Another bank holiday Monday and another sunny day – remarkable! After spending yesterday earning some Brownie points painting the garden shed I was certainly keen to get on the bank for this Apollo Angling Centre organised match on Richardson’s Lake at Marsh Farm!!!
Today’s match saw 19 competitors grace the bank and it has to be said there seemed to be a higher standard that I’d normally expect with anglers from Daiwa Dorking (Mark Goddard, Dave Guntrip), Browning Crowsport (John Brownlie, Mick Cook, Darren Dodge, Nick Stunt) and Colmic Apollo (Mark Harrington, John Taylor) present – plus anglers of the calibre of Dave Steer and Simon Duke!
Anyway we all enjoy a challenge and fishing times of 1400 to 1900 would hopefully ensure decent weights as the fish (mainly tench, crucians and skimmers) tend to feed later in the day here at Marsh Farm.
|Aerial view – peg 13 is on the point of the bend opposite the gap between the middle and right-hand islands|
Despite it being a lovely sunny day there was a rather strong, gusty breeze blowing from the southwest – this meant that the wind was blowing from the far-end of the venue into the pegs in front of the tackle shop, making this the area everybody was talking about before the draw. My dip into the bag of dreams saw (unlucky) peg 13 appear – not in the fancied zone on the end of the wind, but at least I’d managed to avoid the section parallel to the ‘Chicken Bank’ of the neighbouring Johnson’s Lake (which hasn’t been the most productive over recent weeks).
Richardson’s 13 is a very unique peg as it is on the point of a bend facing a gap between two islands (the ends of which are both within the boundary formed by the anti-cormorant wires). This peg also has the advantage of having twice as much water to go at than any other on the lake! (For those of you familiar with White Acres it is similar to Twin Oaks 16 – but by no means as prolific!!!)
|Peach Pefect Goo|
Despite never intending to actually feed much (the fish at Marsh Farm are at times notorious for shying away from even the smallest volumes of bait) I always seem to end-up taking loads with me. Today’s bait bag was stuffed with 2 pints of 2mm fishery pellets, some Fin Perfect 4mm expanders, a pint each of 4mm and 6mm fishery pellets, Ringers 8mm fluro pop-ups, 2 tins-worth of 6mm meat, a pack of corn, a tub of Marukyu JPz (the red ones in 6mm), a tub of Ringers Banded Allsorts, Sonubaits Stiki Pellet, a kilo of groundbait, some worms, a tube of Cell stick mix liquid, yellow boilie dye, red boilie dye and a tube of Kiana Goo (Perfect Peach Power Smoke flavour)!!!
|Tackle for the TK+4 rigs|
Prior to the ‘all in’ I had set-up a pellet feeder rod for fishing tight to the left-hand island and pole rigs for fishing left and right at top kit plus 4. (Given the strong breeze I decided to use 4x14 KC Carp Chimps shot with a strung bulk of number 10 stotz – a heavier rig on 0.13 mainline into an 0.11 hooklength with a size 20 Tubertini 808 (blue Hydro) and a lighter rig on 0.11 mainline into an 0.10 hooklength with a size 22 Tubertini 808 (pink Hydro). Both rigs were set at the same depth as I’d chosen spots left and right with the same depth.)
On the whistle I started by feeding these two pole swims with a medium Cad pot’s worth of micro pellets (with the aim of topping-up with the same again every 20 minutes) and cast my pellet feeder to the left island – unfortunately this only yielded a small common carp and a skimmer in the first 50 minutes. However a switch to the pole at around 1450 led to a good 25 minutes which saw me finish the first quarter of the match with a decent total of 4 skimmers, a tench and that common carp.
|Peg 13 on Richardson's Lake - a massive bay and two islands!|
The second quarter of the match (1515 to 1630) was reasonable as I managed two more skimmers on the tip and two on the left-hand TK+4 pole swim (where I’d switched to feeding a 50:50 mix of Sonubaits F1 Black and Supercrush Green groundbait.)
During this period I also set-up a 4x12 KC Carpa Chimp rig (on 0.13 mainline to a hooklength of the same with a size 16 Kamasan B911 (white Hydro)) for fishing the ‘margin’ in 3’ of water at top kit plus 2 left and right – I started feeding 6mm meat to the left by hand and cupped four pots of groundbait to the right.
|Tasty looking left margin|
Unfortunately the second half of the match started very slowly with just one skimmer on the pellet feeder and a tiny ‘blade’ skimmer on the left-hand TK+4 pole swim between 1630 and 1745. (I did try feeding some chopped worms & micros on the right-hand TK+4 swim and set-up a second tip rod to cast to the right-hand island – neither of these tactics yielded a bite and ditto for the margin swims!)
|Tackle for the pellet feeder|
Going into the final quarter of the match and I was praying for a miracle and in all fairness I probably got one! Things started well with a skimmer on the left-hand TK+4 pole line, but the real damage was done on the pellet feeder to the left-hand island – this line contributed a further tench and five good skimmers.
Interestingly I started squirting some Peach Perfection Goo into the pellet feeder with fifteen minutes to go – this led to 3 very quick bites, one of which didn’t lead to a hook-up but the other two bites saw the two biggest fish of the day hit the landing net!
(Given the strong winds today I chose to use a 30g small Preston pellet feeder. Hooklength was 10cm of 0.19 Guru N-Gauge into a size 16 QM1 with a hair-rigged pellet band. The only hookbait used today was a hard 6mm pellet. Bait for the feeder was simply soaked 2mm fishery pellets.)
|Nick Stunt putting his third placed catch onto the scales|
That good last hour meant that in the end I’d managed a common carp, two tench and 15 skimmers in total – enough to drag the scales ‘round to a surprising 34-10-0 (I honestly thought I had less than 20lb). As things turned-out I’d managed to scrape the final frame place – though I had once again sat next to the winner!
- Darren Dodge (Browning Crowsport), peg 12 49-12-0
- John Taylor (Colmic Apollo), peg 9 40lb+
- Nick Stunt (Browning Crowsport), peg 3 38lb+
- Phil Morris (All the Gear, No Idea), peg 13 34-10-0
(Apologies for the lack of precise weights for P2 and P3.)
|A thumbs-up from Bagger|
Conclusions: Despite a really slow third quarter I was pleased with my final weight and taking into account the calibre of angler fishing today I very was certainly very happy to finish in the frame! However once again I’d failed to summon-up a bite from the margins – I think the real problem here is a lack of confidence, and unless I get a quick indication I’m not willing to stick with it until it comes good. As a result I’m not going to try it in future matches at Marsh Farm until I’ve proved it can work in a pleasure session.
The winner today (Darren Dodge in the swim to my right) fished chopped worm & caster and caught steadily all day on the pole down the near shelf. Was this bait combination the key? I think it unlikely and chances are it was down to superior presentation, feeding and decision making!!! (However a pattern does seem to be emerging where skimmers prefer pellets/fishmeal groundbait and tench prefer worms/casters so perhaps in future I’ll try feeding a different swim with each.)
Finally the Goo – did it make a difference or was it just the time of day? Again it was probably the latter but I think it is worth carrying two or three flavours in order to sneak an extra bite here and there – it also works well in a pellet feeder as you can part fill your feeder with pellets, apply some Goo then add your hookbait and final layer of pellets.
Until next time …