August 31st , peg 22
Well today was the start of my open match fishing career after leaving Balmoral AC and things didn’t really go to plan as you will find out later , the weather leading up to todays match had been pretty bad with the drop in temperature and heavy rain but it was forecast to be a lot drier today thankfully and we might even get the sun poking its way between the clouds . When we rang in the week we was informed that we would just be on Rowans canal because their was a club match taking place on Silver birch the other match canal and one on Davids pool , this usually results in the match fishing hard especially with every peg being taken like it was today .
When we got to the venue we drove round to the back of the complex to park up as their would be plenty people knocking about , as we hadn’t been here for a couple of months we had a quick walk around the canal we would be fishing today and the first thing that i noticed was the water was up nearly a foot just below the platforms another thing was that there didn’t seem to be many fish topping which was strange for on here maybe all the rain had settled the fish in the deeper water. There had also been a club match on Rowans canal the previous day which was won with just over twenty pound and they had only twelve anglers contesting it , so with all that information i expected a low winning weight of around the mid thirty pound mark which is usually around thirty fish .
After the draw i was on peg 22 which wasn’t the area i would have liked to be in although i did have the benefit of the little breeze blowing towards my direction , per usual i had come with a plan in mind and i decided to fish ;
Far bank at 3ft , 0.3 malmams speedy float with 0.12 garbo line direct to a size 18 lwg guru hook , shotting pattern was a spread bulk of number 10 stotz starting six-inch from the hook .
Bottom near slope at 4ft , 0.4 malmams float with 0.12 garbo line direct to a size 18 lwg guru hook , shotting pattern was a spread bulk of number 9 stotz starting six-inch from the hook .
Margin where it was 2ft , 0.2 scone float with 0.12 garbo line direct to a size 18 lwg guru hook , shotting pattern was a spread bulk of number 10 stotz starting six-inch from the hook .
My bait was going to revolve around pellets because i felt that the weather was turning cold enough to start using this bait and i did bring a few maggots if i had made the wrong decision ;
1/2 pint soaked micros
1/2 pint soaked 4mm pellets
1/2 pint f1 dark ground-bait
1 pint mixed maggots
small tub of expanders
When the all in sounded I started of on my 3ft rig at 12 meters being careful not to overfed i decided to use a small kinder pot and tapped in a few micros with a bit of ground-bait to cap it off , i decided to try a 6mm expander first because it would give me a better idea of the contours of the far shelf and i like my hook pellet to register on my float tip , i do this by allowing the expander to slightly sink the float and i then push my rig up the slope until a few mm show this helps when targeting the shy biting f1s .
On my first drop i had a little dink on the float which resulted in a near 2lb carp making its way to the net before a slightly smaller f1 quickly followed and i was just thinking that if it continued like this i could be on for a winning weight , but as soon as they had turned up they were gone and i can’t believe that my two feeds with a small kinder pot had over fed my peg so i figured i hadn’t put in enough bait to keep them there so i increased the amount and regularity of pellets going in to try to get them back but this didn’t work either . I re-plumbed up a new line two meters to my right and yet again i had two quick f1s then nothing , i tried feeding one swim and fishing the other but still no bites i was certainly doing something wrong but i didn’t know just what ! ! !
I had fed my near slope line for the first ninety minutes of the match with just maggots because they was easier to feed by hand , i was understandably expecting a few fish to have settled here but yet again i failed to get any indications which was really puzzling but most of the anglers i could see were struggling like me . So with half of the match gone i decided to feed my right hand margin with pellets as that was the only hook bait to produce a bite so far , i had another quick look on the 11 meter line while it settled but this time with maggot on the hook for a change this produced in a solitary f1 from my original swim but nothing else followed and my other line still didn’t produce so i decided to put in two big pots there and left it to settle .
I plumbed up a new swim along the base of the far shelf at 4ft deep because i felt that the fish might have dropped down into the deeper water i put in a kinder pot of micro-4mm pellets – ground-bait and left it to settle for a try later in the match and went on to my right hand margin , there was definitely fish present in this swim but i couldn’t connect with any of the little dinks on the float and a couple of times i came back with half a 6mm pellet which would lead me to believe that they were the small crucians not the f1s i wanted to catch .
With the last ninety minutes looming large i had a ten minute spell on each far-bank swim without success and as a last resort i began dripping in maggots on to my left hand margin where it was 2 ft deep , out of the blue my float buried and another nice stamp stockie came to the net it was so long since my earlier bite that i almost forgot to strike . Another carp followed of similar size and a couple of the bigger f1s too and i even managed a small carp from my right hand margin where i had feed pellets , i don’t know if it was the time of day or the fact that they had switched onto maggots but it was too little too late .
I think that i had learned a great deal in todays match which will put me in good stead for my next visit on their , the open was won with nearly 40lb and a couple of low 30lb back up weights so it fished as well as i expected it too with it being a close if a bit difficult contest with the top 8 weights only being split by less than 8lb but i think you can get carried away catching big weights of fish , my ten carp went a surprising 17lb which shows a good average stamp of fish for me but yet again i struggled to get among the smaller f1s which some thing i can not get my head around but it needs sorting before i can begin to compete in these more challenging matches .