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 .

Sycamore fisheries , evening open match

June 24th , Rowans canal peg 27

Rowans canal

Rowans canal

With the weather still being pleasant with it being calm , light winds , blue skies so i decided to have my first attempt at an evening match this year although i have had limited success on my previous tries and as it was a 5 o’clock draw i decided to try Sycamore fisheries because it is usually only a fifteen minute drive from my house but in rush hour traffic it might take a little longer , so at 4 o’clock i packed up my car before heading to the venue only twenty minutes later i was there but it would at least give me a chance to have a look at the match canals as i hadn’t been there for a few months and the first thing i noticed was the two aerators blasting away this was understandably a good sign as it’s something that you don’t normally see on here but on a negative sight was the fact both canals were low with water especially on Rowans canal which was down about a foot showing all the far bank mud line .

When i arrived back at the cabin there was a good few people knocking about including some Partridge regulars plus a few from Matrix Leigh tackle and as it turned out their would be thirty anglers contesting the match tonite , the Sycamore evening match is a rover so when you book on you get to pick out a ball which would then indicate your turn to choose a peg and as you all know i usually do well at the draw but even i was a bit surprised when i pulled out ball one giving me a choice of any , as i had walked round earlier i had picked out a couple of areas that i fancied and rightly or wrongly i choose peg 27 which was towards the bottom end of Rowans canal .


On arriving at my peg i had some far-bank cover plus two nice margins too attack and as we only had forty minutes to set up so i hastily began getting my gear together ;


Top kit


My bait today was going against the norm a bit as i decided on using just meat which i felt would work well on here with all the stockies in this canal and obviously it isn’t the best idea trying it for the first time in a match situation but then again it would give me chance to compare it to those anglers around me ;

2 pints 4+6mm cubed meat

1 pint meat mush +hemp

3 pints ground-bait

As i had rushed around getting my gear ready i hadn’t noticed where the other anglers had chosen to fish and now i was waiting for the match to start i saw that four consecutive pegs to my left were taken whereas everyone else was peg one miss one but that’s rover matches for you and i had no doubt this would mean an end to any framing chance for me tonite although i would still be giving it a good shot . As the whistle for the all in sounded i tapped in some cubes of meat on to my top kit line before putting in two big pots in on the far-bank swim where i planned on leaving it for at least forty minutes so the carp could settle on it , back on my top kit with a 6mm cube of meat on the hook i lowered my rig in before dragging it up the slope a little and no sooner had it settled than it dipped under resulting in a little crucian hitting the net , another feed resulted in a little tench then a mini run of three f1s and five fish in the opening fifteen minutes was just the start that i wanted but it soon died on me which was usual for on here , i went on to my far bank swim a bit earlier than i had planned and i did manage the odd carp but it was very hard going this is what i had feared it would be like in this pressured area of the canal .


With two hours of the match remaining and just 10lb in the net i began feeding both my margins plus i decided to set up a new rig for either feeding extremely tight to the mud-bank or by fishing at half depth on my original swim because i had seen a few fish cruising by , this picked up a couple more carp plus the odd little crucian but i didn’t feel that they wanted to settle properly and maybe i had over feed at the start ? With ninety minutes remaining i went on to my right hand margin towards the empty peg this produced plenty of indications but mainly liners and i felt that i had put the swim in too deep a water but i had struggled to find anything shallower especially as you was no longer allowed to garden the peg anymore .


I put in a few big pots of ground-bait this finally got them feeding or it might have just been the time of the day but in the last forty minutes i more than doubled my catch rate managing to catch a further eight f1s+carp the all out came far too soon for my liking and as i knew that i wouldn’t be challenging for a framing position i didn’t bother weighing in but reckoned that i had around 25lb which was probably the best weight on my bank the jury is still out regarding the meat approach so maybe another try is on the cards .

Overall the match was won on Silver birch with 65lb , second was on David’s pool with 59lb and third was 55lb from Rowan’s it was noticeable that lots of barbel where coming out recently so it looked like the aerators had done the trick encouraging them to go on the feed . At the weekend I’m heading back to Tunnel barn farm which is beginning to turn into my favourite match venue i just wished it was a bit closer to home ,first i will be contesting the Saturday open on New pool and then the 100 pegger North vs South match on the Sunday helping raise funds for the England disabled and ladies teams it’s just a shame that all the english angling teams can’t get proper funding from the government .