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 .