Sunday, 12 March 2017

12 March 2017, Top Lake (Willinghurst)

After a couple of aborted attempts it was finally time to get my 2017 campaign underway so it was back to Willinghurst for a well attended open match including the usual stellar line-up – competing against the likes of Perry Stone, Pete Upperton, Tommy Hiller, (ex-footballer and reality TV star) Jimmy Bullard and the Apollo Guildford venue experts can only make you a better angler I guess!!!
The pre-match plan!
My draw saw me on Top lake peg 4 – for my money this can be a really good summer edge peg (as proved by Paul Holland on a coaching day Bagger and myself attended back in August last year) as you can get into some lovely shallow water tight to the bank to the right. Saying that I’m sure it can be pretty good all year around as there is also a long reed-lined margin to the left and a good amount of open water in front (though I was a little cut-off on the day as there was an angler pegged on the far bank to my right).
Given the presence of the angler opposite I left the tip rod in the bag and set-up three pole rigs for four different lines – the first of these was a 4x14 Roob on 0.15 Guru N-Gauge to a 15cm hooklength of 0.13 to a size 16 LWG (eyed) with a hair-rigged bait band for fishing with hard pellets on the deck straight in front at 14.5m and at the bottom of the near shelf to the left at top kit plus three (these lines were both 3’ deep). The second (a 4x12 Roob on 0.15 into a 10cm hooklength of 0.13 and a size 16 LWG (spade)) was for fishing in 2’ of water at 14.5m to my right just beyond a clump of reed roots close to the bank. The final rig (for fishing tight to the bank to my right in 18” at top kit plus 3) consisted of the same hooklength as the second rig but with a 0.4g Drennan Margin Crystal on 0.17. (All three rigs were mounted on white Hydro top kits.)
Looking right from peg 4

I kicked-off my match with a quick look at my 14.5m margin with a 7mm cube of luncheon meat on the hook and 3 or 4 samples fed via a medium Guru pole pot – after just a couple of minutes with no indications it was clear that nothing was going to happen so it was time for an immediate switch to the 4x14 Roob rig with a banded White Acres (over-sized) 6mm pellet over the line at the bottom of the near shelf to the left. After 6 or 7 minutes the float started to move in that tell-tale circular fashion (which in my mind is caused by a fish displacing the water near the hookbait) and on the twenty minute mark the float buried in the blink of an eye – there’s no mistaking the proper bites with this rig!
That bite led to a nice 7 pounder in the net – I’d hoped that this was the start of a bagging session but no further bites materialised in the next twenty minutes and a switch to the 14.5m line straight in front only saw a roach grace the net. A switch back to the shorter line only led to a succession of dreaded crayfish (definitely not a good sign) so I plumbed-up a third line for the 4x14 Roob rig at the bottom of the near shelf to the right to give myself another option. By rotating through these three lines I was able to snare another roach, a foul-hooked gudgeon plus a very welcome 8 pounder (again from the short line to the left) during the second hour.
Plenty of room to the left
I kept rotating through the three hard pellet lines throughout the third and fourth hours but they only yielded a solitary roach and another foul-hooked gudgeon. I also started looking at the 14.5m margin line too – this one was more productive and at one point I hooked two carp in two casts! (The first ended-up in the net but unfortunately the second one came-off after a few seconds.) I then made a fatal mistake in reaching for my cupping kit and feeding a small handful of 4mm pellets and some 7mm meat – even though the cup was probably only 10% full it killed my long margin line as I never had another bite from it!!!
Open water in front
Going into the fifth hour (today’s match was a 6 hour affair fished from ten until four) and with nothing to lose I wetted down some micro pellets and fed half a pot (with some 7mm meat mixed in) tight to the bank to the right on my top kit plus 3 margin line (18” deep here). I left it for a few minutes then went over it with a 7mm cube of meat on the hook – the float flew under straight away and I’d thought I’d cracked it but unfortunately it was a roach. Two more roach in two casts nearly saw me give-up when cast number 4 saw me attached to another (albeit) small carp. After landing that carp I really did think I was going to win the match so I fed another half pot of micros – yes, you’ve guessed it I never had another bite from this line!
In fact the final 90 minutes of my match were a massive anti-climax as despite rotating through my five different lines I don’t think I had another sign – unless you include those silly crayfish bites that is!!!
The moment of truth
So in the end I finished-up with four carp and a few roach/gudgeon for an unspectacular 21-14-0 and a ‘must try harder next time’. As it happened it seemed that all of the anglers on the main bowl of Top lake struggled with all of the weights coming from the feature pegs – Pete Upperton (Guru) (peg 1) 88-6-0, Pete Franklin (Apollo Guildford) (peg 29) 65-11-0 and Dave Carter (Apollo Guildford) (peg 26) 63-0-0 – but well done to those guys as you still have to work hard to catch ‘em!!!!
Until next time ...

Monday, 2 January 2017

02 January 2017, Middle Lake (Gold Valley)

Today was my first day on the bank for over two months and I was seriously worried that I’d forget what to do – well if nothing else you’ll see shortly that my drawing hand was certainly able to recall what a flyer felt like!!!
Nice day for it!!!
Today’s match was the slightly belated Apollo Guildford Match Team’s Christmas bash held on the recently restocked Middle Lake at Gold Valley – this lake has been boosted with ghost F1s and loads of stockie (proper) carp so these were to be my target. (I had assumed that all of the older, bigger carp had been moved to Syndicate Lake, but this was later proved to be incorrect).

The weather recently has been pretty cold and yesterday saw rain all day – coupled with today’s bright sunshine things were always going to be tricky so I was very pleased to draw peg 61, a nice end peg with some recent form. Peg 61 is in a corner and has some rushes growing from a floating pontoon – this was just out of range of the pole (18m) but I still felt that this was close enough to form the main part of my attack as 16m of pole would put me pretty close and it really was a cracking looking feature.
End Peg Billy!!!
On plumbing-up the peg seemed quite shallow with the deepest water (3’ at the most) directly in line with the middle of the rushes where there was a V formed by the bottom of the slope of the long (parallel) margin and the ever decreasing depth towards the open water to the right. Having been away from the bank for quite I while I decided to keep things ultra-simple and made this the only line I’d gear-up for prior to the start of the match (I’ll let you decide if this was single-mindedness or laziness).
Starting hooklength components
Over recent months I've watched loads of videos with the likes of Des Shipp, Paul Holland and Andy Bennett sacking-up on F1s – however F1s are very few and far between in my part of the southeast of England and as a result I had to use a set-up that I’d normally use for summer carp fishing! This rig was based around a 4x12 Roob on 0.17 Guru N-Gauge, but at least the use of orange Hydrolastic and a hooklength of 0.10 flurocarbon into a size 20 Guru F1 Maggot hook lent a little finesse!
Guru pole pots
As I planned to drip maggots via small pole-mounted pot and attempt to have my target species follow my hookbait down to the bottom the shotting pattern was one number 10 Stotz at 6”, another at 12” and a small bulk at 19” – hopefully such a pattern would get my hook into the catching zone pretty quickly but still give a nice fall through the final foot or so.
All the gear ...
I was hoping to get off to a flying start but after the 60 minutes of dripping maggots and allowing my hookbait to fall though the swim I was still biteless – I was just about to set-up a tip rod when the little dimple of my 4x12 Roob left above the surface finally disappeared from sight and it was fish on! And then it wasn’t – I call tell you it’s not ideal when your first fish of the year comes off half way back to the bank!!! ‘Not to worry’ I thought to myself as I shipped-out again when the same thing happened 2 minutes later. After it happened for the third time I needed to make a change and swapped my F1 Maggot hook for a much heavier LWG – I was worried that such a pattern would be too coarse for F1s in clear water but I can honestly say I never lost another fish all day!!!

Switching to LWGs paid-off
By the end of the second hour I had 6 F1s and 2 stockie carp in the net – not huge fish but at least I was getting some action. The swim directly in front of the rushes then died and I was torn between starting a new line in open water to the right or trying closer to the long (parallel) margin – I had reservations about fishing further to the left as there was a steep slope and the water seemed too shallow given the bright, clear conditions but I shallowed-up and with an extremely long lash I gave it a go. 4 stockie carp in as many casts probably meant that this was the right thing to do!!!
Yours truly
Just as I thought I was going to empty it the fish seemed to spook away and I couldn't manage another bite from any line for the next 90 minutes. Luckily the fish returned in the final hour and I was able to pick-up one more stockie carp from the left and 2 F1s and 3 stockie carp from the original line – this gave me a total of 8 F1s and 10 stockie carp, not a bad day’s catch for the middle of winter.
Jason Morgan and his winning bag
In the end my fish went 26-5-0, good enough for third place overall behind the 3 carp caught by Lee Simmons (31-8-0) and the ten or so caught by today’s winner Jason Morgan (83-0-0). So all-in-all a good day – the weather was cold but lovely and sunny, I’d managed a few bites and the banter with the lads was a good as ever – lets hope 2017 brings lots more days like these!!!

Sunday, 30 October 2016

30 October 2016, Top Lake (Willinghurst)

36-12-0 ...
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Sunday, 9 October 2016

09 October 2016, John's Lake (Willinghurst)

47lb on the nose!
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Friday, 30 September 2016

30 September 2016, Porth Reservoir (White Acres)

He who dares Rodney, he who dares!!! Porth Reservoir today, fished for the bream all day and came last in section!!!

So that’s another White Acres festival done and dusted, unfortunately my fishing performances were generally below par but the drinking and the banter were good so who cares!!!

Thursday, 29 September 2016

29 September 2016, Twin Oaks (White Acres)

Right lake, nearly the right peg!!! Though it did only score 2 points yesterday ...
Peg 12 it is
Twin Oaks peg 12 today. Had a mid-match meltdown and never had a fish between 1430 and 1600 as I was chasing shadows trying to catch the carp I could see swirling and tailing-up over my secret deep margin line at the edge of the near shelf!!!
Looking left
Other than that the first part of the match was OK as I managed a few on the hybrid feeder and the latter part of the match was OK once I started fishing the proper margin and the 5m line.
All the gear ...
I was never going to compete with pegs 16 and 18 (and the awesome Roy Penkethmen who caught 120lb from peg 8) but was disappointed that my 67lb was just four pounds behind peg 10 and five pounds behind the mighty Paul Holland on peg 4, that wasted 90 minutes really costing me!!!
4 points only I'm afraid, Porth Reservoir tomorrow ...

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

28 September 2016, Trewaters (White Acres)

White Acres Maver festival day three today and Trewaters 49 was to be my home for 5 hours of fun and excitement ...

Nice photo of  a tree
I started the match by fishing the secret deep margin rig at top kit plus 1 to the right in 3 feet of water – the float dipped under almost immediately, though after a spirited battle (lasting what seemed like a lifetime) something of a beast came off at the net!!! To say I was annoyed would be something of an understatement!!!
Looking towards the central island
A switch to the pellet feeder to the island only lasted 3 chucks so the next few hours saw me rotating between the deep margin and a 5m line, potting few 6mm pellets as I went. This was fairly productive and I caught steadily, often getting one when returning to a rested swim.
The corner to the left
Towards the end I fed the left margin (at TK + 1) with micros/riddled meat then maggots but could only generate a poor response (lost a small carp, landed odd skimmer) so I switched to fishing the deep margin rig at 11.5m into the corner – this got me a few more carp but I then lost a foul-hooker which seemed to upset things somewhat. Finally went right into the margin at 13m under the bush with 15 minutes to go – I caught 3 carp doing this but I also lost 2 rigs in the gorse!!!
60lb on the nose for fourth in section and six points – ohh and I beat Steve Sanders off the next peg so that was nice!