Angling Trust Masters + Packington Gearys Lake

On Saturday I helped Roy and Ken run the Angling Trust Masters match. With calm conditions, sunshine and 102 anglers on the fishery it was never going to be easy and that’s how it turned out. As Roy said at the results, it was a fishing match rather than a catching match.

It was great to see some old faces from down south, the Masters is like a who’s who of the match fishing world, lots  of great anglers and I’m really sorry that it was such a struggle for so many people. Wandering around the lakes, you could see where the weights were likely to come from, Uglies was chocolate brown whereas the small lakes (4, 5, 6 and 7) were very clear considering that we are supposed to be at the height of summer.

Anyways, the top two individuals were separated by just a pound, with Warren Martin having 216 lb against the 215 lb from Jase Brown fishing next to him. Top 3 weights all came from Uglies, no surprise there. The team result was equally close with Pino’s Pals beating Frenzee Match Catch by a couple of pounds after they had tied on points.

The anglers and the manufacturers supporting some of the teams did an awesome job at supplying prizes for the biggest raffle you’ll ever see, there must have been 100 prizes, so well done and thanks !!

Sunday the “away team” were on Geary’s Big Lake at Packington. Conditions were the same as yesterday, flat calm and sunny, not great weather for bream fishing. We had a couple of people on holiday, so only 11 anglers but I still couldn’t draw one of the flyers and pulled out Peg 11 (last time I was on Peg 9, I’m working my way towards the good end). There were plenty of carp cruising around in the middle of the lake but we fish pole only on this venue, so it was a case of trying to catch a few proper skimmers whilst hoping that the odd carp would wander into the edge later in the match.

I started in front of me at about 10 metres but after 3 or 4 put-ins hadn’t had a sign. Switched to the right hand margin under an overhanging tree. The right hand side was about 6″ deeper than the left and I stayed there for the rest of the day, switching between 10ft from the bank and tight in the edge. Caught a few skimmers but you couldn’t get them to settle, you’d get a decent skimmer then next cast a 4″ blob of slime…I really don’t like little tiny skimmers!. The same thing would happen if and when a carp appeared, you’d get a carp, then next cast a 4″ skimmer, a sure sign that the carp hadn’t moved into the swim in any numbers. I caught a few fish on 8mm JPz and a few on bunches of dead reds, all the time cupping in slop containing an assortment of loose offerings. Finished with an estimated 67 lb . Barry Rowlands had weighed in 67 lb 8 oz from feature peg 16 and I just scraped past him with 72 lbs. I’d have been happy to see Barry win this one, he’s always willing to help with weighing in, work parties etc but isn’t too successful on the matches. Anyways, he finished second and his wife Toni finished 4th, so a good result for them.

I’ll probably fish the evening match on Wednesday, it might be the last one of the year…where has the summer gone?. Then it’s the fifth round of Kev Sim’s summer league on pool 1 on Saturday and a members match on Sunday.

Alders Farm – Wednesday 12th August

A marauding gang of bandits led by “Atilla” Price journeyed up  from Alders Farm a couple of weeks back and in a 10 a side match gave the Glebe team a good hiding. This was the return match at Alders Farm Fishery near Milton Keynes. To be honest, I didn’t want to fish, it was a long drive, the M1 has a 30 mile stretch of roadworks, and I would be back late which meant putting the dog in kennels for the night but in the end a few of our people had to work, Roy’s wife Sue is unwell so he couldn’t travel so I gave in and agreed to fish.

What a great decision !!…What a great day !!…What a great fishery!!.

We were brilliantly looked after by the fishery owners Lewis and his charming wife Charlotte, ably assisted by the Alders Farm regulars led by Trevor Price. Teas, coffees and a BBQ before the match, teas and cakes after the match and an absolute thrashing in between…what more could you ask for?.

Trevor had sorted out the sections to make an equal number of good pegs for each team, giving a good, a nearly as good and a not quite so good section. I drew peg 10 in the not quite so good section and caught fish all match for 156 lb of carp, nearly all in the 2 – 3 lb bracket. At the other end of my section local superstar Nick Darke had 250 lb (he also had 250 lb at the Glebe match), so I was 2nd in my section. Sadly, Alders Farm had the top FIVE weights, we were well and truly battered.

A quick word about how my fishing day went. It started badly when, whilst trying to move a little branch out of the way on the tree to the right of my peg, I put one of my favourite Wilkie floats plus my all time favourite plummet into the greenery and the line broke. The little branch was 2″ out of reach and as much as I tried, that float and plummet sat there all afternoon mocking my efforts (I did get the float back afterwards but the plummet is gone but never forgotten).

At the Glebe members match last Sunday I’d been talking to Pete Bailey and he was saying that the Alders guys use frozen corn. I’d always thought that frozen corn floated but Pete told me how to make it sink. So I’d arrived at Alders  with 4kg of once frozen corn, suitably treated to make it sink (you stick it in a container and cover it in boiling water, then when the water is cool, tip it off and keep the corn damp). Laying about in my spare room was a little container of smelly additive that originally came from Mr Price. It was labelled smokey pineapple and he’d given it to Roy. Roy had said that his fish had never seen a pineapple, let alone a smoked one and he’d promptly given it to me. It was the right colour, smelled kind of fruity so I tipped it into the two containers of corn. Whilst messing with the corn I noticed that there were lots more little bits of corn, not whole kernels but just bits in the frozen stuff compared to the tins from Lidl’s, so came up with a cunning plan for hookbait. Spent half an hour cutting kernels of Marukyu Credence Corn in half, together with cutting up the bits of stuff that the corn is attached to when you buy it. The plan worked a treat, I caught all but one of my fish on halves or maggot sized bits of Credence Corn. The one time that I put a whole kernel of Credence on the hook I had to wait longer for a bite and when I did get one the carp was firmly hooked in the tail !!.

Whilst watching the weigh in it was obvious that some people caught much bigger fish than others, so now I’m wondering if it’s just a case of the big fish living in certain areas or if I did it all wrong and should have beaten the Darke Knight by fishing differently and catching proper sized carp.

Chatting to Trev after the match he told us that when they came to our place the M1 was closed on the way home, giving them a nightmare journey (he was worrying that they might have to spend the night in a brothel !). Well, although we had to do 50 mph for 30 miles in each direction, the journey both ways went without incident so the brothel was never on the cards.

Thanks again Alders Farm for a really enjoyable day…let’s do it all again next year eh ?

 

Glebe 8th – 9th August

I’m a bit busy so I’ll bunch the two days into this one post. Saturday was an MFS mystery pairs match on Pools 5, 6 and 7. These smaller lakes had been fishing hard all week and today was no exception. Although there was a bit of a breeze it was in the wrong direction for Pools 6 & 7, blowing slightly towards peg 86 but also over your head. I’d drawn peg 95 on Pool 6 which is a pretty dire draw on a good day, so was fearful of what might happen.

With no ripple at all, corn wasn’t going to be any good so decided on a bomb and pellet approach, followed by sloppy groundbait and maggot for the skimmers. Had a couple of fish on the bomb but it was slightly less exciting than watching paint dry. Cast out a pellet waggler where I’d been pinging 6 mm pellets for my bomb line and had a carp first cast..didn’t have another bite !!.

I was quietly confident that I’d catch on dead maggot over sloppy groundbait and indeed I did catch…6″ long skimmers !. Moved tighter in to the margins and potted in sloppy groundbait with corn on the hook. At last, a few bites and a few fish. Not monster carp but decent enough, plus a couple of decent skimmers and a nice hybrid. Finished the day with 67 lb beaten by a 100 lb weight off peg 87 and an 80 lb from end peg 97. The top 3 weights all came from Pool 5 which had a bit more ripple than 6 & 7. It was a bit of a Micky Mouse match, you paid your pools money and then after the match they drew the pairs and combined weight would decide the first 3. Luckily Gaz Wood who had won the match with 150 lb also drew a decent partner and they won the match, I can’t think of anything worse than fishing your heart out only to draw the total numpty e.g. Billy No Fish as partner and end up picking up zip for your efforts. One match per year of this format might just about be bearable but I’d prefer to see none. It wouldn’t be quite so bad if you knew who you’d drawn as a partner before the match, at least you could come up with a cunning plan before failing miserably.

Sunday was the fortnightly Glebe Members Match and there was a good turn out. I didn’t mind where I drew….as long as it was on Pool 1, I’d had enough of the small lakes for the time being. I drew peg 13, yippee, right pool even if it’s not a brilliant peg. There was a bit of ripple starting at about peg 10 and blowing all the way down to peg 30, so it looked possible that I’d catch a few. Once I’d set up I wandered along my section only to find Andy Kinder and Kev Sims in my section of 6 anglers. They are two of the best Glebe anglers around, looked like I might be fishing for third in the section especially as I think they had better pegs, with Andy on 16 and Kev on 19.

There were a few fish swirling in the ripple about half way across the lake, so again started on bomb and pellet. Whilst waiting for a bit I was cupping in hemp and a few grains of corn on the 5 metre line. I caught a couple of fish on the bomb and also managed to lose one or two but the angler on peg 14 was beating me. He was fishing a little drennan feeder on the bomb and pellet line so after an hour I decided it was time to take a look on the corn line.

A bite first cast (which I missed) was a good sign, so it was head down and concentrate. Over the past few weeks it had been a case of cupping in hemp plus a few grains of corn after every fish. This seemed to keep foul-hookers to a minimum. Today was different. Bites were really finicky but those were carp bites. Only trouble was that even though I was doing my potting in hemp trick, I was foul-hooking loads. I tried just tripping bottom, I tried laying a few inches on, I tried holding the bait still, I tried letting it trot with the tow, all to no avail, loads and loads of foul-hookers. When I have days like this I do wonder if I’m actually fishing it wrong. I always like to get back to my top 2 as quickly as possible and then play my fish on a top 2. Most of the time that works fine but on foul hookers (and possibly on real munters) I wonder if I should be adding sections rather than taking them off. Maybe I’m pulling too hard. I came back a couple of times with a scale on the hook, so they were confirmed foul hookers but could one or two of the others have actually been just big fish ?.

I’d been feeding under the tree to my left but all the time that I was catching on the corn line I didn’t want to try the margin. Eventually something snapped my hook length, my fault there was an overhand knot just below my bottom shot. I didn’t mind because it stopped the Stotz sliding down but of course, eventually it broke at that point, serves me right…lazy angler !. This was the opportunity to switch to the margin. There was only 45 minutes of the match left so out went the margin rig (the tree’s real close, only a top 3), pole pot full of mixed groundbait and micros, really dry for a change, and an 8 mm JPz on the hook. 20 seconds and the float buried, a nice 5 pounder to thw net. Had a couple of reasonable skimmers plus some nice sized carp (and a few more foul hookers) but things were going ok. With just 15 minutes to go I caught a mirror carp around 10 lb and decided to put my third net in. What a very good decision !. At the weigh in that net that I’d been filling from the margin had 97 lbs in it and the new net had 20 lb…phew a close call. I finished with 186 lb 8 oz, Kev had 198 lb and Andy K had 201 lb, so as expected, third in my section but a lovely day’s fishing. If I could just solve the foul hooker problem I’d be dangerous.

This coming week is a quiet one for me as far as the Glebe is concerned. We have our return match with the lads at Alders Farm on Wednesday, I’m expecting a good thrashing. Saturday is The ACA Masters at Glebe and Foundation Lakes. I’m helping out with the organisation, and on Sunday we’re at Geary’s on the high bank again, I wonder if I can get disqualified again ?.

Oh, just remembered, last Friday I realised that I hadn’t fished Uglies yet this season and it was the last day of July. Soaked a few Chum mixers and sneaked down there at about 5:30. There was nobody else on the lake. It was flat calm and it looked like a bit of scum had blown into the corner by the toilet block, so settled for the first peg on the end bank. To be honest, I wasn’t sure that I would catch much with it being so calm but I lobbed a few mixers out and a few more into the weeds to my left. After a few minutes there were carp eating the mixers out in the lake and I saw the odd swirl in the weeds. Dropped a mixer (soaked to make it spongy, then hooked onto a size 12 tied to about 8 ft of line which was connected to my pole and purple hydro) into a gap in the weeds. First fish was a superb common of at least 15 lb, a magnificent fish and certainly not ugly. I’d started fishing at 6 pm, and by a quarter to eight I’d had 13 big fish. Couldn’t stop on that unlucky number so added a couple more for good luck and I was going out of the gate at five past 8. A brilliant couple of hours fishing, most of which was spent playing fish…awesome !.

As regular visitors know, the Glebe has a big pair of locked metal gates at the entrance. These gates are normally sufficient to keep any undesirables out. However last week this security van was seen regularly patrolling the fishery. Don’t know if it had anything to do with a bunch of scousers fishing there all week…I know the scousers weren’t pinching the fish…they didn’t catch any !!.

This is the security van that was patrolling the fishery last week. Simmo, any idea what they were doing ??
This is the security van that was patrolling the fishery last week. Simmo, any idea what they were doing ??

Glebe Tuesday 4th August – RobB Invitational

Today we were on Pool 1 and with 18 anglers on the 30 pegs it should fish well. I drew peg 18, not a known flyer but in the right area. There was a mixture of sun and cloud and there was a really strong breeze blowing towards peg 30. I was in a funny area of the lake, the next few pegs i.e. 19 onwards are much shallower, maybe 18″ to 2 foot shallower on the 5 metre line and I was afraid that I probably couldn’t compete with Carpy Marty on Peg 20 (19 was empty).

Last year if I’d drawn this peg in these conditions I’d have opened 6 tins of corn and have expected to open another 6 before the match was over, on Tuesday I opened two tins. This year really is completely different. Last year we had a long hot summer, this year we’re still waiting for it to begin. We have a few hot days and then on 1st of August some parts of the country have a frost !!. I’m convinced that last year was perfect conditions for corn fishing, the water temperature stayed high for weeks on end and the fish just couldn’t eat enough. This year if you shovel it in you’ll be in the also-rans, those fish just don’t want lots of corn.

Knowing this I started out feeding with hemp plus a few grains of corn in the toss pot. I was getting odd bites from the start although when I caught a brown goldfish followed by a tiny skimmer I suspected that things weren’t going well. Suddenly, although the wind hadn’t changed direction or speed, the water started towing strongly against the wind. The fish turned on immediately and once you worked out where exactly your bait was settling on the bottom it was a fish a chuck. After an hour or so the tow just stopped…just like that. I suspect that tow or no tow in lakes is as much a mystery as kicks on the snooker table or a cricket ball swinging in the air. We know what conditions are needed in as much as for a lake to tow it has to be windy, for a cricket ball to swing it has to be overcast but that’s only half the story. It can be windy yet the lake doesn’t tow, it can be overcast but the cricket ball doesn’t swing . So now the tow which had started so suddenly stopped just as abruptly and the fish went back to being super cagey.

Roy wandered along (no lessons this time, he just just sat on the bank and started to nod off) but before that he asked if I’d got 150 lb to which I replied oh yeah. I caught a few more whilst he was there and finally weighed in 128 lbs…I told you that I was crap at knowing what I’d caught !. Carpy Marty slaughtered me with 180 lbs from peg 20 and Baz Wrexham also beat me off the end peg with around 145 lb from end peg 30. The other section was won by Sconey with the only 200 lb weight of the day.

One last thought. With about 10 minutes to go in the match my hemp bowl was empty so rather than refill it I switched to feeding just corn in the pot. I then proceeded to hook and lose four lumps on the trot, all foul hooked. Feeding hemp with just a few grains of corn I was getting good bites and hardly any foul-hookers. Once I dramatically increased the quantity of corn then the fish obviously started charging around rather than grazing. A very graphic demonstration of what I think is happening at the Glebe at the moment.

Glebe Monday 3rd August – RobB Invitational

Rob B has an annual 2 day match at The Glebe and I’m lucky enough to get invited (unlike IanSi’s THREE DAY match where I don’t get invited). This year we had 18 anglers and on the first day we were on Pools 6 & 7. I’d been helping Rob B with the draw and when there was just two of us left to draw the two pegs left in the bag were 86 and 98 the end pegs on each lake!.

Peg 86 is the most famous peg on the fishery but I’d only ever drawn it once and that was on Sconey’s Monkees vs Shandies match on the “feeder only” day, yes I’d drawn the best pole peg on the fishery on a feeder only day!. So I was delighted to draw peg 86 on Monday, accompanied by the usual derogatory comments from all and sundry.

Getting to the peg I could see that there was a decent breeze from slightly behind but mostly from right to left…perfect. Because I’d been struggling lately and knowing that the lake had been won the day before by somebody fishing the pellet waggler, I took my full complement of feeder rods plus my pellet waggler rod. First thing to be set up was the pellet waggler…ah…forgot to bring any floats !!. Decided not to fish the pellet waggler but for some bizarre, unknown reason I set up the feeder and even more bizarrely I started the match on the feeder. Although I say it myself, my casting was pretty good. I had 7 casts, hooked 3 fish and landed one…is there anything more frustrating than to play a fish from that far bank only for it to come off about 3ft from the landing net. I have absolutely no idea why anybody does feeder fishing !.

Whilst I was pretending to be a feeder angler the wind had done a sneaky little shift, meaning that the ripple had completely disappeared from my side of the lake. There were dozens and dozens of carp swimming about in the ripple on the far side but as soon as I started trying to catch on my 5 metre line I feared the worst, the float that Wilkie had sold me was faulty, it wouldn’t go under, I must remember to send it back to get a replacement. So I steadily went through my repertoire, try my edge swim, try the edge swim on the other side, try the long edge to my left, try the corn line again…it must work soon. I’d gone through plans A, B and C, in fact I was probably around plan K or L. This simply couldn’t be true, I was on the most famous peg in the world, a peg that I firmly believed that a half decent angler fishing with his back to the water could still get 100 lbs and I was struggling, completely bereft of ideas. I’d caught the odd fish, in fact I caught 3 in 4 casts from my right hand margin before it died and I had 2 or 3 fishing long, tight to the bank on my left before managing to foul-hook one and trash my rig.

With about 90 minutes to go Roy Marlow wandered along. I was in tears by now. Roy didn’t know whether to call The Samaritans or try and help me. Luckily he chose the latter and set me up in his normal style i.e. find 4ft of water and fish there. He made me put more sections on the pole although I drew the line at using a section with writing on it. Fishing into the corner and feeding sloppy groundbait containing lots of dead reds I soon had my first bite…missed it. Rinse and repeat…missed that one as well. Third time lucky and a nice four pounder in the net. Next cast I hooked a much bigger one. Played it for ages then it fell off. “You pulled too hard..another ten seconds and it would have been in the net”. I told him not to be so silly, it was foul-hooked. He said I was a crap angler which I thought was cruel. I caught one more and he wandered off. I then hooked a few more, most were foul-hooked and came off. I got fed up with this and did eventually catch a couple on my corn line but at the whistle I knew that I’d failed miserably…I’d blown the best peg in the World. Roy wandered back and I told him that his method was useless, you just foul hook loads, to which he replied that he could only get the fish into the swim for me, it was up to me to catch them. He did promise to teach me how to avoid foul-hookers in another lesson at a future date.

As I wandered down to the far end of the lake to start the weighing in it became obvious that it had been a very hard day indeed, nobody was admitting to catching too many, in fact with only me to weigh in the top weight was 65 lbs 4 ozs, I managed to weigh in just 4 ounces more, 65 lbs 8 ozs for a lake win. That must be the lowest weight ever to be caught from that peg and the most embarrassing win that I’d ever had.

Saturday 25 July – Summer League – “GayPairsGate”

Since the last blog post where they wouldn’t let me win the honesty prize I’d fished 6 Glebe matches, weighing in 214 lb, 112 lb, 102 lb, 134 lb, 122 lb and a DNW. This latest round of Kev’s summer league was on Pools 5, 6 & 7 at the Glebe and I’d drawn peg 77, the second peg in on Pool 5. I thought it looked alright although Roy says it’s rubbish and isn’t normally pegged. Fishing on the small lakes had gone a bit funny, in fact just three days earlier I’d tipped back from peg 79 on the fundraising match for the England Ladies team. The carp definitely didn’t want a lot of bait thrown at them, especially corn, so I started by feeding a toss-pot of hemp plus half a dozen grains of corn after every fish. In truth there weren’t very many fish and with two hours to go I was in deep cack. Some people were catching on the feeder and one or two had started to catch on corn at 5 metres. I turned to my old favourite, down the edge feeding groundbait and dead reds. There’s hardly any silver fish in Pool 5 so I was confident about fishing maggot on the hook. Having caught a string of tiny perch plus a few equally tiny skimmers I guessed that maggot on the hook wasn’t the answer and switched to JPZs or corn.

I started to catch a few decent carp and at the end guessed I might have 100 lbs. I was sure that I’d been thrashed by the next two anglers on my right and I’d heard that the angler on the end peg (85) also had over a ton. I was second to be weighed in and was pleasantly surprised to finish with 122 lbs. My neighbour weighed in 118 lbs and there were some other high weights but I’d held on for a lake win.

At the draw that morning Kev had suggested that we have a £5 superpool. He’d then promptly won the match, picking up the match pool and superpool. We also have a pairs competition (£1 per man) where he’d drawn Andy Kinder as partner. Kev had won his lake and Andy was second from his peg on Lake 6. With three points between them they were surely unbeatable. Actually no, they weren’t. There are 21 anglers in the league, so last one out of the hat doubles his score. I’d been last out of the hat, so double my 1 point and I had 2 points. Kev’s face was a picture when I picked up the £21 Gay Pairs money, he was convinced that he’d cleaned up !

On Monday morning there was an email from Kev in my inbox. He was very apologetic but the weights on my lake had been added up wrongly and he wanted the pools money back. He and Andy K were besides themselves with excitement, in fact the first thing that Andy & Sarah mentioned when I saw them at the Maver Match a couple of days later was that the weights were wrong and that they had won the pairs.

This all seemed very odd, how had people decided that the weighing was added up incorrectly some 2 days AFTER the match?. It seems that Kev had posted the weigh sheet on Facebook and people had looked at it and seen what seemed like glaring errors. Phew…I was probably safe. When we’d been weighing in I’d looked at the weigh sheet and seen that the scalesman had made a mistake. It looked like he’d added 6, 58 and 60 and come up with 118 lbs. When I pointed it out to him he explained that the angler had actually weighed in 52 lb on his second weigh and he’d added the 6 to make 58 which he’d written down. Kev and Andy K had seen what looked like 5 or 6 mistakes and had assumed that the scalesman was the local village idiot. He wasn’t, although by doing it the way that he did, it made it impossible to check any of his calculations (note to all scalesmen – write EVERY weight down so that you can check the adding up if there’s a query).

I’m not convinced that “GayPairsGate” has actually been resolved, haven’t seen Kev or Andy since that day. I told Kev that he needed to speak to the scalesman, he’s the only person who knows what he did, so I’m hoping that’s what’s happened. I’ve never heard of a match weight being queried two days after a match and the pools money being redistributed but I guess there’s always a first time.

Packington (Away Team) – Sunday 5th July – I Wuz Robbed !

As you know, I retired from blog writing a few weeks ago but I’ve been getting grief from people who want to read about The Glebe. I’ve decided to do a few more blog posts, mainly about exciting or unusual days. I’ll be more careful about who I mention and what I say about them, hopefully I’ll keep myself out of trouble this time.

AS I mentioned in an earlier post, the away team are a bunch of about a dozen anglers who fish little matches (knock-ups might be a better description) on the Sundays when there isn’t a Glebe members match. We fish these matches at Packington or if the lakes there are booked we fish one or two pools at The Glebe.

So on this particular day we were on the high bank of Geary’s Lake at Packington. As we walked along deciding which pegs to put in the draw I made a note of Peg 15. The right hand bank does a sharp left leaving you a lovely edge to fish along the right. At the draw I proudly announced that I was going to draw 15 (I had nothing to do with the draw, it was all done by John Duncan). Lo and behold, out came peg 15 !.

Big Geary’s holds skimmers and proper carp, some of the other Packington Lakes were hit with KHV and are now stocked with F1’s. The carp in Big Geary’s go from a few pounds to really big, you probably don’t want to hook the big boys on the pole. Sitting at my peg, there’s a nice cut-in along the bank at about 10 metres, this looked to be the ideal spot to target, even though it’s only about 12″ deep, together with another area a couple of metres out from the bank in 4 or 5 foot of water. Winds were light and it was sunny, far from ideal conditions for skimmer fishing. Cupping in slop containing casters, dead reds and a few grains of corn I fed both swims and then started by fishing the deep swim. I was soon getting bites on dead reds but the skimmers were so small I wasn’t convinced there was actually any flesh and bones inside that blob of slime that i kept catching. Anybody that has fished with me will tell you that I soon get fed up with catching little un’s, I’d rather wait forever and catch a proper fish than have to keep cleaning slime off my hook length. I started switching between JPZ’s and corn on the hook and began to catch a few proper sized skimmers, up to about 2 pounds. You had to wait for bites but at least it felt like I was putting something in the net, rather than having to clean 3 ozs of slime off my hands for every 4 oz fish that I caught.

About halfway through the match the sky over towards Birmingham Airport began to turn a very nasty black colour. The wind picked up and in no time at all the rain started. I’d been having a quick look down the edge all through the day but except for the odd skimmer the house had been empty. As the rain started everything changed. The float buried in my edge peg and…carp on. I landed some including a 15 pounder and lost a couple that swam off towards Birmingham. The swim was solid, cast out, wait 2 seconds and hook another carp…amazing stuff. The rain stopped and the bites slowed down, but I still kept catching a few. 100 lbs is a good weight on that lake, so I’d put in one net. After a while I thought I’d better put my other net in !.

We fished till 5 pm and I was catching the odd one right up to the all-out. We have these silly rules on the away team matches, the angler to get closest to their estimated weight gets £12, the one furthest away buys the Magnum ice creams for the other anglers. You’re not allowed clickers or any other counting device. I’ve never won the “honesty prize” but I’ve bought the ice creams plenty of times. This was my big chance…they have a 60 lb net limit there and on that particular day the Packington staff were doing our weigh-in. Once I’d asked what the net limit was, and what happened if you were over (you get knocked back to 60 lb) I had no hesitation in guessing 120 lb. The first net had the 15 pounder in it, we weighed that separately then John lifted the remainder and tipped them straight back…he said there was about 75 lb still in the net. Second net was closer but still had around 65 lb, so that too was given 60 lb. Yippee…I was spot on…I’d won the honesty prize !. They wouldn’t pay me. They said I cheated by putting too many fish in the net. It didn’t help that the person who was most vociferous about the incident was one of the organisers who happened to be in the lead for the honesty prize at that time (it’s a bloody sight easier to estimate your weight when you’ve caught bugger all). They even tried to make me buy the ice creams…how could that be ?.

I did win the match, they didn’t pay me the honesty prize and I flatly refused to buy ice creams. An interesting day !

Incidentally, on the following Packington match I drew peg 9, halfway along a straight bank, down a set of rickety steps that aren’t easy for a pensioner with dodgy knees and with nothing much to recommend it. Again got fed up with catching blobs of slime that might or might not have actually had a fish inside it. Switched to my right hand margin with corn on the hook, only caught one carp but won again, this time with 73 lb, proper skimmers plus a single carp. I quite like Packington !.

Members Match – Sunday 28th June

I arrived at the draw for today’s members match at the Glebe to be met by a Glebe member who was genuinely angry and aggrieved that I’d referred to him as “a very nice man” in the blog. He said that my comment was facetious and derogatory. I apologized and assured him that nothing could be further from the truth and I hope that he accepted my apology. If I’ve upset anyone else in a similar vein then please accept my apologies.

To my mind it’s impossible to write a match fishing blog without mentioning the people that you fish with or against (and anyways you’d soon get tired of reading about “corn yacking” or sloppy groundbait), so I’ve called it a day. It was short and sweet, I enjoyed writing it and appreciate the kind comments from people who enjoyed reading it but I have no wish to upset people.

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Kev’s Summer League – Match #2 – Pool 1

Pensioner Wins Summer League Match

Sorry – I just had to do that headline. All week I’d had Simon Skelton teaching me how to draw flyers, so in went my hand (left one of course) and out came…Peg 30 – end peg on Pool 1 !. We had a particularly high class field today, with Andy Findlay standing in for somebody on holiday so add him to Andy Kinder, Arron Morton, Kev Sims, Andrew Williams, Jamie Jones etc and it wasn’t gonna be easy.

Actually, although pleased, I wasn’t jumping with joy. I’ve only drawn Peg 30 once before and I didn’t do brilliantly from it. Usually, if people do well from it they either “mug ’em” or fish long along the right hand margin. I’m not good at either of those, so remembering Roy Marlow’s mantra of “do what you’re good at” I decided that I’d set up a 5m corn line, a rig for the left hand margin and a couple of rigs for the right hand edge, one groundbait one and one for pellet.

There wasn’t exactly any ripple, it wasn’t flat calm but the wind was in my face and slightly towards my end of the lake. The little bays along the rushes to my right were full of scum and floating reeds, and there were quite a few carp eating stuff off the surface. I started as normal, fed a big pot of hemp & corn on the 5m line, then fed some groundbait in both margins, First cast on the corn line and I missed a bite…that’s a good sign. A couple more casts and I’d hooked my first carp..and it had promptly come off!. That was to be a recurring thing throughout the day, I guess that I lost one fish in every four or five. I presume that they were foul-hooked, I did land one hooked in the head and another hooked in the belly later on.

I eventually put a carp in the net, plus the odd skimmer, but the skimmers were small, only about a pound each, I’d been spoiled by the three pounders that I caught from Pool 6 last week. I could see that the anglers in the next couple of pegs were catching a few, both on the corn line and long – they were both beating me. After a couple of hours and with half a dozen carp in the net I gave in to temptation and had a look down that right hand edge. It wasn’t easy, you kept getting hung up on floating reeds and when I did get a fish it turned out to be a tiny tench or a brown goldfish when I fished maggot plus a couple of small carp on pellet. A proficient angler would have caught lots down that edge, and Chris Needham would have mugged the arse off the peg and probably have broken the match record…again!. However after an hour, and remembering “do what you’re good at” I gave myself a good talking to and went back on the corn line. Apart from a 10 minute period trying my left hand margin I stayed on the corn for the rest of the match.

As the match wore on I could see that I was overtaking some of the anglers that were beating me earlier on, and that was the incentive to just stick to what was working rather than looking to catch even faster.  I still kept losing plenty of foul-hookers and tried all of the old tricks of messing with the depth, changing the feeding pattern i.e. heaving BIG handfuls in, but nothing seemed to have any effect. At the end of the match I’d fed 5 tins of corn and a fair bit of hemp. Speaking to Andy Kinder afterwards, he’d fished corn and had exactly the same experience of losing lots of what appeared to be properly hooked fish.

At the whistle I weighed in 186 lbs and was very proud of my ‘split’ between 3 carp keepnets, 51 lb – 51 lb – 54 lb plus some skimmers. I’ve NEVER been that close on weights and assure you that it was a total fluke and will never happen again!. The next two anglers both weighed in over 100 lb, then it was a couple of the top anglers in my section, first Arron weighed in 170 lbs, then Kev Sims weighed in 150 lb…I’d won my section!. As it turned out, the rest of the lake hadn’t fished brilliantly and I’d won the match…WooHoo!.

Wednesday Evening Members Match #4 – June 24th

What A Fishery !!

A Maver Match This match was scheduled for Cudmore fishery on a weekend date. In 6 months they received about a dozen entries. The match was rescheduled for The Glebe on a TUESDAY and it sold out within 24 hours. I’m not the only person to think this is the best match fishery in the country.

A few regulars were missing last night leaving only 8 of us to fish. I drew Peg 16, hadn’t fished that one for ages. I often make one bad decision during a match, this time I made two!.

Decided that I would fish maggot and groundbait because it had served me well over the last few weeks. Corn won it !. Decided on an area in the peg where I would catch lots, with thirty minutes to go to the end of the match Uncle Roy wanders along and says “why are you fishing there? – when I won the match last week I fished THERE”. When I asked him why he chose to fish THERE he said it was because he’d seen Wilkie catching from THERE the week before.

So, standard set-up, find 4ft of water to the side of the peg and cup in slop, with maggot on the hook. Only variations were that the maggots were in Sanagi rather than Krill. Roy always says that silvers don’t like Sanagi, so I thought that I’d catch more carp…Wrong!. I’d also run out of scopex smelly stuff, so used up the remains of a bottle of even smellier stuff.

On the whistle I cupped in a Drennan pot full of groundbait and also put half a cupful down the edges tight to the bank. First put in a little perch…next five put-ins 5 more perch. Then I hooked a carp which I lost where the maggot had gone over the point of the hook. That was the last carp that I was to see for nearly two hours. Kept catching a mixture of all the wrong species, tiny skimmers. perch, brown goldfish, crucians and tench. Tried a few other spots with similar results. Tried corn on the hook and caught a couple of proper skimmers but you had to wait forever for a bite and the float was bobbing around as tiny fish tried to eat the bait.

Eventually, remembering how I’d caught straight in front of me on a top 3 last Saturday I tried that. How very odd, I seemed to be about the same distance from the bank as when I first started and I was maybe 10 ft from my original spot. I still couldn’t catch any carp but I started catching decent sized skimmers without a single nuisance fish.

I could hear Andrew Williams on my right catching plenty of carp and I could see Doddy on my left also catching carp. I knew that I’d blown it big time…Oh well…c’est la vie.

When Roy wandered along with half an hour to go I had just 2 carp and some skimmers in the net. He suggested that I might feed a bit heavier i.e. fill the pole pot right up because he was sure that the carp were charging around in mid-water eating the small amount of bait that was going down. He was right, I then caught a carp under the arm, another in the tail and finally one in the gob, plus a few more skimmers.

I was pretty sure that I was last on the match but as the scales came along I could see that the weights weren’t all that impressive. Andrew next door had 160 lb for the match win and my carp weighed 23 lbs. To my amazement my skimmers weighed 61 lbs, so a total of 84 lbs and third in the match. Not bad for a three hour  match where I did everything wrong.

Funniest thing on the night was that as the evening went on I could see more and more bright orange elastic hanging from the end of Doddy’s pole. It was a new elastic and as they always do when you catch a few fish on them it had stretched a bit. He didn’t want to re-tie the dacron connector on the bank and at the other end the knot had jammed in the side pulla. Each fish that he caught saw this dangly orange elastic get longer and longer…quite amusing!.