Monday, 26 May 2014

Whitehall League Match - 1st Match - Whitehall Club Pool

Exciting times, after the classic final is the start of the club season and my 4th year in the club. After winning the league in year 1 and then not committing to the league as much as I should in my second year I wanted it last year and missed out.

This year I have my eye firmly on this league title and the knockout to do the double! First match was the ever inconsistent Whitehall pool. Will it or won't it fish. Well at the start of the match near the car park there were swathes of carp in peg 1 where they spawn as it is the only part of the pool under 6ft deep! Some where saying they want a draw down here however I did not fancy chasing shadows as you would be in this peg.

As it happens I drew the peg...

I set up a few rigs to cover margin under tree to my left, the far bank and as there fish cruising a muggling line. I started down the edge under the tree as fish were swirling here. My set up was a sconezone samurai 0.21 straight through to a 12 B911 X-strong to orange bazoo carp. I drip fed a few casters and grains of corn with 2 corn skins on the hook. After a couple of put ins the float buried and a fish bolted off into the snag pit at the end of the pool. 1 nil carp. After that I then managed to empty the peg... by retrieving half a tree, some brambles, a shopping trolley and a german U-boat. Second fish on and again I could not control the fish away from the snags 2-0 carp... Aaaaaaarrrrrggggh!!

I had been feeding the far bank for silvers and went over for 2 small rudd... this was too slow so I left this line alone and had it in mind to catch carp on it later on. I turned my attention to muggling a few of the cruisers that had appeared in the mid-day sun. Unbelievably I didn't have a single fish doing this and the fish were coming and going at too slow a rate. I tried a number of depths and baits but they were not having it at all!

So with 2 hours to go I had 2 micro rudd in the net, ugh oh! I fed the far bank with corn and caster in 3 fishy looking places and alternated between them. I then managed to not only hook one and, you won't believe this, get it in. 8lb mirror safely in the net I go straight out topping up the swims and another bite straight away. This one again snagged me up so 3-1 carp. I then went 3-2 before 4-2 and then 4-3. With 10 minutes to go I begged for the float to go under and wallop it flew under.

A lift into the fish saw orange bazoo carp sit above the swim and then steadily swim out. The fish didn't bolt off like the others and was plodding around. As I was shipping back it rolled at 8m and it was a proper thing! I got back to my top kit and couldn't get the fish up it was just sitting there then all of a sudden it swims to my right and then keeps going, and going and going. The fish bottomed out my elastic and was going round the corner. Mistakenly I put my no4 on to try and turn the fish which resulted in my top kit traveling down the lake after it. Much amusement was had at this...

A section win under the new points system and 1 fish short of the win was the end result. Onto Hallow Pools where I have a 100% record of winning for the next league match.

Fishponds Colwall Opens

This place is an awesome fishery. It's got the works; great fishing, picturesque pegs, friendly owner and is not dominated by carp!

So I've been fishing a couple of opens on here with mixed results a couple of frames and a couple of nowheres. As with most fisheries you have to draw well however this place has a lot of great pegs and stunning looking pegs.

My approach had been to fish the pellet on the deck for the skimmers as these skimmers had been making up the winning weights. As the weather improved the ide started to play ball so my approach changed slightly to casters and maggots.

When fishing the pellet I went for an ultra-fine pellet approach. My rigs  for pellet were all 0.13 mainline to 0.11 hooklenghts  and size 18/16 B911 F1 hooks. Floats I used for rigs were the ultra sensitive yet stable Sconezone munkee thinz. I would try to get away with as light a rig as possible depending on conditions, most pegs around the islands this meant 0.2g in good conditions and 0.4g with a chop on. Fishing in the bowl would be 0.4g/0.6g because of the added depth.

Most were fishing an expander over micros in winter however I prefer to fish and feed same baits. So I adapted to 50/50 micros and 4mm dampened pellets with a 4mm over the top. Feeding patterns were difficult to differentiate between... At times dump and fish out worked others they wanted it on a six pence with a kinder pot however my best result was to spread feed and fish around  a dustbin lid size spread of bait.

As the weather got warmer fishing altered from skimmers making the weights to more mixed bags. I drew around the islands a couple of times and had to alter approach to include ide. Casters up in water or over to shallow water was my approach. Rigs were similar 0.11 mainline to 0.11/0.10 hooklenghts and 18/20 B911 f1 hooks. Floats changed also in order to present the bait effectively and also to ensure bite detention was at its most sensitive. As I was fishing on the drop my deck rigs were a Sconezone piranahz in 0.2g, the thin body making it extremely sensitive,  and the tip being hollow was easy to read against the island. For up in the water the tiny Sconezone bitz float was used... With a smaller stem to allow the float to cock quicker. This  float was used in 0.07 with 2 no10 shot under the stem of the float.

My first go at this started frantically however died off. I believe my feeding to be too aggressive with pinging casters 6/8 a time every 20s/30s. The next time I visited I utilised a sprinkle pot on the end of pole and feeding a few casters now and then with lifting and dropping the rig was much more productive. As the fish became more confident and more were there competing I picked the catty up.

40lb-50lb weights of silver fish are a fantastic change to carp fishing that dominates most commercial waters. If you haven't already you should check out this excellent venue!

Maver Classic Final - Larford Lakes

Well I have only just been able to muster myself to report on this match. The reason for this shall become apparent in this piece. Before I start to write up on how my match went I want to say well done to my mate Matt Blackmore on winning the final, only wish I could have given you more competition on the final day!

Day 1

My first day saw me draw on the maver bank on the specimen lake, peg 85 to be exact, which looked good with fish showing and the wind chuntering into my face all day. I had my pairs partner James Wilson, fresh from qualifying for the match this final, in my section along with others including Dave Roberts on an end peg.

As there were fish showing the first thing out of the bag were the pellet wag rods. The first was shimano beastmaster 11'6" with a shimano technium 4000 reel loaded with 0.20 silstar line. This was for fishing between 3ft upwards. The next was a maver reactorlite 12' with same reel combination for fishing a little deeper. Final waggler rod was another reactorlite 12' for launching the big waggler out past the feed. I also set up a method rod for the 5m line and a line down the edge although I was not confident in catching in the edge due to the depths found here (3'6" tight in).

I started the match plopping the method over the 5m line whilst pinging at 30m for the waggler. I had an indication almost straight away. The second feeder to go in and as it landed the tip slammed around and the clutch started screaming. After the fish had stopped running I started to crank it back in only for the hook hold to fail and the hook to fall out.

I persevered on this line for 40mins, with 3 skimmers being the result, before chucking out the waggler.

First cast and the float dibbed as it landed before slamming under and the rod flying round... it definitely wanted it! I then had a play around with a number of different feeding patterns and depths to keep the fish coming. It was very steady with the odd fish but with the waggler flying in so often I was kept very busy.

There were a number of fish rolling and these fish kept going further and further back from where I was feeding so half way through the match it was time to pick up the big 18g waggler out and chuck it about. I wasn't having too much luck with this so then started to chuck at rolling fish. I managed to chuck one out over the top of a fish and the float dipped, a solid strike saw the rod double over and the fish was on. A long plodding fight told me this was a proper lump. As I got the fish to the top my heart was pounding, it was easily a high double pushing into 20lb. I got the net under it only for the fish to swim out and as it did the hook pulled! I cursed and then got back to it.

I had 3 fish on the big wag and had a look over the line I had been feeding with an hour to go. I managed 2 more on the waggler after messing around with the 5m line and having a look down the edge which was enough for a section win!

Day 2

Onto the second day and I needed a draw and boy did I 'think' I had one with peg 30, the end peg on the grass bank, of the match lake. This peg had all but destroyed the pairs league matches in the spring and with a gorgeous edge line it had to be!

Fishing however can be very cruel. I set up the standard lines of pellet short, long and shallow and fished dead maggots over groundbait down a short and long edge line. The long story short was that there were not the feeding fish in the peg. I thought that to mess this peg up could mean I came 3rd/4th in the section however it really wasn't to be and last in section was a cruel blow. Potentially my best ever chance at winning this huge match.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

First Matches of 2014

Well the weather has been little short of apocalyptic recently and with a few pole sections still to be delivered, although I have had broken sections repaired, I was left with few options when fishing. Luckily Mick Whatling allowed me to borrow a no6 from his gmax1000 so I was out fishing!

Thanks Santa... shiny new box!!

I managed to get out the first weekend of 2014 and fish a double header at larford, Saturday on the Match and Sunday on Speci lake. Saturday saw me on fancied peg 53, I fished long pole most of the day and struggled to put a run of decent fish together with small skimmers and F1s making up 30lb before the last hour. I could not find a carp and out of the corner of my eye saw shunter and the guy next to him catching carp regularly in the last 2 hours. The pegs in the 20's were also catching so I needed to do something. I came short on top 2 and 3 line slightly to my left in a deep, 7 1/2ft, hole I had found. I managed to snare 3 carp for 25lb but this was not enough. 55lb saw me finish 2nd and section was won with 58lb by default with shunter framing with 71lb. This frustrated me no end as I chopped and changed to make things work but really don't know how else I could have made up an extra 20lb.

The Sunday on the 'man's lake' specimen lake was horrendous with wind, rain, hail and sunshine making for awful conditions. I drew peg 69 which is usually a decent draw but with the wind hurtling towards the 'maver' bank I thought I may be out of it. Turns out I thought correct with some massive bags of carp coming from the early pegs on the burr and late pegs on the chalet bank. I finished with 39lb that put me 2nd in section, with Paul Cook braving the conditions to get his pole out and catch some quality skimmers. I fished the method and bomb at distance and at 14m. I have lost a lump on the 14m line late on that could have won me my section and I know I should have changed from mircos to groundbait earlier.

I was reticent to go out for a few weeks with the weather being awful! What a wimp! I was itching to get out however and yesterday ventured to Match lake at Larford lakes in winds of 50mph! After going to the rugby the night before and sinking a few pints of Guinness and then getting on the port I was a little worse for wears. Due to the weather being almost unfishable I didn't even get the pole out of the car. I fished the method all day and found groundbait to be favoured by the fish on the day with dead reds and pink boillies on the hook. I started very well catching between 40 - 50 yds. The last 2 hours were cruel to me and I couldn't find a fish long. I casted around, chopped and changed to pellet and changed hookbaits. I chucked over 14m line where I had been pinging and snared 3 F1s the last 30mins. I weighed in 61lb for second with Blacky winning it again off of the island. The man is on fire down there! He was 20lb ahead which left me scratching my head as to where those fish had gone from my long line. Had I have found them then maybe I could have competed.

Larford spring pairs league starts next week and I'm fishing with James Wilson. I have said I would fish the specimen lake, foolish as it is about 6ft up and chocolate!! Best get some pinkie to winkle out some roach down edge!!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Targets for 2014

Last year I set myself some targets to try and achieve in matches. This was enjoyable to try and ensure I meet these targets and frustrating at the same time as some were a little out of my control. I am going to again set myself some targets but make them more challenging. I felt that I improved a lot of aspects of my fishing and understanding last year so should have a more successful year in 2014. As long as I draw well in Whitehall matches next year!

8 sections points or less in the Maver Classic final. FAILED
  • 2 open match wins. SUCCESS (2 at Larford, 2 at Cob House)
  • Weight 200lb+ in a match. SUCCESS (268 Wyatts and 282 Laurel *new lake record*)
  • Win Whitehall league FAILED
  • Weight 650lb+ aggregate weight in Whitehall league matches this year. SUCCESS 668lb

  • This year I am going to split my targets between club events and fishing on the open circuit:


    • Win the league
    • Win the knockout
    • Weight 750lb+ in league matches
    Cob house x2: 300lb
    Tirley x2: 150lb
    Greenhills x2: 150lb
    Whitehall x3: 75lb
    Hallow: 30lb
    Manor Farm: 75lb
    Fishponds: 20lb


    • Win 4 open matches
    • Frame on 10 matches
    • Finish with less points than in 2013 classic final (22 points)
    • Top 20 position in Larford festival

    Thursday, 12 December 2013

    Classic Qualifiers

    Unfortunately I could not get to Larford for the first few weeks of the classic qualifiers due to club commitments and having my knee operated on. I wanted to get myself qualified before Christmas as I found the matches much more enjoyable without the added pressure last year. The first match I fished was on Specimen Lake but I drew out of it on peg 24 and my knee hurt, surely a valid excuse, the results were good for some though:

    1stDean Dickinson (Colmic)77Method feeder127-03-00
    2ndTony Higgins (Storey's)8Margins121-06-00
    3rdAndy Kinder (Maver / Marukyu)71Method feeder120-13-00
    4thMark Johnson (Bait-Tech)75Pole and pellet / margins108-09-00
    5thChris Bradney (Maver)28108-03-00
    6thThomas Hanson (Barnsley Bait)67100-10-00

    The next qualifier match I fished was a couple of weeks after this match, due to club commitments, on the 2nd November it was onto the match lake in gale force winds. I drew peg 10 that I have had three times and not done well on it. I fished quite a tidy match on the short pole at 5m-7m chasing the F1s around and then catching a few down the edge. My rigs for my short lines were both Sconezone V8's in 0.2 on 0.15 and 0.13 hooklengths. The 0.13 was to a band and an 18 B911 with the 0.15 going to a 14 B911 for a 6mm expander. All was looking well before... disaster!!

     I was feeding Old Ghost Krill groundbait with dead reds to the back of a clump of reeds to my left, just out of picture, at 11m in 10" of water. It was solid with fish and I was about to go onto this line when a gust of wind blew over my rollers and saw carbon splinter everywhere. A nightmare of broken carbon lay behind me and I couldn't reach the fish!! I had a top 5 to fish to the other side of reeds but the fish did not venture around there in numbers. A big chance missed, although I don't think I would have caught up with Matt on the end peg.

    1stMatt Greening (Woody's)28Pole and pellet112-06-00
    2ndBrian Jones (Maver)19Pole and pellet99-12-00
    3rdAndy Kinder (Maver / Marukyu)4Method feeder92-03-00
    4thMatt Blackmore (Maver)22Margins90-10-00
    5thMatt Barnes (Whitehall)10Pole and pellet83-10-00
    6thPaul Cook (Maver)16Margins67-04-00

    I had a small enforced break due to the breaks in my pole but returned to the Match lake again on 16th November. I drew possibly the worst peg on the lake, well any peg next to Blacky is crap. At least I could give him a lesson in how to catch.

    The match started really slow; I started with 2 method chucks and was flicking 4mm pellets at 6m. I thought I might catch a few short early so went on the 6m line and found it was not to be... An hour passed and one skimmer had been caught on the entire lake. It was grim.

    I chucked the method again after sprinkling a few 4mm pellets on my 13m line and the tip wanged around before I got the rod on its rest with a 2lb F1 being the culprit. It then went stone cold dead on me. I chucked a bit longer but no good.

    I caught all my fish between 13m and 14.5m on 4mm expander pellet over 4mm feed. I used a heavy and a lighter rig and found the lighter rig caught more fish on the day. Both were 0.15 to 0.13 to a 16 B911. The heavier rig was a 0.3g sconezone V8 and the heavier was a 0.6g hillbilly billybob. Feeding was funny and I couldn't get into a regular pattern and stay with it to keep the fish coming they were very scatty in how they wanted it.

    I needed a more consistent catch rate or for my short line to come good to get anywhere near qualifying from this match. Anyway I gave Blacky a goo hiding!!

    1stPaul Cook (Maver)48Pole and pellet108-10-00
    2ndJordan Holloway (Browning)16Pole and pellet84-05-00
    3rdMatt Barnes (Whitehall)22Pole and pellet64-07-00
    4thSteve Prophet (Larford)5061-07-00
    5thRob Cox (Wyre Forest)2459-14-00
    6thMatt Blackmore (Maver)2046-09-00

    I was starting to get some stick about not getting qualified so I had to pull my finger out and how better that to return to Specimen lake where I qualified from the previous 2 years. 1st December was quite mild and the fishing had been up and down on the venue. I drew particularly well on 16 which is my favourite area (14-20) of the whole complex. I qualified off of 17 last year!

    The match was pretty straight forward for me. Especially when I wanged the feeder out to 55 turns and it went round straight away. I then chucked back and was rewarded with another carp so 20lb in first 10mins. Groundbait was old ghost krill and match carp mixed 60/40 with a sprinkling of protein binder due to the depth I was fishing in. I played with micros but the groundait was what they wanted. I then had to chase the fish about a bit. I went onto my 13m line when it went quiet on the method and had 10lb of skimmers in 20mins before a carp ran e around and eventually smashed me up thus ruining that line. No fish in the last 45mins cost me the match but I qualified so am happy with that.

    1stRay Lamb (Maver)63Pole and pellet99-07-00
    2ndMatt Barnes (Whitehall)16Method feeder93-11-00
    3rdBrian Jones (Maver)12Pole and pellet77-06-00
    4thAndy Kinder (Maver / Marukyu)66Feeder68-03-00
    5thJohn Skidmore (Maver)10Bomb and meat59-12-00
    6thRob Cooksey (Maver)22Pole and pellet49-08-00


    Sunday, 15 September 2013

    Larford Specimen Lake - Open Match

    Decent warm up before Classic Qualifiers

    1stMick Bull (Shimano / Dynamite Baits)66Meat short146-08-00
    2ndMatt Blackmore (Maver)0Bomb / Method feeder113-02-00
    3rdBrian Clark (Vespe / Marukyu) Method feeder107-06-00
    4thMatt Barnes (Whitehall/Miracle baits) Method and edges 104-11-00
    5thJohn Cattermole (Maver) Method feeder103-14-00
    6thPaul Cook (Maver) Method feeder102-08-00

    With the annual lash up/match next week and the classic qualifiers also starting next week I really wanted to give Larford a bash as I have not been there for a long while. Walking in to the café I face Blacky giving all the club anglers advice, poor blokes! Just after I arrive Mike Spragg arrived followed by Scotty Poynten and Tony 'Glugger'.

    Top banter at the draw with us using the bingo balls for whatever reason and certain anglers ability to pull out fliers was cheered or jeered when pegs were pulled out. I pulled out 60, not on area I have spent much time on. Mike was on 58 end peg and I had Paul Cook to my right. I have been pegged next to Paul a few times and always get battered.

    I had sorted out in my mind how I wanted to fish this match and with conditions being horrendous with heavy wind and persistent rain my plans worked out. The peg looked good for my approach of fishing the tip most of the day between the method and bomb and a short pole line. I had a lovely edge line 13m to my right towards next platform with 2ft of water just under a metre from bank.

    Set up:
    Long range method rod - 12ft maver powerlite matched to a 4000 shimanno exage. 35g Kobra large method feeders. 0.22 n-gage hooklength to a 14 Guru MWG
    Short method rod - 11ft maver powerlite matched to a 3000 daiwa regal-Z. 35g Kobra large method feeders 0.22 n-gage hooklength to a 14 Guru MWG
    Bomb rod - 11ft maver powerlite matched to a 3000 daiwa regal-Z. 1oz lead 18" 0.19 powerline hooklength to a 14 Guru QM1

    6m line - 0.75g Hillbilly dweezel on 0.17 powerline to a 0.17 hooklength to a 14 B911. 12-20 Maver retro dual core
    Margin - 0.3g Sconezone samurai on 0.19 powerline to a 0.17 hooklength to a 12 B911 X. Orange Garbolino bazookarp

    I started off the match chucking the method out at 25m whilst pinging pellets and soon got a couple of carp. I then had a number of skimmers come to this line. The wind then started to pick up so regular feeding was impossible to do accurately. I had to therefore ping double or triple pouches when the wind did die. I pulled out of a couple of carp after 40mins in, I was using a size 16 MWG hook, so upped to a 14 MWG. I stayed on this line all day and kept fish coming by fishing past feed for a couple of chucks, in front of feed and to the side also worked when bites came slow. I used a mix of Marukyu 150 with some Old Ghost protein binder to sticky the mix up a bit. Hookbaits were a change of red/white boilies, 8mm pellet and single corn.

    Towards the end of the match this started to slow down. I had around 50lb with 2 hours to go and filled my edge in with 4 pots of orange miracle baits pellet crumb with some corn and dead reds. I then went onto my 6m line whilst the edge swim was settling down.

    I had been flicking corn on this line for a good hour or so now so the fish should be there. I had a decent skimmer first drop in. I was just feeding by hand but the bites were far between. I therefore potted in a ball of groundbait and corn on my line. Straight away the float buried and a 6lb carp was quickly subdued. I then foul hooked and subsequently lost another carp. The skimmers then moved in. They were a decent stamp however  I was not catching them quick enough.

    As this wasn't working I went down the edge and the float zipped under with a 3oz perch on the end. On return I had a lump of about 12lb then another before getting smashed on 0.19 powerline. To be fair if the fish can break 0.19 powerline I don't want to catch it as it would be stronger than me!! After this the line was quiet so 2 more pots went in. I now flicked the method over 5m/6m but this did not work at all.

    The last hour I had 3 more edge carp and after the 3rd put another cup of groundbait in but this proved to be the kiss of death as no more fish came off here in the last 30mins. I could not believe the short pole/plopping method did not work for me as this is usually a banker in the last hour. Blacky came round with the scales which surprised me as I didn't think he could read. I thought I had 80lb but my fish weighed a bit more than I thought with me weighing 104lb 11oz. This was enough for 4th on the day. Pleased with that from an OK area. Mick Bull won the match with 144lb, a 113lb bag second and Brian Clarke 3rd with 107lb.