Heronbrook fishery

October 15th

Today i have been back to heronbrook as a guest for the Stockton heath lads it was the second round of the winter league and as it would be my last match here due to another winter league commitment at Old Hough that i have contested for the last few years so i was looking forward to getting a good draw plus catching a few fish but how wrong was i and after yesterdays good result at Partridge lake I came back to earth with a bang .On arriving at the fishery i caught up with the rest of the team before grabbing a breakfast and all the talk was on how hard it might fish because the weather recently had been awful with heavy downpours plus strong winds although it was still quite warm , at the draw i was handed peg sixteen on match lake i got told it was the worst one on the lake and i already knew the lake wasnt fishing great i would have much prepared to be on match pool as at least you was guaranteed a few bites on that water .

At least i could drive round to my home for the next few hours which i knew was a good winter peg due to the fact it was at least five foot deep all over the peg but today though it was very warm for the time of year and I knew it was going to be a struggle , i decided to set up a few rings to cover my options ;

Top kit plus one at the bottom of the near slope were upon plumbing up i found five foot so i used a 4×12 joof float with a staggered bulk starting above my six-inch 012 garbo hook length which had a size 18 lwg hook with a micro bait band attached to it and my main line was the usual 016 garbo main line .

Thirteen meter swim where it was nearly a top kit deep and i used a 4×14 joof float with a bulk plus two dropper shotting pattern , my main line was 014 garbo and hook length was six-inch of 012 garbo which had a size 18 lwg hook with a micro bait band attached .

Right hand margin in 4ft a couple of feet away from the bank because it fell away quite steeply and this is where it levelled out before dropping off again , i used a 4×14 Md diamond float which had an inch spread bulk starting above my six-inch 014 garbo hook length which had a size 16 lwg hook attached .

Left hand margin in three-foot tight to the bank because the slope was a lot more angler friendly on this side and i decided to fish a negative swim with pellets here , i used a 4×12 Md pellet float which had an inch spread bulk starting above my four-inch 012 garbo hook length and attached to it was a size 16 lwg .

As i had an island around twenty meters away i set up a feeder rod with a 1/8 ounce straight lead  which had an eighteen inch hook length and my hook was a size 16 lwg .

Bait for the day was ;

2 tins of corn

3 pints of soaked 4mm pellets

2 pints of 8mm pellets

When the all in sounded i started my match at the bottom of the near slope with hard pellets i kept flicking half a dozen 4mm pellets around my float and it was unbelievably slow going , i missed a couple of indications and i altered my shooting pattern so that my hook bait fell slower this got me two quick f1’s , i felt that i had it sorted but i only had a couple of missed dips on the float in the next half hour but as no one around me was catching I didn’t panic . All the time I had been pinging a couple of 8mm pellets towards the island and this was my next line to go at with the straight lead but all I managed was the odd liner which had me scratching my head as i really felt this would get me a few fish but especially as the lad towards my right was catching f1s on the tip rod although he was using a method feeder I found out later this never works on the match lake so I wasted another hour.

I went on to my 13m swim next at the bottom of the far shelf and after kinder potting in some hard 4mm pellets a few times from a height to try to draw some fish into the swim , this kind of worked for me as I caught two quick f1’s then nothing so I was back to square one and that seemed to be how my match panned out today as i added on another section going out to 14m where it started sloping up to the island which got me a couple of fish then nothing , in the back of my mind I just knew that I should be concentrating in shallower water with it still being quite warm . After re plumbing up along my right hand margin at six meters I managed to find 2ft but the slope was too steep to fish there and I found 4ft just as it levelled out a bit before another drop off, I began by kinder potting in a few grains of corn and after a couple of feeds i caught an F1 before twenty minutes without a sign .

A switch to my pellet line got me a couple more fish and I knew that I had made the right decision to fish in shallower water it was just that i made the switch three hours too late , for the rest of the match I rotated between them both catching fish from each before resting it and I did lose a barny rubble with a hook pull after a five-minute fight on my corn swim which cost me at the end , but i must have doubled my catch in the last ninety minutes from down the edge and maybe it was just the time of day but im not too sure .When the all out sounded I had a very long wait before i put a very disappointing 30lb on the scales for last in my ten peg section although I had 31lb on one side of me, 33lb the other and 46lb won the money section so i wasnt too far away but it was still a bit gutting the team didn’t do great either so all in all a very poor day , but like they say you are only as good as your last match so hopefully i can put it behind me when i contest the first round of my winter league at Old Hough next weekend .

Heronbrook fishery , winter league

October 1st

I have been to Heronbrook fishery today for the first round of the angling trust winter league and I was guesting for the Stockton heath lads because we struggled to get a team together in time , even though it was only sixty miles away I hadn’t been here for over 12 months since one of the big qualifiers and I was really looking forward to fishing it , on arrival to the venue there was your usual smattering of high-profile anglers plus lots of the midlands top guys , there was even a few people from Partridge lakes in attendance so it was going to be fun competing in this match and after grabbing a bacon buttie i caught up with the rest of the lads then had a look at the waters in the draw bag , nothing had changed since my last visit it was all really tidy and well looked after i couldn’t wait to get started .

On this event you are allowed to place your anglers it was decided that I was going to be on either match lake or match pool as i had fished the first one of them a couple of times and after the team captains did the draw which made a nice change from me doing it , I ended up on peg one on the later of the two and these end pegs seem to follow me around at the moment but im not complaining although it turned out to be one of the few lakes that I hadn’t fished on here and in fact I hadn’t even seen it , i made my way to the lake and after getting there it turned out i could have driven to it but at least i will know for the next round .

The lake itself was oblong in shape with an island 14m away on my side but a bit wider on the opposite bank there was a lot of overhanging reeds so i struggled to get really tight across , there was hardly any margin vegetation and i was unsure that fishing would be an option although i did see plenty of bubbling but with it being a new lake it was very muddy in colour so it could just be the bottom settling down a bit .

I decided to set up ;

Top kit plus one which was at the bottom of the near slope i was going to fish it the same as i would at the cunneries with hard pellets and my float was a 4×14 Md roob style float which had an inch spread bulk starting above the four-inch 012 hook length attached to it was a size twenty guru lwg that had a micro bait band .

Channel swim at six meters were i would be cupping in maggots and as it was six-foot deep i used a 4×12 Md maggie float with a bulk plus dropper shoting pattern , my main line was the usual 014 garbo and hook length was six-inch of 012 garbo which had a size 18 guru lwg hook attached .

My across rig was just in front of the over hanging reeds where it was just over two foot deep and i also used it for fishing four meters along my right hand margin , 4×12 Md roob styled float which had a staggered shotting pattern starting above my four-inch 012 garbo hook length .

Bait for the day was ;

2 pints of soaked micros

1 pint of soaked 4mm pellets

2 pints of red and white maggots

Tin of hemp and corn

small tub of mixed hard pellets

small tub of 4mm expanders

When the all in sounded I began on my top kit at the bottom of the near slope with hard pellets throwing a couple of 4mm pellets every few minutes and flicking my rig out so that it fell along the near slope , I began catching hand sized f1’s pretty constantly for the first forty minutes and i changed my shotting to a bulk just above my hook length this enabled me to get my hook bait straight to the feeding fish , I began getting line which signified something a bit bigger in the swim and i then had a carp about 8lb which took me by surprise as it just plodded around the peg before popping up at the net , all the information i could find was it was a stockie bashing water and I didn’t know they was this big in this lake .

When my near swim slowed down I then had to resort to going across at 14m to keep catching but it wasn’t really my style of fishing and I am not great doing a shipping race so i was falling a bit behind in the amount of fish i was putting in the net . With the bubbling still coming up along my right hand margin so I decided to plumb up at four meters and i managed to find a good shelf half way down the margin , i began kinder potting in some maggots and i managed a few stockies but it wasnt great i was thinking of changing it to pellets , when my float shot under and i had another decent carp in the net , after that i was back picking up the odd stockie so i put a medium cupping kit full of maggots in a hope that it would draw some more carp into the swim .

While i left it to settle i went back on my top three-line and had a good run of fish before i hooked and lost another carp so it seemed there was a few in the area i just had to work out how best to catch them ,i had another go across to the far bank but the bites wasnt coming quickly enough for my liking so i decided to spend the rest of match fishing my close in swims .After thirty minutes i went back on my four meter margin line and this got me a 4lb carp before getting broke by another , so i decided to set up another rig with stronger lines and elastic i also switched to kinder potting corn+hemp instead of maggots with ninety minutes remaining i concentrated on this swim , after shipping out with a piece of corn on the hook to see if I could get any more carp and I managed another six but also lost a couple plus got broke.

When the all out sounded I followed the scales around the lake and i ended up fifth on the lake with 70lb those lost fish cost me challenging for at least second which was a low 90lb , but I have learned a great deal and i definitely need to brush up on my shipping match if i want to challenge towards the top of the ten peg section I’m really looking forward to the next round in a fortnight but will probably end up on match lake instead , as a team we didn’t do to well and ended up towards the bottom of the league but it’s very early days yet .

2016 match fishing round up

Well another year has flown past and i have had an indifferent season yet again , i always like having a look at how my matches have been won or lost for me and how i could change things to improve my results ;


At the beginning of the year i finished off my 2015-2016 winter league at Old Hough fishery framing on the three remaining matches , which helped me finish third overall although in the back of my mind i felt that i should have won it because i missed out on a better place by ounces on a few of the contests .

In February i stood in for the last couple of rounds for Jeffs floats team of four at Horns dam fishery this was another venue that i had not seen before and it was also all silvers on a big lake so i was rather out of my comfort zone , it took me awhile to get used to things but i improved on every round with a 4th , 3rd then 2nd in section on the last round this helped to push the team from bottom of the league to finish 5th which was a mid table position .


March + April revolved around fishing the Angling times Supercup this year i was in the Stockton heath team which had a very tough draw away against multiple finalists Trafford angling , they took us to a small lake on the outskirts of Manchester called Goose green fishery there was very little in the way of information on the internet but a couple of practice sessions helped point us in the right way ,on the day of the match i was on the dam wall and i plugged away all match catching small silvers shallow ending up with 15lb for a comfortable section win the team ended up losing 4-2 but at least i kept up my record of winning my section on every round of the Supercup that i had fished .

Herronbrook fishery

Herronbrook fishery

May had me travelling down to Herronbrook for a bit of practice for the upcoming Fisho qualifier as i hadn’t seen the place before and on my first visit to the venue i managed my first ton of the season from the match lake , my other trips also went quite well averaging 70lb a visit so i was quite confident of doing ok but the fisho was all over at the draw as i drew a very poor area on canal and had my first early dart of the year .

Cunneries S canal

Cunneries S canal

June was a busy month with a visit to a new venue every week ,Cunneries s canal managed 70lb for second in section , Tunnel barn jennies pool bit of a struggle for 40lb , Oaks fisho on ash pool had 60lb but lack of venue knowledge cost me as i was sat next to the winner , Partridge fishery for the fisho and managed second in section with 70lb and last up was a trip to Weston pools were i had 60lb but fished the wrong bait on belvedere .


July + August had me staying local as i had a few weeks on Blundells trio were i managed 400lb in five visits including two tons , two trips too Partridge resulted in a couple of narrow section seconds catching over 60lb both times and finally i had my first ton at Weston pools catching 110lb shallow from Stretton pool including 40lb of crucians .


September had me travelling back to Tunnel barn for the annual North vs South match and yet again i managed second in my 12 peg section catching 80lb of f1s on pellets this helped the North win yet again , my other trip had me off to Weston pools fishery for the natural bait two-day festival this is always my highlight of the year and on the first day i drew Weir pool i was quite surprised to catch 145lb for the lake win which had me up towards the top of the leader board , the second day had me on a good peg on Stretton and after a slow start i managed another ton mainly caught in the margin this had me 5th on the lake but one more fish would have put me third , back at the cabin i ended up joint 8th for my best moment in fishing so far but it was tinged with a bit of disappointment because just 3lb would have got me 4th overall .


October and i were staying local again as i had a couple of matches at Partridge lakes managing a third overall with nearly 90lb plus two section wins , it was then time for the start of the winter league at Old Hough and my first match saw me catch 50lb of silvers for the match win which was a good start .


November and in between the Old Hough winter league i was also doing the team of four at Partridge lakes with 2+2 team but the mixture of f1 + silver fishing wasnt great for me because i struggled at Partridge managing two 4ths and a 3rd in section , at Old Hough i had a third and last in section .


December and i decided to just concentrate at Old Hough for the time being this worked really well because i framed on the remaining matches including a win on the last round , which helped me to finish 5th overall in the winter league but the last in section plus missing a couple of matches cost me in the end and it was still very tight at the top with just a few points separating those anglers .

Old hough boulders lake

Old hough boulders lake

Overall this year i have fished 51 matches on 11 different venues in the country managing to pick up money on 20 of them , but what i need to concentrate on is my last hour in contests which always seems to let me down because i have finished second in section on at least a dozen matches and i don’t think that is to bad as apart from my winter league every competition has had over thirty anglers competing plus i have managed seven tons which is my best total in a season so far .

I am going to start the year at Partridge lakes till April fishing the teams of four + individual leagues and i think that staying at the same venue for a few months will keep me in touch with the fish helping get better results , after that i will probably be either going to blundells , herronbrook or weston pools for the summer+autumn then back at Old Hough for the winter league and i have also decided not to do any big qualifiers preferring to concentrate on the festivals as i feel that they give you a better chance of a day’s fishing rather than cramming two hundred anglers onto fisheries that just can not cope .


Fishomania qualifier at Heronbrook fishery

May 18th , peg 44 canal pool

Today was my first fisho qualifier at Heronbrook fishery and after contesting some of the opens on the venue in the previous three weeks i felt well prepared and was really looking forward to the match , although it was going to be a very long day because with it being a midweek qualifier i would have to set off at 630 so i could get to the venue on time with all the rush hour traffic and limited speed zones on the motorway . I arrived at the fishery just after eight o’clock and there was already a few people knocking about that i recognised so after grabbing a bacon buttie i went for a chat before having a quick walk round the waters that would be in the draw bag today ,when i got back to the cabin it wasnt far from draw time so i joined the queue about half way back and it didn’t look like there was a lot of anglers here no doubt they had got caught up in the traffic on the way here but as it turned out it was a full attendance of 160 with about a dozen reserves getting on too .

After a bit of a confusing start to the draw with people coming in from every angle i managed to get my pick and out i pulled 44 on canal which was probably the worst area on any part of the lakes and i had absolutely no chance so it was all over at the draw bag but this is the very nature of these big competitions especially the fisho qualifiers when every lake is tightly pegged , it would be hard work to even get my section from there as well but i had a couple of positives to take from it one was i didn’t have far to walk and the other was i had fished this area before on the spring league and although i struggled for less than thirty pounds it would give me an idea on how to target it .

On settling in at my home for the next few hours it was just a long straight length of canal with ten anglers in a row and it was 16m tight to the reed lined far bank , i also had a nice reed lined margin as well and to be honest it looked really nice but for some reason the fish don’t want to be down this part of the water. Like i mentioned earlier i had fished this area before so had an idea how to target and i choose to set up ;

Three foot deep tight across to the reeds and i planned on fishing pellet here so i used a 4×14 roob float which would give me total control of my rig if the wind gets up during the day , my main line was 014 garbo which had a four-inch hook length of 010 garbo attached to it was a size 18 matrix bagger hook .

Four foot deep rig at 14m just at the bottom of the far shelf and i planned on fishing pellet here so i used a 4×14 roob float which would give me total control of my rig if the wind gets up during the day , my main line was 014 garbo which had a four-inch hook length of 010 garbo attached to it was a size 18 matrix bagger hook .

Top six line where it was nearly six-foot deep and i was going to be fishing meat here loose feeding six cubes every ten minutes there was also a few bubbles coming up already so i hoped that this would be my best area of my peg , i used a 4×14 speedy float which had a bulk at three-foot plus two droppers allowing for a slow fall in the bottom half of the water my main line was the usual 014 garbo and i upped my hook length to 012 garbo because i might pick up a couple of carp among the f1s .

Margin swim at three-foot which i found on my top three along each side and i used a 4×12 speedy float with a similar shotting pattern to the above as i would be using meat there ,main line was the usual 014 garbo and i upped my hook length to 012 garbo because i might pick up a couple of carp among the f1s .

Shallow rig set at two foot i would use this in the channel and also along the far bank tight among the rushes were i planned on flicking a few hard 4mm every few minutes , i used a 02 matrix series three float which had a couple of number eleven stotz spread down the 014 garbo main line and hook length was six-inch of 012 garbo that had a size 18 matrix rigger hook attached to it .

Bait for the day was ;

Three pints of 6mm cubed meat

Three pints of 4mm pellets

One pint of soaked micros

Small tub of 4+6mm expanders

Small tub of mixed hard pellets

As usual for these matches they give you ages to set up and i was ready with thirty minutes to spare and it gave me chance to try to figure out how to get the best out of the peg , with the weather taking a turn for the worse in the previous few days with a lot of rain plus a drop in temperature i decided to start my match rather negatively tapping in a few micros then keeping my rig still over the top of it and i also began on my four-foot rig thinking that most anglers would go right across by doing this it should allow for the fish to back off into a safety area well that was the plan anyway . When the all in sounded i went out to 14m and tapped in some micros it took a couple of feeds before i had my first indication which resulted in a f1 about a pound , i was thinking that i might be able to catch a few more of these before needing to put in another line but after this early f1 things went quiet with no more bites in twenty minutes , then i had a really fast dip on the float which after a sharp lift saw yards of elastic pulling out of my pole and i managed to get it on to my top kit before it darted under my landing net causing my hook length to break not the start i wanted ! !

I  put on another hook length upping it to an 012 garbo just in case there was any more carp knocking about and it took another couple of feeds to settle the fish down again , i was getting a few indications on the float but i was struggling to connect with them and when i did it was either a hand sized skimmer or a gudgeon hitting the net , i put in a couple more lines along the far-bank but apart from another f1 right at the extreme of my peg i wasnt increasing my catch a great deal and as a few people had caught the odd fish tight across i decided to follow suit picking up my three-foot rig , i was still being rather negative with the feeding and could always go more positive later in the match . Yet again it took nearly twenty minutes before i started getting indications and there just seemed to be no numbers of decent fish along this part of the canal because all i was catching were small silvers , i had fed meat at six meters for the past ninety minutes and i hoped that a few fish might have settled on it , i had a bite almost instantly which was a positive sign and not long after i had another f1 yet again it seemed to be a loner things weren’t going too well but apart from the end peg to my right who had three small carp i hadn’t seen many other fish come out .

I spent a fruitless twenty-minute spell on my meat line and i had seen the odd fish swirl right among the far bank reeds when i cattyed in a couple of pellets and as i expected them to be carp i changed rigs straight away putting a 6mm pellet on my shallow rig , i didn’t have to wait long for my float to shoot under at last i had found a few fish i thought but up popped a chub about six-ounce and i had another similar sized fish on my next chuck before the swirls disappeared . I then had a ninety minute spell of catching absolutely nothing from any of my lines and as i had no other option i big potted on all my lines to try to force the issue but this did not improve matters , with just over an hour of the match remaining i dropped back onto my margin swim yet again i had a quick f1 on my left hand swim and i hopped this might get me out of trouble like on most of the matches i had fished at Heronbrook but guess what it was another loner , a look on my right hand margin resulted in a motionless float for fifteen minutes then out of the blue my pole was nearly pulled out of my hands and i had to put some pressure on to try to stop it getting in the reeds which resulted in my hook length snapping ,after putting on a new one i had another ten minutes of inactivity and with the clouds getting darker as it threatened some rain i made the decision to pack up with half an hour of the match remaining like most of the anglers around me , if i had caught that last carp i might have stayed as it would have put me right back in the hunt for the section because a bit further down the section one lad had a dozen f1s but that was about as good as it got .

So that was my first fisho of the year over with catching five f1s plus a few bites+pieces for about ten pounds and after such a good build up it was a shame that i couldn’t at least have a day’s fishing on these sort of events there is always certain areas that are a waste of time and to be honest i had been reasonably lucky in my other qualifiers because i had usually drawn areas with a few fish , but it is still disappointing when you have looked forward to it putting a lot of time+effort+money into getting things prepared , to make things worse it took me over two hours to get home because of a crash on the motorway so a very long day and i just hope my next qualifier is a lot better which is on the oaks sessay but i wont be able to get down for a practise before hand .













Heronbrook fishery open match on canal pool

Canal pool peg 13

I decided to have one more trip to Heronbrook fishery in Staffordshire before my first fisho of the year on Weds to see if i can put a plan in place because on my other matches here in the previous weeks i have only really caught with any frequency from the margins and if i could get the same amount of fish from another line i might have a chance but at the moment it is a bit of a long shot . On arrival at the complex there was about fifty people here no doubt boosted by people wanting a sneaky practice before the mid-week big match but with majority of the lakes being free we still had plenty room , after grabbing a breakfast fry up i went for a quick look at bridge+canal pools which ran side by side to see if any of the resident f1s were giving their presence away and i was surprised to see so many fish in the far-bank reeds i just hoped that they would be more inclined on feeding this week .When i got back to the cabin i joined the queue for the draw about half way down and when it came to my turn i pulled out 13 on canal which was a half decent area but my section would be in with both pegs on the bends plus the other stick up pegs , on arrival at my home for the next few hours it was about 16m wide tight to the far-bank although i did have some stick ups which was about a meter closer to me and there seemed to be tons of fish in them so things were looking positive for a good day’s fishing .

I decided to set up a few rigs to cover my options and these were ;

Margin swim , i used an 4×12 roob float which had a bulk plus dropper shotting pattern my main line was the ever faithful 014 garbo which had a six-inch 012 garbo hook length attached my hook was a size 16 lwg .

Top four swim , i used a 4×12 speedy float which had a bulk plus two droppers shotting pattern my main line was the ever faithful 014 garbo which had a six-inch 012 garbo hook length attached my hook was a size 16 lwg .

Far-bank shallow swim , 0.1 matrix series three float for fishing one foot deep it had just two number 12 stotz spread down the 014 garbo main line and my hook length was six-inch of 012 garbo attached to it was a size 18 matrix rigger hook that had a micro bait band on it .

Far-bank shallow swim , 0.2 matrix series three float for fishing one foot deep it had just two number 12 stotz spread down the 014 garbo main line and my hook length was six-inch of 012 garbo attached to it was a size 18 matrix rigger hook that had a micro bait band on it .

Bait for the day was ;

3 pints of meat

3 pints of 4mm pellets

Half kilo of worms

Small tub mixed hard pellets

After a bit of a confusing start to the match as nobody quite knew when the all in sounded and it was up to the rumour mill to inform us , i decided to go straight out to the far-bank with my 2ft rig where i could see the fish knocking in the reeds but before i did i fired in a couple of pouches of 4mm pellets and also chucked some cubes of meat onto my top four swim , it didn’t take to long before i had my first which was an f1 over a pound and i would be happy catching these all day i managed half a dozen of these in the first hour i got into a nice routine of ;

feed ship out

hook a fish then feed again

un-hook the fish feed my meat line then ship out

But i was missing loads of bites and a change to my shallower rig didn’t really improve things so i went back to my 2ft rig , it was noticeable that i would only get a proper bite as the rig fell through the water but it was hard presenting my rig like this with all the reeds along the far-bank , with my constant feeding i expected the fish to settle down a bit so i could start hitting more indications but if anything it got worse and with the fish slurping in the reeds i had to resort to using a really shallow rig over shotted to catch anything but even that wasnt working to well . After a couple of hours the wind started blowing slightly to my right which seemed to take the fish out of the peg with indications and knocking in the reeds stopping altogether , i decided to give my meat line ago to see if anything had settled on it as i had seen a couple of bubbles coming up and i had a big f1 straight away before i was back to missing bites which has blighted me on this line for the previous few matches here , i eventually managed to connect with a couple which resulted in two hand sized f1s not exactly what i wanted to be catching so i put a full cupping kit of meat in before going back across .

The rest seemed to have done it some good as i managed to catch two big f1s on my two foot rig before bites deserted me and i needed another line to get a few bites from so i could rotate the swims , i started priming my margins one with worm the other meat+pellets and while it settled i had a look on my 4m line which produced another quick f1 before i was back missing bites so i went back across for a couple of shallow fish . I was keeping up with the anglers around me but i could do with my margin producing like it had on previous matches first look on my left hand worm line and a big f1 straight away not a bad start but then it was roach , perch ,perch so time for a re-feed before swapping sides to my right and this produced a lot better with four f1s in quick succession but when i lost a carp it killed my swim so i re-fed it , a look on my worm swim just produced more perch so i decided to spend the last hour rotating my meat swims and this produced six more f1s .

When the all out sounded yet again it called time on another frustrating match and i ended up with thirty f1s plus a couple of carp for just short of fifty pounds this was good enough to beat the anglers either side of me , but as predicted both corners had nearly a ton and the earlier numbered pegs were there was a proper ripple everyone had over a ton including a 160lb weight which won the lake , so a lot for me to think about before my fisho on weds i just hope i can draw a peg which has a ripple on it and a predict either meadow of match lake will win .


Heronbrook open match

May 2nd , peg ten match lake

Match lake

Match lake

With my first fisho qualifier looming large on the horizon at Herronbrook fishery i thought it was about time that i headed down to Staffordshire to give the open match a go and after my last contest at Partridge lakes i just hoped that i could catch a few fish because struggling for six hours is never nice , on the morning of the match the weather didn’t look that bad a bit grey+windy but the temperature had risen a few degrees which can only be a positive and after loading my van i headed on my sixty mile trip to the fishery .

On arrival i grabbed a bacon buttie before booking on the match and then had a quick look at the waters that would be in the draw bag , after having a chat with a few of the locals i made my way towards the back of the queue and awaited my fate as it turned out i ended up with peg ten on the match lake i was informed that it was an end peg just after the mud bath , as i made my way round to the peg i noticed that the match lake had about forty platforms of which only one side was pegged this allowed most anglers an island chuck at around thirty meters , when i arrived at my home for the next few hours i had the wind blowing bang in my face and it looked like i would be getting drenched at some point during the day but on the plus side i had plenty room towards my left which had a reed lined margin that looked very fishy .

With it being my first time on this lake i was a bit unsure on what to expect although looking at results over the weekend it is an area that does throw up the odd ton weight so i was quite positive about the day ahead , i decided to keep things simple setting up ;

Eight meter line where after plumbing up i found it to be a full top kit deep and with the wind being so strong i used a 0.6 round bodied+wire stemed pole float , my main line was the usual 0.14 garbo and my hook length was 0.10 garbo which had a size twenty matrix bagger hook attached .

Top four margin line and i was surprised to find that it was nearly four-foot deep tight to the near side reeds , just like before i used a slightly heavier 0.4 malman roob float which had a bulk plus dropper shotting pattern because i intended to be using meat+corn here this set up would allow me to alter a few things as the day progressed.

Matrix little pig 8ft tip rod my island chuck was only about 25m so i used a 15 gram pellet feeder which i am more confident in using my hook was a size 16 guru lwg .

Bait for the day was a bit more than im used to taking with me but it is a six-hour match and i didn’t want to be caught short ;

Three pints red maggots

Two pints of meat+corn

Two pints of soaked micros

Small tub of 4mm expanders

Small tub of mixed hard pellets


When the all in sounded in the distance i proceeded to put in two pots of maggots on my long line and before i went onto my feeder rod i decided to see if i could pick up a mug carp from my margin swim , i tapped in a kinder pot of meat+corn before lowering my rig in on top of it by holding my pole away from the reeds i could present a static bait and it didn’t take too long before my float shot under , after playing the fish to within netting range the hook pulled out this happened a further three times before i got of my box and changed my elastic from a size 12-14 matrix red as i had been expecting to be catching mainly carp to a lighter 10-12 ng green this solved the problem as i never lost another fish during the rest of the match .

My next three hours were really easy as i caught f1s between 1+3lb pretty constantly and it was only after a really heavy shower then the wind changed direction that things got a bit slower , to be honest at this point of the match i should have started a new line somewhere else in my peg before going back to my margin in the final hour when the fish would have settled down again but i was too focused on putting fish in the net and not seeing the bigger picture . I was also beginning to run out of meat+corn so decided to begin adding a ball of micros in the kinder pot but this turned out to be a major mistake as it just brought the f1s up off the deck making them harder to catch , i altered my shotting pattern to allow for a slower fall of the hook bait this allowed me to catch some on the drop but i also foul hooked a couple and i needed to get them back on the deck although i was a bit dubious about big potting but i had no other option.

Feeding that big hit of bait virtually stopped my bites and i began fearing the worse but i soon found out why as i hit into a carp around five pounds after that the f1s returned although not in the numbers as at the start of the match , with an hour of the contest remaining i was getting worried about my net limits as i had over fifty fish in the nets all of which were a decent size although i couldn’t do a great deal about it now and just hoped that i would not be too far over but it looked like the fish decided to do my favor as i really struggled in the last hour to add too my net , i had to resort to fishing an expander with a positive bulk shotting pattern before i managed to get any bites.

When the all out sounded i had 57 f1s plus a carp but i did feel that it was worth a lot more if i had fished it a bit better but as i had only brought two nets with me it wouldn’t have made a great deal of difference to my final weight , as the scales arrived at my peg there was two 140lb nets on the lake the first of my nets went 57lb and the other was over 50lb as well and as herronbrook has a fifty pound net limit not the sixty pound that i thought i ended up going over on both nets so got knocked back to a ton , which wasnt ideal as i don’t know my true weight of my catch although it was good enough for me to win the section but i have only myself to blame because i didn’t check and i suppose it is better to find out now rather than in the fisho qualifier in May where i would have been really kicking myself .

I am back at Herronbrook fishery at the weekend and with the weather steadily increasing I’m hopeful that the fishing will be extremely good maybe even a bit of shallow for the first time this year and i must remember to take an extra net , there is definitely an art form in catching a big weight of f1s and it’s something that i need to get my head around before long .