I should explain that the away team are a bunch of Glebe regulars who have a little match on the alternate summer Sunday’s when there isn’t a Glebe members match. We normally fish on Little Gearys or the high bank of Big Gearys at Packington but if that’s already booked then we fish The Glebe. Even at Packington we fish to Glebe rules, so no meat, no method feeders etc. The most important thing is that the matches are not taken too seriously, no moaning is allowed and we generally have a good laugh. An indication of the light-hearted style of the matches is that you have to estimate your weight (no clickers or other counting systems allowed). The angler getting nearest to their estimate wins a prize and the angler furthest away has to buy Magnum ice creams for everybody else. This is totally unfair because those anglers who don’t catch much are regularly close to their estimate !!. I’ve NEVER won the honesty prize but I can tell you to the penny how much 12 ice creams cost at Packington or the Co-Op near to the Glebe.
So yesterday we had 12 anglers on Pools 6 & 7. With empty pegs either side of every angler it should be a good day and so it was. Whenever you’re fishing these smaller lakes you can never tell which lake is going to produce the goods, so if you’re down to fish a match here and you draw a lake that didn’t produce massive weights the previous week (or even the previous day) please don’t despair, if you’re good enough and do it about right you will have a great day’s fishing and you can easily win the match.
So yesterday I drew Peg 92, I’d have preferred to have been a little nearer the beginning of the lake but I was still looking forward to a decent day’s fishing. There was a good breeze blowing down to Peg 97 at the far end and I thought that it looked perfect for a day on the corn. In fact the breeze was strong enough to make the lake tow from right to left i.e. against the wind and that’s usually the perfect recipe for corn fishing.
My peg is supposedly a decent feeder peg and as this was to be a light hearted affair I got the feeder rod out of the bag!. The reel hadn’t gone rusty and believe it or not, when I clipped up I was managing to get the lead in the exact spot. On the whistle out went the feeder, just a little bit wayward but not terrible. I had micros in the feeder and a small white boilie on the hook. After six casts the feeder rod was up the bank. I’d had 2 feeder sized carp, lost 2 fish and had a couple of casts with lots of liners but no bites. I simply can’t cope with playing those fish from tight to the far bank just for the hook to pull out as I reach for my landing net. I don’t understand how those Guru hooks that stick in your fingers as you try to tie a hook length can EVER come out of a fish. It wouldn’t worry me for one second if I never chucked another feeder in my entire life!.
Whilst attempting to fish the feeder I’d been feeding corn on the top2 + 2 line and I was soon getting a few bites. Some skimmers, some small carp, things were looking up. After catching two particularly small carp i.e. about a pound each I thought I’d try the Roy Marlow line, fishing to my right in 4 ft of water. I had put a big pot of slop in there about 30 minutes earlier, so baiting up with a bunch of dead reds on a size 14 B911 and with a cup of slop in the pole pot I dropped the bait into the cloud. Bugger, I had overshotted the float…oh no I hadn’t, black hydro was being pulled from the pole!. An 8 pounder first cast…Nice!. I then caught a mixture of big skimmers and decent carp for a while. Once I had an estimated 100 lbs in my carp and silver fish nets I couldn’t resist having a look in the edge. It was only about 18″ deep and I hadn’t seen any indications but I just had a feeling about it. Same idea, slop in the pole cup and a big bunch of dead reds. Nothing happened on the first two put-ins but third time the float disappeared and a ‘proper’ carp was on the end. In the net I put it at 10 lb in my mental arithmetic but I suspect that it might have been a pound or two more.
I think there was about two hours left in the match and for the remainder of the time I just fished that margin. To be honest I might have caught more on the Roy line, I would certainly have caught more skimmers (I only had one on the inside line) but who can resist catching proper sized carp on match tackle?. I can’t. You had to wait a few minutes between bites and I had a spell where I think the fish were charging around in the cloud from the groundbait ‘cos I started missing loads of bites. I just added a bit more dry groundbait and micros to make it sink a bit quicker and started catching again. My best fish was a magnificent common carp of at least 15 lb. Lots of my big fish were still full of spawn, as I said a few days ago I don’t think that the carp in the small lakes have spawned yet…when is our summer going to finally arrive?.
At weigh in time it was obvious that our lake had fished worse than Pool 7 but I’d had a blooming field day. I weighed in 235 lb including 46 lb of skimmers for an easy lake win plus the ‘silvers’ prize. In my mental calculator I’d clicked 206 lbs but added a few on and settled on an estimate of 211 lbs. I was 24 lbs out and everybody thought that I’d be on another trip to the Co-Op. Luckily Birmingham Bob (he’s from Wales) on Peg 109 on Pool 7 had completely lost count of his weight, perhaps because he’d trodden on a top kit and broken it, his wife had trodden on a top kit and broken that….and he’d broken another one on a fish!. He is largely responsible for keeping the sellers of spare pole sections in business but to break THREE was exceptional, he normally only averages ONE!. Anyhow, his estimate was 26 lbs over, I was safe. The other weights on Pool 7 were much better than those on Pool 6. Roy had shot off to visit Sue, his wife, in hospital (we all send our very best wishes), and in his absence he weighed in around 160 lb, but for once he didn’t catch many silvers. John ‘The Frog’ Duncan had 150 lbs, ‘Dagga’ Ward estimated 95 lb and was right to the ounce, and our only lady angler, Toni Rowlands had exactly 100 lb…big applause to her.
So, in conclusion, once more the corn didn’t work. In fact John Duncan was telling me that he was really struggling and eventually switched to fishing pellet on his corn line and immediately started catching on his way to 150 lb. I’m wondering if water temperature has something to do with it. I remember last season regularly catching 200 lb bags of carp on corn and I was always fishing in a short sleeved shirt, this season I’m either fishing in a hoodie or waterproofs..or both. Until we get some good weather I won’t know the answer to the corn question.
Another thought, some people might think that you need to spend a fortune on bait in order to catch big weights. Yesterday I used the equivalent of a bag of groundbait (actually a mixture of groundbait and micro pellets), a pint of dead red krilled maggots, 2 tins of corn and a pint of hemp. If I’d been fishing corn I’d take 10 tins (£3.50 at Lidl’s) plus a bit more hemp. You might have to spend a fortune replacing worn-out keepnets but your bait bill doesn’t need to be over the moon.
Finally I should mention that a number of people when walking past my peg have been coming out with “what’s that ‘kin smell” or similar such phrases. I’m in no way a sponsored angler but I do field test some of the new Marukyu products and earlier this year we were given a couple of bottles of the new Marukyu Amino Plus sprays. I’ve been using their Scopex flavour in my groundbait over the past few weeks. You’re supposed to spray it lightly over your bait, I tend to unscrew the cap and tip a bit out and that’s why you might get a whiff of it as you walk past…or as you fish 10 pegs away. There’s nothing scientific about what flavour I’m using, it’s just that I’ve always liked the smell of Scopex. I have no idea if it’s making any difference, I’ll just remind you that I’m nearer 70 than 65, I rarely use more than 4 sections of pole, I’m a very average angler. I don’t particularly like reading those articles where the star sponsored angler has to mention each of his sponsors products as he describes how he won his latest big match. I’m low-key and quite shy, I often keep myself to myself but I’m normally fishing with Marukyu products and in the interest of complete openness I’m happy to tell you that I do get a few free samples and as a field tester I buy Marukyu products at a slightly lower price than you’ll find them in the shops. I believe that SOME of their products are streets ahead of anything else that can be found on the UK market and that’s why I use them, it’s as simple as that.
Sorry, one more finally…I promise to put some pictures into these blog posts, it’s just that I needed to do the writing whilst it was all fresh in my mind. And once winter comes around and I go into hibernation I’ll write some stuff about my trips to Canada and catching a 9 ft Sturgeon in the Fraser River. The sight of a 9 foot long fish jumping out of the water will live with me forever.