I was busy on Wednesday and couldn’t make the White Acres mid week match, by Sunday I was chomping at
I signed off last time saying I was making my debut on a couple of new venues, which I was looking forward to, and it’s fair to say I experienced a degree of success over the week! In fact, since I started this blog back in march I’ve realised there hasn’t been a week where I haven’t picked money up, whether it’s been an odd section win or an outright victory. Must be something of a lucky charm for me!
Obviously, now I’ve said that I’ll probably put the mockers on the job now! Mandy mentioned it to me last week, she notices these things because I always split my winnings with her, and when I checked, sure enough I’d had a drag of some sorts every week since we came back from Mexico, and long may it continue! Please don’t think I’m bragging, it’s quite the opposite actually, I’m amazed at the success I’ve had, and as anyone who’s watched me fish will tell you, I must have been on some right flyers!
So, to the past week. Wednesday was out, I’d arranged to meet my daughters for a day out so all match tickets were cancelled. However, when they called it off late on Tuesday I was a bit deflated, but so as not to waste the day I decided to have a run (with the gear in the car) to look round Saturday’s venue, The Haven Fishery at Stainforth, near Doncaster. The wind was strong to gale force when I arrived, and anyone who knows the area will know that Doncaster and the surrounding area is very flat, unlike hilly Sheffield, so it’s difficult to find any shelter from the elements. One of the lads who fishes with the Bankside boys, John Dawson, was already there and enjoying a good run of bites, despite the wind, which he’d cannily chosen to fish with over his shoulder.
I sat with him for an hour or so and we both agreed that should it keep up, the wind would dictate what constituted a good peg. After seeing the stamp of roach John was catching I couldn’t resist a go myself, and set up across on the other side of the lake. The face wind was deflected slightly by one of the two islands, and for comfort (and the fact I was only intending to fish for a couple of hours at the most) I decided to concentrate most of my attentions on a 10m pole line, this I thought would be far enough out to snare the odd bream, and far enough away from my other line which was at 5m fed with maggot to try to catch shallow. To cut a long story short I caught well on both lines (as you do in practise) but came to the conclusion that it would be a caster match as there were a huge number of tiny perch present that had a taste for maggots, worms, indeed any bait that had a bit of movement in it! A phone call to Mosborough Tackle Box on the way home secured my order of two pints of Sheffield’s finest casters for Friday, and my plans were almost complete.
Saturday saw me draw the end peg on our match, which at first sight was pretty good, until I realised it was tucked away in a corner! I’d fancied an open water peg due to the targets being bream and ide, so to find some room I had to fish at an angle to my right, away from peg 19, with 14.5m of pole, not easy in the strong wind. I also put a line in at 10m again, much as anything else as to go there for a breather from wrestling with the long pole in the wind, which was increasing in strength as the start drew closer. I potted three balls of 50/50 Nutrabaits Trigga carpet feed and green Swimstim over the 13m line, loaded with casters and a little chop, and a pot of Trigga feed pellets. I’m convinced these baits are working for me just of late, on more than one occasion the pellets have seemed to switch the peg on, and adding the liquid Trigga to my paste has seen me catch a bigger stamp of fish on more than one venue.
Unconvinced? I must admit I was an ‘additive sceptic’ up to recently, but some experiments with the carp in my garden pond have thrown up some very interesting results, so I’ll keep you posted as I find more out.
The start of the match was a dream for me, an ide of almost 2lb followed a couple of decent stamp roach into the net in the first 15 minutes, then a 1lb-plus skimmer and a slightly smaller one put me on 5lb or so as the first hour drew close. I decided to top up the worm fed at 10m (I’d also been loose feeding casters here) and have a look on the long line. A 2lb bream second drop proved to be a false dawn though, and after that the match turned really hard, with me struggling for bites from odd roach. I decided to stick with the caster hookbait as a couple of drops with worm or maggot had only brought more perch trouble, and kept dropping a bit of bait long when the wind eased a little, with a view to nicking another bream or two later.
This would prove to be a masterstroke actually, the odd look down tha margin for a bonus fish only threw up more greedy perch, and with 30 minutes to go all my lines were blown. It was time to sit it out long for a bream. The strong wind meant I had to cling onto the pole for grim death, trying to get the rig to fish properly for a few seconds at a time before it was yanked away by the gusts and I had to start again. Fortunately, ten minutes from the end the float dipped slightly then the whole bristle lifted clear of the water, a classic bream bite on the rig which by now I was fishing 8 inches over depth. A steady lift of the pole saw a yard of no.8 black Preston elastic pour from the pole, followed by the familiar nod of a hooked bream.
A few hairy moments in the wind later saw another 2lb-plus bream slide over the rim of the net, and at that point I was sure I had double figures, which I’d estimated would be enough to win some coin on the day. The scales went round to 14lb exactly; I was surprised by just how many roach I’d actually had when I lifted the net out. My mates Barney and Ian had walked round with the scales, and they seemed to think that would be good enough for 2nd or 3rd, as one of the lads on the bank with the wind over their backs had caught some decent tench and ide, and indeed Barney had caught well for the first half of the match, his peg also going away from him in the later stages. Pete Gosney, an old friend of mine from the Trent days who has just returned to the sport, was the man with the quality fish, including orfe and bream in his 19lb 6oz winning net, while Barney fell one good fish short of my total with12lb 7oz to make up the top three.
It’s definitely a venue I would go to again, in fact Adrian the match organiser has already booked it for our forthcoming winter league, and I can’t wait! I’ve got a funny feeling those perch won’t be regarded as quite as much of a nuisance in November though!
Sunday saw me at my local Aston park fishery with the Turners arms club. I struggle to find form at Aston, mainly because although it is close to home for me I rarely get to fish there for one reason or another. The Stable pond was our venue for the day, something of a mixed fishery with double figures of roach possible from most pegs on caster fished shallow, quite a few bream, and of course the resident stockie carp. Last summer’s floods did their best to ‘redistribute’ a lot of the fish on the complex, making the lakes something of an unknown quantity, but recent results had shown that a silver-fish based approach would be the best line of attack, but that a dedicated carp line couldn’t be ignored because they could turn up in any of the pegs.
The heavy rains of late had left the water looking like tea, not good conditions at Aston, so I based my match around chopped worm and caster, loose feeding casters over the top to try and bring the roach up in the water. I also fed pellets down the side under a bush in 4ft of water, with a view to catching carp there on paste later on, following some advice given to me by venue regular Mick Todd. I’d just about discounted paste as an option, but Mick convinced me to give it a go, and he was proved right in the end, so thanks mate, hopefully I can return the favour some time!
An hour into the match and all was not well, six fish graced the net, caught at intervals, and there was nothing to show that things were going to get any better. I didn’t want to go over the paste line too early, so was looking for another option when I noticed club chairman Kevin Cardwell was putting one or two fish together, and he looked to be fishing shallow. A quick ponder over the conditions made me wonder whether the fish were actually higher in the water, the cold rainwater sinking to the bottom and forcing them up into the upper layers. I decided to loose feed casters short at 5 metres regularly and fish over the top shallow, looking to line the roach up. This saw an immediate upturn in my catch rate, with roach to 8oz coming regularly, leaving me kicking myself that I hadn’t sussed it earlier. I had an interesting couple of hours catching these roach, as they moved up and down and in and out.
All the while I was flicking odd pellets under the bush, and with 90 minutes to go I spotted the odd bubble coming to the surface, just as Mick had said they would when they turned up. By now the roach were getting a bit cagey as I’d had quite a few of them, so I decided to rest them for 10 mins while I had a look down the side. First drop on the paste rig and I had a dippy kind of bite that I didn’t connect with, and next drop a more positive pull saw only a couple of inches of elastic come out of the pole, as the smallest carp in the lake had managed to impale itself on the hook! A missed bite next drop saw me suspect the peg was full of tiny carp or skimmers, but fortunately the next bite resulted in a carp of 1lb or so. Two more in the next two drops of a similar size had me rubbing my hands together, unfortunately that spelt the end of my catching spell, so it was back out on the shallow caster rig.
This set the tone for the last hour of the match, and I noticed I would get a quality roach as soon as I went in on the shallow rig, then the fish would get smaller and smaller, signalling a switch back to the paste. I’d nick another one down there, then pinch a decent roach, and was enjoying myself so much I didn’t want the whistle to go! Obviously it did, and after I’d packed my gear away, which by now was strewn all over the bank by the high winds, went to meet the scales. One of the lads that travels with us, Steve Owen, was in front at the time with 10lb 12oz. Steve had used his loaf and not tried any heroics in the winds, and simply fished a pellet feeder to put together a double figure bag of small stockies, while all those around him had made life hard for themselves with the long pole, and taken next to nothing to the scales.
My roach net took me into the lead with 11lb 12oz, and the small carp boosted my weight up to 21lb 8oz. Kev had caught all day shallow, and was admitting to 18-20lb, so I knew it would be close. Another one of our happy band of match lads, Dale Clarke, put a creditable 10lb 9oz on the scales, but he reckoned Kev would have nearer 30lb. Fortunately Dale is as bad at overestimating as I am at underestimating, and Kev weighed 17lb 6oz, a lovely looking catch made up entirely of roach and rudd.
So, three consecutive wins on three Sundays, I’m bound to come down to earth with a right bump very soon! And, I forgot to tell you about my midweeker at KJS Aston, where I snared a defaulted section win next door to Mosborough Tackle Box captain Tony Caley. At the end of the match, Tony decided to come to my peg armed with his top kit and a bag of casters, to show me how I’d done it ‘wrong’. He had four decent roach in five minutes, bumping a couple more off, and then loudly marched off telling everyone how he’d ‘put me right’. Unfortunately, when the scales arrived his level 18lb was just edged out by my 18lb 3oz! A defaulted section was the result, as I was in the same area as match winner Tim Hannon who had 46lb, my debut at the water coinciding with the worst downturn in form for a long while!
I’m back there Thursday, but the weekend is a bit of a rare one for me, with nothing on. With a bit of luck I can sneak onto the open at Bank End Sunday, but Saturday is still to be filled, so we’ll have to see how it goes. I’ll let you know how I go one, so tight lines for now.