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 .

Tunnel barn , North vs South match

September 17th

Today was my last big match of the year which was the annual North vs South contest at Tunnel barn farm it was a charity match in aid of the England Disabled anglers team that do not get as much funding as the other teams and i was really looking forward to it especially after getting second in my section last year behind Des Shipp ( although he did double my weight ) i hoped that i could improve on that but with two hundred anglers here including some of your well-known superstars it would be a tall order but i feel that i have improved over the last few weeks now that soft pellets have started to come into contention again .

Tunnel barn farm was over a hundred miles from my house so an early start was needed and i began the long journey at 530 am getting to the fishery around 8 o’clock , this gave me time to grab a buttie and have a chat with a few of the lads that i hadn’t seen from last year before i knew it the draw was upon us , before that they read out the fishery rules then the mad rush to pick a peg started but it all went smoothly with two hundred anglers heading through the doors in under forty minutes which takes some organising ( been on 16 peg club matches which have taken longer ) when it came round to my turn i pulled out peg 13 on new pool which wasnt up there with my first choice of lakes i wanted but at least i had fished this lake before so i had a reasonable idea on what to expect and as it turned out i was in a similar area as well .


On getting to my home for the next few hours i was the first angler in a line of six and i had a venue regular to my left then a Mosella superstar at the side of him so i was up against it for good section points but i did have an empty peg to my right ( which was supposed to be fished but an angler decided to sit on the wrong lake ) i had a reed lined island at 14m plus the wind was blowing into the corner on my right hand side although it was flat calm in front of me so it all looked really promising for a few fish , that was until i got my plumbet out my margin was just a foot deep , it was only two foot deep on my top kit and it was then just three-foot all the way across to the far-bank reeds not good in the cooling conditions especially with all the recent rain ( i can not remember fishing a venue which was so shallow ) i was unsure on how best to attack the peg but after looking at the results from yesterday’s Friday flyer which took place on the same lake with Adam Wakelin winning it with just 80lb  ( low weight for tunnel barn ) i decided to concentrate on fishing with pellets picking up a few f1s before setting up new swims chasing the fish all over the peg very similar to an article i had read in last years Match Fishing Magazine by Joe Carass and in this depth of water i felt fishing shallow was out of the question which was good as my maggots were still waking up after being bagged up since Friday tea time .

I set up four rigs to cover my options ;

Top kit pellet rig where it was 2.5ft deep and i used a 4×12 roob float that had an inch apart spread bulk above the 0.10 four inch garbo hook length which had a size 16 guru pellet hook attached to it , my main line was the usual 0.14 garbo and elastic was 10-12 Ng green a bit lighter than i usually do but the f1s were a smaller stamp in this lake .

Top three and all over the peg pellet rig which was exactly the same as the above but it was in three-foot of water , i could have probably used the same rig at both depths but it is important to have a short amount of line between pole+float to help hit the shy bites from f1s .

Maggot rig in three-foot and i used a 4×12 maggie float which had a bulk plus two droppers my main line was the usual 014 garbo , a six-inch hook length of 010 with a size 16 guru maggie hook attached elastic was the same Ng green 10-12 .

Maggot rig for across at the side of the reeds in 2.5ft of water and as i would be pinging maggots across ( when they finally came back to life ) so i used a light 0.2 series three matrix float with a strung out shotting pattern to allow for a slow fall of the hook length as i was hoping to catch on the drop , my main line was 014 garbo with a six-inch hook length of 010 garbo which had a size 16 guru maggot hook attached .

My bait for today’s contest was slightly more than i would usually take but Tunnel barn has no bait limits and i didn’t want to be caught out by not having enough ;

Four pints of half a sleep red maggots

Four pints of fishery 4mm pellets

Two pints of fishery micros

Two pints of crushed expanders

Small tub of 4+6mm expanders

When the all in sounded i began my match on the top three pellet swim rather than my top kit because after putting my nets in i could still see the last few rings under the water were i had planned to fish my top kit line , even though i had pulled them back towards me and although the fish do come in close here i didn’t expect them to be there just yet after the disturbance of the nets going in . After looking around most of the anglers within eye shot had gone a good few sections beyond were i was fishing so i wondered if i had made the right decision but i didn’t have to worry because after tapping in a nugget of crushed expanders i began getting indications straight away and i managed eight f1s plus some hand sized skimmers in the first forty minutes by feeding six 4mm pellets every couple of minutes to attract the fish into my swim ( with tiny skimmers present i stayed away from feeding micros )

When bites began to fade i plumbed up a new swim straight in front of me and started again yet again i didn’t have to wait too long before i had my first f1 , i was still throwing in a few 4mm pellets around the float and it was noticeable that i would get a bite almost instantly when i kinder potted a small piece of crushed expander although i did have a run of three lost fish ( which even at this early stage in the match i felt they would cost me at the all out ) i don’t think they was foul hooked because when hooked they darted off towards my left but with the pegging extremely tight i had to clamp down on the elastic to stop them going into my neighbours swim and with the disturbance in the shallow water it killed this line a bit prematurely .

So i decided to add a section and replumb up which was about six-inch deeper on this swim i got fewer indications but the fish were off a bigger stamp so i choose to put a 6mm expander on the hook which worked quite well , i did miss the odd bite coming back with half a hook bait but  i put this down to small skimmers so i was happy to sit and wait for a proper dip of the float . When half of the contest past i was reasonably happy as i had thirty f1s in the net plus about five pounds of silvers but i then had a less than fruitful hour putting hardly anything into the net and i choose to pot in some maggots ( now that they had come back to life ) six meters to my right where there was a bit of room and while this settled i put in a new swim a section further out but this time i kinder potted in some maggots , i laid my rig in so that it would allow for a slow fall of the double maggot hook bait and i got plenty indications but they wasnt from the required species with lots of small silvers coming to the bank .

I noticed a few bubbles coming up from my maggot swim so i quickly changed rigs and dropped on it , i didn’t have to wait too long before i began catching and these were the ones that i wanted with some nice stamp f1s heading my way , after a while it went quiet so i put in another cup full of maggots and plumbed up a new swim for pellets this produced a couple more f1s among the skimmers but it was noticeable that now the wind had changed direction blowing the skum towards my left the bites were hard to come by . All of a sudden my maggot swim erupted like a jacuzzi so i took the opportunity to drop on to it and my float had only just settled before the elastic ripped out of my pole , i then had a quite a fight with a big carp on very light tackle and luckily i managed to keep it away from my neighbouring angler before scooping it into the net which was a nice bonus .

With ninety minutes of the match remaining i was bursting for a pee but couldn’t risk getting up disturbing my swims with the water being so shallow and i was also feeling a bit fatigued from my long day , it definitely had a bearing on the remaining time of my match as i got really lazy in not setting up new swims and i didn’t even go across to the far-bank reeds which i had left till late on as i expected the f1s to settle there in numbers and it just goes to show how these things can affect your fishing especially when you are unfit . It was soon time for the all out and i was unsure how i had got on i reckoned that i had beat those lads within eye shot but with my section having 12 anglers in so there was plenty people who i could not see , when the scales came round my way i had 82lb to beat but my 48 f1s plus mixed bag of silvers only went 80lb so yet again i managed second in section for about the 5th match running ( when will my luck change )

When i got back to the cabin i had a word with a couple of the lads i knew and it seemed that lots of people had struggled to put a run of fish together especially on high pool which is the one lake that i fancied drawing today , the match was won from extension peg 22 with 150lb strangely for Tunnel Barn there was only five tons from the two hundred people here even though it was six-hour match and my weight got me 15th out of all the anglers attending the event which i am pleased about but feel that i had a chance of catching a ton if i had been a bit more on the ball towards the end of the match .


But the main reason we were here was to raise money for the England disabled team which was nearly two grand and of course the North won for the second year running (never in doubt with the quality we had in the North)  although it was a lot closer than any of us wanted with just three points separating the two teams , i would like to thank Gary Bull and Carl Shepherdson plus all the other people ( too many to mention ) for taking the time to support such a good cause .


So on to the next match at the weekend which will be the Natural Bait Festival at Weston Pools and to be honest i can’t bloody wait .

Tunnel barn farm M and M match

May 28th , peg 27 Jennies pool

Today i was contesting a match at Tunnel barn farm which had been organised by David Marshall through his Facebook page Match anglers matches its format was a dozen qualifiers taking place on various dates over the coming weeks and if you win your five peg section you would qualify for the big money final that was back here at Tunnel barn it sounds simple enough but this competition has grabbed the attention of some big name anglers which should make things interesting , i originally was going to use it as some practice for the Pole Fishing Masters due to a few personal matters meant i had to cancel the festival but i was still looking forward to fishing this match because Tunnel barn farm is a very impressive fishery on its day although recently the weights had been a bit patchy especially on Jennies pool which was one of the lakes in the draw bag the other being Club pool so you can guess which everyone wanted to be on .

With the venue being over a hundred miles away so another early start was required and i began packing the van at around six o’clock ,the trip down went pretty smoothly and i even had time to stop off for some breakfast on the services before arriving at the fishery just after eight . As i was a bit early i had a quick look round the two pools and i noticed that they had done a bit of work since my last visit cutting down quite a lot of trees overhanging the water on the islands , after walking back to the cabin i met a couple of friendly faces so we had a chat while we where waiting for the draw to take place when it came for my pick i pulled out peg 27 on Jennies pool not exactly were i wanted to be but at least i had a bit of ripple and i also had one of my mates a couple of pegs down in the same section so it should be an interesting few hours .


My peg was a touch over 14m wide towards the far-banks although i didn’t have a proper mud bank to target , i also had an aerator towards my right but i had the rope preventing me from going right into the corner so i decided to set up ;

Top three margin where it was three-foot deep on either side and i felt this would cause all sorts of trouble in the sunny conditions , i used an 0.4 joof float with a staggered bulk along the 014 garbo main line and with the average stamp being quite big in here i also stepped up my hook length to an 012 garbo which had a size 16 lwg attached .

Top five in the channel it was five foot deep and as i would be feeding meat by hand there i used a 4×12 speedy float with a bulk plus two droppers which would allow for a slow fall of the hook bait in the bottom third of the water , i had my usual 014 garbo main line and a six-inch length of 012 garbo which had a size 18 lwg hook attached .

Far-bank towards the left of my peg at the side of the reeds after plumbing up i found 3.5ft in a couple of spots but nothing any shallower so i used a 4×12 maggie float which had a bulk plus dropper shotting pattern and i used 014 garbo main line with an 012 garbo hook length which had a size 18 lwg hook attached .

Shallow for fishing among the far-bank reeds and also in the channel at 11m , i used an 02 matrix series three float with 012 garbo main line which had an 010 garbo hook length .

Bait for the day was ;

three pints of meat

three pints of fishery 4mm pellets

small tub of mixed hard pellets

Just before the all in i had a nice ripple blowing into my peg with a few carp milling about in the margins and i couldn’t wait to get started , i began my match by feeding a small cupping kit full of meat on my channel swim before dropping onto my right hand margin hoping that i might snare a quick carp or two i did manage one nearly 4lb but it was hard work especially when the wind dropped and all the fish were more interested in sunbathing , i decided to give my margin swim a big hit of bait thinking that it might get them back on the deck feeding but it turned out to be a big mistake as i got liner after liner and i had to stop fishing there until it settled down a bit .

I had been loose feeding meat on my channel swim for the past forty minutes and i had noticed some bubbles coming up so i felt a few f1s might have settled on it , i layed my rig in to the side which would allow for a slow fall of the hookbait and every time my float settled i had a little dink on the float but yet again when using meat i just struggled to hit them it was really doing my head in ! ! I began firing some pellets against the far-bank rushes as this would be my next move if i couldn’t get the channel swim to work , i shortened my lash between float+pole tip plus added a couple of back shot to help me hit the tiny indications and to some extent it worked because i had a little run of four f1s all of which were over a pound , i had fed a large kinder pot of meat after every fish and it seemed that i had over done it even feeding that little amount because the f1s moved out being replaced by tiny hand sized skimmers not what i wanted to be catching.

I decided to go on my long line starting on the deck with a 6mm cube of meat and this got me a couple of quick fish including a carp about 4lb but with the sunny weather all the fish were cruising along the island causing me to have lots of liners so out came the shallow rig set at half depth , i began pinging pellets across and also onto my 11m swim to try to get them competing up in the water because a couple of lads towards my left were catching well shallow but they had the benefit of a little ripple whereas the anglers near me were struggling for bites . My across rig really failed to get going as all i could manage was a couple of lost foul hooked f1s and it seemed the fish was more interested in sunbathing than feeding , i then suffered a ninety minute spell of failing to put a single thing in the net and i had to resort to big potting on all my lines but this did not work either and probably made things even worse , it was only in the last hour when i started catching it coincided with the sun going in plus a move of swims along the far-bank closer to the right hand side aerator rope and i just kinder potted four cubes of meat then kept my rig still over the top by doing this i managed five f1s in a twenty-minute spell , i was just getting into the swing of things when disaster struck as i foul hooked a carp which took me around the corner under the rope as i tried to stop the fish going into my neighbours swim the hook pulled causing my rig to tangle around the rope and on pulling for a break the float shattered , so with time running out i dropped onto my right hand margin and i managed four f1s plus two carp on meat before the all out came it was far too soon for my liking .

The tunnel barn staff came round to do the weigh in and i was first with my two nets going a very disappointing 36lb there was also a similar weight to my left before they got better around the corner where there was two high 80lb nets but they was far from the norm as most people had less than fifty pounds , the lads on club had got on a lot better with a couple of tons plus lots of high 70lb so well done to everyone who qualified for the final and it was a strange old match giving me plenty to think about and with my van breaking down on the motorway on my way home meaning i had a four-hour wait to get towed home it gave me plenty of time to asses how it went , so if i manage to get it sorted in time my next match will be the fisho qualifier at oaks next saturday i just hope that i have a bit more luck on that one .


pole fishing and match fishing subscriber classic at Tunnel barn farm

September 11th , peg two Top pool


Well the time has come for me to contest the pole and match fishing subscriber classic at Tunnel barn farm this is my first attempt at this competition but it certainly will not be my last , the only trouble with fishing tunnel barn was the early start needed to get there and today was earlier than usual with the rolling draw starting at 830 so i needed to get up at 5am so i could meet my mate at Llymn as for a change i wasn’t required to do the driving . The trip to the venue went extremely smoothly apart from the usual fifty mph zones and traffic build up towards Birmingham and we had a chat on how we would approach the match today . we arrived just after 8am which gave us time to grab a bacon buttie then have a quick look around the lakes which would be in the match and of all those that we saw i really didn’t fancy fishing Top pool as i had not really heard any good reports from this water and as we arrived back at the cabin we joined the queue for the draw towards the rear .The draw went smoothly as expected when Tom and Joe are running the event for a change my drawing hand let me down as i pulled out peg two on Top pool but to be fair it was in probably the best area of the lake but all ideas of a framing place had gone out of the window so concentrating on a section or maybe lake win was my aim of the day , on arriving at my home for the next few hours i found it situated in the bowl towards the rear of the lake it had an island straight in front which was 13m away and i then had two nice reed lined margins although on plumbing up they were pretty deep at over three-foot the only down side was that i was stuck in the middle of three anglers both of which seemed to be on better more consistent pegs .


I decided to fish three areas of my peg ;

Far-bank at the side of the reeds where i had plumbed up to find three-foot which i felt was a bit deep for a positive rig so decided to use a 4×10 Joof float this would allow me to let the hook bait fall slowly through the water layers , my main line was 014 garbo with a 012 hook-length which had a size 18 Matrix rigger hook attached and a micro bait band .

Mud-line under the overhanging trees and here i found the ideal depth of 18 inch which enabled me to use a positive size 04 Ruddy float with 014 garbo main line and a 012 garbo hook-length this had a size 18 Matrix rigger hook attached and a micro bait band .

Shallow this was situated at five meters towards the left side of my swim and i had two rigs set up one at 1ft the other at 2ft they both consisted of a 4×8 Preston chianti float with 012 garbo direct to a size 20 Matrix bagger hook .

Margin-line i plumbed up carefull on both my left and right hand sides trying to find the shallowest water possible and i managed to get a depth of two foot on my left hand side which was just in a little cut out of the reeds it was level for about a foot before gradually going deeper , i used a 4×12 Malman Speedy float with 014 garbo main line and hook length i used a size 18 Matrix bagger hook .

As we did not know which lake we would be on before the draw i decided to keep things a bit simple so i just had on my side tray ;

Four pints of red+white maggots

Three pints of fishery 4mm pellets

Mixed tub of hard hook pellets


As the all in sounded my first line of attack was against the far-bank rushes with pellet and i tapped in a kinder pot full of 4mm before lowering in my banded 6mm among it , no sooner had my float settled than it dipped under with a 2lb mirror carp hitting the net before the other anglers within eye shot had stopped feeding there swims . I went straight back out and missed an indication instantly but then the guy to my right hit into a carp which went straight through my swim this was always going to be a problem with the pegging being so tight it buried itself directly into the reeds where i had fished this understandably killed my peg so i decided to try my mud-bank line ,yet again i tapped in some 4mm pellets before lowering my rig in among it and it took a couple of lift+drops before i began getting indications but i didn’t have to wait long before i had my first f1 unfortunately my next couple of fish found an underwater obstruction no doubt it was a branch from the overhanging tree and i had no alternative than to plumb up a new swim further to my left i managed to find a similar depth although it was under some low branches which could make striking into bites a bit problematic .I managed a few fish from this new swim but it just didn’t feel right upon looking around the lake other people were similar to me in just picking up the odd carp it seemed that they had switched off with some many anglers here it is also a lake that does not hold that many matches so struggled to cope with the pressure , i had fed my shallow line for the past ninety minutes and after having seen a couple of swirls i picked up my deep shallow rig hoping that they might be f1s but as it turned out they were just ide around the 6oz mark not really what i wanted to catch although i was getting one a bung , i was netting around six fish to the others single carp or f1 for a similar weight and i spent around forty minutes doing this it was really good fishing the only real downside was that i needed to break my pole down when netting them because of the hill behind me this slowed my catch rate down i figured i was in front for the section but when the guy on peg three landed a double figure carp i knew i wouldn’t catch him up by catching ide so i made the decision to concentrate on my margin swim which i had fed for the last ninety minutes .I laid my rig in against the side of the reeds where i had earlier been big potting in maggots+pellets no sooner had my float settled than it dipped under but it wasn’t the carp i needed but small perch and they was there in numbers and i decided on a re-feed before going back across on to my original swim against the reeds i picked up a couple more f1s but it was very slow going , i was going nowhere fast and i decided to put all my eggs in one basket by concentrating on my margin swim for the remaining ninety minutes as this usually gets me out of trouble on most matches these days . The only trouble was that the small fish were still there in numbers which had me thinking on how i could get among the carp+f1s on the spur of the moment i decided to try hard pellet because that was what bait i was using when i fished across so i bit my hook length off replacing it with one containing a bait band , first drop with my new hook bait and no sooner had it settled than it dipped under thinking that it was yet another small silver i half heartedly lifted into the indication but my elastic shot out with my first f1 hitting the net in what seemed like an age but it gave me renewed hope that my margin swim would finally come good .In the next twenty minutes i began picking up the odd decent fish it was by no means hectic but my weight was ticking along nicely , it didn’t take to long before i had more problems to solve because now the fish were getting really cute because when i lifted into the bites the fish were now burying themselves straight into the reeds and my elastic wasn’t powerful enough to pull them away yet again this got me tearing my hair out especially as the fish had moved an underwater obstruction meaning i was now getting snagged up on that too . I decided to set up a new swim a bit closer to me although it was slightly deeper i found it to be a bit more snag free and it produced a good run of barbel+f1s right up to the all out whistle , i was a bit unsure at just how i had got out but i reckoned that i had around forty pounds and my main challenger for the section on peg three was admitting to the same so it was all down to the scales man and after what seemed like an age the finally turned up my neighbour had 43lb and my net just scraped 46lb which was more than i thought luckily this was enough to pick up the section i was still a little down heartened as i felt i had enough fish in my peg to contest for a low ton weight which would have been enough for me to frame .IMG-20150911-00762

On getting back to the cabin we had our pre match baked potato while we waited for the official results my mate had also won his section and lake so it was a profitable trip , it was soon time for the lads to read out who had done what and it turned out that 110lb had been enough to win with 100lb being enough to frame . So after picking up our money plus a bucket full of bait we headed on out two-hour trip home and it called time on my trips to Tunnel barn farm for the year but i can’t wait to get back there again . Next up on the horizon is my natural bait festival at Weston pools i hope to fit in a few trips there before that starts at the end of September and then it will be back on Partridge lakes for some cold weather f1 fishing with pellets it has been a good few months since my last visit and i can not wait to get back there .



Tunnel barn , Jennys pool

August 28th , peg 19 Jenny’s pool


After i had fished the Friday flyer i decided to fish Jenny’s pool for a couple of hours while the rush hour traffic eased it is somewhere that i had always wanted to try because it holds some big stamp f1s+ carp and was a bit disappointed not to draw it in the festival , thankfully the rain had been replaced with blue skies but because it was higher up it was more affected by the wind which made fishing 14m across to the far-bank a bit harder than i would have liked .

There was a few pleasure anglers on it so i decided to sit on peg 19 which was just on the brink of the ripple and as it was blowing right to left the wind was a bit more manageable , after plumbing up at the side of the reeds i found a good 4ft and decided to use a 4×14 malman roob float with 0.14 garbo main line and an 0.12 garbo hook length which had a size 18 matrix bagger hook . I was unsure about what bait to use but seeing as though i had plenty maggots left i decided to kick off using them and also planned on feeding heavier after seeing + hearing the other anglers on the Friday flyer .IMG-20150828-00735I kicked off by putting in a big pot of maggots in then went over the top of it with red+white on the hook my float had only just settled before my float dipped under resulting in a 2 lb f1 hitting the net , went straight back out and five minutes later i was into a proper lump after a spirited fight a near double figure mirror carp graced the bank . Unfortunately the next few bites only resulted in small silvers and with time running out i made a tactical decision of changing to pellets so i put another big pot in of 4mm this time i would also feed with a large kinder pot after every couple of fish , this seemed the best way to go as i was soon catching an f1 a chuck but i also began missing a few bites this meant shipping back in too put another pellet on and i decided to change to banded pellet , this did not have an effect on my frequency of bites but helped increase my catch rate .


After nearly an hour i had thirty pounds on my clicker but my fishing got disrupted by the sight of someone’s top four came sailing past embedding itself straight into the exact spot where i was fishing , so after spending the next ten minutes trying to help him rescue it disrupting my swim in the process it drifted off in the opposite direction and sank . So after changing my tangled rig and re-plumbing a new swim i went back out depositing a kinder pot full of pellets before lowering in my hook-bait among it , just like before i was straight into some nice f1s which was surprising following all the disturbance and after two hours i called time on my session with fifty pounds on my clicker .


Tunnel barn Friday flyer , club pool

August 28th , peg 11


With the subscriber classic run by pole+match fishing magazine in a few weeks time i decided to have a trip to Tunnel barn farm and see how things had changed since my last visit a couple of months ago , i also wanted to try a few of the waters that i hadn’t fished before especially Jenny’s which is a prolific match water with some big carp + f1s .After ringing up during the week to see what lakes would be free i got told the Friday flyer would be on canal pool and although i had fished it before it was water that i liked so i decided that i would fish that if i got to the venue on time  i then wanted to have a few hours on Jenny’s after it because hopefully that would mean i should miss the rush hour traffic .

After waking up pretty early on the morning of my trip to Tunnel barn i grabbed some breakfast before packing the car with my fishing gear the weather was forecast to a bit breezy with scattered showers but looked quite nice when i set off at 6am with blue skies between the grey clouds it was also reasonably warm at 12 degrees , the drive down went well apart from the usually 50mph zones and getting through Birmingham i finally arrived at the complex around 830 which was just in time to book on the open before the 9am draw .


I ended up on peg 11 which was your usually end peg flyer with the wind blowing my way i just hope that i dont mess this peg up like i usually do , i wanted a nice easy match and decided to fish a few areas which would give me plenty options these were ;

Margin 0.4 jeff’s ruddy float with 0.16 garbo main line with 0.14 garbo hook length which had a size 14 matrix bagger hook i also used yellow size 14 matrix elastic .

Top kit 4×12 malman roob float with 0.14 garbo main line with 0.12 garbo hook length which had a size 18 matrix bagger hook i also used red size 12 matrix elastic .

Six meter channel line 4×14 malman roob float with 0.14  garbo main line with 0.12 garbo hook length which had a size 18 matrix bagger hook i also used red size 12 matrix elastic .

Shallow over my channel swim , 4×8 preston chianti float with 0.12 garbo main line with 0.10 garbo hook length which had a size 20 matrix bagger hook i also used orange size 10 matrix elastic .

Far-bank 4×10 malman roob i later changed to a 4×14 when the wind got a bit stronger with 0.14  garbo main line with 0.12 garbo hook length which had a size 18 matrix bagger hook i also used red size 12 matrix elastic .IMG-20150828-00730

With no bait limits at Tunnel barn i decided to take with me ;

4 pints fishery 4mm pellets

2 pints corn

2 pints mixed maggots

tub 4+6mm expanders

I was set up well before the start of the match which gave me time to have a good look at my peg and give me a plan on how i would hopefully get the most out of it , the all in soon sounded and i kicked off on my top kit between my nets this didn’t work on my last visit here so i was keen not to waste too much time fishing it if it wasn’t producing after depositing a large kinder pot full of 4mm pellets then lowered my expander hook bait among it , a couple of lift+drops off my rig and my float dipped a firm strike resulted in a few yards of elastic streaming from my pole tip before i netted a near 5lb mirror carp . A couple more slightly smaller carp followed and after an hour i had 20lb on my clicker and if i kept up my catch rate i should be on for a ton , predictably my starting line began to die on me but i had been loose feeding maggots at six meters which gave me somewhere to go although i hadn’t seen anything swirling i decided to have a quick look shallow but as i expected i never caught anything apart from small silvers , i didn’t waste too much time before going on the deck and time management is something that I’m trying to improve on recently as i feel this is costing me from catching bigger weights .


On my channel line i began getting plenty indications but not from carp or f1s but small silvers yet again and i felt that maggots just wasnt right today so i began kinder potting a mixture of pellets and corn , with a piece of corn on the hook i started picking up the odd carp again but halfway through the match and i still had not caught an f1 or gone across to the island but i did have nearly 40lb on my clicker a bit of my target and i still had my main lines to fish . With the wind getting increasingly stronger it probably wasn’t the best time to go across but i was itching to give it ago plus my other lines had dried up on me although i did keep feeding them in case things didn’t go to plan i also began putting cups of corn+pellets onto my margin at the side of the reeds , luckily i hadn’t decided to fish really tight to the far-bank so i could leave a longish lash between pole and float by adding a couple of back shots this helped me keep the rig steady enough to hopefully attract a few bites .

By feeding a large kinder pot full of pellets then working my rig over the top i began attracting a few fish into my swim and i soon began catching f1s plus the odd carp i had a good spell of catching one every few minute but after a while i began foul hooking fish losing six on the bounce even changing to a bigger hook didn’t solve the problem so i decided to set up a new swim a couple of feet to my right at the side of some reeds but this time i used maggots , first drop on my new line with double maggot on the hook produced a big carp which was a good start but apart from another f1 that was it from there other than small silvers taking the hook bait on the drop .IMG-20150828-00736

With ninety minutes remaining it was time for my banker margin line this worked extremely well when i last fished it i hadn’t seen any fish movement but the water where i had potted bait in had got a bit cloudier so i expected a few fish to be present and there was but i had a hell of a job getting them on the hook in fact i only managed two , i lowered my rig in with a 6mm expander on the hook and i was getting plenty liners but no proper bites when my float eventually dipped under a firm strike resulted in a small f1 hitting the net not what i wanted , a change of hook bait to a heavier double hook bait which nailed it to the bottom as i felt the carp were wafting the bait of the bottom this kind of worked as my next fish was another mirror carp but i then had trouble with carp hitting my line then bolting out of the swim and i decided to waste anymore time on this line preferring to go back across as the wind had dropped a little .

Luckily my original swim had settled down a bit and i had another good spell of catching f1s including a mirror carp right on the whistle for the all out , i knew that i hadn’t done enough to trouble the leaders because the lad too my right had bagged up in the last half of the match fishing paste on his top kit catching mainly mirror carp and the lad on the opposite corner peg 12 had also done well using paste by alternating both his margin swims, there was also a few other big weights towards the other end of the lake . I was a bit disappointed on how my match went but i felt that i had learned a great deal which was the main reason that i had gone in the first place and with every lake being in the draw bag I’m really looking forward to fishing the 180 pegger there in a few weeks time , before that im off back to Weston pools to contest the rover match on bank holiday monday so i better start checking the recent results to find out the hot pegs .