Sunday, October 15, 2006

Monks Lake Festival

Day 1

I heard about this match a few weeks back, the fishery owner Simon was putting up £500 prize money for the top 3 and charging no peg fee, so it was well worth entering as at worst you would get 2 days free fishing and catch a good net of fish.

I was surprised when arriving to find out only 24 fishing the event! I thought it would be a sell out!! It was to be fished on lake 1 & 2, whatever lake you drew on day 1 you would swap day 2, there was quite a few local top rods at the draw so it wasn’t going to be easy even to win the section, I pulled out peg 6 on lake 1, not a particularly noted draw as I expected the winner to come from the pegs near the aerator but it looked OK with the wind blowing towards me giving the water a nice ripple, I had Omega Mike in the same section as me on the opposite bank so at least I could keep a eye on him!

Bait for the day was 10 pints (yes 10 pints!!!) or 6mm carp pellets, about a third of a kilo of groundbait, and a bit of paste, the pellets are so cheap I always carry plenty cos I don’t want to run out do I? It was a bright sunny day so there was only one method to fish that is shallow on the pole, I set up 2 rigs one short line and another with a long line to the float in case they were shy of the pole tip which quite often happens at Monks.

At the whistle in went 2 big balls of groundbait laced with pellet! The idea of this is to initially draw a lot of fish into the swim then lose feed to bring the carp up shallow, it has worked for me big time here winning 3 out of the 4 matches I have fished at the venue this summer. I started down the edge to try to pick off a few early fish while I fed the shallow line for a while, after 10 minutes without a bite down the edge I gave up on that and went straight out over the shallow line at around 7 meters, almost straight away I was picking up the odd carp on the shallow rig catching steady for the first 2 hours probably around 30 fish, the next two hours things picked up a bit and I recon I had another 40 odd, keeping them coming by constantly changing depth & the way I fed, every time I changed things a little it resulted in a fish or two. The last hour turned out to be the best putting at least another 30 fish in the net. At the all out I guessed I had getting on for my target weight of 100lb.

I wasn’t that far out this time putting 113lb on the scales to win the section, pick up £75 and I think second or third overall, I was so pleased with the section win I forgot to check my finishing position overall! This put me in contention to do well in the festival as it is all about winning the section to score maximum points. Roll on the second match; I will be on lake 2 and all going well catching a big weight.

Day 2

Today I was fishing lake 2, I had been in two minds today if the fish will be “having it” shallow as the air pressure had dropped, my instinct was telling me they wouldn’t, but the weather was telling me they would! Its decisions like these that can make the difference between being a winner or pools fodder.

Looking at the lake there was only two pegs I didn’t want to draw they were in the corner with the wind coming from behind, number 64 and 65, I thought these two wouldn’t hold enough fish to win the section, I pulled out 64, just where all the other 3 section winners from day one wanted me to be!!

I though regardless of the draw I would go for it, and still wasn’t sure if shallow was the way to go, so set up a positive bottom rigs shotted double bulk style, a margin rig with a single bulk 6in from the hook, and two shallow rigs one light with a short line and a heavier 0.4g one for swinging out beyond the pole tip. Bait was the usual 6mm carp pellets, 6mm expanders, paste and some corn.

The tactics was the same as the week before, 3 balls of groundbait at the off then feeding the fish up shallow, things started off ok as while I fed the shallow line I picked up a few small tench down the edge on paste, after 20 minutes it was out with the shallow rig and straight away I was into a small carp, from there things were very slow during the next hour and I only picked up the odd fish although I wasn’t too worried as you can soon catch up as quite often the fish don’t really start to have a go till the you get into the third hour, but by the halfway point I was thinking I should have gone with my instinct and started off deep.

At the halfway point a change was in order and it was out with the deep rig and pellet, things picked up a bit and I was into fish straight away, one a bung in fact, unfortunately they were mainly small tench and certainly not big enough to do any damage, a hour of this and I had had enough of the small tench and with only 20-25lb in the net it was out shallow again as I had still been feeding half a dozen pellet about every 30 seconds, this time amazingly it was solid! I had to swing the rig out beyond the pole tip but was picking up fish virtually every cast, I must have put 40 fish in the net in the last hour or so but was thinking it was a bit too late to trouble the leaders, and that’s how it turned out, the 75lb I put on the scales was not enough to do any damage, 130lb winning the section and 89lb being second. I’m not sure of the overall winner as I had to shoot of to a wedding reception so missed the presentation.

Thinking about how I fished the second day I was possibly on to a hiding for nothing off of the peg I was on. But maybe I wasn’t and got the tactics wrong, because fishing shallow got me 3 wins in a row on the lake I didn’t go with my instinct to target the fish on the bottom. I will know better next time.

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