Friday, June 29, 2007

Maidstone Victory evening match, on the Medway

My local club run a series of 6 evening matches every summer starting in June, I have managed to win the overall trophy for the last 2 years doing very well managing to frame in every match, This year after missing the first match while I was down in Devon I will have to get a first or second in every match to retain the trophy.

I arrived early at the draw so I could have a chat with the guys fishing; tonight it was to be fished on the Barming section of the river. We haven’t had as much rain down here in the South East and the river looked spot on with a bit of colour and flow. In these conditions the bream normally feed well so I expected them to win, the down side of this is that they are only around in numbers in a couple of swims on the high bank although it is possible to pick up two or three from any swim.

I pulled out peg 11 that put me on the first swim to the right of Barming bridge, not a bad draw for roach but not really noted for bream, it also holds a few chub down the far side but I didn’t expect them to feed well in the coloured water.

My normal tactics here are very simple, ball in groundbait at the start on the edge of the nearside flow, then start lose feeding hemp, tares and corn over the top giving you a choice of hook baits, the fish will often show a preference for one of these then you can switch to just feeding what they prefer on the day. This tactic has won me lots of matches on this section of river getting me a bit of a reputation as a Medway expert!!!

For a change though I had set up a feeder even though I was not on a good bream peg, not sure why though? I still had the pole set up just in case the feeder didn’t work; this was a 1g Drennan Carbo, with a bulk and 3 number 10 droppers evenly spaced down the last 3 ft of line. This was attached to a 0.08 trace and a size 16 Kamasan 511 hook.

At the start of the match 5 balls of groundbait laced with hemp went in, the mix consisted on a third Sensas Lake, Roach and brown crumb. Added to this was a generous helping of ground hemp. I will losefeed the hemp, tares and corn combo over the top of this while starting on the feeder.

The feeder was a bit of a non event just catching a few small roach and a bleak in the first hour of the match. I had to do something to put a few fish in the net so a quick switch to the pole and tares hook bait was in order. With 90 minutes left I though I had blown my chances of a decent result as I expected a few bream to be caught, the next half a hour saw me putting about a dozen roach in the net but I wasn’t too worried as the last hour as the light start to fade can be one a bung. The swim got stronger as the match went on and by the time the all out was called I recon I had around 60 roach.

The scales turned up and surprisingly the top weight so far was only 4lb odd, it had not fished well! My 60 roach went 5lb 14oz which surprisingly enough was good enough for 2nd place, as I predicted the winner was on the high bank and managed only 3 bream on the feeder, but they went just over 10lb so easily winning.

There was talk after the match about leaving the high bank pegs out to even out the results as they always win, but I’m not sure if it is a good or bad idea to do that. Having said that we always used to leave them out until I won about 6 matches in a row on the river, someone suggested they were put in last year and since it is difficult to win a match without drawing one of them!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Trip to Stafford Moor

I was off to Devon on holiday to visit my father in law, who happens to live 10 miles up the road from Stafford Moor. So a couple of waggler and a feeder rod complete with tackle found there way into the car! Also 16 pints of 8mm coarse pellets, 8 pints of 6mm, and some ground pellet to make up some paste.

I planned to have a days fishing so thought I may as well fish the Sunday open, so turned up at the lake just as the draw was starting. I handed over my money and pulled out peg 36 on Woodpeckers and was promptly told by some of the locals it was one of the best pegs on the complex!

It was right round the far side of the lake and didn’t know what to expect as I have never seen the lake before, when I eventually got there I must admit it did look spot on for the waggler with about a 30 yard chuck to a point of an island and there were several carp moving about. As you can see it it was raining!
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I discovered by having a quick chat with one of the locals a couple of pegs along that the straight lead had been doing well on the lake using a 8mm dark high oil pellet as bait and feeding the same. I noted his advice but had my own ideas of what I was going to do.

I set up 2 waggler rods to fish shallow one set to a foot deep the other set at two foot. These both had one of my 4AAA home made wagglers attached to a 0.18 trace and a size 16 Fox hook with a hair rigged bait band attached. I also put up a lead rod to fish hair rigged pellet that had a 0.20 trace and a 14 Fox hook. I was fishing quite heavy compared to my local waters as the fish run big here apparently.

The start was signalled and I was going to kick off with the waggler, out went a pouch full of 6mm pellets followed by my float with a 6mm hook bait, the float settled and immediately went under!!! A quick strike resulted in hooking my first carp; I had been fishing for about 10 second! Another minute later a 5 pound carp was in my net. Unfortunately after this fish the swim seemed devoid of any life apart from small skimmers that were grabbing my pellet. Stepping up to 8mm pellets cured the skimmer problems but I had no carp for over an hour. I continued feeding pellets every 15-30 seconds in the hope of eventually drawing a few fish in, this sort of worked and I had another one. But that was it for another hour.

Over two and a half hours into the match with only a couple of fish a change was in order, so it was out with the lead rod, I stuck on a 8mm pellet then wrapped it in a big lump of paste, fired out about 20, 8mm pellets then cast on top. I went to put the rod on a rest and it was nearly torn out of my hands with a very savage bite, I got this fish under the rod end and the hook pulled out so I was not pleased. Doing the same thing again I immediately hooked another one, this time it made it into the net with another 4 of its mates in the next 20 minutes. Things were beginning to look up as even the rain had stopped and the sun was out.

4 hours into the 6 hour match and a good spell of catching for an hour I was on 15 carp. But the sky started to darken and it was raining again, or should I say monsoon! It was hammering down and it seemed to kill the fishing. I struggled for the last couple of hours and only managed another 5 carp. At the end I had the feeling I had not really fished the peg to its full potential and should have had a big weight, but on the other hand it may not have held the numbers of fish the locals seemed to think it did on the day I was there, who knows?

The scales eventually came round and my 20 fish went 79lb, so not a bad weight really for a first visit and an enjoyable days fishing, this put me third in the section on the day.

I was impressed by the lakes at the fishery as they all looked superb and will be back next time I am down that way hopefully with a better result.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Back to Wierton

I had a couple of hours to spare so had another go for a carp, after trying to get a take for a couple of hours feeding mixers I eventualy hooked this nice fish.

Scaling down to 8lb line to get a take it took over half a hour to land!
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A nice 24lb fish

Thursday, June 07, 2007

A bit of carping

I had a few hours spare today so decided to visit one of my local Maidstone Victory club waters, Wierton Reservoir is a excellent water full of carp to well over 30lb, plus stacks of bream, perch, roach and rudd.

I brought a new Drennan medium feeder rod last year and haven’t used it yet so thought this was the chance to give it a try! I mixed up a bit of BCUK groundbait and was going to have a go with a method feeder for the bream. I also brought my carp rod and was going to have a go at catching a carp off the surface.

I selected a swim with about a 40 yard chuck to the island and planned to feed mixers here while having a go with the feeder.
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On the method feeder rod the bait was going to be double 6mm expander, I loaded it up with groundbait and lobbed it out about 30 yards and within 30 seconds the rod went round and a decent size skimmer was in the net, I stayed on this method for a hour or so and caught several bream.
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By this time I had the carp taking mixers out by the island so gave up fishing the feeder. I had my old carp rod set up ready to go. This rod is a museums piece; it’s an old North Western 2lb TC rod dating back to the 1980. I like it for floater fishing cos it is quite soft in comparison to today’s modern rods and you very rarely lose a fish, I matched this with a 12lb mainline, a 5g Drennan controller, 10lb mono trace to a size 10 Drennan barbel hook.

Pinging out about 6 mixers at a time I recon I had about a dozen fish out by the island taking them. Ranging in size from 5lb to getting on for 30! I spent the next 2 hours trying to single out one of the bigger fish but could not get one take. I tried double and single hair rigged mixer, double and single soaked with the hook buried in them. Eventually I got round to trying a weighted fake mixer on the hook, these are slightly weighted so they sit with the hook on the top. I gave up trying to target the bigger fish and just lobbed this into the middle of the feeding fish. The mixer landed just at the edge of the island weed bed and I had a take imidiatly!

I want sure the size of the fish as it kept deep and the rod was bent double as I tried to hold it out of the far bank weed.
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It felt like a good size fish but as it come towards me I realise it was one of the ghost carp that live in the lake and these seem to fight harder than most, so wasn’t as big as I first thought. After a few minutes I managed to get the fish in the net.
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Here it is a nicely marked fish. I would think around the 15lb mark, I dont really bother weighing anything if it dosent look over 20lb and forgot to bring my scales anyway!
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It started raining so I gave up fishing after catching the carp, but I did get a quick photo of the bream I caught in the first hours fishing. Would have had a big net of them if I didn't get distracted by the carp!
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All photos taken by Deborah Gilbert

Monday, June 04, 2007


Today I was off to fish the Maver Pairs match at Monk lakes, after meeting Dave who I was fishing with today for a superb breakfast at the Stilebridge Inn we drove down to the lakes.

I wasn’t sure of the format and what lakes were in but when we arrived it was all marked up on a board near where the draw was going to be held. A section had all of lake one and the best bit of lake two, B section consisted of mostly poor pegs. We decided to flip a coin for the sections and I ended up with B. From that moment on I know it wasn’t going to be my lucky day!!

We joined the draw queue and I figured out in the B side of the draw I had a 3 to 1 chance of picking out a decent peg so needed to put the golden arm into action. Unfortunately it was not to be as the fishery owner had decided to draw the pegs out of the bucket himself and hand them to everybody. It was not looking good for me! He handed me both pegs and Dave ended up on 45, now this peg is the one I have dreams about drawing one day and putting 200lb of F1s in the net. Me, on the other hand had 81 on the wrong side of lake two, on the positive side I was fishing a 10 peg section against everybody on the same bank.

It was sunny with no wind as I walked to the peg and was thinking at least I would get a tan today. When I arrived I saw a lot of carp moving out in the middle of the lake so I thought the waggler would be a good tactic, the plus point was everybody bar one had only set up poles so I would have the line to myself. I set up two rods, one to fish the pellet waggler, the other with a bodied waggler to fish on the drop but set at full depth, I had convinced myself this would be the winning tactics in this section. I also set up the pole as backup with two shallow rigs and two on the deck rigs.

Bait for the day was my usual mix of 6mm hard pellets, 6 & 4mm expanders. Also the corn and maggots I always bring with me but never use! I mixed up some groundbait to feed the pole line at the start to hopefully draw in a few.

I sat on the box waiting for the start gazing up at a bloke in one of them microlite planes when I heard an almighty bang, I almost expected the bloke to come plunging out of the sky but it was just the signal to start the match. I fed the pole line at the start with groundbait and the two margins, then it was straight out with the pellet waggler, feeding 6-10 pellets and dropping the float on top was not working too well, half a hour in and I was fishless. A switch to the deeper on the drop rig still produced nothing. Meanwhile the guys fishing the pole either side of me were picking up a few fish.

Eventually I had a bite and hooked a carp; I played it carefully and managed to get the first fish of the day in the net, but by this point I was well behind. I could see a lot of fish still moving out on the waggler line so took the decision to carry on, thinking eventually they would turn on to the feed and I would put a decent weight together. Many times I have fished the waggler and had virtually nothing for the first half of the match then gone on to win so I wasn’t too worried.

Two hours in and I still had very little to show just picking up the odd fish, I was getting a bit worried now. I switched to the pole to rest the waggler line for a while and just feed it. I had been feeding the pole line for 2 hours now without fishing it so it could be solid? First 2 put in produced 2 small carp, third time out and I hooked something bigger, 20 seconds later a fish of about 7lb was in the net (who says you cant land bigger fish quick on a 10 elastic!!) probably doubling my weight for the day. This was the highlight on the pole as it was slow going just producing the odd fish for the next hour.

So it was back out with the waggler again for the remaining 2 hours of the match, and what a frustrating 2 hours it was, I had plenty of fish in front of me but I just could not put a run of them together, they came to the splash of the feed but didn’t seem to be really having it. I tried everything I could think of to entice bites but nothing worked well, the fish just wanted to cruise around in the sun! The best results came with my ultra short float set about 6in deep, feeding then immediately dropping the float on top. When the gun went off again to end the match I feared the worst and a last in section.

The scales came around and the peg to the right of me had over 60lb, I stuck 40lb odd on the scales, the guy to my right had 45lb, so I got a right battering from both sided, the first time in about 12 months!! I finished about 5th in the 10 peg section I think my problem is that I try to win the match from any peg I draw and attack it, where a steady more controlled approach on the pole would have got me the section win I needed and been more suitable today.

So I was nowhere but how did Dave do, I had a walk over to his peg and he had his best match weight ever with over 85lb of mostly barbel on pellet, so he had a good day, but didn’t win the section so we came nowhere in the overall standings.

Now I’m not one to complain but there was a bit of controversy over the allowed weight in each net, I hear from another angler at the weigh in that the allowance was 50lb with over 58lb resulting in disqualification. Now I was one of the first to draw and this was never mentioned at any time to anybody. Lots fishing the match didn’t know about this rule and some had over the allowed weight in the net!! I’m not sure if any disqualifications took place because I didn’t stay for the result, I hope not!!! I fish the lakes often and always believed the 50lb rule was a rough guide and as long as you split your weight over 3 nets it would be OK. Having these rules is a good thing but they need to be clearly displayed at the lakes.

Off to the river soon

On a different subject it is getting close to the start of the season, and I for one will be down my local river Medway at Barming bridge fishing a few evening matches, they are over 2.5 hours and you have to make your mind up what tactics you use and see it out for the match.

The tactics that have served me well over the past couple of years is fishing a top 6 to hand for roach, balling in at the start, then lose feeding tares and corn over the top. This has resulted in many wins and not once being out of the top 3 and hopefully it will be working again this year.

I’ve been toying with the idea of running a few afternoon knock ups on the Monkton Lane section of the river, its free fishing so no peg fees, it doesn’t get a lot of anglers on it nowadays, and the banks are relatively flat so comfy pegging. Added to this the fishing is better than ever, so who’s interested let me know?