Well today was the day for my second ever festival and as you would expect i was really looking forward to it as it was to take place on the mightily impressive Weston pools fishery , as you are all probably aware i have fished it for the last six weeks and been getting some reasonable results the class of angler that these big money matches attract it would always be difficult to compete but i was going to give it my best shot . There was seventy people down to fish the festival and these would be split over four lakes on the complex in a rotation system with Belvedere and weir being on one day then canal and stretton the other day each water would have two eight peg sections and the top two in each of them would pick up some money , for some reason on this festival they had decided to score points on your final position on the lake not sections which would always count against the average anglers like me especially if you get a bad draw .
We needed to get there pretty earlier on the first day so i began on my journey at around 630 as we were expected to book on between eight and nine , the draw was to take place at 1030 then we was due to fish between 12 and 5 , then back to the clubhouse for something to eat while we awaited the first day’s results then do day two’s draw before heading of home around 8 o’clock so it was going to be a very long day and next year i will definitely looking at staying over . After hanging around for what seemed like an age we finally were ready for the draw and my golden arm had let me down recently today was no different as peg 29 Belvidere stuck to my hand not the best of starts one of the worst pegs on the least fancied water , on getting to my home for the day it did look really fishy with two long reed lined margins and plenty of open water to target especially as the aerator had been turned off but the only real downside that i could see was that this area was in the shade with a cold wind blowing this way as well which would have meant the water temps would be a bit colder plus all the lads down the other side were wearing t-shirts were i was wrapped up shivering .
I decided to fish a nice uncomplicated match with just three lines to get me a few bites these were ;
Margin , i plumbed up on 4m either side so i could find the same depth which was nearly 4ft and i used a 4×12 malman speedy with 016 garbo main line and an 014 garbo hook length which had a size 14 guru lwg hook .
Top four line , here i found the crease in the lake bed although it was only six-inch deeper because i would be fishing maggot on this line i used a 4×12 malman roob float with a carbon stem which had a bulk and two dropper shotting pattern , my main line was 014 garbo which had an 012 garbo hook length attached to it was a size 18 matrix bagger hook .
Ten meter line , i would be fishing this on the deck with a size 4×12 malman roob float with a carbon stem which had a bulk with two dropper shotting pattern , my main line was 014 garbo which had an 012 garbo hook length attached to it was a size 18 matrix bagger hook and i would fire in maggots over the top looking for signs of the fish coming shallow if they did i had a 4×8 preston chianti set 2ft deep with 012 garbo direct to a size 20 matrix bagger hook .
My bait was also simplicity itself with just ;
two pints corn
three pints red and white maggots
As the gun shots sounded in the distance signalling the all in i went onto my top foul line feeding maggots through a kinder pot every five minutes it took awhile before i began getting indications and not to long after that i began putting some fish in the net which were a nice stamp of ide but it was very slow going , after a while i began getting stupid bites and i couldn’t believe that they had come up in the water so close in so i flicked my shallow rig over the top this produced a couple of f1s but as i expected they didn’t want to settle . I had fed my ten meter swim with a catty since the match started so i decided to give my short line a rest and went to see what had settled on my long line but yet again i was only catching ide on the deck not the hoped for f1s or carp which was a surprise , by alternating between the two swims i kept adding a few fish including a bonus carp which took the maggot hookbait on the drop and although i wasn’t really bagging in the back of my mind i was always confident of my margins producing as it is a noted big carp area .
With ninety minutes of the match remaining and with the guy on the opposite bank picking up the odd carp from his spare platform i decided to give my margin swim a whirl , after feeding it for the past few hours with half a cup of corn every thirty minutes so i expected a few fish to be settled but after spending ten minutes on each side without even a sign i didn’t want to waste any more time there so went back to pick up a few more ide and i must have tried fishing the margin half a dozen times without an indication before the all out which was really puzzling as i can usually rely on it to get me out of trouble i could only think it was down to the shade on my side of the lake . As i was waiting for the scales to arrive i had a quick walk round and it was very noticeable that half of the lake had fished hard with most anglers admitting to under 50lb with the sunny side having nearly 70-80lb , the weighman soon arrived with the first angler in my section who also won the lake was young Jack O O’Sullivan with 83lb and then the pole fishing editor Tom Scholey put 56lb on the scales to take second and my nets went 46lb which was more than i thought this got me third in the section but only tenth on the lake so that was my festival up in smoke .
On getting back to the cabin i caught up with a few of my mates and they had done a lot better than me with one getting second on Belvidere lake and the other third on canal pool so they was both in the running for a top six finish , after the results were called out it was time for the draw and i hoped for some better luck which is what i hoped i had got with peg nine stretton sticking to my hand as this was a noted flyer Joe Carass had caught 90lb from it today so i was understandably looking forward to catching a few fish tomorrow now it was time for the long drive home .
With the draw already having taken place the day before there was no need for an early start because nobody was allowed around the waters before ten o’clock and i arrived at the fishery around 1030 this allowed me plenty time to get ready for the 12 o’clock start , after my short walk to my peg i was surprised to find that they had cut down the over hanging willow tree on the far bank plus the pegging was really tight along this part of the lake and i felt that this might have a detrimental to affect how my peg would fish but down the bottom end near the bay they were well spaced out
I planned on fishing a nice easy match with just a few swims i hoped that this would help me concentrate on getting the feeding right on each of them because that is what is letting me down at present ;
Top three-line , with the water being a bit colder of late i decided to fish this at the bottom of the slope in the crease of the lake bed i had been told that the barbel hang around this peg and to set up a line either side of me but with an angler to my left i decided to just put the one in towards the spare peg , i used a 4×12 malman roob with a carbon stem it had a bulk + dropper shotting pattern as i would be feeding maggots on this line my main line was 014 garbo with a 012 garbo hook length which had a size 18 matrix bagger hook .
Margin , i put this in on either side tight to the bank i used a top kit to my left and top four to my right which was just a meter of the spare platform i couldn’t really go any closer as the other angler on that side had plumbed up right in front of it , with it being nearly 4ft deep i used a 4×12 malman speedy float which had a glass stem to help withstand being dragged through the rushes or even worse my keepnets and my main line was 016 garbo and 014 garbo hook length which had a size 16 guru lwg hook .
Shallow , i didn’t really have much success using this recently but i always feel it’s worth setting up if they turn up i had two rigs set up one at 2ft the other at 3ft both were the same 4×8 preston chianti float with 3 number eleven stotz spread down the 012 garbo line which was direct to a size twenty matrix bagger hook .
Bait today was ;
4 pints maggots
1 pint of corn
When the all in sounded i went on my top three-line to my right and i began feeding this every three minutes with maggots after about ten minutes i had my first fish which was yet again an ide they keep on following me over the weekends matches , after catching a dozen of these in thirty minutes they seemed to disappear and i soon found out why when my next fish was a carp around the 4lb mark after that though the crucians moved in i decided to rest the swim but kept feeding it , so i plumbed up a new line at 13m using the same rig obviously i couldn’t feed it by hand at that distance so i picked up the catty and fed every three minutes with a dozen maggots yet again the ide moved in first but although they was there in numbers they didn’t weigh a great deal and i needed to find out where the f1s+carp are in my peg .
From what i could hear those anglers down the split to my left were also struggling to find a better stamp of fish and it seemed all the bigger fish had followed the wind down towards the bay where there was a bit of room soon half the match had passed the fish seemed to disappear all together and with the guy to my right big potting towards the platform i decided to go out to 16m so i could fish towards the empty peg opposite with maggots , i fed through a large kinder pot and although it was awkward shipping back as i needed to break down twice but it was worth it as i finally began getting the odd f1+barbel which was bumping my weight up . When i had a run of crucians though i decided to set up a new line towards the tree stump but this time using corn i fed half a dozen samples then waited for a proper bite after ten minute my float shot under and i was attached to my first carp for nearly two hours after a five-minute fight i had it in the net no more indications on this line so i was soon picking up my margin rig , i had flicked a mix of mags + corn to my left in the cut out in between the reeds almost as soon as my rig had settled i was attached to a barbel and i was rubbing my hands together thinking that a shoal had settled there but no it was a loner .
With the last hour fast approaching i decided to concentrate on my top three-line to my left hand side as this was where the barbel turn up late in the match and this time i wasn’t going to be disappointed because i had a run of them straight away , by feeding heavily i soon had them lined up and i also had the odd carp mixed in between i think i put at least twenty pound in the net before the all out sounded . I knew i hadn’t done well enough to finish in the top five on the lake as those anglers in the bay had caught really well but i still had a good day even if it was rather confusing . When the scales arrived on the lake i walked down to the bottom end and followed them round there was two ton weights and a few 90lb from that end of the lake my section was won with 120lb by young Jack O’Sullivan who had now won both days so will be well in contention for winning the competition , i put 65lb on the scales which put me second in the section for the time being before Rossendale matrix top bagger Andy berry had 75lb on the next peg and there was no more weights of any note from down the split so yet again i had finished third in my section but tenth on the lake .
On getting back to the cabin to await the results i managed to catch up with my mates and one had blown out like me the other had managed 4th which put him on six points so we needed to wait and see if that would get him into the top five , after a while the results were read out and he ended up sixth just out of the money there was also a tie for the top place between Andy Bennett and Jack O’Sullivan with the f1 bagger winning on weight . Thanks to all those that took part and helped run an extremely good festival just a shame it wasn’t run on section points as i would have finished a lot higher than a top forty position also an extra day would have been nice but i just suppose i will have to make do with the Welsh national at Weston pools tomorrow instead as a guest angler in the Matrix LTB team lets hope i do not embarrass myself .