A few weeks ago at the Sedges I saw a match run on Tile lake which was a pole top set match only. I thought it was a silly thing to do and a waste of a day out. However, I realised I was a tad hasty, after all you shouldn't knock it till you try it. Therefore when Tony Rixon said he was going to run a top set plus 1 match at Landsend I thought well let's see.
I was very lucky to be driven to the venue by Lord Nicholls of Silverfox, though we were stuck behind Tonys van so the view wasn't so special. Anyway onto the draw and I wondered where would I want to draw on a match fished with just my top set and a number 4? It was kind of funny when I drew peg 7, as this was the same peg I drew last time at Match Lake. For the umpteenth time I had John Bradford on the next peg (5) and on the next peg to my right (10) was Mike West, having a moan. So what to set up.... I decided on two main lines as far as I could go, 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock. One line I would feed with caster and the other with soft pellet. I thought the silvers would be the main species to oblige and so I set up a 0.3gm PB Inter float with a 16 to 0.12, same float but with a 16 to 0.14, and a 4x12 Durafloat for 8mm banded pellet on the usual 16 PR36 and 0.16. The latter rig could be used for the margin (thought it was a no bite job) and with a little depth change my main pellet line.
On the whistle I deposited around 50 casters at 10 o'clock, and a small amount of micro and soften 4mms at 2 o'clock. I thought I would feed it steady to begin as I had nowhere else to go! Going straight in on the caster line with the 0.12 rig I could catch small perch and roach with the odd better stamp. A quick look on the soft pellet brought a few better quality roach. I swapped between the lines to try not to spook the fish and it worked well for the first hour and a bit with a nice ide, 2 big F1's and plenty of roach and perch. I pulled out of two carp which I think were fouled. These lines then began to slow right down and I had to work hard for bites, with a run of little skimmers and another F1. Going into the 3rd hour it was now getting boring as I could only get the odd bottle top! I did lose a carp out of the blue on the caster line, it swam straight to the margin and I broke the 0.12 trying to prevent it snagging me. I managed one small carp on the pellet line and lost a decent skimmer.
The 4th hour was just dead and I decided silvers time was now over and it was carp or bust, I put a couple of pots of caster in and a potful of micros and 4mms. I found I could catch some roach into my right margin on pellet, but I didn't see them building my weight quick enough. However back out on the main lines and the extra feed had worked and I hit 2 decent skimmers (off of each line) and then caught a carp on pellet amongst the fizzes that had appeared. Then it went silly, I foulhooked a big skimmer and it came off near the net, then pulled out of two carp on the pellet line and one on the caster line, flipping eck! Then I hooked and landed 3 carp in three put ins on the pellet and I'd done nothing different! I took another 3 carp and an ide in the last hour but missed 4 bites pulled out of another carp and lost a ghost carp after the whistle which finally woke up and with me hanginging onto my number 4 it snapped the line. As it turned out everyone had lost lots of foulers, I think it was the fact (at least in my peg) that I had to feed a lot of bait to get them there.
My silvers went 27lb 2oz and my carp 28lb 1oz, and the total of 55lb 30z was just enough to scrape in 3rd place overall. Dan White was miles ahead of everyone else with 80lb on meat from peg 22. Tony Rixon was 2nd with 60lb (including a carp landed after the whistle, humph!) and John Bradford won the silvers with 27lb 14oz, only just though as Alan Oram had 27lb 10oz of skimmers from peg 12. I should have won the silvers if I had used a slightly lighter elastic (used 11 hollo) I reckon I lost 8lb of the hook (those 2 skimmers and some roach swinging them off.) Still it was a good match with lots of close weights and plenty of silvers. Yes, I think I might fish a top set plus 1 again in the future, but not to often eh!