Red Sky At Night

There was the most fantastic red sky over Bodmin Moor as Steve Maynard and I drove towards Bake Lakes for the Sunday open, I just could not get the old saying out of my mind, but changed the words to fisherman’s warning! There were 20 fishing and I had been looking forward to the match all week, I even prepared my groundbait which was a method mix the night before the match, I very rarely do that! It was soon time for the draw and I put my hand into the bag of dreams and pulled out my peg, not that any of the numbers mean anything to me, as I have only been on the lake a couple of times before. I find the best way to get information quickly is to follow some advice an old friend of mine told me years ago. Whenever he went to a new venue he used to say out loud the number he had just drawn, and then watch the other competitor’s faces, looking for a clue as to how good his peg was. I have never forgotten this and now do it myself, normally you get a reaction. Five, I blurted out in a louder than normal voice, all I got was people looking away from me, which is not a good sign! The best comment I got, and I have to say it was mentioned to me it a few times during the day is ‘it’s a brilliant summer peg’, guys it’s the beginning of February!

Little Jack

I found to my dismay that I was one peg out of a corner, what’s more Wrong Lake Wayne was one out of the adjacent corner and we had nowhere to cast our feeders, if we both went 20 metres out I front of us we would have dropped down the same hole, it was a little disappointing to say the least as this is a big lake. Never mind, mustn’t grumble too much or the New Year resolution will be well and truly broken.

I felt I could possibly catch some carp on the pole so I set up a rig to fish a hard pellet at around 11m, and just in case the lake fished hard I also set up a maggot rig. I did put up the method and picked a line as far to my left as I could to give myself a fighting chance. Well, I really feel I have to cut this story short as it can only be described as a very poor days fishing, that is despite the lake fishing absolutely brilliantly. My day went from bad to worse, and just to bang the nail in a little further it rained all day, plus I had to give Steve Maynard a Snicker as he caught 50lb and absolutely walloped my guestimated 4lb of silvers!

I had a go on the method, and to be fair Wayne dropped his feeder a little short which gave us both some room. I actually had an indication on my first cast and picked up the rod too early and was briefly attached to a carp, I must have struck at a liner. I fished the method on and off throughout the day but all I caught was one skimmer; I did fish a big hook bait as Wayne was getting plagued with small roach on the maggot. On my pole line nothing much happened apart from losing another foul hooked carp. I tried the maggot for 30 minutes or so and caught small roach but it was hard to motivate myself as I could see some anglers absolutely emptying the place! It was noticeable that you needed to be around the middle of the lake to be amongst the fish. I was still toying with the idea of fishing the maggot and trying to nick a county championship point, but as I could see practically all the other anglers, and at least 8 of those were catching really well, my enthusiasm waned and I found myself packing up with an hour to go. Wayne fished the method for the whole of the match and didn’t manage a carp finishing with a few pounds of bits.

Steve the roofer was a worthy winner with a brilliant 142lb of pole caught carp followed by the consistent Barry Wesley who caught carp on the pole for 132lb there were quite a few other good weights. It is a real shame about the weather it was just too wet to get the camera out, some nice fish were caught.

Nearer home and round 7 Individual league

As the week went on things were looking rather bleak for the weekend, the weather was turning very wintery with the cold snap extending further into SW. By Friday word was that most of the lakes at White Acres were frozen, the match looked like it was going to be cancelled. By Saturday morning the temperature had soared to a massive 7c and it was raining, that afternoon we heard that the match was on, which really cheered me up as I was desperate to get out on the bank and catch some fish. In the end 35 made the journey to White Acres, not bad considering how poor the weather had been. I really fancied a nice peg on the High Bank, and consequently didn’t know what to think when I found I was on peg 21 Trelawney. It was not really the lake I wanted, even though the peg can be good, IF the carp are in the narrow channel; I have it before and had good weights, so I went to the bank feeling confident.

The swim is 16m wide directly in front of the peg, narrowing down to the right and getting much wider to the left. Carp were included in this round and I felt it was pole only for me, but I needed a few rigs to cover my options which were the margins, the far bank plus a swim in the middle of the channel and a long pole to my left moving into the wider part of the lake. Word was that maggot and small nuggets of ground bait ‘was the in method’ to catch the F1’s but I have tried that a few times recently and cannot make it work, other than a few odd fish. My thoughts were that that it worked IF, you were on fish, and to be honest felt if you were on them, practically anything would work! So, I decided to leave the GB in the carryall and fish chopped worm and a few micros and hopefully catch everything, without putting anything off. Two rigs were set up for the long pole line to the island. One light rig hopefully to catch F1’s and silvers using a soft green hollow lastix and the other a carp rig with a banded pellet on a stronger black J Range hollow lastix.

For company

Roy Booth

I had the old campaigner Roy Booth for company on peg 23, yep, I was one peg away from where I wanted to be once again! Wrong Lake was the next angler and he was chomping at the bit to beat me up again, I was equally keen to stop the rot and catch a few fish! The ‘all in’ started proceedings and I deposited a pot of chopped worm and micros at 7 sections of pole, slightly to my left, I put a fair amount in as the water temperature was a surprising 7.5c. I contemplated which rig to start with on the long pole, as I had not seen one carp swirl on the whole lake prior to the start, which is unusual for Trelawney, I picked up the lighter rig and slipped two red maggots onto the hook. A few micros and a couple of maggots went into the toss pot and I shipped out to the island, within a minute or so the float dipped and a nice sized fish was hooked, shipping back I thought it was an F1 until half way back when I realised it was a carp, playing it carefully I felt I had it under control until I was about to net it and it shot off and snapped me, Man I could have screamed, very nearly the perfect start!


Stronger gear

I put on a heavier .14 hook length and went out again with maggot, a few minutes later I had a bite but it was a Roach followed by another one 10 minutes later, after a further ten minutes or so I was just thinking I had messed this up and it was going to be really hard, when the float went under again, and I lifted into a Carp, but it I was foul hooked, I played it really carefully hoping the hook was going to stay put but that also escaped.  Picking up my other rig I put an 8mm pellet on the hook and went out again and soon had an F1 in the net. I kid you not I actually lost two more carp on the spin they were probably foul hooked but I’m not that sure as there was no mad charge. Oh man, I couldn’t believe it 4 – 0 even my beloved Leeds United hadn’t had a start like that recently, for a moment I actually felt like giving myself the sack and joining ex manager Grayson on the dole!

Stay focused

Fortunately, I managed to keep my head on my shoulders and a couple of minutes later landed a 5lb Carp, interestingly it was hooked outside of the mouth which may have been why the others came off, if they were hooked similarly. Within seconds of shipping out again I was playing another five pounder, which I was pleased to put the net under. What a start that would have been if I had landed them all! It went quiet and I didn’t have a bite for around 15 minutes, Roy had just got the words ‘They have gone then’ out of his mouth when I hooked another which I landed, shame Roy never mentioned it again as I never had another Carp, they had definitely gone and didn’t come back!  I managed a couple of F1’s on the long line during the rest of the match. On my shorter worm line I had a few smaller F1’s and a nice Skimmer plus some Roach and Perch and by alternating this line with another worm line I fed after 3 hours I managed to keep a few fish coming until the end of the match finishing second in section and second on the lake with 32lb to Roy’s 39lb Man, I definitely let a few points slip that day, but on the positive side I also managed to gain a few as it wasn’t as bad as it could have been!

Harry Billing

Elsewhere the complex fished absolutely brilliantly with some very good weights, perhaps the lakes needed to have the ice cap, even if it was for a short time! Pete Thomas showed everyone a clean pair of heels with a pellet feeder caught 84lb of Carp from peg 31 on the High Bank he had around 15 carp taken on red maggot. ‘The Breamer’ Mick Kearns has seems to have forgotten about his favourite species lately,  today he concentrated on the method and red boilie for 74lb of Carp for second place from peg 19 on the Match Lake. Harry Billing was third from peg 15 on Jenny’s which he managed to draw for the second time in succession, finishing with 47lb. Andy Partridge had a nice 40lb bag of Roach and Skimmers caught in his favoured short pole from peg 16 on Jenny’s.

League after 7 out of 10 rounds 51 competitors

Pos Angler Weight points
1 Harry Billing 251lb 15oz 244
2 Mick Kearns 235lb 15oz 221
3 Pete Thomas 235lb 10oz 207
4 Stewart Lister 177lb 6oz 205
5 Arthur Turner 217lb 0 oz 199
6 Clint Elliott 175lb 13oz 194
7 Trevor Conroy 178lb 13oz 191
8 Andy Partridge 186lb 4 oz 180
9 Roger Baker 157lb 14 oz 179
10 Paul Carpenter 159lb 9oz 170



Q, When does second place win more than first place?

The Wednesday open was boosted by Garbolino’s Darren Cox and Simon Fry who had been visiting White Acres on business, there was only 11 fishing but it was a strong field. I couldn’t make the 9am draw so Harry Billing offered to draw for me, there was no way I was letting that offer go! I arrived in the car park after the draw and told that I had a flyer which didn’t surprise me; the only surprise was that it wasn’t hot peg 31apparantly Simon Fry had got to the bag before Harry! In fact we were hemmed in on the high bank by a Garbolino pincer movement with Darren on end peg 13 and Simon on the other end peg 31 what chance of any patrolling fish getting through that pair of baggers?

I was happy enough on peg 25 and had already decided that if I was on the High Bank it would be Carp or bust. Two pellet feeder rods were assembled along with a pole rig to fish at 5m with pellet, I also had a VIP rig but didn’t really fancy it as it was very still and cold plus the previous night there was a massive full moon, I’m sure the pressure changes effect the fishing and have noticed over the years that the conditions we had today ‘were just not right’ in my book anyway!

There were no immediate bites from large Carp as so often happens on the High Bank, I saw Andy Gray on peg 29 land a small carp, Chaz Ward on 27 had an F1 but apart from Arthur Turner who I could just see on peg 20 catching the odd F1 it was slow. My tip went around and it was an F1 that fancied the red boilie, I had Roy Booth next to me once again, he was also on the tip but as yet had no bites. Chaz was now picking up the odd F1 and I had another. After forty minutes I had a look on the pole and had a tiny indication, I lifted into the bite and yards of J Range black shot out of the pole, despite getting the rest of my sections on I lost the foul hooked fish, here we go again!  It snapped me so I cast the pellet feeder out whilst I changed the pole rig. Just as I had the new hook length on the rod flew round and I was attached to another foul hooker, man these last few matches have been frustrating. The pole rig back in order I had another go, you guessed it one more lost fish that felt huge!

Feeder time


Back on the pellet feeder whilst I considered my options I started to catch some small 3lb carp and the odd F1 which was nice. I contemplated setting up a pole rig to fish ¾ depth as those big carp were definitely well off bottom, which was again in my book something to do with the gravitational pull caused by the full moon and no doubt warm water layers, but the water temperature on the bottom was well over 7c much warmer than where I sat! In the end I continued on the feeder and had a couple of good runs catching steady. I did keep feeding the pole line and the Perch line but nothing came from the margins.

Going into the last hour Roy had a 16 pound Mirror on the pole and Chaz on the other side also had a smaller sample around 5lb, with 30 minutes left I had another go on the pole and managed my biggest carp of the day which was about 6lb which really finished the day of nicely! The scales started with Darren and I just got there as he tipped back his 42lb so missed the photo opportunity, Harry on peg 15 had a nice net of fish that went 62lb Roy Booth managed over 50lb and I was a little surprised to find mine went 67lb which was good enough to win the section.

The other section started with Simon and unfortunately he was also the first to weigh in his section and I missed his winning net of 78lb of carp, I really must try harder with the camera, but to be fair there were two sets of scales and they started weighing on the whistle! The rest of that section was on the match lake points and runner up was Clint Elliott with 58lb he had a few carp on the method and some skimmers from peg 19. The lake fished really well with lots of 40lb plus nets. Well that’s it from me for a couple of weeks as it’s a fishing free weekend and a couple of days away with the family which I am really looking forward to. Until next time keep those strings tight.

Oh, I nearly forgot the answer is when only sections are paid out, with no individual winner money. I had more anglers in my section and therefore picked up more than Simon, Oh well mustn’t grumble Si!

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