Sunday, April 29, 2007

BCUK League Round 4. Hartleylands

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I was off today to my favourite Commercial fishery to fish the next round of the BCUK League, today the match was to be fished over 2 lakes, Nicks and Bramley.
I wasn’t too fussed what lake I drew on as the payout today was going to be for the top 4 on each lake. I thought this was a good idea as I expected Nicks lake to produce the top 3 weights.

At the draw I pulled out peg 13 on Bramley (good job I’m not superstitious). I wouldn’t have been disappointed with any draw on this lake as I believe it can be won from anywhere, it wasn’t the easiest peg on the lake to fish either as it was opposite the point of the island with gusting wind blowing right to left.

As I walked round to the peg a lot had discounted the waggler as the best method to use in the wind, and I notice a lot of feeder and poles being set up, this wasn’t going to be my tactics for the day, as far as I’m concerned pellet waggler is the way to go here, and my 3 previous visits to the lake last summer had produced two firsts and a second place using these tactics.

I set up 2 rods one being the 11ft Carbonactive float, being gusty I had to use a 3SSG float, normally you can get away with a 4AAA here, the business end had a 0.16 trace attached to a 14 Drennan carp hook. The other rod was a 12ft Maver Reactolite float, the only reason being that I brought it some time ago and wanted to just catch a few fish on it to try it out! I also had a power 2 and a no4 section of my pole set up just to drop in the margin if I wanted to rest the pole line for a while.

6mm pellets was going to be the feed and hook bait for the day, with a bit of paste to wrap round the pellet if needed, I also had some 8mm pellets in my bag just in case the wind made it difficult to feed the 6mm.

I was going to attack the swim from the off today as the pegging was a bit tight at the end of the island and I wanted to try to draw fish in quickly before the other realised what was happening! So at the off 3 large pouch fulls of pellet went in by the island, or they were supposed to go there, with the wind they were dropping slightly short. The float followed and I was straight into a small carp while others on the lake were still messing about feeding on the pole. This promptly came of at the net though so it was out with the feed and float again, third chuck I managed to hook another small carp and this time it ended up in my net, conditions were difficult in the wind but not impossible and the first hour produced about 10 small carp, as the match want on I was catching steady but not as I expected, but glancing around the lake I didn’t see anybody really doing too well. I couldn’t seem to get a run of fish together just getting 2-3 then nothing for a while, I was also experiencing a high number of missed bites I suspect where liners even though I was only fishing a foot deep.

A quick change of float was done to one of my short stumpy balsa inserts being only 3 inches long, then shortening the trace to 6 inches finished the new rig.
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Although I didn’t empty it with this rig the catch rate improved a bit and the missed bites ended, after an hour bites seemed to tail off again and I was struggling, the fish became reluctant to go near my float, so lengthening the trace and casting more frequently got me picking up a few carp again, I had to chop and change to the end of the match to catch, it was one of them days when the fish just didn’t see to want to feed and you had to work for ever bite. A switch to 8mm pellets toward the end got me catching again and it was soon the all out netting my last fish just as the whistle blew.

When the scales arrived 40 lb odd was winning my section and the lake, I was sure I had more than that. I stuck 63 lb on the scales to take the lead, but I heard a shout some guy over the other side of the lake was catching well on the feeder and had about 90lb! As it turned out 90lb was really 50lb and I was the top weight on the lake.

One thing I noticed today is a lot of people set up waggler, pole with a multitude of top kits set deep and shallow, and feeder rods. On a venue like Hartleylands you are never going to do any good chopping and changing methods during the match, you need time to build and feed the swim, I find its best to pick one on the day that you are good at and commit to it fully.

Picking up maximum points again, and a few quid for wining the lake I was well pleased, I might even end up placed quite high in the overall standing at the end but need another 2 sections wins so quite a task.

As I predicted the top weight come off of Nicks lake and it was won by Mike Jamerson with just over a ton, off of peg 29 down the margin.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

BCUK League Round 3. Monk Match Lake 2

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Unfortunately due to family illness I missed round 2 which effectively ruined my chances of winning the league, but I still had a chance of a placing in the top 6 and picking up a few quid at the end. But it would be a tall order as I would have to win my section on all of the remaining matches!

After a 2nd in the first round at Framfield I was looking to go one better this time, all I needed was a draw on the near side of the lake as I thought the far side would not produce a frame weight. I was first to draw and pulled out 53, this was 1 in from the end peg and not really a favoured draw but I fancied it for a few and was not to too disappointed.

The talk at the draw was about lots of ton up weight, but as nearly every peg was in I thought anybody would to well to put that sort of weigh together although it wouldn’t stop me trying!

When I arrived at my peg I noticed quite a few larger carp moving out in the middle of the lake, so immediately I thought it could be a day for the shallow waggler, but I didn’t want to go straight out at the start with the method and decided on a two pronged attack, I was going to start shallow on the pole and feed the waggler line for at least a hour or two before dropping in on it. Obviously if the pole produced well I would stick with it for the whole match.

I set up a couple of shallow pole rigs, a 4AAA home made pellet waggler rig to fish about 2 foot. I also set up a hook in the loop rig to fish on a top 4 as the lakes skimmers seem to patrol at this distance and it is a good way to keep catching a few fish if you want to rest the shallow lines.

Bait was my favourite Skretting 6mm pellets with a couple of pints of 6 and 4mm expanders; I also mixed up a bit of paste, and about half a kilo of fishmeal based groundbait to kick start the shallow swim.

At the off 4 balls of groundbait laced with pellet went in at 8 meters, and a couple of balls went in at the distance of the top 4 for the skimmers.

I started feeding 6mm pellet over the groundbait and kicked off with the shallow pole rig, it was a good 20 minutes before I picked up the first fish a small ide, some small f1 carp followed over the next hour but I wasn’t really catching too well, probably only putting about 10lb in the net, the second hour wasn't much better maybe putting another 15 lb if assorted fish in the net on the shallow rig, and also picking up a few decent skimmers on the top 4 rig . At this stage I was quite happy with what I had in the net as I hadn’t seen anybody really emptying it!

All the while I was on the pole I had been feeding 6mm pellet out on the waggler line around 25 meters out, after a couple more small f1s on the shallow pole and as it got into the third hour of the match I could wait no longer, I picked up the waggler rod, and a pouch full of pellets was followed by the float, it hit the water settled and went under, a carp was on first cast, then promptly came off. This happened on the 2nd cast too!!! Luckily the third drop in I managed to get a small f1 in the net this time, and that’s how it went for the next two hours, it was solid and I recon I put 40 odd f1s in the net and a few ide, strangely I had no proper carp. During this time I decide to not bother feeding the pole lines any more and fish the match out on the waggler.

As I got into the last hour the wind seemed to changed direction slightly, the expected last hour hauling just didn’t happen, only catching about another 10 fish, the good new was two of these were proper carp probably over the 6lb mark so made up for it, I had a lot of fish in front of me but just couldn’t put a run of them together and I tried all the tricks I know.

The whistle went to signal the end and I was sure I had enough to take the section but did I have enough for a frame place? I was one from last to weigh and 96lb was winning from the favoured corner flyer peg 46(or was it 45) and 80 odd second, after 3 weighs I put 103 lb on the scales to snatch first place, just breaking the ton and was well pleased.

In summary I think it paid off to not fish the waggler at the start and let the fish gain confidence. Roll on next round at Hartleylands in two weeks, I cant wait.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Two Quid For A Float, You're Having A Laugh!!

I just can't see how the float company's have the nerve to charge £2 for a pellet waggler, all it consists of is a straight bit of balsa dowel.

This prompted me to make my own, I had some old plastic float eyes left from the days when I used to make all my own wagglers, a trip to the local model shop for some fluro paint, cellulose dope to seal the wood, some meter lengths of balsa, and I was ready.

Here are my mk1 NJG wagglers, cost was a few pence each.
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This prompted a trip out to try them, as Vince from the Maggotdrowners Forum was off to Hartleylands today I was going to join him.

I decided to fish peg 23 on Nicks Lake, there was a stiff breeze blowing which would make things interesting. I had my usual Carbonactive 11ft float and TD-Sol reel. I used one of my pellet wagglers that took 4.5 AAA, this was a nice size to chuck to the island.
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It was quite cold in the morning and it took a hour to get the carp feeding well, but a steady stream of 6mm pellets eventually got them going. I deepened up bit by bit until I started to get bites at around 2.5 feet. once a good number of fish had arrived in the swim I stepped up the feed rate and was soon catching plenty of small 1-2lb carp at around a foot deep.

I fancied a change after a while so stopped fishing the waggler and set up the pole, I plummed up at about 7 meters at the bottom of the shelf and used a Carpa Chimp float hook in the loop style, and also a smaller float for the margins.

Vince turned up as I was just about to start fishing the pole and had a go on my float rod, he was soon catching one a bung! After a while he handed me back the rod and I started on the pole, I was busy explaining to Vince why I use a number 10 elastic even for bigger sized carp and how you can land them no problem, I tried for quite a while to hook a carp to demonstrate but all I could catch was small skimmers!

Vince eventually left and just as he got into his car I hooked a big lump! I had the fish in the net after 30 seconds and here it is about 8lb ish.
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I managed a few more carp and nice sized skimmers on the pole at 7 meters and down the margin over the neext few hours.

I had one more thing to try, it was a float I made for when the fish were feeding very shallow, it is just over 3 inches long but takes 4.5AAA so casts well, I caught well on it too, remeber you saw it here first!
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