Saturday 7th March , peg 18 upper benbo
After hearing about the festival that Old Hough fishery were holding at the end of May i decided to head down and have a look at the complex as i had only seen the place once before which was over two years ago , i rang up in the week to see how it had been fishing and what i would be expecting to find during the festival some how i ended up booking on to the open match which was to be held on upper+lower benbo canals and if i was travelling all that way i might as well try it in match conditions (if i’m lucky i could even pick up a few quid in the process)
When i rang up in the week i got told it was mainly pellet+corn , the depths of the canal and that carp+f1s where the main target species , so i was all prepared before i set off on the forty mile trip to the fishery . After making good time on the way down their i arrived at 750am and seeing as though i was the only person present i had a walk round to the canals that the match was taking place on , i noticed that upper benbo was between 14m+16m wide and lower benbo 16m+17m it was blowing a hoolie today which could make fishing across a bit more difficult , not surprisingly the vegetation was hardly blooming seeing as though we where just heading out of a very cold winter but it was really well looked after and i imagined that it would look very fishy in summer .
As i got back to the cabin i was glad to see a good number of cars present and i went to book on to the match it looked like thirty five would be fishing today , it was always a bit nerve wracking fishing against a different set of anglers although i had been talking to a few of the regulars on facebook . It soon got round to draw time and i joined the queue near the back when it came for my turn i was on peg 18 upper benbo which didn’t mean a great deal to me although i did find out after the match it was the worst area to be in . On arriving at my home for the day i found it bang in the middle of the straight it was just over 14m across but the strong wind blowing from right to left would make fishing this distance really awkward .
I decided to set up three rigs plus my feeder rod ;
2.5ft across , 4×12 malman roob float with staggered bulk starting above the short 6 inch hook length , my line was 012 garbo and hook was size 20 gamma pellet
3ft margin , 0.3 matrix series three float and my line was 014 garbo with the hook being a size 16 guru lwg
5ft channel , 4×14 malman roob with a bulk and dropper shotting pattern and my line was 012 garbo with a size 20 gamma pellet hook .
maggot feeder , 8ft matrix carpmaster rod with 6lb maver genesis main line and a small maggot feeder , my hook length was 012 garbo which had a size 18 lwg hook attached .
My bait for the day was ;
2 pints red and white maggots
1/2 pint micro
1/2 pint 4mm pellets
1/2 pint corn
tub normal and white 4mm expanders
As the all in sounded i went onto my 5ft rig at the bottom of my near shelf at 4m towards my left and i tapped in a cad pot full of micro+4mm pellets then lowered my expander in amongst it , i began working my rig to try to entice a bite i was also flicking a couple of 4mm pellets at my float which i hoped would attract some inquisitive carp . After 15 minutes i had my first indication which resulted in a near 1lb tench but it was really hard going not helped by my float towing through the peg even after going six inch over depth and a change of hook bait to a heavier piece of corn this produced my next bite which was from a nice stamp of f1 .
The guy on my right was catching small fish quite regularly by fishing at the bottom of the far slope on pellet , so i put in a small cupping kit of micro+4mm pellets in this area and left it to settle for twenty minutes , while i waited i continued on my near slope this produced a much smaller f1 at about 2 oz and then i hooked a lump which i couldn’t get up off the bottom but by pulling to hard on my orange matrix elastic my small hook pulled out of it . With all the disruption on the near line i decided it was time to go across on to the area i had potted the pellets in earlier , it didn’t take long before i was back amongst the f1s but at 2oz a piece i didn’t think that these where what i needed to catch, i persevered for an hour on this line but my biggest fish was only 8oz and with half the match gone i had about 4lb in the net not great .
I noticed that the few people which had caught carp on the opposite bank where able to fish across , so i decided yo chuck the maggot feeder tight over to the far-bank in forty minutes this only produced the odd small silver with little in the way of liners and i was going nowhere fast . I noticed that the wind had relented a little so i had no option but to bite the bullet and risk fishing across with the pole because i hoped to be targeting just carp on this line i only feed 4mm pellets with a few grains of corn , i was struggling to keep the rig still even with a long lash between pole and float which had a couple of number eight stotz as back shot . After about ten minutes without an indication i was wondering if it was worth fighting the wind , when at last my float shot under and i was finally attached to a carp of about 3lb , in the next hour i caught three more of similar size but also lost two when the pole got took by the wind and pulled the hook out of them .
I felt that i was on the verge of putting a run of decent fish together when the conditions conspired against me because the wind got considerably stronger blowing my pole off the rollers and with me fearing breakages i decided against continuing to fish across . My next move was to try loose feeding maggots between the keepnets this produced a bite a chuck from small silvers and thinking back i should have kept catching them as i was only a few pound away from getting my section but i felt that i needed a big carp so stuck it out on my margin swim with two grains of corn and never had a bite .
After packing up i walked round while they were doing the weigh in and on lower benbo the high number section was won with 34lb , lown number section was won with 24lb and it seemed this canal had a bigger head of f1s although still on the small side . On upper benbo the high numbers section was won with 16lb i think and the low number section fished really well with the top three weights coming from that side all with over 40lb , i didn’t stick around to get the exact details because i had a phone call from home telling me my 86 year old dad had fallen and been taken to hospital .
As i had now fished most of the match canals which would be in the festival i feel that i have learned a great deal and will be looking forward to giving them another go before it starts especially when it gets warmer , first i have the supercup against Firtree AC at Hall lane merlins to contend with and in the next few days i am planning a few hours on Sycamore fisheries practising my short range feeder work .