May 2nd , peg ten match lake
With my first fisho qualifier looming large on the horizon at Herronbrook fishery i thought it was about time that i headed down to Staffordshire to give the open match a go and after my last contest at Partridge lakes i just hoped that i could catch a few fish because struggling for six hours is never nice , on the morning of the match the weather didn’t look that bad a bit grey+windy but the temperature had risen a few degrees which can only be a positive and after loading my van i headed on my sixty mile trip to the fishery .
On arrival i grabbed a bacon buttie before booking on the match and then had a quick look at the waters that would be in the draw bag , after having a chat with a few of the locals i made my way towards the back of the queue and awaited my fate as it turned out i ended up with peg ten on the match lake i was informed that it was an end peg just after the mud bath , as i made my way round to the peg i noticed that the match lake had about forty platforms of which only one side was pegged this allowed most anglers an island chuck at around thirty meters , when i arrived at my home for the next few hours i had the wind blowing bang in my face and it looked like i would be getting drenched at some point during the day but on the plus side i had plenty room towards my left which had a reed lined margin that looked very fishy .
With it being my first time on this lake i was a bit unsure on what to expect although looking at results over the weekend it is an area that does throw up the odd ton weight so i was quite positive about the day ahead , i decided to keep things simple setting up ;
Eight meter line where after plumbing up i found it to be a full top kit deep and with the wind being so strong i used a 0.6 round bodied+wire stemed pole float , my main line was the usual 0.14 garbo and my hook length was 0.10 garbo which had a size twenty matrix bagger hook attached .
Top four margin line and i was surprised to find that it was nearly four-foot deep tight to the near side reeds , just like before i used a slightly heavier 0.4 malman roob float which had a bulk plus dropper shotting pattern because i intended to be using meat+corn here this set up would allow me to alter a few things as the day progressed.
Matrix little pig 8ft tip rod my island chuck was only about 25m so i used a 15 gram pellet feeder which i am more confident in using my hook was a size 16 guru lwg .
Bait for the day was a bit more than im used to taking with me but it is a six-hour match and i didn’t want to be caught short ;
Three pints red maggots
Two pints of meat+corn
Two pints of soaked micros
Small tub of 4mm expanders
Small tub of mixed hard pellets
When the all in sounded in the distance i proceeded to put in two pots of maggots on my long line and before i went onto my feeder rod i decided to see if i could pick up a mug carp from my margin swim , i tapped in a kinder pot of meat+corn before lowering my rig in on top of it by holding my pole away from the reeds i could present a static bait and it didn’t take too long before my float shot under , after playing the fish to within netting range the hook pulled out this happened a further three times before i got of my box and changed my elastic from a size 12-14 matrix red as i had been expecting to be catching mainly carp to a lighter 10-12 ng green this solved the problem as i never lost another fish during the rest of the match .
My next three hours were really easy as i caught f1s between 1+3lb pretty constantly and it was only after a really heavy shower then the wind changed direction that things got a bit slower , to be honest at this point of the match i should have started a new line somewhere else in my peg before going back to my margin in the final hour when the fish would have settled down again but i was too focused on putting fish in the net and not seeing the bigger picture . I was also beginning to run out of meat+corn so decided to begin adding a ball of micros in the kinder pot but this turned out to be a major mistake as it just brought the f1s up off the deck making them harder to catch , i altered my shotting pattern to allow for a slower fall of the hook bait this allowed me to catch some on the drop but i also foul hooked a couple and i needed to get them back on the deck although i was a bit dubious about big potting but i had no other option.
Feeding that big hit of bait virtually stopped my bites and i began fearing the worse but i soon found out why as i hit into a carp around five pounds after that the f1s returned although not in the numbers as at the start of the match , with an hour of the contest remaining i was getting worried about my net limits as i had over fifty fish in the nets all of which were a decent size although i couldn’t do a great deal about it now and just hoped that i would not be too far over but it looked like the fish decided to do my favor as i really struggled in the last hour to add too my net , i had to resort to fishing an expander with a positive bulk shotting pattern before i managed to get any bites.
When the all out sounded i had 57 f1s plus a carp but i did feel that it was worth a lot more if i had fished it a bit better but as i had only brought two nets with me it wouldn’t have made a great deal of difference to my final weight , as the scales arrived at my peg there was two 140lb nets on the lake the first of my nets went 57lb and the other was over 50lb as well and as herronbrook has a fifty pound net limit not the sixty pound that i thought i ended up going over on both nets so got knocked back to a ton , which wasnt ideal as i don’t know my true weight of my catch although it was good enough for me to win the section but i have only myself to blame because i didn’t check and i suppose it is better to find out now rather than in the fisho qualifier in May where i would have been really kicking myself .
I am back at Herronbrook fishery at the weekend and with the weather steadily increasing I’m hopeful that the fishing will be extremely good maybe even a bit of shallow for the first time this year and i must remember to take an extra net , there is definitely an art form in catching a big weight of f1s and it’s something that i need to get my head around before long .