Had a weekend off fishing last week, spent a good few hours making up rigs and tying some hooks. Hopefully the preparation will pay off at some stage. Wasn't really sure where to go, wasn't fishing in either of the spring series that started today (Viaduct individual, and K&A Canal teams), so opted for a trip back up to Hillview near Teweksbury.
When I got to the venue I saw a couple of familiar faces, Martin Reyat and Joe McMahon, two of Bristol's finest commercial anglers. I grabbed a sausage sandwich from Keith and bought a couple of bags of fishery pellets. Keith decided to put it to a vote of the 18 anglers fishing whether we went on the canals or the lakes. I like the canals, but the majority voted for lakes so 9 on each. With the wind blowing easterly and bloody cold too, I wasn't sure what would be a good peg to draw, though I did fancy one of the 12 end / corner pegs, but I drew a middle peg 7, right opposite the island on Moorhen. Martin and Joe were both on Heron, opposite ends and on corner pegs. A quick look at yesterday's result and 70lb had come off my peg, with 127lb coming off peg 5.
What to fish and what to set up today, I decided to not set up a lead rod or waggler to the island, with over 100lb probably required I thought pole close in would be best (many of the locals here set up topset plus one and that's as far as they go!). I started plumbing up the margins which were deep and sloping off, though I thought that might be OK with the weather being cold. A 4x10 with 0.15 to 16 PR456 would do, I had a margin left and right on topset plus one. Then a meat rig for top set plus one, it was at least 4 feet here, 16 PR456 to 0.15. Finally a 4x16 F1 pellet for fishing at topset plus two, with 16PR512 to 0.13. I did consider a shallow rig but the wind would make presentation difficult so didn't bother.
When we started at 10:30 I fed some micros in both margins, and fed some micro and 4mm pellet at topset plus two. I was expecting a quick bite here but it took a little longer than I thought and then I missed it, and the next one. I was using the Sonubaits pro expander pellets, 6mm, and these are a lovely soft pellet that don't need to be pumped. All I do is put some in a bag the night before and just cover them with water and leave in the fridge, next day they are perfect. Eventually I hooked a bite on the expander, and I was a little surprised when a 3lb carp popped up and not an F1. It was difficult on this line really, struggling to hit bites for some reason, meanwhile the guy to my right was catching well. I did catch another couple of carp and F1 but then it was just the odd small skimmer. A quick look in the margins was fruitless, though the guy to my left had started in his margin and had the odd F1. Not much was being caught at this stage on my lake other than th guy to my right.
Going back out on the long pellet line it was a couple more F1's then no bites and just a little skimmer. I had to change something, so I got another section of pole and plumbed up further out, it was about 6" deeper here. I started by feeding very frugally with just ten 4mm pellets in a pole pot. It was a good move as I had a small carp and then an F1, and I was getting bites again, though some were definitely liners. However, just as before as I thought things would be better the bites dried up. I decided to feed heavier now with 4mm pellets and try to get some carp as these seemed to be feeding as well as the F1's. A quick look in the margins for nothing before going back out. I had a carp of 4lb almost straight away, then lost a fouler. I then had an F1 which had to be 5lb that fought like a devil, in fact in trying to scoop at it the top section of my landing pole came off! It was starting to sink and with the remaining landing net in my hand I managed to get the net and pull it to the margin. I got off my box and grabbed it put it back together and thankfully netted the F1. Not long after this I hooked my keepnet, and when I finally got the hook out I sat back down and snapped the topset. What a twat! I had a couple more carp and F1 before it was a chublet and tiny skimmers. A bit more bait this time did not work.
I finally had a fish in the LH margin, a 2lb F1, lost a fouler, missed a bite and hooked a snag. RH margin no good. Either side were both catching in their margins and I was frustrated by this and thought I was getting bashed up. With two hours to go I had a look on the topset plus one meat line, only a couple of skimmers initially. I then went long down my LH margin and fed a big pot of corn as shit or bust line. This produced a bite and a 7lb carp first try, and then one fouler and that was it. My short LH margin only gave me scabby big skimmer.
In the end I sat on the meat rig and though it was slow I did have 5 carp and a F1 on this, also had a couple of roach and skimmers.
Match over and I was pretty sure once again I was trounced by the locals, I had even given up on the clicker so had no clue what I had, Martin said he had 64lb on his clicker, I had 56lb. As it turned out I had greatly under estimated the weight of the fish, and I weighed 84lb, that beat the guy on peg 5 by 1lb, but on my right he had done well and had 110lb, a lot of F1's and some decent carp. That guy won the section money with that weight. I think the peg behind me on Heron won the match with 118lb, he caught in close mainly in the second half of the match on either pellet or corn. Martin had 74lb next to him but hardly caught in close. Joe had the best of the Bristol weights with 91lb, but he also missed out on the coin as there was a 113lb in his section.
It was bloody freezing today, I had the thermals on again but still felt cold at the end. I enjoyed the day but am still a long way off sorting the place out, it was strange today I caught more carp than F1's, and was only 5 carp off the money just wish I could have sorted the margins, must try harder!