23 July 2016

AAF Gp8 QE5, Hawley Lake, 15-17 July 16

 This was the final group 8 match for 2015-16 and it was taking place on an Aldershot Garrison Club water called Hawley, I was teamed up with Gav at the last minute for this match as Ant had made other plans and Baz unfortunately had to work.  We met up on the Thursday night to get a look at the lake, then a bit of a shin dig followed by another walk around in the morning.  Gav and I had come up with a list of swims that we fancied and they were loosely based around the corners and behind islands where we may have been able to hide from all the watercraft that used the venue.
We were about 4th out of the bag and chose peg 4 which was a nice corner peg with a warm wind trickling in.
Gav went for the right hand side and this left me with a left hand margin, open water and a far bank at about 100 yards to as far as I could cast, I was aiming for the trees on the left of the far bank cut out in the photo above but more of this later.

I had a quick lead around the swim and found an interesting area at around 15 wraps in line with a tree on the far side, so my opening gambit was to stick a few boilies into the area and then fish two stiff rigs over the top.  With the rods set and an expectancy of a few bream during the hours of darkness I decided to have a quick snooze in the afternoon, only to get woken by a positive run on my left hand rod.  It took a couple of moments but I soon realised that there was something wrong as I was playing the fish at about 10 yards out whilst fishing at 60… I had picked up a trailer and it dropped off after a couple of minutes, this changed my plan slightly and I dropped my right hand rod shorter to about 5 wraps where I had seen some bubbling earlier in the day.  That was it for new on the first day really, I tried in front of the bird feeding area for a couple of hours when it got quiet and Gav had a few bream… well 16.
The next afternoon however, the bailiffs came around to do a rig check, I pulled my rod out to show them and then gleaned as much information as I could about the venue, the plan for the night was to be a rod up the left hand edge and then a rod sent over to the far bank tree line, leading around showed it to be a sandy bottom so a Horton rig was going to be dispatched the 27 wraps to the spot I had decided on.
I gave it 10 spombs of mixed boilie to try and reduce the number of bream as Gav had been having a few and then I settled down for about 12 minutes until the first bream hung itself, and then the next… I was not happy, especially since I had to get into the water every time to cast due to the overhead trees, in mean what’s the point of works parties if the anglers cannot cast without getting their feet wet?

I had enough and walked to the shops for some fish and chips only to discover that the chippy was shut, fortunately the Indian was still open so curry it was then.  I got the rods back out onto the spots, this time increasing the hookbait size on the far bank rig to a 20mm bottom bait and then settled down for the night expectant of some action, it never happened, I had a couple of beeps and Gav lost what may have been a carp late well into darkness, to be honest though I was resigned to another blank after talking to three different bailiffs and all three telling us different numbers of fish and different spots.  Although Gav was definitely on a good day time swim, if only he could get through the bream.
Ready for action
Come the morning the water skier was the final straw, between the low trees, dogs, geese, sailing boats, kayaks, air show and bream I had had enough.
Thank you to Ron for running the event, Tim and Chris won the match with 3 carp, Paul and Paul managed second with one carp, so that was it for the season, I managed to finish 5th in the league with a first, second and two more times that I turned up, so it is off to Wraysbury next for me, I may need to get a recce done soon.

What would I have done differently?
Hard to say and be polite, If I was to go back tomorrow to the same swim I would have a rig under the tree line to my left and a rig under the trees on the far bank for the duration unless I saw a carp elsewhere, I would feed less and not use a spomb at all.

Tackle used:
Rods: 13ft 3.5lb tc Free spirit CTX
Reels: Shimano 14000 Ultegra XTC
Line: 15lb ESP Syncro loaded

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