Sunday, 14 January 2018

14 January 2018, Gold Lake (Gold Valley)

First match of 2018 and surprisingly my first time fishing the infamous Rushmoor league at Gold Valley, a teams of 10 event that runs through January into February each year. This year there are 8 teams taking part, so if each team is fully loaded it becomes a pretty big match with 80 anglers fishing for an individual victory worth nearly £1,000!!!

The view to the left
The team side of things for this year’s event is based on section points – previous years have seen team placings based on the total weight of each team’s anglers, but presumably the re-stocking of Middle and Bat lakes with F1s has led to a change of heart. Today’s match saw 2 sections on Gold Lake, 3 on Middle, 1 on Bat, 1 on Bungalow and 3 on Syndicate.
All the gear ...
Following last Saturday’s coaching day on Middle Lake I was rather hoping for a day on there or a go at the newly stocked Bat Lake, so when I was handed Gold Lake 15 I was slightly underwhelmed, especially when I saw that the same peg only returned 3lb for 3 points last Sunday! Undeterred and being in amongst some big hitters (I had Jason Morgan to my left, Mark Goddard and Dan Blackwell to my right) I settled on a 3-pronged attack covering a long chuck to the rope for carp, a medium chuck with a cage feeder for skimmers and a pole line at 14.5m also for skimmers.

In wafter we trust
On the whistle I big potted a full pot of Ringers Bag-up Mix and a full pot of micros at 14.5m (these were actually mixed together before the start and carefully fed in three loads) and cast a 10mm chocolate orange wafter on the straight lead rig to within a couple of meters of the central rope. After 8 minutes the tip pulled forward slightly then went slack – having given the reel a couple of turns it soon became apparent that a fish had hooked itself against the weight of the bomb and had started swimming towards me, game on!!!

A welcome sight!
It was something of a nerve wracking fight in the clear water but eventually a nice 8-9lb carp was in the net and after only 20 minutes I was mightily relieved to have avoided the dreaded blank early into the session. The next cast (with the same rig and bait) landed nicely on the same spot so I decided to leave it in place for at least half an hour – with hindsight this was a bit of a mistake as after leaving it in for 35 minutes with no action then re-casting (this time with a yellow wafter) I was soon into another fish, this time a proper pull that actually started to move the rod rest, once again after 8 minutes, and another nice carp was quickly joining the first in the keepnet!

Nicely hooked!!!
The next three casts, all of which were limited to a maximum of 12 minutes, only produced a skimmer so it was time for a change to the hybrid feeder loaded with micros and a trimmed-down 6mm orange wafter on the hair. Another skimmer as I was sinking the line on the first cast proved to be something of a false dawn, so after half an hour with no bites it was time to try the pole. 10 minutes on this without any bites seemed like a bit of a waste of time, but a third carp (this time after 7 minutes) first cast back on the hybrid towards the rope seemed to prove that resting a line can sometimes be a good thing.
Praying for one last pull
That proved to be the final carp of the day and the second half of the match was definitely tougher than the first (as the lake was single banked it was possible that any carp in the area simply backed-off under the rope to the far side), but I did manage a few more skimmers on the feeder and a nice one on the pole on my way to a level 37lb and a section win, that skimmer on the pole making all the difference as there were weights of 35-12-0 and 36-12-0 in the section too!!!  
£40 winnings minus £36 pools = £4!!!

As it happened the rest of the team also did fantastically well with a total of 5 section winners and the top 3 individuals (John Light, Giovanni Barbato and Kris Fields) leading to a total of 61 points and first place on the day, quite a way ahead of Tubertini who were second with 48 points (the mighty Daiwa Dorking were fourth on the day).

Until next time ...

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