Time for an open at Orchard again, and on turning up I found it easier to face the usual suspects on a full stomach so a bacon butty and a brew were consigned to my stomach and the pre match banter and chat began. Everybody was expecting it to fish well as the conditions were HOT and calm, the main tactics it seemed, were to be short pole and pellet or paste. However at the draw end peg 28 was in my hand and I knew that there are usually a few better fish down this end of the lake, armed with this info and my limited knowledge of the place I decided to fish a paste/pellet line at 2+1 and meat in the edge. Peg 27 to my left was pegged in so I only had about 5 meters in that direction to play with so I plumbed up to see the depth but didn’t expect to have to use it. To my right in just under 2 feet of water was a tuft of grass overhanging the water and looking like the sort of feature that should act as a refuge for the fish when it got hot later in the day. Margin swim sorted I plumbed up in front of my platform and looked for 4 feet, a paste rig and a pellet rig got set up for this line and just before the start I also put up a shallow slapping rig in case the fish were up in the water.
At the all in a pot of hemp and pellet went in on my paste line followed by a pot of hemp and meat under the grass to my right, out went the paste rig. After 5 minutes and a couple of liners the paste rig was dispatched up the bank, I was 3 fish behind to most people to my left already and trying not to flap. Out went a pellet and a micro carp responded, then two bites on the drop so out came the shallow rig, I was feeding 10 6mm pellet every 30 secs and slapping the rig a little but the fish I was catching were quite small so when I saw the margin getting ripped up I tried an early look.
An 8mm cube of meat was put on the hook and a 2lber was soon in the net and followed by a few of its brethren, I had problems with keeping the fish in the swim as for most of the match I found myself concentrating on that right margin as it was still producing fish. Over the next few hours I fished meat and paste on the deck and when the carp came up in the reeds I started fishing shallow with pellet or meat. Coming into the last hour everyone for about 4 pegs to my left started struggling so I started a new swim to my left in the margin and this helped as it gave me somewhere to rest the swims in between fish but I still found the fish responding to alot of bait and noise.
At the end of the match I weighed in my best net of the year with 178lb 12oz but even that was only good enough for 4th overall with Big Baz taking 217lb on paste from peg 18 and Knocker having a great first visit with 191lb on pellet from peg 5.