The Oaks, Sessay, 16th October 2011

Hoppy's Memorial Match organised by the lads at Anglers Cabin.  I was looking forward to meeting them all, especially after seeing the banter on the forum.

The weather for the day was around 14 deg C, very little wind and quite bright.  Over the weekend the first frost had fallen so would it affect the fishing?

I got to The Oaks at Sessay around 8am and quickly headed into the cafe for a bacon buttie and cup of tea.  I spoke to Tom, the owner/baliff and he mentioned that finer lines would be the order of the day, maggot or pellet as bait.  I grabbed 3 pints of mixed white / red maggots, pint of casters and some micro pellets.  My other bait choice for the day would be worm and sweetcorn.

Peg 32, Poplars Lake, The Oaks
As I'd not met the Anglers Cabin crew I proceeded to walk around the different groups of anglers in the car park if they were fishing Hoppy's Memorial match... in typical fashion it was the last group I saw that were the lads. 

The banter started straight away, plenty of good humoured mickey taking and getting introduced to the lads, the main banter coming from "Useless", very funny! 

We had 16 anglers and had 32 pegs so each angler would have a spare peg.  Zimmo (Barry) gathered the pools and the draw was underway.  The normal "orderly" queue or should I say, hands diving into the bucket happened.  I drew peg 32.  Having only fished the lake once before I really didn't know what to expect...

I arrived at my peg to find the following, an end peg!... this peg looked really "fishy" and I was already looking at my main three lines of attack:
  • Aerator
  • Point of the Island near peg 31 (at 16.5 metres)
  • Margin on the left
While setting up Steve F walked along and mentioned that he had fished this peg before and it was a known barbel peg especially near the aerator and that there were some big fish there.  Steve also told me that the margin on the left was quite shallow which after plumbing up I found it was and that this swim was one of the deepest on the lake.

The match would be running from 10:15am until 4:15pm, plenty of time to bag up... I did mention that this blog is to track the high's and low's... well today would be a day of scratching around and lost fish...

I'd tackled up by 10am and was comfortable, so as photographer for the day I walked round all the anglers and grabbed some mug shots of all the competitors.

The All-In
I decided that today would be a negative feeding day so as the all-in came I potted a small amount of micro pellets and maggots 1 metre from the aerator.  I did the same on the point of the island and quickly shipped out to the aerator with a 6mm pellet to try and mug an early fish...

An hour later and after a switch to double white maggot the float buried... here we go I thought, in the net a small perch lay looking up at me... mmm, things weren't going quite to planned.

I decided to try the point of the island which resulted in a solitary roach, again on maggot.

I just couldn't get into any sort of a rythmn.  After two hours I had two fish... not looking good!  Steve F on peg 28 had netted a couple of carp and I noticed he was fishing in multiple locations tight against the far reeds.

With 2 hours remaining I baited the margin swim hoping to grab some decent fish later on.  I think picked up the method rod tackled with a small drennan method feeder, using dampened micro's and a single grain of corn on the hook.  Leaving it for 30 minutes at a time, the tip flew round... here we go... picking up the rod and keeping it low I heard a thud of the fish against the aerator and the fish was off.  It had broken a 5lb hooklength.  I went out again with the method a couple of times, one more bite occurred and the same thing happened, the fish or the method feeder caught on the aerator and the fish was off.

The final hour I had a look down the margin line and picked up a small stockie carp, this was to be my last fish of the day.

The Weigh-In
All the lads gathered and we weighed in all the pegs, with three people deciding not the weigh in and get the dreaded DNW initials next to their names.  Anthony on Peg 2 had managed a fish a chuck and put 42lb on the scales... this was to the be the winning amount, well done Ant!

I decided I had to weigh in as I would at least beat the DNW's!!!

So, here are the results, at least I didn't come last....

Poplars - Pegs 1-32
1: Anth Moore - 42lb 4oz (peg 2)
2: Ste F - 27lb 8oz (peg 28)
3: Ash Frances - 22lb 11oz (peg 22)
4: Useless - 19lb 14oz (peg 4)
5: Steviebaby 9lb 8oz (peg 26)
6: Zimmo - 9lb 2oz (peg 20)
7: Tenchymans - 8lb 12oz (peg 24)
8: Steve Greenup - 6lb 9oz
9: Joe T - 6lb 2oz (peg 16)
10: Toe - 3lb 2oz (peg 18)
11: Gav - 2lb 11oz (peg 30)
12: Never Bob - 2lb 10oz (peg 12)
13: Lewy - 1lb 5oz (peg 32)
14-16: Paul T (peg 14), DJ (peg 10), Chongo (peg 6) - DNW

Conclusion
Everyone mentioned that the lake had simply turned off.  The catches and non-catches were spread amongst all the pegs.

What would I have done differently?  Looking back on the match I should have opted for the following:
  • Small bomb with a PVA bag of pellets fished to the aerator
  • Fishing shallow while spraying some maggots to get the silvers on
Despite the fishing, I had a great day with the lads from Anglers Cabin.  Useless nicknamed me "Andy Nudd" after my days with Andy May and Bob Nudd... their advice obviously didn't help me out!  The fish down south must be easier to catch ;-)

Winter is just around the corner, so lighter lines, smaller hooks and negative feeding will all start to come into play.  I think it might be time to clean all the tackle and prepare some more rigs over the winter period.

Anglers Cabin Crew on Hoppy's Memorial Bench

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