June is almost over and not added to this for a time so this could be longer than usual! End of April saw me at Larford again , this time for the Feeder Masters, a new competition in which you can only use a feeder- any type as long as it is a feeder and you cast overhead! I was there in plenty of time, drew Match lake peg 56 and set up a fixed elasticated feeder on one rod and a 30g open end feeder on the other. Groundbait was a 50-50 mix of Maryukyu 131 and 161 with a couple of handfuls of micro pellets added. On the whistle I had 8 casts with the open ended feeder to get some bait down then went over the top of it with the fixed method feeder and a drilled8mm pellet. The first hour saw only one small skimmer on the method so I switched to the open end feeder (and stayed on it for rest of match). The odd small carp came along together with the occasional skimmer but the match was made harder when we had a really prolonged hail storm that left the area white with my nets covered. The pictures below are taken an hour after the hail finished!
The match was slow for many with the angler on my left tipping back one small carp of a pound, I weighed in (for the hell of it) 9-9 with the end peg on my right weighing in 19lb. He had probably the same quantity of fish, but they were a better stamp.
May came and the first week I was away on a family holiday taking my wife’s elderly parents to a lodge at Hornsea. Nothing on our return but the following Sunday was the first leg of the North Wessex Summer League, a team of four event and I was making my debut for Pewsey after leaving Swindon Isis. The first match was on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Kintbury and the talk was of needing to be in the first few pegs in A section. As team captain for my team I managed to draw peg 7 and the section draw put me in A- result! When I set off for my peg I walked past all the pegs that peole were talking about and was about 75 yards further past the junction with the Kennet, a nice set of trees covered the far bank and I was hopeful. On my left and end peg was newly sponsored Ian Spanswick, a real threat on the canal and further down on my right was Tony Leech and then veteran Arthur Cook. I set up three rigs- a 1.5g rig for down the track (the canal can tow like a river at times here), a 0.5g rig for down the track and a 0.5g rig for over at the edge of the trees. Depth wise I had about 4foot down the track and 3 foot along the tree line. The match started and Ian was straight into fish on the pole feeder, catching 3 skimmers before I had my first bite – gudgeon. I persevered with the track at the start for the first hour while feeding the tree line. I had a couple of small skimmers and roach before moving across after about an hour and a half. Ian began to slow down and I began to pick up the odd skimmer with the best fish about 2lb.
The canal here is famous as it still has a horse drawn barge that day trippers can enjoy,we had been warned there would be a trip out and sure enough about 1pm the horse came past with the rope being eased over our heads. After the canal settled Ian began to get the odd skimmer as I did but with an hour to go I hit into a bream about 3lb that pulled a large length of elastic out before porpoising and throwing the hook. The match finished with me weighing in 6-4 with Ian weighing in an 8lb weight for the section and the match, so the lost fish cost me, I was second in section and picked up the section by default.
On to the end of May and an MFS match at Theale. This was a nice change as it was an 11am draw and fish 1 to 6pm, so there was no rush but I still managed to get there ultra early before the gate to the lane opened! I drew peg 57 which was a really fishy looking peg with a tree in the water, the downside was the overhanging branches that made fishing a feeder very difficult if not impossible. Before the start one comment about my peg was – “oh, you got the swearing peg”, I was to find out why it had that nickname very soon!
I decided to feed 3 swims – a margin swim to my left under the trees, a 5m line and an 11m line which was fizzing before the start. Elastics were a 10-13 on the 11m line, a 14-16 on the margin rig and a black hydro on the 5m line. It began well enough, fed the three swims one cast with the feeder confirmed my suspicions about its practicality and so went onto the 11m line with meat. After 4minutes the video shows what happened! To cut a long painful story short I weighed in 23-8 after losing 20 carp with the hook pulling or them snagging in the tree, despite me changing to red hydro on the 11m line. I did two things wrong in particular, firstly I totally ignored the 5m line after finding a snag, the match was won on the 5m line on meat; secondly I should have stuck with the original elastic but baited the 11m another couple of metres to my right away from the tree and lifted towards the tree to encourage the carp to stay in open water. I am going back for another MFS match in July- we will see!
Into June and with Larford Fisho coming up on the Sunday I went to Witherington to spend the day with young Tom. We went on the inner snake and walked around the back end. We were soon into fish and although Tom didn’t get as many carp as he hoped for I took the opportunity to fish long and although the day was not spectacular on reflection I realised I had caught over 50lb of carp plus the odd skimmer.
Onto Larford and I drew Speci peg 34 – if I could have chosen my peg this was it! I managed not to run to my peg and was greeted with the sight of carp cruising everywhere. I turned out to be end peg on the bank as 35 was not drawn, two pegs away I had previous champion Steve Jackson. I had planned to attack the peg with a method and look on the 5m line with meat later in the match, but also set up a pellet waggler. As it turned out the fish were there but not interested, I had one skimmer on the method and then looked on the long pole line for nothing, 5m line-nothing and spent most of my time on the pellet waggler. I ended up with a disappointing 1 skimmer, 4 small pasty sized carp for about 2lb and one proper carp for a 16-6 total. Steve Jackson had about 3-4 carp and tipped back, the lad from Farnborough next to me had about the same and tipped back. Another year of Fisho over for me!
Onwards and the next Saturday was at Rolfs in Oxfordshire for another MFS match. I drew peg 24 which is on the car park bank so nice short walk! Rolfs is one of the venues where any carp over 10lb have to be weighed and returned straight away so there are a series of scales and weighing stations with troughs of water every 3 pegs for this to happen with a board to record your witnessed weight. I had read up a bit about the tactics and began on the 11m line toss potting in a few 4mm pellets and a couple of grains of corn, I also put a couple of handfuls of pellet and corn down both margins. The match went quite well with 4 board fish to 12lb, most fish coming to the 11m line with a few down the margin later on. The key was to keep lifting and dropping the bait. I think I lost about 8 fish. At the weigh in I had 71-13 for third in section beaten on the left by Billo who had 3 board fish in the last 10mins for 86lb and Shuar (Josh) who had 91lb on the end peg to my right.
One downside was my top kit with the red hydro exploded into 4 pieces whilst playing a “board” fish, so I had an interesting time netting the fish!
The final jaunt was to the Glebe outside Hinckley for the MFS Hillbilly pairs event, spread over the Friday and Saturday. There was a random draw for pairs with one on Pool 1 and the other on Pools 4,5,6,7 on the first day, reversing for the second. A great experience but a shocking result for me over the two days with some poor decision making. Day 1 drew peg 67 on Pool 4, had only one margin peg to my right, 2 Four feet pegs at 10 and 2 o’clock approximately 2+2 and an 11m line plus feeder. Managed to clip up the feeder so it was within inches of the far bank and managed a few fish, losing 4, after spending half hour on my 11m line only to pull out of the first fish hooked! On to the 11m line again and a few fish again, nothing on the two 4 feet lines and finally a few fish down the margin. Lost 7 fish in total, weighed in 31lb, peg 66 (corner peg) had 46lb, the peg on my right had 15lb, then 102, 89, 68, 111lb. On reflection I probably fed too heavily, especially in the margin as the wind was blowing down the other end of the pool and I don’t think I had that great a head of fish in front.
Day 2 saw me on Pool 1 peg 5 – I later found out that Shuar had won the lake on day 1 with 182lb using groundbait and maggots (what bait didn’t I bring!). I had a bush on both sides of me so two margin pegs, two four feet lines at edge of bushes and an 11m line. Began a lot more frugally with the feeding and I had taken the decision to mix it up by feeding a mixture of micros and 6mm pellets at 11m with a little groundbait, 10 o’clock was hemp and corn as was the left margin, 12 o’clock was pellet A positive start with 14lb on the clicker in the first hour at 11m, then two lost fish saw the swim die. I tried the 10 and 2 lines- nothing, back on 11m and picked up the odd fish. Swapped back and fore the 11m and 10+2 lines but only caught on 11m line, tried the margins with two hours to go and had three tench and one small carp from the left margin and a couple of perch and one lost carp from right margin. I could see the fish going in and out the right margin but the were not having it. All the while in the last hour I could hear splashing from the other side of the bush as they were obviously feeding and getting caught on the next peg! Last 10 minutes I had 3 fish from the 10 o’clock swim- my only 3 bites in two days there!
I weighed in 42lb and was really fed up. Lost 8 carp in total. Scone won section on peg 1 with 150lb+ despite letting a carp of about 8lb roll back before it could be weighed. Jay (Pellethead) on my left, had 120lb catching on the 5m line, down the margins late on and shallow at 16m, the other side of the bush weighed in 68lb. A great venue but poor decision making cost me, Scone said to me afterwards- “How many times a year do you fish this place?” to which I replied 1, “so don’t beat yourself up about it”. True words, but I need to get my decision making sorted as I feel I am having to many blank periods in matches. As an aside- just to make me feel worse- Andy Kinder won Pool 4 and the match with 212lb from the margin in (you guessed it) peg 67.
Onwards and upwards has to be my mantra!