In total MBK Leisure control the fishing on ten or so lakes spread across three separate sites near to Rake in Hampshire. These are available on a day ticket basis, but Godalming AS normally hold two or three matches a year on MBK venues as the fishing is normally pretty good and it isn’t too far to travel.
|MBK Coloured Ponds|
Today’s match was due to be on the lakes at St Patrick’s Lane (also known as Barons Ponds), but there was a last minute switch to the Coloured Ponds – in the end we had 17 anglers spread across Pond 3 and Pond 4. These lakes are at the top of the site and the main stocking is proper carp in the 2-6lb bracket and smallish (4-8 ounce) skimmers.
The four match lakes at Coloured Ponds are all simple rectangles with platforms along the two long sides of each lake – as a result you are facing the anglers on the opposite bank and on most pegs you have about 30m to the imaginary line that divides each lake in half. As with many lakes during the winter the carp tend to shoal together and the corner pegs dominate massively – I think it is fair to say that it is virtually impossible to win from a non-corner peg!
|Pond 3, Peg 3|
With that in mind I put my hand into the draw bag knowing there were 8 corner pegs and 9 non-corner pegs on offer and promptly drew peg 3 on Pond 3 – one of the pegs that isn’t in a corner! However the pegging was generous and I had a spare peg to my right, two empty platforms to my left and plenty of open water to go at – so having missed the two preceding weekends due to the snow and ice that has gripped the country I was still keen to get stuck in!
Even though it was fairly mild on the day it has been very cold over the last few weeks with plenty of icy water going into the lakes – as a result I decided to cover a few options and let the fish tell me which would be best on the day! You can see from the sketch above that in total I fished four lines today – the straight lead into open water, a 14.5m pole line for carp at 10 o’clock, a line for skimmers at 2 o’clock and a long margin line in 3’ of water to my left.
|Baits for the straight lead|
I’d be trying a few new things today – one of them would be some of the much talked about Kiana Goo additive smeared onto a small PVA bag of 4mm hard pellets fished in conjunction with an 8mm fluro pop-up on the straight lead rig. (Tackle was my usual 8lb Daiwa Sensor mainline, two thirds of an ounce Guru square bomb, 12 inches of 0.19 Reflo Power with a size 14 Guru QM1 pinned down with two number 8 stotz an inch from the hook.)
All pole rigs included KC Carpa Chimps – I started with 4x14s for the two open water rigs and a 4x12 for down the edge. One of the other new things I was trying today for the first time was pink Hydrolastic – I used this on the skimmer line, blue Hydro for the open water carp rig and white down the edge.
On the whistle I fed a ball of Murukyu EFG120 with some dead maggots on the skimmer line and 10 4mm pellets combined with 5 grains of corn on the 14.5m carp line – then within 30 seconds of dropping in with a single grain of Jolly Green Giant on that carp line I was attached to a 5lb common! It took about 10 minutes to land on the fairly soft blue Hydrolastic but the relatively strong 0.15 mainline and 0.13 hooklength into a size 18 Kamasan B911 meant I was unlikely to be broken. I wasn’t too sure what my target weight was, but regardless I was off to a great start!
|The evolution of the skimmer rig|
I fed some more 4mm pellets/corn and prayed for another dip – but it didn’t come in the following 10 minutes so by 1030 I was onto the skimmer line. The diagram above shows how my skimmer rig evolved during the match – I started on a 4x14 Chimp with a fairly short length of line between the pole tip and float and a size 18 Tubertini 808 for the direct hooking of dead maggots. This led to a few skimmers but I was being plagued by tiny roach and the increasing wind meant it was difficult to control the rig and hence build a weight, so at about 1115 I cast my straight lead rig to 30m and dived into my box for a heavier 4x16 float and a hooklength for hair-rigging a hard pellet.
No bites had materialised on the tip after 15 minutes so I re-plumbed with my new skimmer rig and slipped-on a 4mm pellet – this saw a run of better skimmers, especially if I took the time to lower the rig in slowly on a tight line as the float would often simply ‘keep going’!
By this time I could see Guildford Angling Centre’s Luke Sheriff bagging from the far corner peg, but I knew the others on my lake were sitting it out for carp without a great deal of success – so I decided to catch skimmers if I could get a bite relatively quickly and only to fish for carp if the skimmer line faded or if one of the others also started catching on a regular basis.
In the end I had one more (two pound) carp on the 14.5m carp line, no bites on the straight lead (which I tried three more times) and nothing down the edge (it was worth a try as you never know your luck) – so 8 or 9lb of my 15-1-0 total was made-up of small skimmers and my decision was vindicated as this was enough for second on the lake. (I was miles behind Luke’s 50 odd pound but I’d beaten the three other corner pegs on my lake.)
Luke’s weight clinched the match from Frankie Bevan who was second with 38lb – I’d finished one out of the frame by a couple of pounds, but with Luke winning the match I’d done enough for a default lake/section win and had plenty of bites in the process! (The easy conclusion to reach here is that I should’ve spent less time fishing for carp and more time on the skimmers – however one more bite from a carp could’ve put me third so it was worth the gamble!)
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