Gold Valley - Open Match, 2nd June 2013

After returning to London to live and work there was one place I was itching to get back too, Gold Valley, home of Will Raison, former England World Champion.  I felt a bit of a "Billy no mates" as it had been a while since I had fished an Open Match and there were plenty of faces I didn't recognise.  That was soon to change when Pat Pritchard came up and said, "hello Lewy".  Great to see him and then the other lads, John Rhodes and Steve from Talk Angling.  Thanks lads.

The Draw
The regulars tend to know when the draw is about to take place, generally when they hear the pegs going into the cup ;-)  This is the time when the line kind of forms up... I grab the first peg from the cup and out came number 39.  So I would be on Gold rather than middle lake.

The Set-Up
Arriving at Peg 39 I thought to myself, "I've been here before..." and I had, back in January 2012.  Peg 39 is on the bank between Gold and Middle Lake and has an island at about 17 metres from the peg.  The weather was a cracking sunny day with some ripple on the water so the pellet waggler could play a part today.  I set up the following:

- Pellet Waggler
- Method Feeder
- Pole Lines
  • 16.5 metres to the island with around 2 feet of depth
  • 14 metre straight ahead to target the large skimmer population
  • Margin swim to my left under a small bush
Bait for the day was 8mm hard pellets, dampened 4mm and micro pellets, sweetcorn, dead read maggots and some groundbait.

The All-In
Fishing would be 11am to 4pm and on the whistle I potted in two large balls of groundbait with dead reds and corn on the 14 metre line and one ball of groundbait on the island line.  I decided to fish the method feeder for the first 90 minutes of the match while pinging 8mm pellets over it to try and give the fish confidence up in the water for the pellet waggler later in the day.

The method feeder would stay in the water for 15 minutes before recasting.  I also decided not to go to the rope straight away but to cast off the end of the island to start with.  After 30 minutes and the second cast the tip wagged away and a great example of one of Gold Valley's skimmers/bream came to the net.

After the first hour I had two bream in the net, but no carp.  Meantime my neighbour on peg 40 had already bagged a carp on the bomb and pellet method, hooked close to the island... I should have paid attention to this fact!

The 90 minute mark passed and I had 3 bream in the net, time to top up the pole lines with some groundbait before going over them.

The next 30 minutes I decided to go to the rope in an attempt to bag a carp to boost my weight... nothing!  I was starting to worry, what was I doing wrong?

Trying the island line on the pole with sweetcorn produced a small skimmer and the 14 metre line gave me a roach and perch... not really weight builders and another hour had past.

Time to try the pellet waggler which didn't get any touches.  I felt as though I just didn't have a plan to fish to and was trying all sorts of methods.

With two hour to go I started to prime the margin swim with sweetcorn and dead reds.  In the last hour I would use loose groundbait.

Final fish of the day... the picture doesn't do it's size justice!
Sticking with the method, the lads on pegs 31 through 36 where catching well on the pellet waggler and there action was fast and furious.  I decided to try casting close to the island.  The tip wrapped round and a fish was on, then off.  Retrieving the rig the hook length had broken at the hook!  Gutted was an understatement.  Further casts to the island and finally it produced a lovely common carp around 8lb, a little too late in the match.

I kept on trying the margin line with double corn or 5-6 dead red maggots but nothing there.  The island line on the pole produced a few bites until I snagged the rig and had to pull for a break.  So the rest of the match I stayed on the method close to the island which resulted in a lovely bream of around 4lb.

The Result
20lb dead and a section nowhere... not a good start back on the Gold Valley Open Match scene!

Conclusion
Putting in 3 keepnets at the start was a little bit optimistic!  I should have targeted the island with the method feeder earlier as the carp where there earlier than I thought.  No excuses really I just didn't fish very well, although I got a great tan ;-)

Official Results

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