Monday, 17 April 2017

17 April 2017, Top Lake (Willinghurst)

After yesterday’s disappointing match it was straight back on the horse today for the Easter Monday open at Willinghurst. With a real reluctance to use John’s Lake again, and with New Lake occupied by pleasure anglers, match organisers Mick and Shaun took the decision to squeeze all 30 anglers around the banks of Top Lake and Old Lake – as ever there were a few grumbles but there would’ve been a lot more had John’s been used two days in a row! (It seems to me that John’s Lake can be really good in the summer, so a few more weeks’ worth of decent weather it will be the place to be.)
Looking left from Top Lake peg 29
After yesterday’s results (where the anglers on Old Lake pegs 22, 9 and 11 shared nearly 600lb between them) I think most anglers in the queue wanted to draw in this area (even though the wind had completely turned around overnight). Obviously I didn’t draw anywhere near these pegs, but I did draw a bit of a flyer in Top Lake number 29. This isn’t a peg that I’d fished before but it certainly looks the part as it has a far bank easily in reach with 14.5m of pole, an island to chuck to with a feeder and loads of room to the right where the water loops around the island towards peg 30.
All the gear
Sitting on the platform there seemed to be two spots that looked really fishy – across to the far bank (slightly to the left) where the resident wildfowl had created a patch of bare banking and the point of the island to the right (I was however slightly put off of this line when a duck stood-up in the water a foot or so from the bank).
As a result I set-up a ‘sensible’ rig for fishing next to the bare bank (Nick Gilbert black Amber Core elastic, 0.17 Guru N-Gauge, 0.3g SconeZone V6, 10cm 0.15, LWG (eyed) size 16) and a tip rod for fishing with a 24g mini hybrid feeder for chucking to the island. I also set-up a duplicate pole rig for a second spot along the far bank to the right (the bare bank had a depth of 18”, the second line was 3 or 4 inches shallower) and a rig for fishing with hard pellets into the deepest water at top kit plus 4.
The gap between the far bank and the island
The match itself was a steady if unspectacular affair – word on the bank was that the lakes were fishing pretty hard so I kept plugging away at the line to the bare bank, feeding a mixture of pellets and meat via a medium Guru pole pot and using a worm segment on the hook. At one point I hooked and landed five fish in quick succession – otherwise the key was being patient and not feeding too much (at one point I refed with the big pot and didn’t get a bite for ages).
I did try the feeder now and again (no pulls), the hard pellet rig into the deeper water (one skimmer) and the second pole line (two carp), but the bulk of my catch (a further 14-15 carp, a skimmer and a gudgeon) came from the bare bank.
Looking along the right margin
However the most disappointing part of my match today was that I couldn’t get a bite from either of my margin lines – with hindsight I’m sure my rig (which was on 0.19 straight through to a size 12 MWG) and feeding were far too crude and I should’ve adopted the same rig and feeding approach used on the far side. Having said that the inside lines plumbed-up terribly and I could only find 12” 3 or 4 feet from the bank, effectively putting me in no man’s land.
Martin Johnson on the scales
In the end my fish went 76-5-0, enough for third in section and eighth overall on the continental pay-out. I was quite a way behind Guildford Bait-Tech’s Luke Sherriff who won the section (second overall) from peg 26 with 105lb, but I was slightly annoyed that a fish lost at the net cost me second in section as only a further three pounds was required to move ahead of peg 3’s 79lb – though I did beat James Granger (peg 30) by less than a pound!!!
Until next time ...

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