It was the first week of May that I managed to get out to Patneys and plonked myself down at the first peg on the right hand bank. This is usually hard going but I wanted to try several things including feeding maggot. Bottom line was that the maggot was slow and it needed the introduction of a few cubes of 4mm meat before I began getting regular bites at 13m, a strung out rig not as effective surprisingly as a bulked one. I ended up with 16 small carp, 6 skimmers, 3 roach and 3 rudd plus lost 6 carp. Total was a shade over 20lb.
The following Wednesday was the Fisho at Larford and I picked out peg 65 on speci which was in the general area I wanted to be in and I had Les from MFS two pegs away on 67 which I had fished several times before. The weather ultimately had the last laugh as it had been warm but we had had a cold night with some cold rain going in that made it more difficult. I ended up tipping back about 10lb of skimmers and did not get a sniff of a carp on the method, pellet waggler or down the edge! Very disappointing.
Following week went back to Patneys and fished a peg in the bay on the right hand side. Again used normal tactics of 4mm meat with a toss-pot of meat, micros and a plug of groundbait every put in. 13 carp and 2 skimmers for about 15-16lb was the result but again lost 4 smaller carp and one lump for no apparent reason.
That week-end signaled the start of the North Wessex Summer League with the first round on the K&A canal at Pewsey. I ended up at Bristows on C4, a wide area with tall trees on the near and far bank. I set up a 11 foot waggler, an old Silstar Ian Heaps rod, with the intention of fishing caster across, the a short rig for the inside deeper water and another at 11m. The real problem started just before the all in, it was a clear sunny day and the fantastic patch of fish holding shade that was in front of me was now almost gone, indeed after the first hour when the shade disappeared and I was “cooking” the fish disappeared and I only had 2 fish in the last 3 and a half hours. The section went like this C1(shade) 1-9, C2(shade) 1-7, C3 (shade) 0-09, C4 (me) 0-14, C5(no shade) 0-01, C6 (no shade) 0-01, C15 (shade)0-15. So I was 4th in section, not a great start to the league but better than it could have been!
The next week was used to sort tackle and prepare bait for the three day MFS Frenzee festival at Woodland View near Droitwich. I had been tasked with sorting the results and all the draw / weighing sheets so with computer and boards in tow I made my way to the fishery on Sunday, I was surprised to see parts of the lane leading down to the fishery flooded- obviously some very heavy overnight rain!
We were on Arles pool on the first day and due to a couple of last minute drop-outs we were down to 24, 4 sections of 6. I had the last peg which was 31, just at the top of the slope by the cafe. I had never fished Arles before but knew that it contained a variety of fish and mindful of the heavy overnight rain they had had, plus the forecast thunder storms I opted for a catch everything approach.
Tackle was set up accordingly, a pellet feeder for the island opposite, an 11m line with a 0.5g home made float to 0.16mm Shogun and a 16 hook, a 5m line set up in a similar manner and a margin rig on 0.20mm to a 16, again a homemade “greenie” style float but with a nitrol stem and 0.5g capacity. I had intended to video the match but when I tried to start the camera it kept turning off so I packed it away-miffed!
I decided to put a small dollop of chopped worm and caster plus some micros on the 5m line and feed via a toss-pot the same every put in. The 11m line was fed with a handful of micros a similar amount of 4mm pellet and just a few casters. The left margin was going to be fed with 3-4 grains of corn throughout the match and the right margin that was the deeper of the two, was having a half pot of 4mm plus a sprinkling of corn.
The match started, lines fed, I started on the 5mm line as I was not sure the feeder line would work- everyone else seemed to go out on the feeder. I stuck a head of a dendrabena on and dropped in over my baited 5m mark. Within 5 second the float had buried and my grey hydro was stretching out to the island before it came rushing back at me- not the best start!I got my head down and began to catch skimmers and the odd F1 on the worm. It didn’t look as if anyone else was getting much on the feeder so I decided to ignore the feeder and just plug away at the 5m line while topping up the 11m line as a back up. The odd carp turned up on the 5m line and in the last hour I had a few down the left hand margin to complete a pleasant match with only 10 seconds of rain despite the ominous rumbling of thunder all day. The weigh in showed that it had indeed been hard in the section with the best weight before I weighed in being the first peg with 33-2, there was only one other double figure weight with the lowest being 10oz, a real struggle. I weighed in the silvers first which went 19-4 and my carp pulled the scales down to 30-12 giving me a round 50-0 and an unexpected section win. Indeed I was only beaten in weight by the bagging machine that is Pete Bailey and Les H who won their respective sections, so I was lying 3rd after Day 1.
Day 2 saw us on Ghost (2 sections), Hay and Barley (1 section each). This time I was left with Barley 3. I set up the same rigs as Day 1 and had decided to approach it in the same way although the weather was warming up. Annoyingly the camera seemed to work back at the hotel, and I set it up again but this time although it looked to be working I only had 30 seconds of footage! I was not happy!
Beginning the match in the same way at 5m, I waited and waited and waited but nothing on the 5m line. There were carp cruising and crashing in the reeds opposite but I reckoned they had other things on their mind than feeding so tried the 11m line. This yielded a steady string of skimmers and F1s plus the very occasional carp, after three hours I began looking at the margins and picked up fish from both edges but mostly from the left edge, initially on corn but then on meat. The match closed with me weighing in 24-8 of silvers and 31-4 of carp for a 55-12 total. Weighing in the section I was 3 and a half pound adrift of Les H who was in my section and we were all soundly beaten by the expander king Baz Wrexham who weighed in 129-8, 47lb of which were silvers. I could not buy a bite on expander on all three days! Pete Bailey won his section on Hay with 110-6 while there was a tie on Ghost with Rolly and Ruddyroach both weighing in 110-8. So day 2 ended with me 3rd in section and 4th overall.
The final day arrives and as with most MFS Festivals the draw is done differently – the first 6 on the leader board are placed in one section, the next six in a section and so on. This gives everyone the chance to fish for something on the last day and the overall standings can be turned around. Now I am not used to being in such exalted company, I was expecting to be in the third or fourth group, so it was with a certain trepidation that I took my place on peg 58 Back Deans, joining Pete Bailey, Rolly, Les H, Baz and Ruddyroach.
I thought I would carry on with the approach I had begun with but on this occasion I had ditched the grey hydro for a NG Black and a strung out approach on one rig. Starting the match in the same way I fed and then put in (see what happened next!)
This was followed by a string of skimmers on the 5m line and the odd fish at 11m. A couple of smaller carp appeared on the 5m line but with 2 hours to go I went down the margins with meat, ending up just fishing the left hand one as the right was no good. A series of carp followed but I pulled out of a couple of foul hookers and lost a lump that snapped the dacron on the connector! Made mental note to check all connectors in future! The all out came which meant that the constant splashing to my left from Pete Bailey emptying the lake stopped! My silvers went 27-12 and carp 38-10 giving me the devil’s total of 66-6. The bottom end of the lake had not fished well with Les H and Rolly struggling, Baz Wrexham on my right had got the expanders working again and weighed in 73-2, while the splashing from Pete’s swim saw a magnificent 225-10 put on the scales. Best weight from Front Deans was Noddy on peg 4 with 119-0. The results got sorted and I was 3rd in section and 5th on the day meaning I came a surprising 4th overall, losing out to Baz on weight. Noddy came in second and Pete Bailey’s perfect score of 18 points saw him win the festival in style.
June sees round 2 of the Summer League at Witherington Farm and the MFS 2 day HillBilly Floats Pairs at the Glebe.