Whatever the weather or the conditions I was going fishing this weekend! Martyn Reyatt was putting together a small match which was to be on the canal, but it was then decided to be put on Boyd Lake. I made a call to Martyn Saturday afternoon and he said the ice was melting fast and in his opinion it would be ice free Sunday.
I don't know why but Saturday night I felt wide awake and just could not get to sleep, as a consequence I didn't wake up until 8am Sunday which was OK as the draw wasn't until 9am and I only live 5 mins from the lake. When I left home the car said the temperature was 5C, but in the valley it was 1C and my car skidded on frozen puddles. As I drove into the car park I could see the lake was mostly frozen, and as it turned out the ice was in some places over an inch thick! I could see pegs 4 and 5 were ice free and I was told these would be good pegs. At the draw I avoided the ice free pegs and ended up on peg 10, I walked around to Mike (drawbag) Nicholls who was on peg 4 and borrowed his ice breaker. It took me around 30 minutes to clear ice to 4 mtrs, it was that thick, and I decided that 4 mtrs would have to do! I returned the ice breaker to Mike and he told me he had seen fish topping, and indeed I saw a fish top in peg 5 on the walk back to my peg.
On peg 11 was Martyn (3rd match on the trot he has had this peg) and on peg 9 was the big man Leighton! I had brought caster and a bit of red maggot with me, and a bit of pellet, but as I had a very short swim I decided to take a caster and maggot approach. I set up just two rigs, a 4x12 Chianti with no10 and no11 stotz spread out, I used a 18 PR33 hook to 0.08. The other rig was a canal rig, it was a 0.4gm wire stem / wire bristle jobby, and on here I had a 20 hook to 0.07. I shotted this last rig with a bulk mid depth and 2 no12 droppers below well spread out.
I started the match by cupping in 8 casters and decided to cup in 4 to 6 casters every fish. I started on the Chianti and it was a slow start and it took me 10 mins to get a bite on single red maggot which resulted in a ounce roach. In the first hour I had about 9 small roach whilst I could hear that Mike on peg 4 and Mike Ferris on peg 5 were catching. Just a point here that peg 6 was empty, this was because Bill Ferris never turned up for his 4 pegger on the lake, it turned out he had cracked some ribs falling off a ladder. Darren Gillman came for a walk round the lake and confirmed the bottom pegs in the deeper water were catching best. I switched to loose feeding caster by hand and also used the wire stem float which was better for the small roach in that the bites developed more. I was not catching well though as I would get 2 or 3 fish and then nothing for 5 mins, but I was now getting the odd 2 and 3oz fish. Martyn next door could hardly get a bite and after a couple of hours he went for a walk.
I kept trying the caster on the hook to try to pick up better fish, but if after a couple of chucks I had iffy bites or just tiny roach then I returned to a maggot. Halfway through the match the wind picked up and the sun went behind some cloud, I then had a good hour and a bit when I caught more roach on caster and the bites were much better, I even had some 6oz netters! Both rigs were used and I was swapping between them to change the presentation. Unfortunately when the sun returned my bites slowed and I endured a tough last hour until the last 10 mins when I caught another 6 decent roach on caster.
Mike Nicholls easily won the match with 21lb 10oz (see his blog for more details) and Mike Ferris next door to Mike was 2nd with 12lb+, both Mikes had taken some reasonable skimmers plus lots of roach. My all roach net went 9lb 7oz and was good enough for 3rd, which I was more than happy with.
There were some tight weights, with Leighton weighing 7lb 13oz next to me, beating Sean Townsend off the next peg by 1oz! Martyn eventually had a late run of roach to end with 4lb 13oz, beating his travelling partner Dave Tippett by 1oz for their £5 side bet!
Young Joe McMahon was in the 4 pegger match, and he was on peg 12 which has recently been good for decent roach. Joe fished caster at about 5 mtrs and did a fantastic job to catch 17lb. I think he could have caught more but his dad was behind him giving him bad advice most of the time!
Well it was really nice to get out on the bank, and the Boyd Valley Lake silvers did not disappoint me giving me some bites and keeping me interested all day. I'm sure the colour in this lake helps keep the fish on the feed. I hope this weather holds and the Commercial House on the canal goes ahead next week, I have heard that Kev Dicks caught 25lb of skimmers there on Saturday, they must be hungry!