Bait Tech 2012

I had a text from Steve ‘DW’ Prouse on Friday afternoon informing me that I was on B Section for the Bait Tech Festival; that immediately gave me my section rotation for the week ahead which really helps with the planning. We had family visiting that were leaving mid morning on Sunday, so I hatched a plan to escape to Trewaters for a couple of hours practice as soon as they had left. I have not seen the Farm since last October and with a chance of drawing there on Monday a little practice wouldn’t go adrift. I had a slow start on peg 22 but slowly I worked out the best way to catch and had a great spell catching down the edge on meat, I really had to drag myself away as there is little point in catching as much as possible in a practice session, I may even draw this swim the following morning so there was no point hammering it. I left the venue feeling confident hoping for a draw at the Farm with the section split 50/50 with Jennies I was hopeful.

Spring day at White Acres

There is still a buzz around White Acres when 180 match anglers congregate at the club house for the start of the festival on Monday morning, and this was no exception. However we all could have been forgiven for thinking that we had travelled over to the Continent for the festival, the weather was glorious without cloud in the sky. In fact the whole week was fished in shirtsleeves and by Friday it looked like I was wearing a white vest!

My turn at the bag of dreams was not entirely what the doctor ordered as I pulled peg 3 on Jennies from the bag of dreams. In my opinion the early pegs had just not been producing over winter and I would have preferred to be anywhere to my right in this section, still you have to be remain confident and try your best. I planned on fishing for Tench and Skimmers as the F1’s had not been down this end in any numbers. The lake was flat calm which made me want to fish a main line at 14.5m. I also had a 5m line and an edge rig. I did set up a groundbait feeder which was clipped up in line with the island which is around 35m. At the start I fed some chopped worms and casters long and fed some meat on the 5m line along with casters down the edge. I started on the long pole and opened my account with a Skimmer but I could see Barry on peg 1 land a Carp also the lad next to me on peg 2 had a small carp. When Barry had another I felt I had to have a go. With hair rigged meat as bait  I spent around 30 minutes on the feeder for a couple of Roach and a Skimmer, not what I wanted on an 8mm sample!

Better near the end

The match did get better as a few fish came on the pole but not really fast, I had a nice run down the edge but unfortunately lost a big carp which ultimately cost me a few points. The change in the match came about when I abandoned the long pole lines and fished shallow with casters and later meat at 5m. It was solid with Roach and the odd skimmer. I really wish I had thought of doing this much earlier as I finished with 31lb Wayne Mellings won the section with around 50lb and I feel that I could have got somewhere near that weight if I had got it right. My weight put me fourth in a tight section.

Tuesday

Another split section between Trelawney and Twin Oaks and as both lakes had fished brilliantly the day before everyone was looking forward to the match. My dip found me on peg 22 on Trelawney the peg from which Grant Albutt had won the lake from the previous day, the Carp had fed shallow and there are not many better exponents of that art than Grant. I was happy with the draw but would have preferred to have been either side of me. Those pegs were taken by Jamie Parkhouse on peg 23 and Mick Lees on peg 20; I know both well from previous years so I was in for good day with a bit of banter amongst the serious part of trying to get the best out of our swims.

I planned on fishing four lines, keeping my match simple. I wanted to fish 16m which left me around a metre from the island, I planned on kinder potting meat on this line and fishing on the deck. I would then ping meat closer at 14.5m hoping to catch shallow. I plumbed a 5m line to fish meat on the deck and finally I had an edge rig to the right where I had a little bit of room.

Ouch, that hurt!

Behind me the bank falls away down a steep slope but a tree branch looked like it was going to be the perfect roller, which worked well. However not content with that I decided to put up my Milo Prince Roller set to the highest position, I set this up half way down the slope and everything appeared perfect. That state remained until two minutes before the start when I moved my pole and unfortunately the roller slipped taking the pole with it snapping the 13m section! Oh man I wasn’t impressed but tried to remain calm, fortunately I carry a spare so I was back in action for the start.

At the all in I went out to 16m line and immediately started catching F1’s, Mick was intent on spoiling the party as he was catching Carp, Jamie started slowly on the feeder. The match progressed and 40 minutes in I hooked a small Carp, as I shipped back the male part of my 14.5m broke no doubt as a result of the earlier mishap! Still, I did manage to land the carp. Unfortunately I could not find any more Carp and there was nothing but the odd F1 shallow. I tried the 5m line and it was solid with F1’s I had a really good spell and for awhile I was catching up on Mick. Jamie had also joined the party but was picking up a few too many Carp for my liking.

The curse of the Whisperer

It was a really enjoyable match as the three of us jostled to gain the advantage; I think we all took a turn at having the lead. Coming towards the end Jamie and Mick were catching Carp, I did have three during the match but could only really catch F1’s on the 5m line. The banter was flowing and Jamie was trying his best telling us how they were all sacking to his left, the problem was he was talking quieter and quieter but I knew he was chatting to me, I even christened him the ‘Somerset Whisperer’ after he mumbled something to me as I landed an F1, I looked around trying to hear what he was saying and the hook came out of the fish pinging my rig into an overhead tree, completely trashing it as I lost concentration for a moment, I was not impressed!  Especially as I didn’t have a duplicate and there was only 10 minutes remaining.

I don’t think it would have made any difference unless I hooked and landed a Carp as I finished 10lb behind Jamie with 86lb but the section was won by Mick who really should have tried a smidge harder as he finished with 98lb! A good match spent in good company.

Wednesday

Porth had been fishing hard and decisions had to be made on how to approach the match, most were concentrating on the feeder which is what I had planned until I drew 84 and then I also fancied setting up the pole.  I was sitting in the water and chose a line at 11m which I fed heavily with a mix of Match Blend and Mosella All Round containing casters and worms. After I had finished cupping in I was out on the feeder at 35 turns with double dead red maggot on the hook. I had a bite fairly quickly which was a small skimmer, quickly I moved to three fish. Just as I was thinking this was alright the bites stopped! I picked up the odd skimmer throughout the match as did Steve Parry who was next to me on peg 83 but it was really hard going. Halfway through the match I had a tentative bite and immediately I was playing a big fish, it came within 5 metres and I could see a Pike of around 6lb on the end of my line, damn or words to that effect were uttered and I pulled hard which fortunately made the Pike let go and I landed a very cut up Skimmer of around 4 oz. The pole didn’t really work but at around 4pm I started getting a few bites but they were tiny Roach.

Bream on

Steve Parry and I were having a bit of a grumble about the fishing when I suddenly noticed his rod had a healthy bend and his face full of concentration, a few minutes later there was a shout of Yessssssssssss which was probably heard on the Match Lake and a 5lb slab entered his keepnet! That put me in a quandary. I wasn’t going to catch up with Steve with these tiny Roach or Skimmers as there was only an hour left, so I decided to fish for Bream, with double hair rigged corn. The end result was I never had a bite during that last hour but Steve continued with his maggot approach and caught a few more Skimmers and another Bream. The end result was that Steve won the match with 13lb and I had 2lb 13oz a few more ounces would have got me a few more points, bah mustn’t grumble!

Thursday

The next couple of days I was really looking forward to, there is always a real feeling of anticipation for me at the draw for Bolingey; it is a lake I never tire of fishing, it is after all one of the reason’s I moved to Cornwall. I had my dip in the BOD and the number was facing away from me, I showed it to Karl who was recording the draw and watched as he wrote peg 6.  Now this is a peg that I like but it is also not a peg that I would not have chosen! The simple reason is that there are a few pegs in the section that can beat it but there is nothing you can do about that. As I drove to Bolingey I decided that I was fishing shallow for most of the day and caster was the feed I had with me 3 pints of SW Baits finest shells and a few maggots for the hook, I also had my 2 pint limit of meat. I walked around to my peg and was disappointed to see my old team mate Dorking’s Gary Hamilton sitting opposite me on peg 47, the simple reason was that I knew he would have a similar bait table to me and he would also be prepared to fish the same style and we would probably end up sharing fish, he is an exceptionally good angler.

My rigs for the day were the new .2gram J13A shallow floats and I set up three with different hook sizes. They were attached to J Range black lastix set soft on pulla kits. I also had a J1 float for the edge and another rig for fishing halfway down the new slope at top kit plus one.  As I plumbed my right margin I felt a Carp brush against the line so I left it alone hoping they would stay around until we started.

Soon the whistle started the match and I was straight down the edge with a large piece of meat, but after a couple of minutes I knew they had gone as I had no indications. I picked up a shallow rig and put three red maggots on the Tubertini 861 size 18 hook and shipped out to 14.5m dropped the rig in and reached for my catapult, at the same time I felt the pole pull round as the elastic was ripped out! It was foul hooked and came off quickly, dropping the rig in again some casters landed around the float and I was soon playing a 6lb Common that didn’t want to come in. This was not lost on Gary and he immediately changed from his 5m to long shallow. Before long we were both catching it really seemed to me though that I was catching good sized F1’s and he was catching Carp! It was a real steady match and fish were fed to the keepnet. Keeping an eye on my clicker I seemed to get to around 50lb in the first 90 minutes so I was onto my second net. The match continued shallow until the last 90 minutes when I was really struggling for bites I figured I had over 100lb and was looking for a good last hour. I felt I was edging Gary and the section, to be fair the wind had changed and was making life tricky for the Dorking angler.

The edge comes good

I just could not get a bite halfway down the slope but with an hour to go I saw a vortex over my edge line. Two worms were impaled on a size 12 hook and dropped over the feed and within 30 seconds I was playing a good fish. I was on proper tackle with .20 Cralusso line and purple J range lastix and soon had the Carp in the net which I guessed was approaching double figures. Two more came in the last 30 minutes. When the scales came I weighed 139lb which was good enough to win the section from Gary who had 106lb. The match was won by Wayne Mellings with 152lb from peg 22 followed by Paul Yates with 150lb from peg 15. My catch took third place which I was pleased with but on the way back to White Acres my old buddy ‘Hindsight’ was rollicking me for fishing the slope, he reckoned I should have fished 5m and I had to agree, I’m sure it would have been worth a few more fish.

Friday

The last day and it was Pollawyn Match Lake another lake that I really love to fish but with 36 anglers the draw always sends a shudder down my spine as there are some pegs that you just do not want. My dip put me on peg 32 and its one of those that can be good but with 20lb coming off it the day before it didn’t really fill me with hope. It is probably the longest walk so I dropped half my gear had a look at the peg and walked back with my head full of thoughts on how to fish it. I decided on a meat attack at 6 metres with 8mm meat fished both on the deck and shallow. I also had an edge rig for fishing casters for anything that swam; I figured an extra 10lb of silvers wouldn’t go amiss especially if they could be caught quickly.  The last thing I set up was a meat feeder to fish to the island. With Andy Bennett drawn to my right I knew I was in for a good match even though he was in a different section.

The match started with me on the feeder after I had cupped some meat in and for 30 minutes I didn’t get a bite. I felt I had to have a go on the pole, and immediately wished I had set up a gram rig rather than a half gram as it was towing hard. Never mind mustn’t grumble, a 10 ounce skimmer cheered me up. Next drop in and another bite saw a better fish fighting hard which pulled out a fair bit of J Range Green Lastix, Mark ‘8mm’ Lazell was sitting behind me correctly guessed at a Barbel which I must admit I was pleased to see slip into the net as it meant I have finally caught a WA Barbel, I must admit to giving the fish a kiss before putting it in the net! Bites after that were few and far between, shallow was producing a few bites which I think were small fish. I had a spell down the edge and caught some nice Roach and the odd VIP, Andy was fishing long shallow with meat and getting the odd skimmer shallow.

With two hours gone I was back shallow at 6m and what a change as I now was getting some good fish including some nice Bream. It really was fantastic fishing and I was pleased to also catch three good Carp on this line which boosted my weight to 83lb 6oz it was a great end to a great festival. My section was all split all over the lake and I soon discovered that I was second behind Paul Yates and overall 5th on the lake. Personally I finished with 29 points that put me around 40th it also qualifies for the Preston final in October which is a good result in my book. The main thing as far as I am concerned is that I enjoyed myself and let’s be honest who wouldn’t?  I caught over 350lb of fish in five days fishing and that included 2lb 13oz on one of the days!

Andy Neal presented the prizes on behalf of Bait Tech

Many congratulations to Grant Albutt for winning the festival with 35 points what a fantastic achievement from one of the country’s top anglers. Des Ship was runner up from Paul Yates in third spot. Bait Tech continued their long standing sponsorship of this spring festival by providing all competitors with a goody bag and extra supplies for the top 20.

Well done to all the fishery team and all the staff at White Acres, Bolingey and Porth for making it a great weeks fishing, and as for ordering the weather, well that was a real nice touch, a bit of the same next year would not go amiss!

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