Tony Rixon asked me last week if I was interested in fishing a match at Todber, I had never fished the venue before and in the end I took up the offer. I spoke to a couple of my Thatchers team mates who fish this lake regularly; Steve Tucker told me to fish meat not very far out, and Mark Harper said fish the method feeder across. I could see a plan forming around this, start on the method and go on the meat after a few hours.
I had the pleasure of transporting Fabio to the venue, he gets a bit worried about being late, but we arrived 45 mins before the draw time. I used to fish with Phil back in the old Silver Dace days on the Avon, he's switched to carp full on these days. Mark Poppleton had organised this match on the Matchfishing Scene website and he kindly let me draw early. I pulled out peg 25 which meant nothing to me but when I got to the peg it looked great, a point of an island just to my left and a long margin to fish. Steve Tucker rang me to confirm it was a flyer and that it should be good for 150lb, no pressure then! Ten minutes later and Fabio comes and sits next to me (how often do people travelling together draw next to each other!) and carp slayer Tony Rixon was the other side of Fabsi.
I set up a 15g small in line method feeder with 0.20 to a 16 PR38. Two 4x10 Durafloats on 0.16 one with a hair rig and one with a PR478 for meat, these were for across and the margin. I also so set up a 0.3gm Inter float on 0.16 for use at 6 metres for meat. I started the match by under arming the method (packed with gbait) to the far bank grasses and I had liners from the off. I had 3 small carp in about 6 casts but I didn't feel it was right (and it's not something I've done a lot of) and I started feeding 6mm pellet across instead. Fishing with a banded 8mm I got bites but only took the odd roach and F1, I came off this line and I decided to "Go Large" so I began to (badly) loosefeed 8mm pellets across! I tried the meat line at 6 metres and had more roach trouble and after 35 minutes I dropped in on the margin and caught 1 small carp and more roach! There was no silvers prize today so I had to catch carp. Going back across on 8mm pellet I was now getting a lot of indications and hooked a few fish but I reckoned they were up shallow, so I took the defunct meat rig off and replaced it with a dibber rig. I eventually found that 8" deep was about right although I still fouled a few. I had a good few hours on this line catching mainly carp from 2 to 3lb, and I was not being bothered by F1's (except missed bites might have been them?).
I could see Tony had caught a lot of fish across but Phil was struggling catching mainly F1's. I tried the margin on and off but was disappointed most of the time, although it was alive with carp eating spawn or themselves spawning. However, with just under 2 hours to go I finally got the fish going here, but I had to fish off the bottom to stop the foulers. I had fed meat, 6mm pellet and 8mm pellet here, I was doing this to get a quantity of bait in although I would have probably just fed 8mm pellet only but I didn't have a lot with me as they hadn't been in the main plan! The margin did slow in but I stayed with it because I had a sore elbow and didn't fancy going across unless I really had to.
When the match finished Steve Seagar who was across from me reckoned I had 110lb, I thought I had 130lb and Tony was saying he had 120lb but we both had not got much of an idea. I guess I had about 70 fish and they weighed 164lb, this was just enough to beat Tony who had 151lb, in between us Fabio was a chip shop sausage having weighed 54lb. My weight was good enough for 2nd overall, beaten by organiser Mark Poppleton who was on the pre match favourite peg 38 (which Fabsi drew for him!) and weighed 177lb. Mark told me he could see carp boiling at 3 metres whilst he was setting up, and after 30 minutes of feeding them he started to bag, fair play. Tony came 3rd, and he took away the full result to put on his blog.
Well I must say I was really impressed with Park Lake, there are obviously stacks of fish in there and it is my sort of venue where you get lots of bites from small carp. I never heard any noise from cars etc, and it was a really lovely day out in the countryside, I hope I can go back there again sometime soon.