I was busy on Wednesday and couldn’t make the White Acres mid week match, by Sunday I was chomping at
Sorry about the delay folks, it’s just that the matches have been coming thick and fast just of late, with the big one, the Sheffield Star Green ‘Un semi final being the main event and requiring quite a lot of preparation. This has seen me dividing my time between the waterside and the garage, as well as keeping the missus happy! Anyway, I’m back in the fold now, so over my next couple of blogs you’ll see just how easy it can be to go from hero to zero practically overnight!
Before all the trials and tribulations at Hayfield (the semi final venue) there was the small matter of a Matchgroup 2000 event at Lindholme, on the awesome Bonsai Lake. My mate Ian had been going on the opens on Thursdays, so up to the minute info was readily at hand. We went tooled up for a shallow caster approach, backed up with a tiny pellet feeder cast tight to the island, should it be out of pole range. Lindholme operates a 16-metre pole limit, meaning most of the islands here call for a feeder or waggler approach. I drew peg 46, which I fancied for a few fish as I’d caught well in the area on previous matches. Ian screwed his nose up a bit, saying the pegs opposite held more fish at the moment, and a section win was all I could realistically expect.
He then did no more than pull out the next peg, 44! (We were double pegged around the lake, as they do on the opens) Two less than happy lads unloaded the car between the pegs and set about sorting the gear for the day ahead.
I rigged up three shallow set ups, at 18”, 30”, and another about 2ft deep but with a long line above the float as the lake was flat calm and I suspected that the fish could become cagey about having the pole over their heads after I’d caught one or two. This turned out to be a wise move, as the long line rig was to turn out to be the most used on the day. At the all in I cast the feeder up to the island (in a very hap-hazard fashion I must add – I obviously don’t have ‘bad hair days’, but I do have ‘bad casting days’!) and settled back, awaiting the tip going round straight away as it usually does here. Ian was in straight away, but my tip didn’t move except for a slight tap, which at least showed there were some fish there I suppose.
A drop back saw me briefly attached to a fish, which came off almost instantly, and when the same thing happened next throw it was obvious something was wrong. Ian was experiencing the same problems, and listening to the general chat around the lake everyone was dropping one or two off. I finally opened my account on the fourth cast of the day with a tiny mirror hooked in the pectoral fin, proving my suspicions correct that the previous losses were down to foul-hooked fish. I remembered back to Bank End the previous Sunday when I’d had a similar problem and not really come up with a solution, but in this case I did have another option.
I decided to cast a little short of the island, my thinking being that the shallow water tight up left me more prone to line bites, and that perhaps the fish weren’t really ready to sit in such shallow water anyway, and were simply darting in to pick off pellets, and hooking themselves against the rig. It worked to a degree, but to be honest there were no real signs telling me that there were a lot of fish present, Ian next door was getting twice as many bites as me and even he said he didn’t think a big weight was possible, so it was time for a change.
I’d been feeding a line at 13-14m from the start with casters, with a view to catching shallow, so this would be my next port of call. First drop resulted in a 1lb-plus F1, then a slightly smaller one next put in had me rubbing my hands, and set the tone for a really interesting day. These early fish would be the only time that I would catch on the same rig in quick succession all day, it needed a subtle change on a regular basis to keep the bites coming. Altering the feed pattern, moving a shot, laying the rig in differently, all brought me fish, a mixed bag of Carp, F1’s, Chub, Roach, Rudd and Ide, but pride of place had to go to the biggest DACE (!) I’ve ever caught, which must have been nudging a pound! I was so engrossed in the fishing that for once I lost touch with what was going on around me.
The match ended too soon for me actually as I was really enjoying myself. I’d been aware of my mate Roy Gibson getting one or two on the other side of the lake, and John Mills had also been catching from early in the match. Both these anglers have a good record here, and are never far away from the frame. Ian and a couple of the other regulars had said they would be difficult to beat, and so it proved, Gibbo getting the nod with 71lb 2oz, from John on 60lb 40z. The next two weights came from either end pegs, with 54lb and 48lb both sounding too rich for my blood.
I’d got so wrapped up in the day I’d honestly got no idea what sort of weight I had, but looking at the weights I suspected a default section would be my only hope, and that was how it turned out, the 54lb third weight taking third, leaving me to pocket the section by default, and a load of stick in the process! Most of the lads know me as Wraggy, but anyone meeting me for the first time on the bank could be forgiven for thinking my first name is Spawny!
Which leads nicely into my weekend match! I’d had the Saturday off, my little nephew was staying overnight, so I decided to take him to Bramall Lane to watch the Blades, and teach him how to swear a bit! He’s a United fanatic at 8 years old, that’s what I call being brought up proper! We got the result, a 2-1 win over Bristol City, so we were buzzing on the way home. Couldn’t interest him in riddling casters though, so it was play station for him, garage for me. I’ve joined a club from Rotherham called Turners Arms AC with my mate Dale Clarke, and their first match was on the silver fish lake at KJS Fisheries.
Regulars know it as the first pond, and it is stuffed with skimmers and roach, as well as crucians, tench, and some big carp, big enough to make a nasty hole in a hard-earned silver fish net! A walk round on the morning prior to going to the football had shown plenty of silvers finding their way to the net, mostly to chopped worm tactics. We would be using every peg however, so I expected it to be a little bit harder. I’d only fished the lake in the depths of winter, so the little preview was more than welcome! I’d figured that with skimmers being the main weight builders, an open water peg would be favourable, so when I drew behind the small island I was less than pleased I can tell you!
This island is around six feet in diameter, and with three anglers fishing up to it, it didn’t look a very attractive proposition. I put a pellet line in there just in case, but decided my best hope of putting a weight together would be catching roach shallow on caster half way to the island. When I tell you the island was only 11m away, perhaps you can understand my predicament! A margin rig was half-heartedly set up to snare any crap daft enough to poke its head between the keepnets, and I also plumbed up at the bottom of the slope away from the island, with a view to feeding chop there later if things got desperate. The heavily coloured water meant I could get away with 0.10 straight through on the roach and the choppy rigs, 0.14 up to the island, and my usual 0.16 in the margin.
A quick look up to the island while I loose fed casters on my shallow line saw me pick off a few tiny skimmers, and a small carp of maybe 8oz or so, but soon the roach were humping the surface of the water up as I fed the casters, so it was time for a look. I was immediately into decent stamp fish, going maybe three to the pound, but it was one of those days where the carp were cruising around nonchalantly, thinking about getting ready to spawn, and every time one drifted through the swim the roach would back off, and it was start again time. As the match wore on my catch rate slowed, the shoal thinning out and the carp ambling around both taking their toll, so I dropped a small cup of worm at the bottom of the far shelf.
A quick look tight over produced another small carp of 12oz, and then it was onto the chop. This gave me another flurry of the same 4-6oz roach, but again it was short lived, so I topped it up and moved again. This proved to be the pattern for the final stages of the match, potting a tiny amount of bait in then moving to another line to pick perhaps one or maybe two fish off, then repeating the process. Another very interesting day came to a close, and I thought I’d have a double figure weight, but knew of two lads on the opposite side with a few fish. One of them had two carp, the other one and some roach. They were both admitting to 10lb-plus, and word came round of another carp on the end pegs, that the angler had landed on his roach gig after a lengthy fight, no mean feat. 8lb was winning when the scales arrived at my peg, and I registered 13lb 2oz to go into pole position. 6 & 8lb weights were the order of the day on the end bank, and the scales moved over to the three lads in a line who had a few.
First up was Frank Perryman with the carp and roach catch, with 12lb 2oz. Bit close for comfort, but it was to get even closer next door, as ‘Pud’, one of the longest serving members of the club, saw his two carp swing the needle round even closer, finally settling on 13lb exactly! Remember my motto, ‘better to be lucky than good’! The guy next door was something of a dark horse, his all silver fish catch weighing 10lb exactly, and the lad down the end with the hard-earned carp registering 9lb 6oz meant I’d won! All this after spending the first two hours moaning to myself about drawing one of three pegs I didn’t want!
Still, it’s not the first time I’ve made myself look a knob on the bank, and I doubt it will be the last!
So, two really interesting and rewarding matches, acouple of decent results, and the Green Un Semi looming on bank holiday Monday. Also, it’s the first match in a series I’ve joined with Woodhouse shop Bankside Tackle, this one being at Sherwood Forest Farm Park, on Holmedale Lade, the home of some real animals! I will fill you in on how I went on in these later on in the week, and remember, it’s better to be lucky than good!