to work feeding my swims before setting about the track to see if I could mug and fish before shifting across to the far bank swims. With nothing in the net within 15 minutes and not even a bite indication it was over to the left hand swim. A pinch of pinkie pinged across and letting the float settle it wasn’t long before I was putting together a run of 10-15 fish. With 2 boats passing a quick small top up of ground bait saw the swim go dead (I’m thinking at this point that I’ve blown the swim by pushing it too hard to fast). Looking around me though no one was really catching and it soon became apparent that it was going to turn into a match where scratching for fish was the order of the day. Still with other swims to go at surly there would be a few fish in each. With half the match now gone and only 20 fish to show for it and with all rigs slightly refined for scratching I managed a few more fish for 30 fish in total. It seems no matter what I did with the rigs or the feeding the fish just weren’t interested or weren’t there. Spending time on my worm & caster line I thought I would be good for some half decent perch but nothing. With the boat traffic picking up it became clear that if there were fish around they didn’t want to settle and with boats moving down the track as well as the far bank it became more difficult throughout the day. Clearly the plan I had in my head on route to the canal just wasn’t playing and with most of the match gone it was clear everyone else was struggling to put fish together and come out on top. Surprising the other section past the bridge was also struggling and this is where the resident skimmers hang out, even they didn’t want to know. 

With the all out being called you could hear the relief from both sides of me, it hadn’t fished great and in fact most had struggled. With the scales coming round and with Si Irwin putting 1lb 5oz on the scales I wasn’t sure if I had enough to beat that as some of my fish had been small. I had a feeling I had a pound but not much more. Still 1lb 8oz went onto the scales and with 1lb 11oz coming from the other section it put me 2nd overall with me just edging the section it was nice to know that my just rewards for scratching around for a few fish left me with the section and 2nd in the super pools. 

I got asked why I sit on a canal bank scratching around for bites a few hours ago and it got me
thinking, interesting when I thought about it as its not everyone’s cup of tea. Whilst we are in a age of commercial fisheries where bags of carp can easily run into 300-400lb I find that on a canal (or river in that fact) that when that float goes under you don’t always know what you’re going to get next. One minute it could be a 2-3oz fish then it could be a 3lb skimmer that takes you for a ride down the cut. Add the fact of boat traffic, presentation of your rigs and feeding in a natural environment and not knowing what fish are in your peg keeps me going back for more and if I catch 10 fish or 100 fish it always puts a smile on my face. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy my fair amount of commercial fishing but find natural venues more challenging and appealing.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Browning Pole Only Match, Interested ? read on better be quick mind you !!

Are you still using a “classic” Browning pole?  Or perhaps you have an “old favourite” Browning lurking in the back of your tackle shed?  If yes, you’re invited to use it in a planned special match with the chance to win a brand new Browning Xitan pole and some more prizes.

The match is free to enter and is open to owners of pre 2005  Browning poles (see below).  It will be held on Saturday October 18th at Tunnel Barn Fishery. Spectators will be welcome and visitors will get the opportunity to try Browning’s latest range of poles. Bob Nudd will fish the event but will not be eligable to win a new pole!

Frerk Petersen, Marketing Director for Zebco Europe / Browning says: “Browning has been making poles for more than 40 years and we still have lots of customers who own or use one of our older models.  It would be good to get these old “warhorses” out for a special match.  Anglers will also be able to compare the old poles against our latest models to see how far pole technology has advanced. Even if just visiting the event, we would still be really interested to see any older Browning poles people have.  I’m sure it will be an interesting and fun day, and somebody will leave with a new pole!". To enter, or for more information email warhorse@zebco-europe.com<mailto:warhorse@zebco-europe.com> with your name and contact details and model of Browning pole you will be using. Closing date is August 31st

There will be a just a few special rules (see below) to ensure a fair match:

1) The pole used must be a Browning pre 2005 model.  Pole ranges like the Carboxys,  early Black Magics, Titaniums, Legends plus many others will be eligible.  If you’re unsure if your pole is eligible email Browning on the address above.
2) There will be pole length limit of 13m maximum and 6m minimum.
3) A maximum of 2 topkits, plus a separate cupping kit, can be set up.

Book a place, dust off that old pole and come and have a fun day!

Mill On The Soar Midweek Open 12th August



With a trip to the midlands on the cards to see family it would have been rude of me not to take my fishing kit up and have a go at one of the many fisheries that are in the area and enter into a mid week open.
With a look in the local paper I decided on the Mill on the Soar Tuesday open. A place that I enjoy fishing when I get the chance, but not visited in the last 2 or so years. With plenty of bites to be had from the big head of carp down to the bream and skimmers its one of those places you never know what you’re going to hook next.
The night before saw some heavy rain which was sure to move the fish around the lake, and with a wind blowing down one side of the lake when I turned up I wanted to be on the far bank where it was deeper due to how I wanted to fish it. With no luck at the draw and pulling out peg 7 I set off to my peg. The wind didn’t seem to affect this side of the lake with a slight left to right breeze moving down towards peg 2. With the far bank about 20 minutes away and with one of the locals giving me an idea of where the fish would be the first port of call was my 10ft bomb rod with a small inline method feeder. With a post on the far bank at my 11 o’clock and with the bank looking like it was undercut the plan was to throw it tight to the far bank and see what became of it.
With the wind not really affecting the peg I opted on a 3 pronged attack on the pole fishing 13 meters straight out (I didn’t want to go past 13 meters in case the wind picked up and then found it a struggle to hold my pole) one thing I always try and take into consideration when long pole fishing.
I had a short line 5 meters out at 1 o’clock and then another line 5 meters out at 10 o’clock.  Both my long line and my 1 o’clock lines would be fed with soft 4mm pellet with a 6mm soft pellet on the hook that way it gave me the chance to hit the bream, skimmers and carp within the lake (plus it was all I had brought up with me bait wise from down south) I also added a couple of grains of corn into each swim which then gave me a option to change the hook bait over.
My 10 o’clock swim would be a paste swim and would be only touched in the last hour of the match, with there being no depth in the margins I would then treat this as my margin swim where I had found just under 2 ft of water. Another reason why I wanted to draw the other side of the lake due to the better margin pegs, but with the look of the draw gods not on my side I had what I had and had to make it work. 

Rigs for the day consisted of the following 

13m meter swim
3 ½ ft deep to a Hillbilly Chump 0.3g mainline 0.16mm Browning Cenex, 6inch 0.12mm hooklength, Tubertini 606 16 hook (light hooklength to start and depending on if the carp moved in gave me the chance to change up) simple bulk shot and 2 droppers to get the bait down. Elastic Green Browning Cenex set soft on a pulla.

1 o’clock 5 meter swim 3 ½ ft deep Hillbilly Oliver 0.16mm Browning Cenex, 6 inch 0.14mm hooklength, B911 16 hook. Same as my 13 meter swim bulk and 2 droppers and elastic choice.
10 o’clock swim 2ft Hillbilly AK47 float 0.18mm Browning Cenex line, 0.16mm hooklength, B911 size 12 hook. All shot just under float but only half shot to read when the paste came off the hook. Elastic choice purple Hydro. 

With my pole lines covered and having set up a small method feeder and a banjo it wasn’t long before the all in. Straight away all the lines were fed before moving onto my 13 meter line and waiting for the fish to settle. Now when I first initially fed I only fed about 50 4mm pellets and a few grains of corn to try and gauge the swim. This was done on both lines except my paste line which I fed a full pot of 4mm and a bit of paste. With indications on the 13 meter swim that there were fish feeding it didn’t take long before the float went under and carp number 1 was quickly in the net. Another carp quickly followed, followed by 3 skimmers weighing a 1-2 a piece, all this in the first 30 minutes. Looking around and with no one catching it looked like I might be in for a good day if the carp remained in the swim. 

It seemed that the carp had moved out as whilst there were plenty of indications on the float they just didn’t seem interested in my hook bait with the float dipping but nothing on the end. With the possibility they could be liners and that the fish were just of bottom the rig was adjusted where still nothing was hooked. I believe due to the head of silver fish and small skimmers they had moved in and were having a go at my hook bait, that means one thing to me that the carp have moved on as they would normally push the smaller fish out to feed. With a top up of 4mm pellets it was onto my short line to see if I could get anything short, this gave a nil return before moving back out onto the 13 meter line this time with a change of hook bait in the form of a piece of corn. This produced yet another 2 skimmers at a pound a piece yet no carp and with the float constantly dipping it was turning into a frustrating day. 

With things not looking good it was good to see Mark Russell (Drennan Leicester) pop by to see how I was getting on. And whilst I was stumped for ideas he said “fishing corn ? crush the middle out so your left with the skin and try that) I’ve done it in the past but just didn’t think (just goes to show when you think too hard sometimes the basics go out of the window) This proved a good step with a few more skimmers hitting the net before Mr angry carp 1 turned up and dragged me to the far bank into the next swim before losing my hooklength. It wasn’t long before Mr angry carp 2 turned up and dragged me into the empty peg to my left across to the far bank before losing yet another hooklength. Things were clearly not going to plan and what turned out to be a good day were now turning into a bad day and I was fishing just to save face.
With just over an hour to go it was time to hit the paste swim at 11 o’clock 5 meters out. This brought a return straight away with 2 carp in quick succession but yet again the float was dipping it looked light I was going to get bitted out yet again. You could tell when the carp move in as the float would settle and a last thump of the float under the water brought another carp getting it in just before the all out. 

A bad day at the office for a place that has always been a good place to me proved when I put 36lb odd on the scales and with the next peg to my right having a double figure carp in the last 5 minutes proved my fate with me finishing 4th overall. The far bank (with the wind howling down) produced the goods with 1st / 2nd coming from there with my mate on the right taking 3rd by 3lb.
Looking back at my results in the past its always been on chopped worm and caster and with me not planning to fish the venue before I came up and not being able to get hold of any caster might have proved my downfall, it’s not an excuse but felt with the right bait I could have done better. Still those in the top 3 were worthy winners and to come back to a venue that I hadn’t fished in about 2 years with approx 14-16 on the lake I can take some positives away from it. 

Next stop back to the canal back on the Kennet & Avon for a PDAA match on the Sunday where I feel more comfortable and in tune with the place at the minute, looking at what I might have ahead there is the Sensas Canal masters B&J series as well as a potential winter league mainly on the Thames. Add that to fishing for the Royal Artillery at the end of the month in the inter corps and with the Army Angling Federation Group matches ready to kick back off again on the canal and river its getting busy again.