There is no doubt that the saying ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ is very apt in fishing. I’m sure we all as match anglers know the importance of having prepared tackle. Plenty of pole rigs and hooks tied before the event are prime examples, there are many more things we can do before we arrive on the bank, but I really think attitude and getting in the right frame of mind before a match is equally important, especially in match fishing preparation, this is something I am going to work on in future, in fact it is an early New Year’s resolution! I’m not talking about moaning about the peg you draw, as I like a lot of anglers like to have a moan, in fact a good old moan helps to get me going! I know some brilliant International anglers who can moan for Queen and country about their pegs, and yet they seem to always come back with the points.

It is pre conceived ideas that come from over familiarity with venues, or going on what you have been told about certain swims by the local expert, these are just some of the issues that I am going to work on in the coming year. Maybe by approaching each match with an open mind my results can be improved. I know there are times when areas are barren of fish or they are just not there in enough numbers. There is nothing anybody can do about those situations and the very best preparation and attitude is not going to help in those circumstances. But, there are plenty of matches that I have fished, where I know if I had tried that little bit harder, I could have improved my position in the section or if I had approached the match with the right attitude things could have worked out better. Another consequence of having the right attitude is enjoyment of the sport, which after all is the reason I find myself on the bank in the first place!  I have a couple of examples in my last two matches they certainly gave me food for thought!

Round Three

The match Lake - Whitacres

Following the Winter Festival at White Acres I was soon back for the individual league, it was an all fish count round and was pegged on the Match Lake, Trelawney, Twin Oaks and Jennies and although I was feeling tired after 5 matches on the spin, I was looking forward to the days fishing. I had my dip in the BOD’s and pulled out peg 9 on Jennies and I have to say I immediately wasn’t impressed with my draw. The reason was simple; I knew it hadn’t fished particularly well the previous week, to be fair in the festival the section had been won from this peg on one occasion but on that day the weather was atrocious. This match is all about individual placement in the whole match and not section results.  I immediately allowed myself to feel beaten before my tackle was even out of the van. I had my obligatory moan about the peg to ‘Wrong Lake’ he often says that if I moan about the peg I normally do well, so I often play up to it and have a moan! But on this occasion I really felt I had no chance.

Because of my recent knowledge of the peg I am sure some of my instincts were right, but there is no doubt in my mind I approached the match wrong and suffered the consequences. I only set up a long pole line to fish micro pellet and corn looking for the lakes F1’s plus a small cage feeder and a method feeder. I completely ignored the 5m line which I felt was a brave decision especially as I had ‘5 metre expert’ Andy Partridge next to me, and he normally can make that line come to life. I did know that the Roach were for some reason not feeding, and the normally safe tactic of chopped worm and caster, wherever it was fed was just not working. So I did feel I had chosen the right methods to get the best out of my peg, but my performance on the day that was certainly lacking and I have no doubt in my mind it was because of my attitude, which affected my whole approach.

I fed my long pole line with some micros and corn hoping to attract some Tench and F1’s to my swim and I started on the method feeder casting around three meters off the point of the island. The problem was I just could not settle and within minutes I was reaching for the pole without giving the feeder a chance. On the pole I had a small Tench, which convinced me that I was doing the right thing, bites were few and far between and I started to think about the Ground bait feeder and out that went with a couple of dead red maggots on the hook. I managed a skimmer and an F1 but Andy started to catch them on the pole!

I was now torn between the two and the pole won, but I certainly didn’t! I was getting bites but missing most of them, and when I did connect it was a small skimmer, the wrong choice of bait I am afraid, those micros had brought in loads off small fish. So, why didn’t I take stock of the situation and actual change baits to an expander or maggot? Well, that’s entirely the point I had completely the wrong attitude for the match and convinced myself that I had no chance without F1’s or Tench!

Towards the end of the match I went back on the feeder with maggot on the hook and caught some F1’s and a few skimmers, finishing with a poor 12lb 8oz Next door Andy who had just fed Corn finished the match by winning the section with 29lb which on the day was worth a lot of points. At the end of the match I was seriously annoyed with myself, I had not got the best out of my swim and because of my preconceptions, had fished poorly which resulted in me not really enjoying my day out. The good thing about the day was that it made me have a good think about why I go match fishing.  The actual competition is paramount to me, I want to do well as I think all match anglers do but I also want to enjoy myself whilst taking part.

Well done

Overall the match was won by Arthur Turner who drew on Twin Oaks around peg 31, he managed a very creditable 60lb The venue fished well in places with Harry Billing recording around 45lb from end peg 15 on Trelawney, Simon Poynter finished with just short of 40lb, catching a net full of skimmers from peg 30 on the Match Lake.

Overall Trevor Conroy is the league leader with 119 points followed closely by Simon Poynter with 114 points from Skip McCabe with 104 points. It is really nice to see some new anglers in the top ten and I am particularly pleased to see young Steven Ragg challenging for a top 10 place with 84 points, I hope he keeps it up as he has a bright future.

Christmas Fun

The following week it was the Christmas Match at Bake Lakes and with 55 anglers booked in I was keen to be there. It was great to see quite a few juniors, a few veterans and a few specimen anglers who were all keen to take part in a well organised match. Ian had seeded a few of anglers by putting the juniors and anybody else that had not fished a match before on Dunes. The rest of the match hardened fraternity were to fish the Specimen Lake, Luxor. With 30 plus on the lake the majority of pegs were in so it potentially could be harder than normal. Prize money was going to the winner, three sections plus the best bag of silvers and the biggest fish. I had already decided that I wanted to fish for silvers and hoped that the carp were going to move in on my maggot approach. I was delighted to find that I had drawn peg nine which was in a corner but had around 6’ of water which I thought was ideal for silvers.

I even kept my head on the right way round, when I found my peg had not only been fished the day before but a carp angler had fished into it over night! Both had fished for carp so I hoped it would not make any difference at all to my silverfish maggot approach. Plumbing the swim found it was a perfect depth at 11m, the water looked coloured but I could see through it a little, I figured that by fishing at 11m I could settle the fish on that line without spooking them. It was around 6’ deep and I chose a 4 x 16 J8 float, elastic choice was J Range Yellow hollow, line was 0.12 Cralusso to a size 16’s hook. I had a bed of Bull Rushes to my right which looked very fishy, it was where the carp angler had taken several carp from overnight, so I had to set a rig up for fishing there, it was around 3’ deep so perfect for some carp to be mooching around, I was going to fish pellet here. I had a selection of pellets and 4 pints of mixed maggots plus some corn should I need them.

A first time for everything

I had not fished on this lake for silvers before but I had been told it was full of small fish, I figured that there must be some better fish as well. I was not sure how to initially feed the swim so chose a large kinder pot that I filed with maggots. Two reds were on the hook which followed the lose maggots into my swim. The float wouldn’t settle as a very small Rudd opened the account followed by a few more which wasn’t really what I wanted; it was solid with fry and difficult to get the bait through. I decided to feed a big pot of maggots and this worked after initially waiting for a few minutes for my next bite which was a 2 oz Roach, I don’t mind these as they are good weight builders. I had to repeat the feeding when Rudd became a nuisance and the only other change I made was going up to a size 14’s hook. For the first hour there were very few Carp caught but Barry to my left suddenly had two small ones as did Ricky to my right. I had a look down my margin and caught two very quickly on 8mm pellet but they were small at around 2lb each. I couldn’t get another but felt I was in front of my neighbours. Back onto the long pole and it was solid with Roach, I was now getting some nice ones as well.

Keep on feeding

By keeping the feeding regime up the fish kept coming and even when Barry started to catch Carp I wasn’t worried, I was enjoying myself and fully expected carp to move in on my maggot line. I had a couple of nice Perch and managed one Carp of around 2 ½ lb but no more, I continued catching silvers until the end of the match. I enjoyed the focused approach to the match and really enjoyed catching the Roach even though the rain was torrential all match, at least I was warm with the constant shipping of around 200 silvers. It did surprise me that I didn’t find more carp, the only conclusion I could make is that I didn’t feed enough. If I could fish that match again I would certainly be bolder with the feed as there is one hell of a head of small fish in the lake. I would also set up a gram rig as I really feel you need to bomb the hook bait through those small fish.

The Cornish Yam Yam

I wandered round the lake at the end of the match trying to take some photographs but I’m afraid it was just too wet to get any decent snaps. There was one moment that really made me laugh, it concerned Tony Williams known also known as the ‘The Cornish Yam Yam’ Tony had drawn next to Steve Prouse and they had a bit of craic during the day. The end result was that Tony was well beaten and was about to put his fish back. Steve and his cohort Bassy told him that he had a great chance of the mystery weight which was worth £50 Tony was well up for this and stayed on rather than going home, he later proudly put his fish in the weigh sling saying that he was only weighing for the ‘nifty fifty,’ his face was a picture when he was told there was no such prize!

Overall Ivan Whetton won the match with around 50lb of mainly Carp on the method feeder; Barry Wesley won the other section with 40 odd pounds of Carp and I was really pleased to take the silver fish prize with 22lb 8oz to go with my 7lb of Carp that put me around 5th on the lake.

Gordon "compo" Mears

Gordon Mears won one section with 30lb which also included the biggest Carp of 12lb. I have to jump forward a match here as the week later at White Acres we were standing chatting in the car park when Gordon turned up, I cannot remember who said it but someone mentioned that ‘Compo’ had just joined us, we all looked towards him and had a giggle with him, I will leave you to make your own mind up but I really think a ‘name’ was born that day!

After match raffle

Following the match there was a tremendous raffle with loads of prizes where just about everybody won a prize, some more than others. I had to laugh as earlier when we bought the tickets Steve Prouse told me that the strip after the ones I bought were his favourites, so out of kindness, (well that’s what I’m calling it) I let him buy them, would you believe that strip won three raffle prizes! Still it is Christmas so I don’t begrudge him!

To come

My next match is round four of the winter league at White Acres which we have already fished but I will have to bring you up to speed with that next year, along with a winter treat of a match at Bolingey Lake that I am really looking forward to on the 2nd of January.  Well that’s it from me until 2012 so I would like to take this opportunity to wish everybody a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, from everybody at Fishing4Fun.


  1. Mick

    Dec 22, 2011

    great write up as usual stewart have a good xmas and new year

  2. John London

    Dec 22, 2011

    and a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours Stewart. Keep up the good work, the good fishing and the excellent reports.  


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