peg 22 stretton pool , September 20th
Today was the last chance for me to sneak a practice match at Weston pools before the natural bait festival there next Friday , on the morning of the match i woke to find thick fog so i decided it would be best to set off a bit earlier than usual which should give me plenty time to get to the complex safely but with the late draw there it wasn’t that big a deal. On arrival i was one of the first to get there so after booking on and paying the rest of the deposit for the festival i had a walk round to see if any fish were giving their presence away canal, Belvedere and stretton were in the draw bag so with forty anglers contesting the match we should all have a bit of room but the recent cold temperatures and rain i wasn’t sure how well it would fish especially as majority of the aerator had also been turned off .After my stroll round the lakes i got back just in time for the draw and there was a nice turn out with a few from round my way plus the odd smattering of big name anglers which were no doubt doing what i was trying to get an edge before the festival , i didn’t have to wait that long before my name got called out for the draw and it was just my luck when i pulled out peg 22 Stretton the same peg i broke my pole on my last visit so no doubt i was in for a tough match with the pigs limiting my options on what is a poor area of the lake .
On settling in at my peg i weighed up my options and the one good thing was that i had fished it before so i had a good idea on where to start plus as i had just natural baits i could compare my catch at the end ;
Margin both right and left i used a 4×14 speedy float as it was nearly 3ft deep i used 016 garbo main line that had a 014 garbo hook length and a size 16 lwg guru hook my elastic was size 14 durro set tight although i had to change it later in the session due to suffering hook pulls+breakages .
Top four line i choose to fish a bit further down the slope due to the colder water temperatures it was 5ft deep here so i used a 4×14 joof float that had a bulk+dropper shotting pattern my main line was 014 garbo and an 012 garbo hook length my elastic was red nick gilbert elastic size 10-12 .
Shallow i set up two rigs to cover my options this was set at 1ft+2ft and both were 4×8 preston chiantis on 012 garbo direct to a size 20 matrix bagger hook my elastic was green nick gilbert size 8-10
Bait today would be what i hopped i would be using on the festival but after todays match i might have a little review ;
Three pints casters
Two pints corn and hemp
When the whistle went for the all in i kinder potted some corn+hemp on my top four line i decided that i would take it easy with the bait until i knew how the fish where going to respond with the recent drop in temperature and with no bites in the first 15 minutes it looked like i could be on for a long day , so i decided to loose feed casters over the top of my float to try to drag some fish in the swim and this seemed to work as at last i began getting indications but it was only when i changed to double caster that i had my first fish a carp around the 3lb mark . I then had a quick f1 before it went quiet again but by laying my rig in at different angles plus working around my feed area i managed to fool a couple of barbel and these fish are notoriously difficult to get off the bottom they can also disturb anything in your swim on the deck because on my next few drop-ins with the rig i kept getting snagged up on something right were i had fed , i had to go nearly two foot too my left or right before i got some clear water so i choose to replumb my top four line towards by right while it settled from all the disturbance and went onto my shallow swim at 9m which i had fed with a catty since the match started , ideally i really would have liked to have gone further out but the pigs behind me meant that i would require to break down twice as ide were the target i didn’t feel it would be quick enough to amass a weight by doing that and yet again for some reason my shallow approach didn’t work for me which is strange as i can normally do quite well using that method maybe they just didn’t want caster ?
I decided that i wouldn’t waste any more time fishing shallow and went back onto my new top four line i had tapped in a mixture of corn,hemp,caster every ten minutes so i felt that a few fish might have settled there and i did manage a couple of nice sized f1s on caster but they wasn’t present in numbers strangely a change to corn just produced ide ! ! I began to think it was going to be one of them days as with nearly half the match gone i only had 20lb on my clicker i just hopped my margins would work as well as my last visit to this peg and i decided to feed my right hand swim by big potting hemp+corn at the side of the spare platform , where on my left hand swim i choose to loose feed casters heavily by hand because i didn’t want to get them off the deck as this would make them harder to catch . I began on my caster line and almost instantly my float buried a sharp lift saw yards of elastic stream out from my pole tip which resulted in a broke hooklength , then my next bite resulted in a hook pull and i wasted no more time using this elastic so swapped for my lighter red matrix this worked well because i didn’t lose another fish during the rest of the match .
When bites began to slow on my left hand margin i went on to the opposite side at the side of the platform with corn on the hook at first this just produced a few sharp dips on the float which might have been line bites as i struck into thin air , another pot of bait seemed to settle the fish back down as i finally began catching a few fish from there and funnily they were all carp exactly the same happened last time i fished it but i put that down to feeding pellets on that side but maybe that’s just where the carp lived ? by swapping between the two margin swims i kept the fish coming although it was noticeable that the longer i fished my right hand line the further i would need to push it to the empty platform and with forty minutes left both my margins died , i should have put in another swim or tried my top four swim again but hindsight’s a lovely thing and when the all out sounded it called time on a confusing match as it turned out my nets went 67lb and i was the only one to weigh in my little bay .
Overall the venue fished really well with six tonne weights coming of Stretton alone and both Belvedere + canal both were won with over a tonne , the natural bait festival at the weekend will have sixty anglers contesting it and i have been led to believe that they will be split into two rotations with one day you being on either Stretton or Belvedere 15 on each , the other day being on Canal twenty anglers or Weir ten anglers and also someone will be coming round to make sure you had the correct five pints of natural bait . I am really looking forward to fishing this festival and i just hope it goes as well as my Tunnel barn one , on Sunday there is the Welsh national event and the Matrix team are doing it which i hope to be a part of that’s if things ever get sorted out ! !