So it was crunch time, 4 of us were all on 1 point from the day before Daz, Martin, Ian and myself so the goal today was to get 1 point and then it would be down to the weight of the fish. I was going to be on Lake 1 this time but as I have only ever fished one swim on there if I didn’t draw 24 it was going to be new territory.
By the time I got to the draw bag I knew what mini section I was in as all the high numbers were gone peg 13 graced my hand and from the results yesterday I knew that if the wind behaved it could be a very good feeder peg. My team mate Evo had drawn on Peg 92 so I briefed him up with what I thought had happened the day before and we went on our merry ways with the brief of ‘have fun catch fish’.
On getting to my peg I could see why it was such a good feeder peg as there were boards to cast to on the far bank so after sorting my usual 50:50 micro and groundbait mix it was time to get the rods clipped up and my 3 pole rigs plumbed up. I also decided to add a mugging rig at the last minute just in case it got tricky and I had a couple of opportunities to get extra weight, but it never went over the water so enough of that.
As the all-in was called I put in half a pot of hemp, pellet and corn as usual and then sent the feeder across the far bank and so the mould was set for the next couple of hours. I managed a few fish in this time but I was having serious problems with being accurate in the cheeky wind, I even stepped my quiver tip up from 2oz to 2.5oz carbon version to try and improve accuracy. It kind of worked but I could not get anything really going and a few lost fish saw me starting to become exasperated.
By the mid match point I had about 30lb in the net and I had already had a look on the short line for a small skimmer, so that was re fed and left again, I had been topping it up every 20 minutes with ¼ to ½ a cup of bait hoping to draw in and hold some bigger fish. I had also had to retackle my feeder rod 3 times now due to a couple of mis-casts and on the 4th time I lost my teddy and swore that I would now concentrate on the edges. There were 90 minutes or so left but I had one quick carp from my right hand edge then nothing and no signs from under the tree to my left!! I was resigned to blowing out now as I had been watching Kev on Peg 4 steadily catch small carp all day, although he was slowing, and Pez on the next peg was moaning about it being hard although I could hear regular splashing from behind the tree.
That was it I tied up the feeder rod for the 4th time, spent 5 minutes getting it clipped back up to the spot, but as soon as I did the wind dropped slightly. Every cast was now plopping where I wanted it and the tip went around 8 times in 8 casts for around 40lb of fish, I had also taken some advice from one of the guys the night before in the bar who said that pellet was best, he was right. The problem was that they were taking a while to get in from the far bank so to try and speed things up I rested the feeder line to have a quick count of 100 on my RH edge, I got to 60 and was latched into an angry 6lb carp, ‘here we go’ I thought. But apart from a very small carp the next put that was it for the edge fish, however, I dropped in on my 2+2 line before I went back out on the feeder, I started counting, the goal was 70, I got to 20 and the float buried! That one was 5-6lb, the next put 23 seconds, clunk, the next 24 seconds, clunk, the next was on the drop and I was motoring now. After every bite I was topping up with 2 small handfuls of pellet hand balled into the area, however, this seemed to be bringing them off the bottom and with 10 minutes to go I gambled and put in ¾ of a pot of bait and went down both edges for 100 seconds. No fish from the margins so it was back out on the paste line for a 3lber and then an agonising wait until the all-out with a few small liners to show for it, I had blatantly overfed the swim for the last 10 minutes and I was livid with myself as I thought that I had blown a possible come back for a decent section place. We all started to pack down and I went next door to see Pez, he finally admitted that he had been catching all day and he thought he had a decent weight but he had not been clicking his fish, I thought I had about 120lb, but I may have missed a couple of fish when I started bagging, finally as Kev walked down he thought it would be close for him and I as his fish dried up at the end and that Pez had smashed it.
I was first to weigh with a surprising 145lb 1oz (65.800Kg), I was actually shocked that it was so much but I think I had missed a few when I got busy in the last hour, Pez was next and he too was surprised but he had 127lb 6oz (57.625Kg) so a lot of his fish were smaller than he though and then there was the long wait until Kev got weighed so I busied myself packing up only to find out that Pez had pipped him by just over a pound. Finally it dawned on me that I had won the section, so it was just waiting to see how the others had done, Daz was 2nd in his section, Martin was 3rd in his but Ian had managed to win his section so it would be down to weight. I caught up with Evo to find that he had managed to come second on his lake behind Craig so it would be close between Blandford and Bramcote as to who had won the team championships as well.
Back at the results and there was plenty of banter still going around as everyone was waiting with baited breath to see where they had finished, I was soon put out of my misery though as in 3rd was Pete with 3 points and 104.350Kg, second was Ian on two points and 110.975Kg that meant that I had managed to win the Royal Signals Coarse Championships for a 4th time with 2 points and 127.250Kg.
Evo and I also managed the UIN trophy and runners up in the teams to boot so it was a very very good day.
I would like to say thank you to Roy Marlow for letting us use his awesome fishery, there are not many places that you can go to almost any peg thinking that you target weight is over a ton, thanks also to Craig and his team for a smooth running festival, without guys like you we don’t get to do this. Finally I would like to thank all the guys who took a week out of their busy lives to go fishing and have a bit of banter with their mates, it’s a hard life at times but weeks like this make up for it.
What would I do differently?
The only thing that I am rueing is that I should have set the feeder up straight away after losing the rig each time, and I should have had a looked at the short line a bit earlier, but I was catching on the feeder and you should never come off feeding fish, especially when they are taking on the drop. I also should have only fed the short line with max a quarter of a pot with so little time until the end of the match, but fortunately it didn’t make that much difference.
Secrets to the success (this won’t happen often!)
1) Regular casting: for most of the matches I was only counting to 20 before a re-cast, the longest the rig was in the water was 100 seconds. Most proper bites came on the drop or in the first 30 seconds.
2) Simple plan: I had a max of 6 things set up, feeder and pellet wag for the far bank, corn and paste rig for 5m, paste for the edge (plumbed to the same depth both sides) and on the final day I set up a mugging rig just in case. The far bank for at least 2 hours then find the best swim and plunder it.
3) Simple bait: My feeder mix was 3 pints Sonubaits 50:50 method/paste mix green, 3 pints micro pellet and 3 pints water. Chuck it all in a bucket and wait an hour before breaking it apart, simples no drills no riddles. Other than that I had 6mm pellet, hemp, corn and paste on my side tray with a pint of 4mm and 8mm pellet to get put in the feeder and a few wafters for on the hook.
4) Never waste time: I tried not to get suckered into sitting down the edge or on the short line too early if it wasn’t happening as most people were neglecting their feeder lines allowing me to steal fish. Count to 100 if it hasn’t happened re feed and switch.
5) Failure to prepare is preparing to fail: I did not need to tie a rig or hooklength on the bank or in the evening as I had spent time in the weeks running up to the match tying up everything that I thought I would need.
6) Total Faith in my kit: all week I caught a lot of big fish and managed to land the vast majority of what I hooked, I put this down to correct feeding and fishing with gear that I trust implicitly. Whilst people were getting smashed hooklengths, elastics and poles I had one hooklength snap all week and that was on the feeder as the fish made a run behind a pole in the water.
Rod: Drennan 11’6” medium feeder 2.5oz tip.
Reel: Daiwa TDM 4012
Line: 8lb sensor to 0.19mm powerline
Hook: 14 QM1
Feeder: 20g guru open end feeder with 5g of extra lead
Rod: Drennan 12ft Acolyte Carp waggler.
Reel: Daiwa TDM 3012
Line: 0.20mm Supplex to 0.19mm Powerline
Hook: 14 QM1 (thanks Kev)
Float: 14g Drennan pellet wag
Elastic: Preston 13h
Line: 0.19mm to 0.15mm
Hook: 3 T175
Float: 0.6g Drennan Carp 3
Elastic: Preston 17H
Line: 0.21mm to 0.19mm Powerline
Hook: 5 T175
Float: 4X10 Big H Paste
Pole Margin Paste:
Elastic: Preston 17H
Line: 0.21mm to 0.19mm Powerline
Hook: 5 T175
Float: KC Carpa Margin 4X10
Elastic: Preston 13h
Line: 0.19mm to 0.15mm Powerline
Hook: 18 Guru pellet wag
Float: 0.4g Drennan crystal dibber