Sunday, 22 March 2015

22 March 2015, Kingfisher Lake (Rushmoor Lakes)

Following last week’s slightly abortive return to match fishing I was really looking forward to today’s match – especially as some long awaited sunshine was forecast at last!

Pre-match debrief

According to Google Maps, the Rushmoor Lakes complex (located near Tilford, Surrey) is only 14 minutes from my house – but despite this fact today’s visit was to be my first to a venue described as 'a superb day ticket fishery for all types of angler from the novice to the more mature angler' on their website.

Mick Redman on peg 9

The lake we were fishing today is what I’d call a typical flooded valley – Kingfisher Lake is long and thin, with a shallow, narrower top end that gets progressively deeper as it moves towards the man-made dam at the bottom end. The venue is also one of the prettiest that I’ve come across – there are trees and rhododendrons everywhere, the banks are lined with bark chippings (so thankfully no mud) and the general feel is typical of the nearby Frensham Common.

My dip into the bag of dreams yielded peg 11 – a swim slap bang in the middle of the dam wall with local legends Mick Redman on peg 9 to my left and Trevor Haskell (sporting a pair of those funky new Guru daps) to my right on peg 11 for company. Plumbing-up revealed in excess of 3 feet tight to the empty peg 10 to my left, a fairly rapid increase in depth as I came away from the bank for a few meters before the plummet dropped-off a cliff into the abyss beyond about 5 meters!!!

Pole gear for silvers

Having not fished the venue before I did the usual asking around during the week and information from Barney’s Worms supremo Giovanni Barbato indicated that we were fishing for quality roach with natural baits and small carp with more modern baits such as corn. Given the nice weather (and my loathing of fishing on the deck on deep venues with a pole) my pre-match plan looked like this:
  • Just off the bottom in 6 feet of water at an angle to my left with maggots for roach at top kit plus one
  • Pole shallow at 13m (again with maggots for roach)
  • Tight to the spare peg to my left with corn and pellets for carp
  • Tight to the spare peg to my right with groundbait and dead red maggots for carp

Hopefully such a plan would cover a few bases, though when fishing somewhere for the first time I think you need to keep an open mind and it pays to have an eagle eye on what everybody else is doing!

I decided to start short with maggots

On the whistle I fed a small handful of corn and 6mm pellets on my left-hand margin line and picked-up the rig for fishing on the deck at top kit plus one – this set-up consisted of a 0.2g SconeZone V8 on 0.13 mainline to a 15cm hooklength of 0.10 with a size 20 Tubertini 808, elastic was yellow hydro. (Whilst aimed at roach, the inclusion of a half sensible hooklength and hollow elastic gave me half a chance if I hooked a small carp or other bonus fish.)

Sport was hardly hectic, but during the first 60 minutes I at least managed a few bites on single maggot and ended-up putting 5 or 6 roach in the net. From my vantage point in the middle of the dam wall I could see what virtually every other angler was up to, and with the exception of Dave Lake’s first cast carp and Colin Underwood’s early chub, most seemed to be really struggling with bites very few and far between.

Long pole shallow in the sun - lovin' it!

The decline of the short line coincided with the clouds clearing and the sun appearing – a very welcome sight following last week’s soaking at Gold Valley! This gave me all the incentive I needed and I was soon shipping out my shallow rig to 13m and spraying maggots about like there was no tomorrow. (The shallow rig was identical to that used for fishing short with the exception that it was set-up to fish through the water to 3 feet.)

After 10 minutes or so of constant feeding I was soon into the first of a decent run of quality roach and by twelve thirty (today’s match was fished from ten to three thirty) I was confident I’d pushed my total up to a good five pounds or so. With nobody else seeming to have put a run of fish together I tucked into my tuna roll looking forward to the final three hours and building towards a decent total.

15g Drennan cage feeder and Preston Innovations feeder bead link

Unfortunately the fish hadn’t read the script and to cut a long story short I didn’t manage to add to my tally at all from twelve thirty to the final whistle at three thirty – and the people I work with think fishing is boring!!! (In order to appease the boredom I swapped between the long and short roach lines, tried my margin swim to my left, fed the margin swim to the right with groundbait/dead red maggots and even set-up a feeder rod to fish at 20m with a cage feeder and a long tail – none of which yielded a single bite!)

Having said that the entire lake seemed to switch off in the afternoon - Mick Redman’s late carp and Trevor Haskell’s skimmer being the only fish I actually saw after lunch.

The scores on the doors

Following the slow torture that was the final three hours of today’s match I was pleased to see the scales – and I was even more pleased when my bag of quality roach pulled the dial around to one ounce short of six pounds, enough for second overall on the day:
  1. Chris Kampa, peg 21, 7-5-0
  2. Phil Morris, peg 11, 5-15-0
  3. Mick Redman, peg 9 & Perry Gray, peg 15, both 5-1-0
  4. Not applicable
  5. Dave Lake, peg 7, 5-0-0
So congratulations must go to Chris Kampa for clinching another victory with a couple of late carp from one of the pegs in the rhododendrons at the far end, and commiserations to Dave Lake for missing a pay-out by an ounce!

All the gear ...

Conclusions: At the end of every match I ask myself a simple question: 'If I could fish the match again, knowing what I know now, what would have I done differently?' I normally come-up with a nice long list of ideas, but today I think I stumbled upon the correct tactics (long pole shallow with maggots for roach) pretty quickly and 5 or 6 more bites could’ve been enough to win the match. All-in-all Rushmoor Lakes seems a pretty decent venue (it’s certainly a nice place to spend a day) and on another day I’m sure the weights would’ve been a lot better – roll-on summer!!!

Until next time ...

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