North vs South at Tunnel barn

May 20th

Today was the main event of the weekend the North vs South match at Tunnel barn where two hundred anglers would be spread over all the complex and hopefully the North would have another good showing making it a hat trick of wins , after yet another lousy nights sleep i was up bright and early ready for the day ahead which is more than could be said of some because they was quite a few knocking about with sore heads after overdoing it on the beer .

At the moment the weather was alright with it being warm plus a light breeze but the clouds looked rather threatening and we was due a down pour at some point during the day , after having the obligatory group photograph it was time for the draw which took a bit longer than planned because they had to hastily re-peg it due to a few no shows , but apart from that things went smoothly and when it came around for my turn in the bag of doom i hoped that i could pull out a peg with a chance of a good days fishing , thirty on extension was not what i planned on as it was in the bowl with your back to new pool and i got told it wasnt the greatest area to be in .

When i arrived at my home for the next few hours i had ;

an island at least 17m away

a long reed lined margin to my right

a bit of a cut out with some tins towards my left .

Bearing all this in mind i decided it was going to be a close range match so decided to set up ;

Top kit pellet rig for fishing at ten o’clock and twelve o’clock , i used a 4×14 roob style float with an inch spread bulk starting above the four-inch 012 garbo hook length .

Margin rig for fishing either side of me and the shallowest that i could get into was 2.5ft so i used a 0.2 MD carbon stemmed float with a bulk plus dropper shotting pattern spread along my 014 garbo main line which had a six-inch 012 garbo hook length attached .

Two shallow rigs one at 1ft and the other 2ft both was a 0.1 MD mini mag which had a bulk of number eleven stotz above the four-inch 012 garbo hook length which had a mini bait band for casters .

Deck rig for fishing underneath my shallow swim and i used a 4×12 MD carbon stemmed float with an on the drop shotting pattern spread along the 014 garbo main line attached to it was a six-inch 012 garbo hook length .

Bait for the day was ;

2 pints of 4mm fishery pellets

1 pint of micro fishery pellets

3 pints of casters

1 pint of worms

small tub of 4mm expanders

When the all in sounded i began on my top kit rig towards my right were i had kinder potted in micros on my other short line a through in six 4mm pellets every five minutes , it didn’t take too long before i began picking up the odd f1 but they was a smaller stamp than i was hoping to get and i had to keep working my rig to get an indication , after about thirty minutes the fizzing got really bad so i switched to my other pellet swim and i started catching the odd fish here as well , i swapped between them both for the time being while i primed my shallow line which i had fed a dozen casters with a catty every five minutes and i hoped that i could get this swim to work for me because it was probably the only way that i would be able to compete with the anglers down the other side of extension .

The bites on my near in swims gradually became less and less which was probably down the bubbling so i took the opportunity to give my eleven meter line a try , i started on the deck and i would watch my float really carefully for line bites so that i could see if they had moved up in the water but after continuously laying my rig in i just couldn’t get a single bite which was strange because the lads to my left were picking up the odd fish doing it , although they did have the benefit of a ripple where in front of me it was like a mill-pond and i did have a go with my shallow rig where i picked up an f1 but also missed loads of bites from silvers a sure sign there wasnt a big head of f1s in the area .

Things wasnt looking to good as after half the match had passed and i only put 15 f1s in the net not the start i would have liked , so i made the decision to stop feeding my shallow swim and concentrate on my short lines to try to makes these work because i felt that it would be the only way of building up a weight of fish , i began loose feeding casters towards the tins to my left and went back on my top kit this produced a couple of quick fish before the bubbling started again so i choose to put on a piece of worm as this would give the fish a bigger target bait to pick up , this worked really well for me plus it also produced a bigger stamp but after foul hooking a fish which went right through both swims i decided to rest them and gave my left hand margin a go , first drop with double caster my float buried as a small silver came to the net but then i managed a couple of f1s just when i thought that i was on for a run of fish , that was until the lad on the lake behind me decided to go for a walk which put paid to that and after putting a piece of worm on the hook all i caught was a mini perch .

I went back onto my top kit swims which produced another couple of f1s and was my most consistent area all match but i couldn’t get my feeding right as the fizzing was awful at times , i had thrown casters along my right hand margin at around six meters so went on there with double caster on the hook and i laid my rig into the open water so that it fell up the near slope which i hoped would help cut out the foul hookers in the deeper water , i caught almost instantly having a nice run of f1s and a change to a piece of worm seemed to be the better hook bait . When bites began to fade i went back onto my top kit and stayed on that line until the fizzing got to bad , surprisingly my left hand margin near the tins never worked again after the earlier disturbance so i plumbed up another line just a top kit away at the side of the reeds and i could also feed this by hand with casters .

For the remaining part of the match i rotated between all the swims picking up f1s from them all but maybe i should just have concentrated on my margins instead of my top kit as it might have prevented them from coming in numbers close , when the all out sounded it called time on a rather interesting match and with my shallow line not working i felt that the only way that i could compete was close in , so i ended up with forty f1s as i was the first to weigh in on my section i didn’t have to wait long to hear my fate and my two nets went  67lb 10oz which comfortably beat those towards my right but the anglers to my left who caught shallow both beat me i also missed out on the money section by just two ounce .


When i got back to the cabin it was time to hang about while the results out and after what felt like an age all the sections + places was read out before the main event which was the reason we all came down , yet again the North team had won it this time on overall weight which was probably the fairest way to do it to make it three years on the trot making us still unbeaten in the competition and all that was left now was the long drive home . I would like to thank everyone that took the time to contest the match especially the lads who spent all year organising it and also tunnel barn for allowing them to host the event here , i cant wait for next year and would recommend it to everyone that fancies it of course it is a bit of a trek but well worth the effort as it’s all for a good cause .


Tunnel barn farm , jenny’s pool

May 19th

jennys pool

Today i was travelling down to Tunnel barn farm at Shrewley near Warwick to contest the knock up match on jenny’s , canal ,club , before the main event the North vs South which i will tell you all about when i do another blog later in the week . With the venue being over a hundred miles away for most of it i would be travelling down the speed restricted zones of the M6 motorway and i had a very early start so that i didn’t get caught in the rush hour traffic in Birmingham town center , surprisingly my trip went remarkably well  i arrived with an hour to spare so i grabbed a bacon sandwich then had a walk around the complex not a lot had changed since my last visit here nine months ago when i contested a match on jenny’s and as per usual it looked immaculate .

When i got back to the cabin it was approaching draw time so i joined the queue about half way and it soon came round for my turn in the bag of doom , i couldn’t believe it with all the pegs in the draw i pulled out 25 on jenny’s which was only one away from where i struggled for thirty pounds on my last match here , but at least it would give me chance to see how much i had improved in that time especially with the conditions being exactly the same with a light breeze blowing over my shoulder and although it was warm at the moment we was due a heavy downpour around dinner time .

Like most pegs at Tunnel barn you could park right behind your peg which made things a lot easier and after setting up i put all my luggage back in the boot because the last thing i wanted was it to be left soaking in the car over night , the one thing that i have learned over the past few months was to make things simple so as not confuse yourself and today was no different because i choose to set up ;

Margin rig at top three so i could loose feed it by hand which i plumbed up towards my right as this is where i had an empty peg and i used an MD 0.4 diamond float with a staggered bulk spread along my 014 garbo main line attached to it was six-inch 012 garbo hook length .

Top kit line where i plumbed up to find it was four-foot deep and as i would be using pellets here so i picked up a MD 0.3 roob style float which had an inch spread bulk starting above the four-inch 012 garbo hook length .

Six meter channel swim for fishing on the deck under my shallow swim where i would be loose feeding casters and it was a touch over five foot deep so i used an MD chianti style float which had a bulk plus two droppers spread along my 014 garbo main line attached to it was a six-inch 012 garbo hook length .

Two shallow rigs one at a foot the other two foot on both i used the same MD 0.1 mini mag float which had three number eleven stotz spread along my 014 garbo main line and attached to it was six-inch of 012 garbo , i also had a size 18 lwg hook with a micro bait band because i was going to be fishing banded caster as it was a really good tactic on here .

Bait for the day was ;

3 pints of casters

3 pints of fishery 4mm pellets

small tub of 4mm expanders

small tub of worms for the hook

When the all in sounded i began on my top kit with pellets at an angle towards my right this was so i could play the fish in front of me so as not to disturb any feeding fish and after depositing a kinder pot full of 4mm pellets it took about ten minutes before i had my first f1 ,by lift and dropping my rig i caught about six of them in the first hour it wasnt hectic by any means but it was giving me the opportunity to feed my shallow swim by hand . I had loose feed about a pint of casters on my six meter line so i expected there to be some fish present on this line and i started on my deck rig first as i had not seen any swirls on the surface , by doing this it would allow me to work out at what depth the fish were sitting by the indications i had on my float and i did manage a couple of f1s among the hand sized skimmers but it wasnt really working for me , i had a quick look on my deeper shallow rig but i knew that i was very unlikely to get any indications from f1s although i did miss lots of bites from small silvers not really what i wanted and after looking around at the other anglers it was noticable that we was all struggling for a run of fish maybe the heavy over night rain had knocked them off feeding .

With nobody going across to the island yet i decided to give it ago because i could hopefully draw something into my peg and i started on my 2ft shallow rig which was about a foot off the deck , i started pinging half a dozen casters every few minutes and it didn’t take long before i began getting indications most of which i missed i figured that they might have been small silvers but the ones that i did connect with were big f1s , i put my shallower rig on and pushed my rig in right among the over hanging reeds this worked really well for me as i picked up a couple of double figure carp which was fun catching on my short kits with ten hollo elastic in , it was  apparent that i would get a little run of f1s before it went quiet and i would catch a carp it took a bit of working out but i was slowly getting my head around it when the heavens opened for over an hour which killed my far swim because it had gone really cold and i thought that the fish would have dropped down into the deeper water 

I had a quick look back on my top kit swim thinking that they might have settled there but as i had neglected to carry on feeding it there wasnt any decent fish present and i had been loose feeding my right hand margin swim which was in slightly shallower water but that’s where the fish wanted to be as i managed another good run of f1s , after a while i began foul hooking the odd fish and seemed that my loose feeding  had brought them up in the water even at this close range which i wasnt expecting , so a change to dumping in pellets through a kinder pot with a segment of worm on the hook got them back on the bottom and i began catching the odd carp as well as the f1s . As i had my back to my left hand neighbour i missed seeing him catch well shallow i had heard the splashing but thought they was just silvers but when he told me that he had caught twelve f1s on the trot i had no option but to follow suit , although i had stopped feeding my up in the water six meter swim because it was awkward to do when fishing my margin line and i did manage to pick up the odd fish but it was only the ones that had strayed into my peg , suddenly the rain stopped and the sun poked its head out from behind the clouds i thought that this would make the shallow swims even stronger but it had the opposite effect as it just died on me , so i spent the last ninety minutes swapping between my across + margin swims picking up a few fish from each before the all out sounded calling time on a very interesting match and if i could fish it again i would certainly do things a bit differently .

I was one of the first to weigh in on my lake and my forty fish went 94lb which was so close to my first tunnel barn ton but i was still made up with it as it is still my biggest weight here , the lad towards my left managed 104lb which was enough to win the ten peg section pushing me into second but i was also third on the lake , although it wasnt good enough to do any good in the overall match because there was quite a few 150lb weights knocking about over the other lakes .

So it was a good warm up for the main event tomorrow where hopefully the North will make it a hat trick of wins against the South .