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!!!!