Weston pools fishery , natural bait festival 2017

September 22nd and 23rd

Today i was back at the impressive Weston pools fishery for my third attempt at natural bait festival which i was really looking forward too especially with the added twist of not being able to use pellets or ground-bait and so far i have made a progression from mid way on my first attempt where i was way out of my depth , to finishing just out of the top ten last year after winning my lake on the first day then ending up a disappointing fifth on Stretton the next day missing out on third by just 5lb which would have put me in a framing place , so it would be interesting to see if i had improved my fishing although i hadn’t been here a great deal in the previous  months which wasnt the best preparation for the festival , i think that this style of fishing really suits me because I’m an angler that struggles to catch big weights and win matches but am always there about in my section which is what you need to do in these style of events , no doubt i would do even better on the longer five-day contests but i suffer with my sleeping when i am away and my second day always lets me down i just hope things are a bit different this year .

After my early start i headed off on my sixty mile journey to the fishery which didn’t take to long as its nearly all motorway miles and i arrived just after eight o’clock which gave me plenty time to book on before getting a breakfast from the clubhouse , as usual on these events there was plenty big names knocking about plus most of the Welsh national squad as well as a few venue regulars and i feel it’s important not to let yourself to become star struck because they are just normal people even if you do see and hear about them all over social media , just like you and me they do suffer at the draw bag but they are also great lads to talk too and very approachable this took me quite awhile to get my head around which definitely affected my matches on festivals and big qualifiers .

Before too long it was time for the draw and this year the points would be for five peg sections and not full lakes which i felt would be better for me although it could mean that a few anglers would be tied at the top at the end of the two days , the rotation would be either Stretton+Belvedere  on the first day or Weir+Canal on the next day depending on where you drew on todays straight draw , the only lake i did not fancy drawing was canal because i had not fished it for quite some time . Strangely i ended up right at the back of the queue as i was too busy talking to a few lads i hadn’t seen for quite a while and when it came round for my turn in the bag of doom i pulled out peg one on Belvedere which i was a bit unsure about because it was a bit deeper down this end of the water plus i was up against two anglers on the pads but i would be giving it my best shot .

When i arrived at my home for the next few hours i was a peg away from the Lily pads which i could just about reach at 16 meters if i needed too and i had plenty open water to target plus a reed lined margin with a spare platform either side of me , things looked really promising and with previous knowledge of the venue i chose to target the resident carp today and decided to set up ;

Rig for in between my nets in three-foot and i used a 4×16 joof float which had a bulk of stotz above my six-inch 016 garbo hook length , my main line was 018 garbo and elastic was Preston size 15 hollo this might seem over the top but the fish will be under the platform in a blink of an eye so you need plenty of oomph to prevent this happening .

Rig for at the bottom of the near slope in 4ft and i used a 4×14 joof float which had a staggered bulk starting above the six-inch 014 garbo hook length this would allow me to flick my rig out so that it fell along the slope this worked really well for me on my last visit here .

Rig at six meters in deeper water and i used a 4×14 joof float with a bulk and dropper shotting pattern my main line was 016 garbo which had a 014 garbo hook length attached to it .

A shallow rig for fishing over my above rig and i would be loose feeding casters so used a 4×10 mini mag float with a bulk of stotz above the four-inch 012 garbo hook length .

Rig for at the front of each platform in three-foot and i used a 0.4 diamond shaped float with a glass stem my main line was 016 garbo which had a 014 garbo hook length attached .

Bait for the day was ;

3 pints of casters

1 tin of hemp

2 tins of corn

When the match started i fed my six meter swim with a pot of casters and i would keep an eye on it to see when it began fizzing , while i waited i had a quick look between my nets without feeding anything but ten minutes past without so much as a liner and i then tried throwing a couple of grains of corn around my float hoping that the plop of it going in might attract the attention of any passing carp , after another five minutes i got my first bite which was a common about four pounds and i then suffered with missed bites which turned out to me hand sized crucians so the carp must have been a loner . Thinking that the fish might be in deeper water with the recent drop in temperature plus over night rain so i picked up my top three rig and i kinder potted in some hemp plus a few grains of corn this produced a couple of quick carp but without getting another indication in twenty minutes i chose to rest this swim for the time being .

I had earlier noticed that my six meter line had fizzed and now that it had subsided with just the odd bubble coming up i decided to give it a try  my reason behind this was i expected the small stockies+silvers to be first on the scene which would attract the attention of the bigger fish , first drop on this swim  my float dipped under a sharp strike resulted in a two-pound ide coming to the bank not exactly what i had in mind another similar sized fish quickly followed so i decided to start pinging casters and picked up my shallow rig but this only produced small silvers , back on my deck rig and i only managed the odd bite from nothing proper so i put in another pot of casters then left it to settle .

I went back onto my top three-line and had a bite instantly which took off like a rocket heading towards the lily pads so i had to clamp up on the top kit which resulted in my hook length snapping and it was either a foul hooked carp or one of the big barbel in here , i should have learned my lesson and stepped up my hook length because my next fish after a spirited fight darted in between my nets resulting in another breakage . After that i just couldn’t get a bite close in and just picked up a couple more big ide off my caster swim ,after two hours that was all I had in the net which probably went under twenty pounds things wasnt going to well but those anglers within eye shot was struggling just like me .


But when the rain came and it got cloudier for some reason I began to start catching again on my close in swims resulting in half a dozen carp , i decided to stop putting feed in on my six meter swim as it was resulting in just silvers and began loose feeding caster heavily between my nets because i felt this was my best opportunity to do a big weight , i kept trying it every so often during the match and i would get a couple of quick barbel before bites slowed down so i kept resting it by going on my margin line which i fed one side with a kinder pot of corn+hemp the other with a big pot , it was very noticeable that my negatively feed line was by far the best producing a good run of carp but even just putting that little amount of bait in i began suffering with  liners and with just forty minutes of the match remaining i replumbed up my margin line near the empty platform tight to the bank in two foot and i managed four more carp before the all out sounded .

I was the first to weigh in on the lake and ended up with just less than 80lb which was good enough for a section win and fourth on the lake so i managed a good performance on the first day and its all still too play for , back at the club house after the food they had put on and a couple of beers it was time for the day one results to be read out yet again there was plenty weights over a ton with 155lb taking the win and well done to all the section winners+framers , it was then time for the draw for day two i was praying to get on Weir pool as it had performed best today and even though i was a section winner i had the lowest weight so needed a bagging day tomorrow , i went for an early dip in the bag of doom like i usually do but i pulled out peg 46 canal not great and after looking at the results it only produced a low 70lb today for third in section , after speaking to a few of the lads who fished that area of the lake there was a lack of f1s in the area and i had to find a way of catching the resident carp if i wanted to challenge for good section points so off i went to book into my digs before going to the pub for a few more beers after speaking to my mate i had come up with a bit of a plan and was feeling a bit more positive about day two of the festival .


After the usual crappy nights sleep it was time for the second day of the natural bait festival at Weston pools and on arrival i grabbed a fried breakfast before getting my gear ready because you are only allowed on your peg at 930 I was on 46 canal which I heard was an alright draw for good section points but no chance of getting a weight big enough to frame and before i headed to my home for the next few hours i decided to call at the on site tackle shop for some maggots because i had a sneaky feeling that with all the pressure from yesterday it was going to be hard work today .

I decided to set up ;

Top kit between by nets in three-foot of water and i used a 4×16 joof float with a bulk of stotz above my six-inch 014 garbo hook length , main line was 016 garbo and hook a size 14 lwg guru .

Margin rig top three towards my right in a cut out near the reeds , i found it to me quite flat and just over two feet so i used a 0.4 diamond float my main line was 016 garbo which had a six-inch 014 garbo hook length attached to it .

Top five towards my left at the bottom of the near slope where it was four-foot deep and i planned to fish maggots on this line , i used a 4×12 maggie float with a bulk+dropper shotting pattern my main line was 014 garbo and hook length was six-inch of 012 garbo attached to it was a size twenty guru lwg hook .

Six meter line in the deepest water that i could find if the fish had backed off away from the near bank it was almost six-foot deep so i used a 4×14 joof float with a bulk+dropper shotting pattern and my main line was 016 garbo which had a six-inch 014 garbo hook length .

Bait for the day was ;

3 pints of maggots

2 tins of corn

1 tin of hemp

When the all in sounded i started on my top kit between the nets with corn on the hook and like on the previous day at first i did not feed anything , after about ten minutes i began getting little indications on my float which showed that there was something in the swim i didn’t have to wait too long before i had a proper bite which I bumped on the strike, I then had to wait ages for another one which turned out to be a crucian so i put a bit of bait in and left it for a while .I then had a look down my right hand margin which I had been told was the best place to fish from the lad on it the day before and he caught a few carp using corn , so decided to follow suit and kinder potted in some hemp+corn before lowering my rig over the top of it but this just got me some tiny indications and more crucians things was not going to well i did expect it to be a bit difficult but not this hard .

I decided to switch to my maggot rig five meters towards my left at the side of some reed’s and i began kinder potting in some maggots at first i kept catching small hand sized ide on the drop , so i altered my shotting putting it all above the hook length to get my bait to the deck quickly which helped a great deal as i now began catching a bigger stamp of silver and the odd stockie which was a bit more promising .After two hours I had about twenty pounds in the net things wasn’t going to well as i needed a big weight to be in with a chance of framing , I didn’t really know what else to do but for some reason I just tried my maggot rig between my nets and this finally got me a good run of f1s but i had to really work my rig to get a bite .

For the next two hours I rotated between my top kit and top four towards my left and picked up a few f1s and it was all going swimmingly i felt i was well in contention for the section win but i made the mistake of forcing the peg as i started throwing maggots on both lines the constant feeding brought in the barbel which was fun on my light elastic and after getting broken a few times I stepped up my hook length from an 012 to 014 which got me the barbel but reduced the amount of bites from the f1s.My last hour was really slow for me and I struggled to put anything in the net apart from a stray carp which must have got lost down this end of the lake , i kept trying my right hand margin swim but surprisingly it never got going for me as the lad on here yesterday had three-quarters of his weight from this area of his peg .

when the all out sounded i felt that i hadn’t got the most out of my peg and should have just fished a nice tidy match kinder potting in maggots for the f1s but like i said earlier i felt that i needed a good weight today plus a section win , but trying to do the first meant i neglected the second because when the scales arrived i managed just short of 70lb comfortably beating those either side of me who struggled for 20lb but the other lad in the bay which fished shocking on the first day did remarkably well catching a ton from down the edge , so this left me second in section and a top ten finish in the festival with three points which I would have been pleased at the start although by trying to get to much from my peg i over did the feed and blew my chance of finishing fifth although that would have been first out of the money .

So i was feeling a mixture of happiness and regret when the results were announced as i felt i had wasted a good chance today but that’s the way it goes sometimes , i would like to say well done to all those involved in running the festival and all the anglers taking part , i am already looking forward to doing it all again next year and i would recommend it to everyone because it really is a great experience .



Natural bait festival at Weston pools 2016

September 23rd and 24th


Today i was attending the natural bait festival at Weston pools fishery near Oswestry and it is somewhere that i always enjoy fishing because there is nothing like it around the North West area , i had contested the event last year to be honest i was well out of my depth getting smashed up on both days but sometimes that is how you learn and my recent form had been quite reasonable , i was confident of catching a few fish but i had put that improvement down to pellet fishing and that type of bait wasnt allowed in this festival so i had to have a bit of a rethink on what to use over the two days , especially as they had increased the limit allowed to eight pints and i settled on five units of maggots + two tins of corn for both days i felt this would allow me to cover my options which ever lake that i drew on .

On the morning of the first match i had an early than usual start because they wanted everybody to be at the fishery before nine o’clock so it would give them time to sort things out before the draw took place and with me travelling down on Friday i also had to contend with the rush hour traffic as well , so i decided to set off at seven o’clock and this got me there with plenty time to spare even after stopping of for breakfast at mcds on the way there . When i finally arrived at Weston pools there was plenty big names knocking about including a few of the Welsh national squad and lots of sponsored  anglers plus the usual faces from Partridge lakes + Local lads , after confirming my attendance at the tackle shop we then had a bit of a wait before the draw was due to take place so i had a bit of a stroll round the lakes and then had a chat with a few friendly faces and i know plenty of people on the bank these days , it is times like these that it would be nice to travel down with someone so you could share the experience but most of the lads i fish with do not want to be taken out of their comfort zone which is a shame because you learn a hell of a lot competing against the class anglers .

When i got back to the club house it was nearly time to hit the draw bag but before that they confirmed the fishery rules and told us that there was going to be two lakes of 15 anglers which were canal+stretton then three lakes of 12 which were weir+belvedere+claypit so if you drew a lake with 12 the day after you would fish a 15 and the other way round if you drew the big number first , as the mad rush to pick a peg started i decided to hang back towards the rear while i waited for my turn and for hopefully a change luck i tried my left hand which got me peg six on weir pool after speaking to a few people i wasnt in the best area of the lake but will catch a few fish so things looked promising .


When i got to my home for the next few hours it looked really nice as do most pegs on here with a long reed lined margin on both sides but the one thing i like about Weir pool is that everybody has exactly the same set of features but one advantage that i had was the wind was blowing in my face , i decided on a rather simple match as i figured this would be the best way to catch a big weight so i just set up ;

Shallow , with the steep hill behind me i was limited to fishing eleven meters but the wind prevented me from being accurate with the catty any further out anyway , i set up two rigs one at a foot the other two foot i used a 0.1 matrix series three float with three number eleven stotz spread down the 012 garbo main line and attached was a six inch 010 garbo hook length .

Deck rig for under my shallow line and i used a 3×12 maggie float with a bulk plus dropper shotting pattern , main line was the usual 014 garbo and hook length was six inch of 012 garbo .

Top three swim , this is often a line which can produce really well on most lakes so i expected to catch most of my fish from here and with plenty carp in this lake i decided to up my gear a little , i used a 0.3 maggie float with a staggered bulk shotting pattern along the 014 garbo main line and attached was a six inch length of 014 garbo with a size 14 hook because i planned on fishing corn here .

Margin swim , top four to my right in a little cut out between the reeds where after plumbing up i found it to be eight inch shallower than my left hand swim , i used a 4×14 float with 014 garbo main line and 014 garbo hook length which had a size 16 hook attached because i was going to pot in maggots .

Bonus fish line which i pinched of Jamie Hughes and i expected to catch some big barbel from right between my keepnets so i needed to really beef up my tackle because the fish would drag me under the platform straight away , i used 016 garbo main line with a six inch length of 014 garbo hook length with a size 14 hook and elastic was solid size twenty .

I started my match on my top three swim directly in front of me with corn on the hook and as they usually catch well on the Weir throwing pellets round there float i decided to replicate that by using corn hopping the plop of it going in would attract some fish into my swim i was also keen not to over do it so that when the carp came in there would not be a lot of bait on the deck so that they would pick up my hook bait more easily , this worked remarkably well as i managed to catch eight fish in the first hour for nearly forty pounds and had only used a handful of bait but understandably bites began to drop off plus i was now catching the odd crucian which wasnt a good sign so i tried upping the feed with a large kinder pot but it didn’t really work out .

All the time i had fired maggots onto my shallow swim and i started on my deck rig until i had seen signs of them up in the water but i only picked up a couple of f1s at full depth , i was getting indications on my float showing that they was shallow but when i went on my deeper shallow rig i struggled to hit the bites and on my one foot rig i didn’t even get any bites , it was really confusing and i spent way too long putting hardly anything in the net which wasnt want i wanted after my good start so i didn’t bother with it anymore preferring to concentrate on my close in swims .

Back on my top three line and i picked up a couple more carp+f1s but they wasnt there in any numbers , with two hours of the match remaining i began to pot in some maggots on to my right hand margin and while this settled i had a quick look between my nets if i didn’t get an indication within a minute i would move onto another swim , but no sooner had my float settled than it shot under and this is when the fun started as the barbel tried to drag me under the platform even the size 20 elastic was struggling to keep them out , you had to be really on the ball when the float buried and i had to lunge forward as soon as i had any movement which was really fun as my top kit bent in ninety degree angles , you would probably only get a couple of goes at it before they backed off so it was important i didn’t waste too much time on it without catching .

On my margin swim i began catching straight away and i found it best to keep topping up with a kinder pot then lowering my rig in among it as it fell and i would get a proper bite as soon as it settled , with the margin being nearly four foot deep you was always going to get line bites so i ended up taking a shot of my rig so i could read the bristle better and this helped me put more fish in the net but im not sure i got my feeding correct because they kept backing off , a quick look on my keep net line produced a couple more barbel including one about five pounds which surprisingly swam straight into the open water which made a nice change . In the last ninety minutes i fished the perfect match picking up a couple of fish from each line as i kept rotating the swims and i didn’t lose a single one , the all out came way too soon for my liking and i had 97lb on my clicker plus my silver net which i had put in all my f1s so i reckoned that i had a good ton .

After packing up i knew that i had beat five of the lads on the other side of the lake which i could see and i had to wait for the scales to confirm things , i did not have to wait long before they turned up to start the weigh in and as i had packed my gear away i decided to follow them round to see how everybody had got on because you can’t see many anglers from where i was sitting , there was a 123lb weight from peg two that was still in front when they reached me and my three nets went 143lb which was a lot more than i thought i had , luckily i had decided to put my f1s in the silvers net and these went nearly forty pounds because i normally put them in with the carp which would have put me over the net limit i had also stupidly only brought three nets with me so i had been really fortunate in being able to manage my weight , the rest of the anglers on my lake couldn’t beat my weight so i had somehow managed to finish top which was my best result in any match so far and to be honest i couldn’t really believe it but everything went to plan apart from the middle part when i tried to force them shallow .


Back at the club house they had put on some food while we waited for the placings to get sorted after having a drink and a chat with a few people the time flew by , before i knew it was time for the results and not only had i won my lake i was also the 8th best weight on the day but Weston pools had fished extremely well with thirty tons coming from the 72 anglers and over 6000lb of fish being caught , after all that had got sorted it was time for the draw to take place for the next day and i would be on either Stretton or Canal the former had produced a remarkable ten tons from fifteen anglers where the latter had been a bit of a struggle so obviously i wanted to be on Stretton , yet again i hung back towards the end of the queue i used my left hand to pick out my peg this resulted in me getting Stretton five which was down the arm of the lake out of the main bowl and i had fished this area a couple of times before so i knew what to expect but you really needed the wind to be blowing my way to have a chance of a good weight , after grabbing another drink and having a chat with a few of the lads that had fished the lake i was going to be on tomorrow i made my way on the short drive to my bed and breakfast .


After a pretty crap nights sleep yet again when i stay over somewhere i made my way to the fishery feeling a bit crappy and because we wasnt allowed on to the bank before 1030 am everyone was hanging about on the car park chatting about what they thought would happen today especially as the weather had turned a bit colder with rain + strong winds forecast , it was soon time to make our way to the pegs and as i settled in at my peg i was still not feeling a hundred percent but i felt that i needed at least a top three finish out of the 15 anglers to stand a chance of getting into the top ten anglers overall , but it would be difficult as i had some very good people on Stretton and i decided that my best way to achieve it was not to over complicate things and just fish the same swims as on Weir but i had to use new rigs because it was at least a foot deeper on this lake ;


Top three both to my right and left like the previous day i was going to fish corn just flicking in a couple of pieces around the float every couple of minutes , with the water towing through quite hard i decided to use a heavier 4×14 speedy float with a staggered bulk along the 014 garbo main line and hook length was also 014 garbo .

Margin swim at the side of the empty left hand platform where it was four foot deep so i used a 4×14 float with an inch spread bulk above the six inch 014 garbo hook length .

Top six deck line which was underneath my shallow hand feed maggot swim and i used a 4×14 maggie float with a bulk plus two dropper shotting pattern , my main line was the usual 014 garbo which had a six inch 012 garbo hook length .

I had two shallow rigs set up , one at three foot and the other two foot because i didn’t expect the fish to be really shallow in the weather conditions plus i could always shorten them if they did come further up , i used a 0.2 matrix series three float with 012 garbo main line and a six inch 010 garbo hook length .

Bait for the day was the same as the previous day ;

Six pints of maggots

Two pints of corn


I started my match by fishing on my top three towards my left with corn on the hook and i was throwing the odd piece over the top of the float but it wasnt as hectic as on Weir , it took a good twenty minutes before i had my first bite and then i pulled out of my first two carp which wasnt the start that i wanted with so much at stake , indications on my original line where very hard to come by so i swapped to my right hand swim and after a couple of feeds through a kinder pot i finally began to catch a few carp they was a nice stamp as well . The first hour flew by and i had not really added a lot to my net but i had fed my shallow swim since the start so that was my next port of call , i began on my deck rig but i struggled to get my bait to the bottom with small silvers intercepting the maggots on the way down and i had to alter my shotting pattern putting all the weight just above the hook length , this helped a bit if i did manage to get it to the bottom i would get a nice sized ide or f1 and i went on a good run of catching twenty fish in the next hour but looking round i could see other anglers catching carp from their margins so i had a decision to make on what to do next .

Even though i had caught well on the deck i felt that i was catching the wrong species and was falling behind the other anglers within eye shot so i decided to change tact going all out for carp+f1s , i went back onto my top three swims i chose to big pot maggots on one line to see what response this got me i hoped this might help some f1s+ide to be caught there and by alternating between the two i managed to start catching some nice sized fish , but it was only when i dropped down to an 012 hook length with a 16 hook did i start bagging although this meant i had to be more careful when playing fish and i did lose the odd carp as i tried to get the balance right .With ninety minutes remaining i thought that it was time to drop onto my margin swim at the side of the empty platform and i began big potting in maggots but all i could manage where liners , it was only when i changed to kinder potting in corn did i start catching fish and i had a run of eight carp quite quickly although i do not think i got my feeding quite right as i had a thirty minute spell of foul hooking fish which resulted in a couple of trashed rigs . I decided to leave my margin line to settle down for a bit and went back on my top three this resulted in a couple of near double figure carp , after about twenty minutes i dropped back on my margin thankfully it had settled down a bit and i picked up the odd three pound carp up to the all out which i hoped had got me back into contention .

After packing up a few of the other anglers had made their way to my end of the lake to see how we had got on and a few of them admitted to catching about a ton which is similar to what i felt that i had , it was soon time for the weigh in i hoped that i had done enough to get a top three finish Andy Bennett was first and he put 145lb on the scales which was enough for the lake win , my net went exactly 100lb and i felt it wouldn’t be enough as it turned out i was right because at the other end of the lake there was a 130lb , 104lb , 103lb which knocked me back down to fifth on the lake the latter two weights had really got to me as i only needed one more carp and i must have lost nearly ten during the course of the match but i suppose that’s the way it goes sometimes .

So i ended up with six points from the two matches which was a lot less than i expected before i started the festival and after packing up i made my way to the club house to see who had won what , as it turned out i had finished joint eighth overall which i was made up with but that was until i found out four points would have come forth and that is where i would have finished if i had managed one more carp on the final day so i was feeling a mixture of gutted and pleased at the same time , especially as i doubt that i would get a better chance against the calibre of angler on show over the two days but hopefully i will continue to improve before my next festival at Weston pools in May and i would like to thank everyone involved in running the competition because as per usual it all went smoothly .


I’m going to be fishing Herronbrook then back to Weston pools in the next couple of weeks before the start of my winter league at Old Hough and the teams of four at Partridge lakes  i cant believe how quick this year has gone .


Weston pools natural bait festival 2015

weston pools natural bait festival

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 .

Day two 

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 .