I had been looking forward to this match for a couple of months and come the morning of the match, bait was ready, rods were made up and I even had a few rigs ready. What was not ready was me, I thought the draw was at 9 o’clock and had aimed off to get there for around half eight, I was spot on with the time I picked Dave up and that we arrived but the draw was going on when we got there. Not the best start!
There were a few areas that I would have been happy to draw and they were all in open water, in fact experience has told me that the best area In the winter on Wadmill is between the 3rd and 4th island on the right hand bank from the car park, but any open water would have done me for my type of fishing. The draw gods were against me however, and I drew peg 14, this put slap bang in the middle of the 4th island and I was not sure that many carp would be in that area.
As you can see from the photo, the island was around 20m away but I knew that the margins are reasonably shallow in that area so I decided to fish a small groundbait method around 3 meters from the far bank, I also thought that I would fish a short pole line on front of the reeds to my left so that I had somewhere to go if it all went wrong. There had been a decent frost in the morning and as I was setting up there was cat ice all the way across my peg, I thought that this may slow the fishing and took a proper gamble by concentrating on Carp and skimmers on the method rather than taking a safer option of perhaps fishing for silvers.
I set up a 10ft Force Commercial bomb with a small inline method feeder on 8lb mainline and had a 0.16mm Cenex hooklength 4 inches long with a size 16 Guru QM1 hook. This would have a sweet fishmeal groundbait around the feeder and a single dead red maggot on the hook to try and catch anything swimming. My pole rig was a 0.7g Frenzee FP500 on 0.18-0.14mm Cenex with an 18 B911hook, this was rigged on blue Reflex elastic to start and plumbed up to be fishing 2inches overdepth on 6m of my Z9 pole. I decided to feed hemp, corn and 6mm tiger nut pellet on the short pole line to try and attract in a fish at a time.
The all in sounded and I was ready for it, half a cup of bait went in on the short pole line, and then I cast the method across towards the island. The next few minutes amazed me as anglers all around me continued to pile in bait all over their swims as though it was the middle of summer, I had thought about recasting every 10 minutes but all the bait going in saw me revise this to 20 minutes minimum as I wanted to create a safe area in front of me for the carp to swim in freely.
The first three hours passed with only 3 small skimmers and a roach to show for patience on the tip, most of the guys to my left had caught carp from the open water, the peg 2 to my left had caught 5 by this time and lost a few more on the method, even the guy to my right had lost a carp on the bomb but he was casting towards the point of the island. At this point I decided to change my pole rig slightly and I plumbed up a swim at 11.5m just to the right of centre of the peg down wind, I then fed 4 balls of groundbait laced with dead maggot and a few pellets before going back out on the tip for 20mins. By this time I had tried casting a bomb to the extremities of my swim, the short pole and also popped up baits to try and tempt a carp so plan z was in order. I shipped my rig onto the new spot with double dead maggot and I caught a couple of small roach quite quick but thought it could be quicker. I cast the feeder out again after putting out a cup of loose groundbait at 11.5m and also 2 balls on my short pole line again with dead maggot in. I changed my hooklength down to a 0.12mm and also changed the elastic to a pink reflex so that I should not bump the small fish. I went back out at to 11.5m and found that lifting and dropping the bait gave me a quick run of skimmers and small roach, this also worked at 6m but it was still slow. The last 10 minutes saw me cast out the tip and pack up the rest of my kit around it, it did not move!
I finished with 3lb 13oz, this was enough for 25th out of 35, importantly I beat Pez who was sat on the opposite bank in the gap between the 3rd and 4th island, and Dave who was sat to my right and had lost a carp around halfway through the match. It was still a giggle just a shame that the fishing was not as expected with 53lb winning the match from 2 pegs to my left, then a couple of 30lb weights. All the top 3 came from gaps in the islands I believe, I hate being right!!
I hope that you all have a Merry Christmas.