With the Royal Wedding on Saturday, and knowing the ladies in my family would be watching it, I hatched a plan to fish Saturday at Todber. Mark Jefferies, Glenn Bailey and Dave Wilmott also wanted to journey down to the fishery, and so it was we met 8am in Riverside Cafe near the fishery. Nice breakfast, bit pricey though. I was pleased to have got there on time as the night before I had been playing skittles and had few pints, but luckily I stopped at 10pm and so was a good boy, lol. Saw some old faces at skittles, Paul Carey and Andy Brain, both who told me they enjoy reading my blog, cheers lads.
Arriving at the fishery and I saw a few friendly faces such as Alan Oram, Mark Leader, Dave Roper and Nicky Collins. The match was on two lakes, Hill View and Ash, and as I had not fished either lake had no idea where I wanted to be. At 9am the draw began and I pulled out peg 68 on Ash, this seemed to me about bang in the middle of the lake, the last time I was here the end peg to my right was the hot peg. Dave drew next me to on 69, Mark on 71 and Glenn was on Hill View just behind us in a corner.
Ash lake is a strip lake and the far bank is not pegged so this obviously is a fish holding area. Glenn had drawn this peg last Saturday and he had 87lb from it, he had some carp on pole and paste and some on the pellet waggler, but said he had to cast in tight to the reeds to get bites. The view from my peg below with a few ducklings that were a little to hungry during the match. The fishery was in pristine condition, and the area around the peg had been recently strimmed.
Setting up today I put a 3 swan pellet wag up with a 16 KKM hook to 0.15, and clipped this up. I also set up a method feeder knowing that this was a tactic used a fair bit here, but it is something I have not fished for a long time, I had mixed up some groundbait for this the day before, and soaked some 2mm pellets on the bank. For the pole I set up a 4x14 F1 pellet float, with a 14 PR478 to 0.15 this was to fish either meat and corn on the long pole. A margin rig was set up but only had a roach on that. There was no sign of any fish shallow, and the hot sun and lack of wind had me thinking this could be a tough day, I didn't even set up a shallow / mugging rig, but if I saw anyone catching on I would change. Dave next to me was going down the silvers route, he recently had 69lb of skimmers here and he was keen to improve on that he said.
The match began, I fed a cup of corn and meat at 13m slightly to my left as that was the empty peg side, and fed 6mm pellet across to the far side. I dropped the rig in at 13m with a piece of meat on the hook, and fully expected an immeadiate bite as I was sure I had felt fish when plumbing up. The float just sat there, didn't move, 5 mins, 10 mins and finally 15 mins a bite and a little 12oz carp. I caught another small carp, and then fed a little bit more bait, I waited longer for a bite, then a little tench, a skimmer and a F1 looking thingy. This was all over about 30 mins, and I certainly was not bagging and bites stopped, The lad to my left had caught a duckling on the method, lost a pellet waggler, and managed 1 small carp. Dave was getting into skimmers on the caster, and was doing well.
Into the second hour and I tried feeding pellets off to my right at 13m, but this line never produced an indication and I had the feeling the carp were not in the area, but with a few showing across I picked up the wag. I managed 1 carp on this but soon the fish had got spooked and disappeared and I was left being pestered by ducklings, until I hooked one in the leg. Two or more hours in and I had a visit from local legend Guy Manton, I told him I was lucky if I had 8lb and was pretty fed up and not going anywhere. I did manage a couple of carp whilst he was with me though, getting one on the method feeder, and this showed there were carp across as I had a lot of liners. However, a couple of casts later and I could not get my gbait / pellet to stick to the method, instead it was sticking to the mould. At this point I had no idea why this was happening, but I think it is my fault for using a free bag of carp gbait I was given, instead of sticking to my tried and trusted Sonubaits method mix, lesson learnt. I chucked the feeder rod up the bank and it stayed there lol. Guy saw enough of my ineptitude and wandered off!
Mid match and it seemed most people to my left were struggling, Dave was emptying the lake of every skimmer, and to the right of Mark more fish seemed to have been caught. Mark had a bit of a torrid time on the waggler, he lost a float, lost a few fish near to the net, and caught a duckling lol. I went back on the waggler and all of a sudden things came together, I had gone from casting a dozen times without a sign to now getting a bite / liner every cast. In ninety minutes I put a lot of small carp in the net and was really enjoying myself, though I did lose a few hooklengths in the reeds. I was thinking if this carried on till the end of the match I would be looking at a good ton plus weight, but the wheels fell off. The fish wised up again, or moved off, bit of both I think, and despite resting it the carp never fed again properly. Guy I had said to keep feeding meat at 4m, and I dropped in on this hoping to empty it, but a couple of skimmers and tench proved the carp were still not around. The last hour was costly indeed, the wind got up from nowhere and large amounts of cut reeds were blown down the lake to my right. I did catch three carp short but that was it, many other people had started catching at either end of the lake it seemed, especially the right hand end where the wind was blowing.
When the match finished I was a bit gutted, I had really not fished a good match, showed lack of practice and lack of knowledge on the venue. The scales arrived very quickly and weighed from the end peg on my lake, think it was peg 59 or 60. When they got to me 73lb was top weight, my silvers went 12lb and my carp 71lb, for a total of 83lb. Dave's turn next and we were wondering if he was going to break the silvers record, well his first net had 67lb of skimmers (1lb under the net limit) and his next net had 46lb, so 113lb 10oz of silvers and a new venue record. Wow well done mate, awesome day for you and it was great for me to watch.
Mark had 72lb, and then next to him on peg 72 Jim Butcher had 122lb 6oz and this was enough to win the match. He had caught on paste, and had caught all day fishing about 7m, on end peg 75 Darel Faletto had 116lb 10oz to come third overall. I thought I would get the section by triple default (PMSL) but at this fishery they section money also to the silvers money winners, so Dave took the section money.
On Hill View the top weight was on peg 49, Mayo had 118lb 6oz, and large amount of this came in the last 90 mins in the margin.
Glenn ended up with 87lb in his corner, and couldn't catch in his margins so fell back.
Well for me 83lb of small carp and silvers is really a nice day out in the sun, but with only one good 90 minutes of bagging I left feeling I had not made the most of the peg, but shit happens and I got a sun tan.
Spent Sunday with my wife and we had a great walk at Haresfield and a nice roast in a pub in the middle of nowhere. Saw some lovely butterflies at Haresfield, bloody hard to take picture of them, this was my best effort.
Next weekend it will be fishing on bank holiday Monday somewhere for me, as I have plans Sat and Sun. Hope you enjoyed the sun and had few fish this weekend, the weather in May really is making up for the long hard winter I feel.