Monday, 20 February 2017

MFS - Lawn Farm Fisheries, Elsworth, 19th February 2017

Just for you Herbie, an empty box!  Peg 18, Willows
The first outing of 2017!  To say I was looking forward to it was an understatement.  The winter had been quite harsh and I'd decided not to venture out at all, so I'll take the "fair weather fisherman" abuse without complaint.

Colbrad had organised a match at Lawn Farm Fisheries, Cambourne with the MFS crew.  As I'd been to this fishery over the years I knew it was to good to miss out on.  It was an early start from the good ladies house in Surrey but even though the alarm was set for 5am I was straight out of bed and on the road.

The obligatory breakfast meet was at Mcdonalds a few minutes from the fishery and as always it was great to see so many familiar faces.  Colbrad even tried to use the new technology to order his meal despite there being no queue at the tills, he still required assistance from the lady behind the counter!

The Draw
Willow Lake was the venue today, 38 Pegs available to 18 anglers.  My home for the day would be Peg 18 in a by to the right side of the lake.  Neighbours where Josh and Simon Pavey.

Bait choice was simple, all natural baits, pinkies, maggots, caster and some worms.  Groundbait choice was heavily influenced by Neil (ns69) who told me to get a bag of dark F1 sweet fishmeal.

Peg 18 I found was quite a deep peg.  Pole only for me today with the following lines:
  • 6 metres - 6 feet in depth
  • 13 metres at 2 and 10 o'clock - 7 feet in depth
Drennan AS1 for the 13 metre line and an AS3 on the 6 metre line, both on 0.14 line with a 0.10 bottom to a size 16 silverfish hook.

Match plan was to feed the long pole lines with two balls of groundbait laced with pinkies and casters and then to fish the 6 metre line for the first few hours.  The long lines would be topped up with a pouch full of casters every half an hour.

The rig on the 6 metre line I'd strung out the shot to target the large head of roach and rudd.  Bait was a single red maggot and I could easily feed this line with casters and also a nugget of groundbait each fish.

The first 30 minutes passed very quickly especially as I had fish in the net from the first put in.  The 6 metre line was getting stronger with some more quality fish coming to the net.  The float buried and the elastic was streaming out.  Has the carp moved in?  This was not what I wanted so it was with relief that a large chub graced the net.

After a few hours I didn't really want to go long as I was on feeding fish, so I carried on with a pouch full of casters feeding the 13 metre line in case my other line died.

The skimmers moved in close and I put 6 fish in the net in successive put in's, I'd also now moved to a move traditional bulk and single dropper shotting pattern on this line.  They then backed off and small roach were taking the bait.

I decided to put a ball of groundbait in with some casters and have a look on the long line.  Two skimmers from the 13 metre line but presentation was harder due to the wind, although to be fair it was gusting as badly on other pegs.

Very happy! Photo credit: Ben ;-)

Back on the 6 metre line and the skimmers were there again.  I found that feeding casters by hand after each fish, take a few skimmers, the roach would turn up, feed a few nuggets of groundbait and the skimmers returned.  This pattern was the same until the last 40 minutes when all swims just died.

The seagulls were having better luck than myself and Josh!  The all-out sounded.  As for the result, I knew I'd beaten Josh but I could not see any of the other anglers.  Time would tell.

24lb 1oz and I'd won the section.  Following the weigh scales round we got to Carl and Neil.  Carl had a large barbel first put in and weighed 22lb 3oz, rumour had it that Neil had more...

Neil weighted 24lb dead so I managed to beat him by 1oz which also meant I received a golden nugget from him too!

Full Results
Section A

1 Lewy 24-01
2 Bagga 19-13
3 Shuar 15-15
4 colbrad 13-09
5 Mr Bald 9-11
6 Choppie 7-05
7 John Milne 3-03
8 Big Nige DNW

Section B

1 NS 69 24-00
2 Carlostam 22-03
3 Big Ben 18-10
4 Nelio 18-01
5 Swanny 17-03
6 Simon Pavey 12-10
7 Gooner67 9-14
8 Colin Mac 4-14

Groundbait choice (thanks Neil) was most helpful, although after the match Ben mentioned that the skimmers didn't like groundbait on their heads throughout the match, yet my nuggets every fish kept them coming.  Using casters as loose feed certainly kept the fishes heads down.

I kept the fish coming throughout the day on the short line which improved my catch rate, yet the last 40 minutes all swims died this was also the same for Josh.  Normally with the light levels dropping this is the most productive time.

A great match, thanks to Colbrad for organising and great to see everyone.  Next stop Stafford Moor for the week!  'Mon the Moor!

More Pictures...

Ben's lump of a Perch, 3lb 8oz

There is a lot of hair in this picture!

Monday, 17 October 2016

Lake John 2 Dayer, 8th October 2016

After a quiet night in downtown Waltham Abbey and a cracking meal at the Turkish restaurant it was back to Lake John for Day 2.

Fishing is one of those sports, yes it is a sport for you none angling readers, where you get to meet famous anglers young and old, socialise and fish with them.  Today was one of those days!

I was having breakfast with Andy Kinder, Chris Vandervleit and none other than Dickie Carr who has fished for England in both the regular and veterans team.  What a lovely bloke Dickie is and it brought back memories of reading Angling Mail and Times featuring Mr Carr.  Great to meet you Dickie!

The Draw
Today's home would be the back bank on Peg 30 with an even longer feeder line to the island.

Again the feeder came out, this time the 12 foot rod with a mini pit reel as it was a big chuck.

Pole lines which were all the same depth, so one rig required:
  • 14.5 metres and 10 and 2 o'clock
  • 5 sections straight ahead
The rig was a heavier 0.8 grams given the days windy conditions.  The bait list was the same as day one.

As per the previous day I cupped in 3 balls of groundbait on my 3 pole lines and spent the first hour on the feeder.  It was a long chuck but the bigger rod and mini pit reel made it a lot easier.  A repeat of the previous day was on hand... the first hour only a couple of small skimmers from the feeder line which was quite disappointing as I expected some carp early doors.

I tried the long pole lines but nothing on those yet, so back on the feeder for the next hour.  Carl a few pegs down was catching steadily on his 5 metre line, some proper bream too!

Lee next to me was also catching on his long pole line and Ricky in the corner was struggling with the large carp smashing him up on a far to regular basis.

I gave up on the feeder as it produced nothing, time to try my pole lines again.  The long lines still produced nothing at all, so I only had my 5 metre line.

I fished the 5 metre line for the rest of the match and it got stronger for me.  Skimmers where coming on a regular basis only interrupted every now and again by a very large carp.  Luckily I landed both the big carp which were both well over 10lb!

The all-out was called and it was weigh in time.

38lb 8oz for 3rd in Section which surprised me given I felt Lee next door had been bagging good fish.   The two "10lb" carp helped a lot.

An enjoyable day which produced a great weight of silvers from Carl, Match organiser.  The silvers finally started to show which could have been down to the bait going in the day before.  My 5 metre line proved to be the best line of the day.

A great two days, thanks to Carl for organising and to Lake John and MD Colin.

More Pictures...
Lump 1

Lump 2

Lake John 2 Dayer, 7th October 2016

Carl had organised a two day event at Lake John Fishery in Waltham Abbey on the main, top lake.

Lake John is well know for its great head of skimmers and bream so after a great day at Bury Hill I already had a plan of attack.  There are also some very large carp in the Top Lake and should we catch any fish over 10lb they would be counted as 10lb only.

What we didn't expect over the two days would be the amount and size of the carp that would come out!

A great breakfast was quickly dispatched, thanks to the ladies who do a great job.  There was a mix of people I knew and some new faces, most of who were regulars at Lake John.  Plenty of tips were exchanged and it was time to draw.

The Draw
The little wooden cube with number 34 came out of the bag.  I''d been in this area, well, Peg 35 during a mini competition with my mate Mark in 2014.

The island had a bare bank to target so the feeder rod was set-up.

Pole line I decided to fish two line short as the feeder would be my main line for the first couple of hours.  The first line was to the left sedges and the other was 5 sections to my right.

The bait list consisted of dead red maggots, sweetcorn, expander pellets and groundbait, the same mix I used for Bury Hill.

3 balls of groundbait on the right hand pole line and a single ball on the sedges line which would also be fed by hand with sweetcorn.

The bare bank on the feeder line was too tempting, so I started on this line short as to not spook the fish around the island.  The first hour I had four fish in the net including a couple of carp, meantime Chris Vanderveilt was catching strongly using the T-Bag casting close to the willow tree in his peg, he would end the day with a massive weight composing of 22 carp!!!

The second hour, the feeder line wasn't getting any stronger, in fact it had slowed down so I decided to change to my longer pole line.

A few silvers on this line but nothing substantial.  Looking on the sedges line again not much apart from some small silvers.

The match plan was in tatters, so I decided to feed my pole lines and sit on the feeder for longer in the hope of some carp to bolster my weight.

The final hour finally my longer pole line started to produce some of the great silvers.  The all-out came a little bit early for me to do any damage.

48lb for 4th in Section.  I lost a pound to both Ian and Billo and thus, "Chip shopped", i.e. battered on both sides!

The silvers weren't showing in large numbers at all which was a surprise for Lake John, carp dominated todays match with some very large weights from Chris and Pikey.  I feel I had pushed the feeder line too much in the hope of success when I should have concentrated on the pole lines.  More tomorrow...

More Pictures...
Ian, posh scouser

All smiles from Billo

Things were looking good early doors

A lovely looking carp

The 12lb'er

Thursday, 6 October 2016

MFS Pairs - Bury Hill Fisheries, 5th October 2016

Peg 36
A blind pairs MFS match at Bury Hill Fisheries organised by Terry Swan was too good to resist.  My partner for the day would be Pat Pritchard who I'd had a cheeky practise session with the previous week, the blog of that day can be found here.  I was feeling good for the day ahead.

An early start from London to meet Hathers and Spindle for breakfast in Dorking and then onto the fishery to catch up with all the lads, quite a few who I'd not met before, especially Skimmerman (Kev), who has just qualified to fish in Serbia for the England Disabled Squad.

Kev needs a bit of support to get him there and a JustGiving page has been set up so if you can donate, please do by following this link.

A text message from Pat letting me know that he'd broken down on the M25 was disastrous.  The diagnosis for the car was bent valves which sounds a bit terminal.  So a random partner from the other bank was picked for me, this turned out to be Spindle!

The Draw
We'd already been assigned our banks in a previous draw and I would be on the long bank.  Peg 36 came out of the hat so very close to where I'd practised with the exception I had the island to go at.

My neighbours for the day, Mr Beesley, aka JWB and Herbie!

Pat's words of wisdom came back to me as I arrived at the peg, "if you have an island chuck, you have to fish to the island."

The match plan would be to have two pole lines at 14.5 metres both 10 and 2 O'clock.  It was quite a windy day so I got two rigs out, a 0.2gram and 0.8gram in case there was too much tow.

Two feeder rods were set-up, an opened ended feeder and a method feeder (to be know as the mucky method by John Beesley and Brian Green!) which would be fished for the first hour to 90 minutes.

Bait was very simple, dead reds, 4m expander pellets, sweetcorn and groundbait (a mix of fishmeal method mix and swim stim green).

Fishing 11am until 5pm the whistle went and I started by putting 3 balls of groundbait in both my pole lines together with a small amount of expander pellets and corn.

Learning from the practise I started on the open ended feeder and triple dead red maggots.  The feeder line was as close to the island as I dare, given the overhanging trees was a tad dangerous and at risk of "squirrel hunting".

The first hour passed without any fish or bites.  I was twitching the bait to try and entice a take but nothing.  I was only putting groundbait through the feeder so that only my hook bait was available to take.  Topping up my pole lines with a lightly squeezed ball of groundbait and some expanders.

I then changed to the method feeder wrapped with groundbait and 3 dead red maggots.  Herbie had landed a couple of fish by this time and JWB remained biteless.  Finally the tip rattled and then dropped back and it was fish on.  A skimmer graced the net and I was off.  After 90 minutes three fish in the net.

I changed the hookbait to a small white boilie and this was to change my match entirely.  The next couple of hours I started to time my bites and they were coming within 4 minutes, if no bites, retrieve and recast.

Some bites were instant, much to JWB's displeasure!  I also clipped the method closer to the island which resulted in a couple of tree hookups looking for those squirrels.  My swim just got stronger and stronger.

Hathers rang me mid way through telling me that Spindle was catching well and that I was to keep my head down.  Thanks Hathers, I made sure I did.

I kept the pole lines topped all the way to the last hour of the match up just in case, but I never once picked up the pole.  It was clear I was on the fish.

Small white boilie changed my match
JWB was having a nightmare, his casting was also a nightmare dropping his feeder into my swim a few times, much to both me and Herbie, especially when he didn't get a fish from his "poaching" ;-)

Herbie had switched to the method but had more luck with the squirrels as there was one branch overhanging that Herbie managed to catch on more than one occasion!

The all-out came and I had a fish on, calling "Fish-on", JWB said, "what a surprise!".

I tipped 82lb of bream, skimmers and one nice tench on the scales.  This gave me the match win, my bank win and together with my "stand in" partner Spindle the pairs win.  I could not believe it, my first ever match win, I was over the moon!

Lewy Peg 36, Long Bank - 82lb
Lipps Peg 38, Long Bank - 51lb
Spindle peg 7, Short Bank - 28lb-14oz

As it's a Champion's League match I also now qualify for the match winners final sometime in 2017.

Net 1

Net 2

A great match for me, the switch to the method with white boilie was the change.

From the practise, fishing with groundbait only on the method I think was the key.  Only my hook bait was available for the fish.  Granted I landed on the shoal and very surprised that they didn't back off much from my feeder swim.

My biggest ever match weight of silvers and first match win, bloody marvellous!

Thanks to Terry and Kev for organising the match.

More Pictures, taken by Herbie!

We broke the weighing arm... take the strain Pikey!

Herbie chops off the fish... I suppose my head is still in it...

Bury Hill Fisheries, 29th September 2016

A upcoming match at Bury Hill Fisheries I decided that a bit of practise was required.  After all, my last session here was over a year ago and I didn't do very well at all.

The match will be a pairs event and Pat Pritchard is my partner for the day.  A quick call to Pat and he was available to come on down for the day too.  Pat's a bit of a good angler having just wining the MFS Champion's league final so any advice from Pat would definitely help come match day.

The Peg
Pat arrived a bit earlier than and headed down to Peg 40 so when I got there I picked Peg 41 with plenty of open water in front of us both.

The lines I intended on fishing would be the feeder line, long and middle distance and a couple of pole lines at 14.5 metres, 10 O'clock and 2 O'clock both fed slightly differently.

Bait for the day.  Expander and hard pellets (4mm and 6mm), dead red maggots and sweetcorn including a mix of fishmeal and special G Green groundbait.

The Session
The idea was to find out how the fish were feeding and where they were feeding, granted next week maybe a different ball game, but at least Pat and I would have a better idea.

The pole lines, the right hand line would be fed negatively and the left line heavily, so with that I potted in 3 balls of groundbait on the right line which would be left for a few hours without topping up.

The left line was fed with 3 cups of loose groundbait mainly due to the depth of the swim.  Now to check the feeder lines.

I had set-up two rods, one method feeder and a normal cage feeder.  Starting on the method I chucked it a long way, around the 50 metres mark also choosing to leave it in the water for 5 minutes max in order to get some bait out there.

Pat also started on the feeder after potting in a few lines with loose groundbait and also a line with worms as a test, although with the amount of predators in the lake maybe this wouldn't be the main line.

After 30 minutes Pat had a few smaller skimmers and I had managed to unclip my method feeder line which didn't help with bites.  So I picked up the cage feeder and cast it around 35 metres, which was just short of half way.  Bait on both the method and the cage feeder was two dead red maggots.  No loose feed was in the groundbait.

Finally after an hour I had my first fish on the feeder.  I quickly topped up the left hand pole line with a cup of loose groundbait.  The feeder line became stronger in hour two and the bites were pretty instant.

Pat switched to the pole line and on his worm line landed a lovely bream, one that Bury Hill is famous for, at about 4lb.

I moved onto the pole line with a 4mm expander and a few expanders in the kinder pot on the right hand negative swim.  Float dipped straight away and a lovely skimmer was in the net.  I managed 3 fish for this swim and then nothing, so I switched to the left hand line and the same happened, 3 fish and then nothing.  I topped up both swims with loose groundbait and fished for the rest of the day rotating the swims with some larger fish coming later in the session.

We packed up at 3pm and I estimate around 60lb of bream for the day.  Not a bad days effort.

The day has certainly helped my coming match plan in the following areas:

  • Feeder line around 35 metres, or where the fish are showing themselves
  • Use a cage feeder with zero feed content in the groundbait mainly to get more groundbait in the swim and only allow the fish to target my hook bait
  • There wasn't much difference between the heavily and negatively fed lines but the key was to take 2 to 3 fish from one swim and then more to the other swim.  Swim rotation.
  • Pole line, sweetcorn and expander pellets produced the goods
  • Loose groundbait if the swim is shallow rather than balls for a larger feed area
Pat's Animals...

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

MFS - Munkees vs Shandies, The Glebe, 10th September 2016

A night at the Longshoot was reasonably quiet and I slipped away early in an attempt to dodge the hangover that normally follows.  It didn't go un-noticed as Andy T busted me.  Sorry matey ;-)

The final day and it would be Munkee vs Shandee.  I did not want to be on Pool 4!

The Draw
I was second to draw from the Munkee bucket/ cardboard box.  I drew Pool 4, Peg 75 again!!!! I was not a happy camper to say the least!  Plenty of sympathy from the lads and plenty of micky taking too...

My neighbour was Callum's secret friend Tom... the less said about that the better!  Only kidding lads.

Well I didn't need to worry about my rigs and also the reel was still clipped up and I knew exactly where I had fed the previous but I needed to do something different today in an attempt to get a better weight.

So I added the following lines:
  • Bomb and Pellet
  • Long Pole towards the aerator

Today the weather had turned and it was raining but the positive was that the wind direction had changed towards my corner.  There were plenty of fish showing 3/4 of the way across on the bomb line.

Carpy Marty gave me a tip to feed 6mm pellets, overcast with an 8mm pellet and then drag the bait back if no bites were forthcoming.  I'd try that later.

I started on the feeder again and was rewarded with an early fish on the third cast, but after an hour it was still a struggle to get in touch with the fish.

I tried the bomb and pellet line and the trick that Marty had mentioned.  First drag of the bait, settling the rod and it was ripped out of my hand by a very angry little carp.  A few more fish in the net.

The previous day was repeating itself and it was tough to get a positive mental attitude to today but Tom wasn't ahead of me, so I kept the faith and dug deep.

Hour 3 I tried the 5 metre line and finally connected with fish, although it was those pesky Perch again!  Admittedly one Perch was around a pound in weight.

The last couple of hours Tom was bagging on his 5 metre line and I was struggling.  I could only get a fish on that line using the bomb over it and dumping a lot of corn on the line, a trick I'd learnt a few years back.

My bomb line was proving more consistent and so I stuck on this until the all-out.  Big thanks to Ruddy who was on Pool 5 and asked if I was bagging up every 30 minutes or so... Kept my spirits up matey!

40lb 8oz getting batter by Tom who put 76lb on the scales.  Well fished mate!  A Shandee victory.  However, the final results were a Munkee victory overall by 1 point!!!  Well done Munkees, we have the crown back!

Unlucky Shandees, well fished.

I double my weight from the previous day and managed to shake off the depression of fishing such a horrid peg.  Should I have tried shallow tactics?  Maybe, but I opened up more lines today that I normally do in an attempt to beat Tom.

The bomb line proved devastating for Tom and he battered me to submission with a 5metre line and bomb/pellet combo!  Just makes sure you use heavier elastic matey.

My Shandee competition