Sunday, 19 May 2013

19 May 2013, Harris Lake (Marsh Farm)

Last weekend was a non-fishing weekend so I was keen to get back on the bank for this Godalming AS organised match at Marsh Farm, especially as the weather (mild, overcast and breezy) looked ideal for a day’s bagging!

Today’s match was on Harris Lake – regular readers will know that this isn’t the pond usually used for matches (that’s Richardson’s Lake) and that the target species are essentially specimen tench and crucians.

No prizes for guessing where I drew today!

The fish at Marsh Farm are notorious for following the wind and as I was looking for a day on the feeder fished tight to the central island I was hoping to draw in the far corner on the wider (railway) side of the lake – amazingly the bag of dreams presented me with peg 25, putting me exactly where I wanted to be!!!

The water was amazingly clear for late May

All of the pre-match talk was about the clarity of the water and boy was it clear! On arrival at my peg I really couldn’t believe how uncoloured it was – considering it is late spring I was amazed to be able to see the bottom 5 or 6m out!!!

The plan I’d developed during the week was 3 pronged – pellet feeder to the island, just over the near shelf at top kit plus four and up the near slope in 3 feet of water (a margin swim of sorts). However given the extreme water clarity the latter was immediately ruled-out and the longer pole was only set-up as a throwaway plan ‘B’ – that left the pellet feeder as the main focus. (Gear for this was the usual 20g small Preston Innovations pellet feeder with a 10cm hooklength of 0.19 Guru N-Gauge into a size 16 QM1 with a hair-rigged pellet band.)

Harris Lake at Marsh Farm

On the whistle I fed my top kit plus 4 left and right pole lines with a reasonable amount of soaked micro pellets, stuffed some of the same into the feeder and cast 4 or 5 feet short of the island. Action was hardly frantic but 10 extremely savage bites in the first 3 hours saw 9 tench fall to the pellet feeder (with a 6mm hard pellet on the hook) and word on the bank was that I was probably winning at the halfway point.

It turned into an out-and-out pellet feeder day

Things always seem to slow around lunchtime (today’s match was fished from 1000 to 1600) so I was pleased to pick-up two nice crucians in the fourth hour – though a tench just after 2 o’clock (on a bright pink Ringers fluro pop-up) was my last bite for nearly two hours when in the final 10 minutes I landed two more tench on the final two casts! (I probably could’ve managed a third in this spell but the first tench took me into some lily pads and the second dived into the roots of the tree to my right!!!)

These late fish saw me end-up with a dozen tench and two crucians for 46-5-0 and as it transpired those late tench were vital as I’d stolen a victory from Ian Dixon who was less than two pounds behind!!! (Match organiser Roger Howe was third with 36lb.)

Looking right towards the bay

Conclusions: I’ve always struggled to catch on the pole on Harris Lake and today was no exception – given the water clarity and fairly bright weather it was always going to be a feeder day. (With hindsight I’d probably have left the pole in the bag and focused solely on the tip.) The pellet feeder was once again a winner – many people still shy away from these and prefer to fish a method or cage feeder, but I have so much confidence in them that they are definitely now my first choice for fishing tight to islands.

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