Sunday, March 18, 2007

BCUK League, Match 1 Framfield Brookhouse Lake

I was looking forward to the first match of the year until I looked out the window at 6.30am, the weather had turned cold and it was raining. The forecast was saying that the rain would dry up but it was going to be windy so not too bad. Today I was fishing the first of a series of 6 matches on a few of my local commercials, there will be 36 anglers entered with sections of 4 to keep the points tight, you need to be 1st or 2nd in your section to stay in contention for the overall payout. There are some very good local guys (and a girl) fishing so it won't be easy to win.

My lift for the day was late so by the time I got to the draw there was only 2 pegs left. The venue is a 36 peg long lake with a central island running down the middle, this can be anything from 11-20 meters away, with every peg in I reckoned the wider sections would be the place to be, I ended up on peg 7 which I wasn't disappointed with as it is on one of the wide part of the lake.

I arrived at the peg and the wind was howling from left to right so the long pole was out. I set up 3 rigs for the pole to fish 9 and 7 metres, also a margin rig, they all had different sized Carpa Chimp float set up hook in the loop style. This wasn't going to be my main method of attack today, for that it will be the shallow pellet waggler! Yes that is right, I was convinced it would work on what was a pole dominated venue and very much doubted it has been tried here before.

The rod and reel was my favorite combination of the Daiwa TD-Sol and 11ft Carbonactive, the balsa pellet waggler float was not going to be any use in this weather, so I opted for a 3.5g+ Drennan Puddle Chucker as I find these will stay in position longer in a strong cross wind. Trace wise I had a 0.14 attached to a size 14 Drennan carp hook with a hair rigged bait band. I was going to start at full depth which was about 4ft by the island.

At the all in as usual there was the normal waving of pole pots along the bank as most fed the pole lines. I kicked off with hair rigged corn cast to the island margin and fed 8, 6mm pellets, 2nd cast this produced a small carp, at least I wasn't going to blank! I was obvious I wasn,t going anywhere fishing on the bottom and a few line bites told me the fish were already shallow, I wasn't going crazy with the feed just 6-8 pellets every 15-30 seconds, shallowing up to 18 inches, then eventually 12, with steady feeding I managed to put 12 carp in the net in the first 2 hours. Things were going slow for everybody so I was pleased with what I had so far, well apart from a low double figured carp slipping off the hook under the rod tip!

Things were difficult though because of the strong cross wind, I was only able to hold the float in position for about 10 seconds so lots of casting was required, and I could only catch close to the island the fish refused to come out into open water, but I plugged away feeding and casting stepping up the feed a bit to try and draw more fish in, this worked well and the catch rate uncreased and I caught steady for the rest of the match, every one around me still seemed to be catching the odd fish on the bomb and pole but nowhere near as many as me.

The whistle to mark the end came a bit to quickly as I got into a run of fish in the last 20 minutes as they really started to have it and the wind started dropping.

When the scales came round 88lb was winning and 44lb was top in my section, I put 72lb on the scales easily wining my section and putting me 2nd overall. I was well pleased with my result as the league is all about winning your section and getting maximum points, the 2nd overall payout was a real bonus on top.

So a good days fishing and a excelent start of my match fishing year. I didn't pick up the pole all day, not sure why I set it up!!!!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Real test for new reel.

Yesterday two new reels arrived in the post from the States, they are Daiwa TD-Sol 2500, similar looking to the UK TD-R but better spec.
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I decided to visit a local club lake that is full of carp and roach, There is a sunken island in the middle full of tree roots that holds a lot of carp and this would be perfect to give the reel a good workout.
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I set up a very simple rig a small 2.5AAA stumpy bodied waggler, attached to this was a size 18 Kamasan Animal hook to 0.14 line, this was set to fish just touching the bottom, bait and feed was 6mm expanders, I also had some 6mm hard pellets and maggots. The rod was my favorite Carbonactive 11ft float.

I started by catapulting a few expanders out by the trees and the float was cast over the top, it was slow going at first but by feeding a few pellet little and often I could see a few carp fizzing arounds the float, I was soon into a fish this small common.
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I was soon picking up a few small carp and the odd bigger sample of a couple of pounds with 6mm expander hookbait, after about a hour or so I notice I was getting lots of liners after feeding and the fish had come up in the water, shallowing up to 18 inches deep I was now picking up a bigger stamp of fish with some running to about 5lb, I changed the hooklength to a hair rigged bait band, attached to a small pellet waggler and stuck on a 6mm hard pellet, feeding 5-6 hard pellet at a time, I was able to cast and feed 2-3 times twitching the float causing the bait to rise and fall with the feed, now every cast was producing a fish! The swim was alive with fish now swirling at the feed and it was more like fishing on a hot summer days.
A little trick that works in the summer and sort out the bigger fish is to wrap the pellet with paste, so out when a pouchfull of pellets followed by the paste and it hit the water and the rod was almost draged out of my hands! The culprit was this nice looking common the biggest fish of the day. I will let you guess the weight as I dont carry scales.
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Fishing for the rest of the afternoon was easy really just feed cast and hook a fish! they were in a real frenzy, who says you can't catch shallow in the cold? I didn't have a keepnet with me but I would guess I had well over 200lb of fish!! This was a massive weight as it is not a stocked commercial im fishing.

The few trips I have had out this winter the carp have always been willing to feed shallow on the waggler, even in the coldest of weather, you just have to be confident and give it a try.

The reel got a good test and was excelent, smoother and lighter than the Daiwa Capricorns I have been using, a perfect match with the 11ft rod.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Hook in loop thingy & the shallow wag.

I decided to get out today and try a few new rigs I have knocked up. To try things out you need to pick a venue where you will get lots of bites and fish as there is no point trying things out on a hard venue. So I headed for Monk lakes peg 57, this is at the top end of match lake 2 and is always solid in the colder weather.
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Ive been reading a lot about this hook in the loop recently on the forums and in the mags, I have been using a similar rig with a bulk close to the hook but without the loop for a while now but adding the loop is supposed to make it easier for fish like F1s & skimmers to suck in the bait and I can see the thinking behind it. The rig was tied up with a 4 x 18 Carpa Chimp float with a bulk set about 2ft from the hook and 2 number 8s just about the loop, trace line was 0.12 attached to a Drennan Carp hook like in the picture below.
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I also had a selection of different sized Carpa Chimp float set up in a similar way for different depths.

You dont need to fish out to far here so I plumbed up at dead depth at about 7 meters on a top 6 with the 4 x 18 float and had about 9ft of water here, also I had a top 4 rig set up with a smaller 4 x 12 float into about 3.5ft of water, I had a few bait with me to try, corn, maggot, 4 & 6 mm expander pellets, I fed both swims little and often with a few pellets and caught one a bung for a couple of hours switching between the two swims, a selection of F1s, small carp, tench, barbel & skimmers were netted.
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Also a huge bleak!
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I found with the loop rig I was missing very few bites, each was either a slight lift, or the float vanished out if sight, a lift of the pole resulted in a hooked fish virtualy every time, in conclusion the loop rig would without doubt out fish the standard bulk and 2 droppers sort of presentation, it worked particularly well for the skimmers where some times bites can be hard to hit. I can draw this opinion from fishing the lake many times before with a more standard rig.

Now for a change of tactics and to try out my new rod a 3 piece 11ft carbonactive float, I liked to 2 piece rod so much I brought it slightly softer brother, this was set up with a 3g Drennan puddle chucker, set to fish 3ft deep in 12ft of water, 0.12 trace attached to a 18 hook, white maggot was the feed/hookbait and steady feeding at about 25 yards had the chub and ide biting well and I was soon catching a few to about a pound, after a while I started to pick up some of the bigger F1s. These seem to feed in the coldest of weather and are always willing to come up shallow, you pick up a bigger stamp of fish compared to fishing on the deck with the pole too.

So a good days fishing probably catching the best part of a ton or more (one of my highly acurate estimates!!), Im ready for the first match of the year now at Framfield.