I got out fishing Thursday with Warren Bates, we had hoped to fish the Viaduct cost cutter but the silvers two dayer prevented that. So with nothing on we decided to pleasure fish Plantation. My thoughts were this was a mixed fishery guaranteeing bites, and the pegs opposite the car park should be sheltered from the strong winds. Luckily I was pretty much right on both accounts.
I think I sat on peg 26, which was facing the middle of an island, Warren sat on 27 opposite the end of the island. however, I had no intention of fishing to the island and was quite content to set up the pole and 1 top set, my laziness comes to the fore when pleasure fishing! With the wind still gusting even in this area I opted to fish no further than 11.5 mtrs, picking two spots to fish, one straight in front, and one at 2 o'clock. The rig I used today was a 0.5grm Preston PB Inter (wire stem) which due to the wind and tow was heavier than what I would use normally use. A strung bulk of no 8 stotz, with 2 no 10 stotz below to 0.10 to an 18 PR490. Warren set up a wag as well as a pole rig.
I fed a small amount of micro and dead maggots in front, and about 100 to 150 casters at 2 o'clock. I started on the micro line wanting to give the caster swim time to settle. I had a much slower start than expected, and was just getting the odd bite from tiny roach, although I did bump what I suspect was a skimmer after about 20 mins. Warren was catching small roach a chuck on the wag and I was questioning my choice of set up! However, I was not trying to catch roach, I wanted some bettter fish, and I felt my heavier set up would give me the best presentation for them and so I stuck with it. After an hour I tried the caster line, after about 15 mins of roach I then landed a 2lb skimmer, but then it was back to roach.
It was obvious the roach were feeding well and so I fed another 100 casters in an attempt to get some bait down for the better fish. The maggot line was still poor but I did take a 1.5lb fouled skimmer from here and a few roach when resting the caster line. Thirty minutes after the skimmer and 15 feet of no 8 elastic shot out, a nice 2lb carp was the culprit. I had taken the skimmer on double red maggot, but the carp on single caster, and during the day I continually changed hookbaits, catching mainly on single red maggot or caster, I never had a bite on double caster. I ended up with 5 small carp, a 1.5lb perch, 3 skimmers and lots of roach for 20lb to 25lb. Warren could not get past roach on either the wag or pole but had lots of them in his 10lb bag. The biggest difference was that I potted bait where as Warren used the catty, and even if you up the feed on the catty I doubt many casters get past the roach. My only dissapointment was that I pulled out of 4 fish, skimmers and maybe another perch, but that's winter fishing.
Well 2011 is coming to an end and to be honest on a personal level I'm glad to see the back of it (never said that before). However, the fishing wasn't too bad! I only managed to fish a couple of matches in January before my operation, and that meant I could not fish at all in Feb and March. In April with the help of people like Glenn Bailey, Tony Rixon, Dean Malin, Phil Harding, Jason Radford and many more I was able to get back on the bank. I could not lift my gear into my car, or to my peg, or even lift my nets out! The way people helped me is something I was very thankful for and will never forget. To win my section (by default) at Shiplate on my first match back was a real tonic. I know this will sound corny, but I really had (and have) a different attitude to match fishing when I came back. Quite simply I was happy to be fishing and decided to enjoy it more, not getting my hair off after a bad day. Well it seemed to work as I went on a bit of a run and nearly won 3 matches on the trot, the Gimp preventing that winning at Shiplate with carp!!!
I don't keep lots of facts and figures, I don't care how much fishing costs me, I just hope to win some dosh back to cover some costs and keep my good lady happy! My highlights of this year (other than nearly doing the treble) were winning my first match post op at the sedges with 120lb (although I paid for that for days). Never catching less than 100lb at the six matches I fished at Viaduct fishery, that might be normal for the regulars but a first for me! Catching roach on the Bristol Avon with a light 1grm pencil float, the river though fished best when clear and once the rain came it went downhill, strange. After a run of average river draws I finally drew a flyer in November and won the Commercial House match on the stick float with 21lb including 2 barbel. What was truly memorable though was how the dace came on the feed with 90 mins to go, it was the proverbial "like someone flicked a switch".
Mostly in 2011, I enjoyed being back on the bank and fishing amongst team mates and friends and enjoying (and engaging) the banter. I look forward to 2012 being a better year for my health, and as far as fishing goes I'll try hard to win, but take what comes my way. Let's all support and encourage the young anglers (not many I know) who are the future of our sport, we need more of them and we need them to stay fishing matches.
Happy New Year!