Sunday, August 26, 2007

Hartleylands Nick Puncher Memorial Match

I make it no secret that this is in my opinion is the best match venue I have fished, so was looking forward the match. It is always well supported with all the peg fees being donated to charity. 100 plus were booked in today with most of the top rod from the south east fishing. The 3 match lakes and the res are all being used. I would expect a ton plus will be needed to win today and that would more than likely come from the Res or Nicks lake, but you cant rule out Bramley or Pear Tree to throw up 100lb but I don’t think any will be in the top 3. The payout for the day will be top 3 in the lake so it doesn’t matter what one you are on. There is also a £5 super pool for the overall top 5.

I arrived at the lake to discover Mark the match organiser and Paul Ward the fishery owner had an interesting £5 side bet going on. Paul had bet that I would finish in the top 3 on the day from wherever I draw!

At the draw was some rules put in place for the day and one had me worried for a bit, a 3AAA limit on waggler! Luckily towards the bottom of the board was another saying max pellet waggler size 4g, which happened to be 5AAA, the biggest float you will ever need on the lakes.

A big queue was at the draw and I eventually got to the front and pulled out peg 14 on Nicks Lake. I couldn’t remember exactly where it was but was told I was halfway along the back island with no form whatsoever. I wasn’t too bothered where I was to be honest as I have said many times before you can frame from virtually any peg on the match lake in the summer so had my chance to prove it today.

I arrive at my peg and was not disappointed at all, there was a slight cross wind but I couldn’t see it being a problem today. It was a nice easy 20-25 meter chuck to the island so obviously it was going to be a waggler attack (what a surprise you are thinking!).

As always I set up two 11ft waggler rods with 4.5AAA Styrofoam float. One set at 12inches and the other at 8 inches. They both had 0.16mm hook lengths with size 14 Drennan carp hooks and a hair rigged bait band. I also set up a top 4 in case a few fish moved in down the margins and a bomb rod with a rig I have been experimenting with that I will have to keep to myself for now as it was not my idea.

I will bore you with the bait I had today in case you are new to the blob but most will know what I will be using. I had with me plenty of 6mm coarse pellets which are the best size at the lakes, some paste, plus some 8mm hookers and a few of pints of expanders to feed the margins.

The hooter went to signal the start and I fed 4 big pouch fulls of bait quite quickly to the island, the thinking behind this is to draw some carp in quickly, the reason being the two blokes to the right were also fishing to the island so I didn’t want to lose fish to them and maybe I will pinch a few. I continued to feed about 10 pellets every 15-30 second and casting over it. 15 minutes into the match I had my first small carp, things started slow but steady and an hour in I had 10 carp on the 8 inch deep rig. I had a lot of fish in the swim but they were not really “having it” they would come to the noise of the pellet and were proving difficult to tempt. I tried various ways of feeding, different hook pellets, wrapping the pellet in paste and nothing seemed to work well. I wasn’t too worried because you can build the swim and the last two hours of the match are always the best. Paul the fishery owner came round to see how I was getting on and told me the lakes were fishing quite hard with no one emptying it yet which was good news.

By the end of the third hour I only had 30 carp averaging about a pound in the net, five that were caught on the bomb so not so good. I was still struggling to put a decent run of fish together but still felt I was in with a shout. The next hour was more of the same with another 10 fish although some were a better stamp around the 2lb mark. With an hour of the match left I recon I had about 50lb in the net made up of 40 small carp.

I still think I had a lot of fish in the swim so maybe could still have a good last hour, so I took a gamble on feeding quite heavy and very frequently(cant tell you why just had a feeling it would work), my suspicions were confirmed as carp started to show on the surface every time I fed. Shallowing up to 6in deep, feeding a big pouch full of bait then landing the float on top resulted in an instant bite. I had 15 carp in the next half an hour (one every 2 minutes), the biggest around the 3lb mark. The final half an hour resulted in another 10 so when the whistle went I ended up with 65 carp, 25 that were caught in the final hour.

The scales came round and the best weight on my lake was 84lb 9oz which was lying third overall in the main frame, I guessed I had around 80lb so it was going to be close for third spot, Mark who was doing the weigh in was worried he had lost his £5 side bet. My first net on the scales went 44lb; the second was 40lb 2oz, giving me 84lb 2oz putting me second on the lake and forth overall picking up £150 and only 7oz away from a few quid more! A decent result from a peg that was apparently not too good!

The top two on the day came from the Reservoir, I can’t remember the exact weights but they were around 140lb and second place just over a ton.

Not out fishing next weekend but will be fishing a 2 day event at Stones fishery on the 8the and 9th of September so look out for my report on how I get on.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Hartleyland Match

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I was off to my favourite match venue today to fish with the Maidstone Town league a local club I joined this year. There are a number of reasons I rate Hartleyalnds so much as a match venue. For a start it looks nice with plenty of bankside cover. You can potentially win from anywhere in the summer on Nicks, Bramley, or Pear Tree lake. Added to this there are no silly rules and you will encounter the best conditioned carp you are likely to catch. Today I was on Pear Tree the lake I used for my Pellet Waggler write up for Southern Angler. The lake is roughly rectangular in shape with two islands running down the middle giving you roughly a 25 meter chuck to them.

I arrived and discovered there will be quite a few fishing with nearly every peg in. At the draw I pulled out peg 13 that put me about halfway along one of the two islands that run down the middle of the lake. There was a light cross wind and there was only one method I was going to use here today and that will be the pellet waggler. In my opinion this method is unbeatable here during the warmer months if you have an island to chuck to. Today I was going to try out some Styrofoam waggler I had knocked up, only 3 inches long and taking 4-5AAA they were a perfect size.
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I set up my two 11ft Carbonactive rods, one set to 8in deep, and the other 12in. both had Mr Crappie 4lb main line, with a 0.16 trace. Attached to this were a size 16 Fox carp hook and a hair rigged bait band. I also set up a bomb rod with a new set up on the end to try that I will tell you what it is another time and a top kit and number 4 section to drop in the margins.

Today I had 6mm pellets for bait as they will easily reach the island and I prefer this size here if I can get away with it. Also some 6mm expanders to feed the margins and a bit of paste.

The all in was called and I put a good handful of pellet in each margin and fed a dozen pellets just short of the island, starting on the 12in deep rig it wasn’t long before I got my first bite and a small carp of about a pound was in the keepnet, the carp seemed to respond to very frequent feeding today, about 10 pellets every 10-15 second, I had a very good first hour putting 20 small carp in the keepnet! Things slowed up during the next hour and I found an 8mm hook pellet seemed to get a bite quicker than using the 6mm that I was feeding. I could see a lot of carp in my swim waiting for the feed and the shallower rig produced more bites.

I needed to constantly change bait size and cast around the feed to keep the fish coming. You would only get a bite if the bait was moving and once it had hit full depth it was ignored. I had to feed then drop the float on top, if I didn’t get a bite after about 5 seconds feed again and slowly twitch the bait through the lose offerings. This way most cast came back with a fish on the end.

About half way into the match I hooked a bigger fish, at about the same time Yalding Bloke from the Maggotdrowner Forum turned up, I think he came round to see how I fished the waggler but I gave a good demo of how not to land a big fish. Keeping the rod low I slowly got it in netting range without too much trouble. I missed it with the net and the fish promptly went berserk and it took me another 5 minute to get it in the net!

I continued to feed the margins and had a quick look every now and again if the waggler swim went quiet, this didn’t produce any fish, but if you do this and continue to feed without fishing when you go back over with the waggler you will often get a several fish quickly.

I was counting the carp today and 15 minutes before the end I had 102! I decided on one last look down the margin before the end for a lump. I hooked on two 6mm expanders and wrapped them in a big lump of paste and dropped it in to my right. The float jumped about a bit so I know there was something down there, the float suddenly went under and I was into a good carp. This time I demonstrated how to land them properly and holding the pole low the fish came back to me and a quick lift and one about 4lb was in the net. I had another couple of bites and bumped one down the edge and that whistle went to signal the end. I had 103 carp, 1 rudd and a barbel!

I guessed I had about 120lb and I wasn’t too far out for a change and put 145lb on the scales. It turned out to be easily enough to win as 79lb was second so a good result for the waggler at Hartleylands.

The Styrofoam floats worked well too, although I think I would have still caught as much on a balsa one. I could always jump on the bandwagon start selling them at £2 a go!!

Im back here next week fishing a big open match with all the lakes in, i quite fancy peg 9, 23, 25 or 32 on Nicks lake.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Stones Fishery Sherness

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I was going to visit Stones today for the first time; I thought I better fish a match there before the 2 day festival in September.

The lakes are on the side of Stones Garden Centre that conveniently has a café that opens in the morning for breakfast, the draw was carried out in the café and I pulled out peg 31 which meant nothing to me but I was told you can do well from anywhere on the lake. It is a strange looking lake as there are pots in the water with reeds growing out of them!
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This was a day for experimenting being my first visit so I was going to try a few different things, I was limited to only fishing the pole as there is no way I would get any carp in fishing beyond the pots on a rod and line.

I set up a couple of shallow rigs made up from Drennan Carp 4 Dibbers, one with a long line for swinging away from the pole. These had a 0.14 trace and a Drennan eyed size 14 carp hook attached. A on the deck rig with a Carpa Chimp float, these all had a number 10 latex in the top kits. One for each margin with a BGT Short float with 0.16, and a size 14 Fox Carp hook. These had yellow Drennan hollow in them, the main reason I use this down the margins is with the extra stretch if I hook a big fish I can just hang on keeping the tip low, and then don’t have to follow the fish out and add extra sections.

The plan for the day was to feed a long and short lines down the left margin, and one to the right. But the main attack was going to be shallow between the two pots in front of me where there were quite a few carp cruising around. Bait as always was lots of Skretting 6mm pellets, 4 and 6mm expanders and some paste. I have the utmost confidence in this bait when commercial carp are the target even on unfamiliar water.

At the off I fed the margins, then went straight out with the shallow rig, I did however stick out a couple of balls of groundbait out where I was fishing shallow to hopefully draw some fish in. Feeding 6-8 pellets every few second I was soon into my first carp a fish of about 2lb, soon followed by its mate another one about the same size. Half an hour in I hooked a bigger one about 5lb, when it surfaced I missed it with the landing net and it went crazy! Unfortunately the hook then pulled out.

Things were very slow and two hours into the match I only had 5 carp in the net, word was the lake was not fishing too well. I did drop in where I was feeding the margins but there was little sign of anything down there. So back out with the shallow rig and adding a section took me to beyond the two pots full of reeds. I started to pick up a few more small carp and f1’s here, I was warned not to use a light elastic by the reed pots but they came in with not too much trouble, you just lift slightly into a fish then instead of shipping back pushing the pole forward slightly seemed to confuse the fish then you can easily lead it between the reed.

I keep on dropping down the margins but had no response, so carried on picking up the odd fish shallow. I did try a maggot hookbait for a short while and had a few roach and rudd.

30 minutes from the end I spotted a carp down the left margin, dropped in a bit of paste and immediately had a bite and hooked one, another 2 came out from here before the whistle went to signal the end.

When the scales came round 90lb was winning and I knew I had nowhere near that, I stuck 37lb on the scales, the half of the lake I was on didn’t fish as well as the top end where the winner came from. I had an enjoyable days fishing though and would recommend a visit to the lakes, I will certainly be back.

I did fish on after the end of the match down the margin and had one a bung! The margin was solid, I’m sure the carp know!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Willow Park Battering

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Today I was off the Willow Park for the first time. I was representing the team; there are 3 other forum teams in attendance, Total-fishing, Talk-angling and Angling forums. The team orders were I had to be last in my section to keep with the tradition of Maggotdrowners finishing last. I was on the middle lake that apparently held plenty of carp, f1s, and silverfish and would be perfect for the pole shallow, or even the pellet waggler.

I was a bit worried in the run up to the event when I noticed a club match was won on the lake with only 27lb. Surely a lake that demands a £10 a day peg fee offers better fishing than the result reflected? Further alarm bells rang when I read on the forum that the carp had all escaped from the lake in a recent flood. Added to this one of our team was down there the day before for a look around and reported not a lot was being caught on the middle lake! Things were starting to look grim.

I arrived the morning of the match and I must admit the lake looked good although the pegging was tight. After a tea and chat with the other members of the team the draw was made and I was on peg 20, this meant nothing to me not having seen the lake before but I was informed it was a decent draw. Arriving at the peg it did look good, a large willow to the left overhung the water, and a corner to the right with plenty of cover in the margin was the 2 obvious places to fish. Disappointingly I was limited the distance I could fish out in front of me without “crossing swords” because my peg faced a line of anglers on the other banks.

With the enforced bait limit of 3 small bags of pellet my tactics were going to be fishing shallow with the limited amount of pellet I had, also I was going to target the margins with paste and corn, I would have rather used pellet but didn’t have enough to use for both, an all out carp attack. I also had a few maggots with me to avoid a blank if things went wrong!

I won’t bore you with the rig details but I set up one for the margins, a couple shallow and one for on the deck. Also a pellet waggler rod.

At the off I fed a few ball of groundbait on the pole line straight out in front, and some corn and hemp in the margins both sides. I started with the on the deck rig but flicked out a few pellets every 30 seconds to try and catch shallow. During the next hour I went through several hook baits, corn, pellet, paste, eventually catching a small roach on maggot! The swim was devoid of fish as I was getting very few indications on the float.

During this time I also was flicking half a dozen pellets out to my right at about 25 meters as I noticed the odd carp cruising, I had a few cast with this rod to try and mug one of these cruising fish but again caught nothing. I wasn’t keeping track of time but at about the 2 hour mark with only a few small roach to show for my efforts I dropped a lump of paste in my right margin where I had been feeding, the float settled and started moving about then went under, lifting the pole I was into a carp, then 10 second later it came off. I won’t repeat what I said next!

The next hours were a not event fishing wise as I had a few more small roach by switching between the lines I have fed. It was now time to really attack the swim to try and make something happen, out of desperation I took the decision to concentrate on the pellet waggler and I had 2 pints of 6mm pellet left, so stepping up the feed to a dozen pellet every 15 second where I had spotted the odd cruising carp out to my right. All this achieved was to push the carp out of range!

40 minute were left and I quickly set up a shallow maggot rig to put a few more fish in the net, flicking a few maggots out at about 6 meters I managed about 10 small roach then hooked something a little bigger, playing it carefully it was a F1 of about 3lb. No more followed and I was relived when the whistle went to signal the end.

This scratching about sort of fishing that was required on the day is not really my style and to be honest I didn’t get the best from the peg. 2 hours in I had lost interest really!

The scales came around and I put a pitiful 4lb on them, putting me about 14th out of the 20 anglers on the lake and 4th in the 4 man section. 18lb won the lake!!!

Thankfully I did my bit and our team came in last on the day as expected.

The result being.
Angling Forums 40 pts Total Fishing 1 38 pts Talk Angling 33 pts Maggot Drowners 29 pts

I was tempted to ask for a refund of my peg fee as the fishing was poor, personally I expect to catch a few if I am paying £10 and quite frankly the place is not up to standard, There was plenty of talent fishing the lake and most struggled. I do think the 3 pint pellet limit is in place to stop you overfeeding the few fish present! The rumoured lack of carp in the lake seemed true as I saw little evidence of large numbers of fish present, it was a hot sunny day and you would have expected to see plenty of fish cruising in the surface layers.