Saturday 11 May 2024

Over 55’s Match Bitterwell Lake

For some years now there’s been a group of anglers that formed an over 55 years of age match group. They fish matches on a Thursday and have traditionally fished at Hunstrete lakes, but due to issues they’ve now picked to fish Bitterwell. Due to my break from work I now can fish mid week so I asked if I could fish and I was told I could do so.

This match was to be every species counts, but the day before fishery manager Paul Isaacs said it had to be silvers only due to carp spawning. That meant I had to make a few more rigs and get some bait as my 8mm pellets approach was trashed lol.

Thursday morning and fought my way through the traffic to the lake and met my fellow over 55’s, well I think over 65 might have been more apt ๐Ÿ˜‚. I was made to feel very welcome and looked forward to the match. I drew peg 20 which is under a tree and so some nice shade on a sunny day. On Tuesday I’d seen Paul Isaacs catch 40lb of silvers from 21 and so I was well coached and he gave me more advice and help today. I found out the payouts on this match are 1st and 2nd in section, my section started with me and went round to the car park bank which is a good area. Haydn Withers was on peg 23 which had won the last two silvers matches, and two pegs along on the end peg was Mike Nicholls. On 21 was Dave Gillard and he and I were being deafened by noise of spawning carp.

I set three rigs up today; 4x14 F1 maggot with a bulk, 4x12 F1 maggot with strung out shot, both had 0.11 to 16 SFLB. Also a 4x10 Chianti with 18 to 0.11 for fishing off bottom. My plan was start short top set plus two feeding maggots for as long as possible and then go to 13m looking to fill my net with skimmers and odd tench.

Match started at 10, I fed some worms at 13m and then started short on the maggots with 4x12 strung out rig. I had a steady start with a few 4oz hybrids, small perch and a couple of small skimmers. It died after 30 minutes so I added another section and had an another run of fish. I had a few on the 4x10 rig fishing off the deck, including a 12oz tench. After an hour and 15 minutes most people were struggling and having carp trouble, but Haydn and Mike had both caught quite a few skimmers. With the maggot line dead I went to 13m, only waited 10 seconds for the float to bury and then waited a tad longer to net and return a 9lb carp. After a long wait I got a skimmer but there no other signs.

I was falling a long way behind Mike and Haydn, so I opened another 13m line but fed this with maggot and caster since the worm was not great for me. The next two hours were a real grind for me, I hooked another 3 carp, and caught 2 skimmers off the long lines. I thought that the silvers would have backed off, but as it seemed not I wondered if they were right in close to the margins enjoying some carp spawn. I plumbed up left and right with my 4x10 rig and began feeding small amounts of maggot. Carp spawning activity had slowed but there were many in the area, at one time 19. Poor Dave on 20 was plagued by them, and only had a couple of tench.

The last 2 1/2 hours of the match were very satisfying for me, catching roach up to 12oz, odd hybrid, 3 small tench up to 2 1/2lb and of course did lose a couple more carp. I had to keep resting it and swap between lines, but only the margins yielded fish. Should have worked this out earlier, but to be fair in all my coaching this was not in the plan ๐Ÿ˜†

Match over and Haydn looked like the winner but Mike had endured a poor last couple of hours so it might be close. Mike to weigh first and his weight 18lb 4oz, he had some quality skimmers caught on wag and mag, lovely.

Haydn went into the lead with a similar bag of fish that went 21lb 4oz, he caught on the pole and worm. My net of fish went 19lb 7oz definitely a bit more than I thought! Nice picture of my fish with Paul showing off one of the quality roach.

As you can see from the pictures there was a big difference in the fish caught, I’d set my stall out to catch skimmers like Mike and Haydn caught, but eventually changed tact. It was a good decision on my part as I came second with my catch to the winner Haydn, well done H! Mike was third and venue expert Martin McMahon was 4th with 16lb 7oz.

A nice day’s fishing if a little hard at times, and the carp certainly interrupted a lot of anglers baits during the day.  Went back to the Ring O Bells pub for a roll and a pint, good crowd there, and saw the lads from Windmill match and so I booked in to fish there on Sunday.

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