June 18th, peg 98 covey four
Today was my last attempt at qualifying for the Fish’O Mania semi final at Cudmore and it was at my local water partridge lakes which is only ten miles away it is used to holding big matches regularly having over eighty on the opens but with it being a two hundred pegger there would always be places where you was going to struggle, after fishing it last weekend I felt that I had a reasonable idea on what was going to work so I just hoped that I could draw on one of the original coveys although these waters have not the best record in this match but it is a place that i am comfortable fishing .
It was a later than usual start for me today and I arrived at the fishery just after eight o’clock which gave me time to grab a bacon buttie before having a chat with a few lads that I knew we was all unsure of which water would through up the winner although ribbon has a tremendous record here in fisho qualifiers , there was also quite a lot of big name anglers knocking about which is nothing new for these contests and before I knew it there was a long line waiting for the draw so it looked like I would be having one of the last picks when it finally came for my turn I pulled out peg 98 on covey four not the best but at least I was in an area which usually holds a few fish mainly carp.
On arriving at my home for the next few hours I was faced with flat calm conditions although there was some fish across in the far-bank reeds I also had a nice mud bank to target and an empty platform to my right which I had been told would be my best area to target, as I began sorting my tackle out I was waiting for someone to get down on peg 97 but nobody ever did which was obviously a bonus, it turned out that there was at least thirty no shows and that was after all the reserves plus walk ins had got on to the match I’m afraid that’s the way this contest seems to be going with majority of the qualifiers not being full, it’s just a shame that they can’t let the match organisers know because not for the first time it made a mockery of the match with some lakes being very tightly pegged and other anglers having up to four empty pegs either side of them it really needs sorting before next year I have my own ideas on how it could be changed but that’s for another blog.
I decided not to over complicate things today so I just set up ;
Margin at the side of 99 platform were after plumbing up I found it to be a touch over two foot so I decide to use a 0.4 joof float and main line was 014 Garbo which had a six-inch length of 012 Garbo my hook was a size 16 lwg.
Top four swim this was positioned just at the bottom of the near slope and I would be feeding it by hand during the session it was nearly five foot deep so I used a 4×12 speedy float which had a bulk plus dropper shotting pattern my main line was 014 Garbo and hook length was 012 Garbo.
Mud bank and I expected this to be my main line of attack so after having a good plumb around I was pleased to find a nice flat area tight to the far-bank where it was a touch over a foot , so I used a 0.4 joof float which had a strung out bulk this would give me a nice stable rig helping me keep everything still among all the line bites, my main line was the usual 014 Garbo and my hook length was 012 Garbo which had a size 18 lwg hook attached.
Shallow I set up two rigs to cover my options one at a foot and the other at two foot both of them were set up the same I used a 0.1 matrix series three float which had a couple of number eleven stotz spread down the 014 Garbo main line and I had a four-inch 012 Garbo hook length that had a size 18 matrix bagger hook attached
Bait for the day was going to be ;
Two pints of 6mm cubed meat
Two pints of casters
One pint of riddled meat
F1 dark groundbait
When the hooter sounded in the distance signalling the start of the match I put in two pots of ground-bait with a hand full of riddled meat onto my mud line and while it settled I tried to see if I could mug a carp shallow among the far-bank reeds, the stems were knocking like mad and i was shoving my floats right in among them but I just couldn’t get an indication even after changing depths plus feeding a dozen casters every few minutes to try to get them competing didn’t work ,so I decided to keep the feed going in but with fish showing on my mudline I was eager to give that a try and after changing rigs I shipped out with a cube of meat on the hook I expected an immediate response all I could manage was a couple of line bites thinking that they might not want meat I changed to double caster but this didn’t work either which was a bit of a head scratcher.
I had been throwing half a dozen cubes on my top four line since the match started and with a few bubbles coming up I decided to re-feed my mud line before giving that swim ago, I didn’t have to wait too long before I began getting indications and after missing a couple I did finally connect with one but my elastic only came out a foot before pinging off then my next one did exactly the same I had made the mistake of upping my elastic because I expected to be catching mainly carp, so I was back rummaging in my holdall for a lighter grade of elastic but it seemed that the disturbance of the lost f1s had unsettled them and bites were now hard to come by and with over an hour of the match gone I was still fish less.
I began loose feeding casters at seven meters towards peg 97 in open water hoping that I might be able to catch a few shallow and while I prepared it I rotated my other swims but another thirty minutes passed without anything to show for it, I couldn’t really wait any longer and decided to see if anything had settled on my caster line but apart from a few missed bites which I think were from small silvers there wasnt a lot happening I really worked hard to try to get them up in the water without success , so I tried my deck rig underneath my loose feed and I have found this to be working really well on waters that allow the mong rig I’m not to sure why maybe they are backing away from the disturbance or just feel safer on the deck but you wouldn’t really be expecting to be fishing this way in the middle of summer as it’s more of a winter method, yet again it got me out of trouble as I finally began to put some fish in the net but after being fishless for nearly two hours my match was almost over as I would struggle to even have a chance for the section so I just tried to enjoy what was left of the day.
I had a little run of six f1s but they just wouldn’t settle for me and I found it best to feed a couple of big pouches of caster then give my meat line a go this seemed to produce a bigger stamp of fish including the odd carp by rotating between the two lines I kept putting the odd fish in the net but they wasnt coming quick enough, I wasnt really going anywhere so I decided to begin feeding my right hand margin at the side of the platform with ground-bait and it didn’t take long before I saw a couple of swirls, this was all the incentive I needed to pick up my margin rig and I pushed it out to the side of peg 99 I didn’t have to wait long before a carp took a liking to my double meat hook bait at nearly four pounds it was a good start , with carp being more predominate in this area I decided to put in a small cupping kit of feed after every fish hoping that this would keep the fish settled and finally it looked like I had done something right as I went on a run of fish mainly carp with the odd big F1 mixed in.
I was beginning to think that I might have a chance of doing a nice weight which after my start to the match I thought was never going to happen and this was when I started to rush things of course this resulted in things going a bit pear-shaped, first I lost a fish under the platform causing me to break my hook length although this gave me the opportunity to up it to an 014 and this gave me the confidence to bully the fish a bit more which made me lose focus as I hit my line when trying to rush one in causing me to trash my rig , for some bizarre reason I decided to put a lighter 0.3 float on the difference was remarkable because the carp were just wafting the rig out-of-the-way and in the last thirty minutes all I could catch was f1s .
The all out soon came it called time on a frustrating match because I had done numerous things wrong and even though i got told before the match that my peg wasnt the best I still feel that with the bit of room I had it was capable of throwing up at least a ton or more for a better angler, so I was very disappointed with my performance to say the least and when the weighman arrived I put just over 65lb on the scales which about forty pounds of that I caught in an hour down the side but you just can’t give anybody a two-hour start and expect to compete.
The lad on peg hundred had just scraped ninety pounds and he also struggled to catch on his mudline having most of his fish from round the side but lost a few carp too which probably cost him a chance of framing so it showed there was fish in the area ,as it turned out peg 85 won the lake with a low ton caught yet again from the margin although he had the benefit of what ever breeze there was blowing his way for the past few days causing a nice scum line and I later found out he had five empty pegs to his right plus the lad to his left packed up after an hour.
On arriving back to the cabin to watch the presentation most lakes had fished ok with nearly all the lakes having produced over a hundred pound , three of the top five weights coming from covey six including the winner although yet again he had the benefit of plenty room which made a mockery of the competition of course he still needed to catch them having over forty pounds on the second place angler and as the results were read out I also found out that there was lots of split sections including mine with me being in with covey six which I thought was a bit strange because i can not remember it being done like that in previous years but was probably down to the increase in attendance .
Well that’s my last Fish’O over and done with for another year I have only had one poor match at herronbrook where I drew shocking but the other two at the oaks and here at partridge I felt that I have drawn ok caught a few fish, I haven’t got much planned until September and next weekend i will be heading to the impressive Weston pools hoping to get back among the hard fighting barbel.