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.

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!.

The Away Team – Sunday June 21st – Glebe Pool 6

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.

Total Fishing – Day 2

At the draw Simon Skelton who had drawn Peg 22 yesterday (a really good peg AND nobody on Peg 23) then proceeded to draw Peg 86, the ‘Little Girls Peg’, probably the most famous peg in the UK…can that man draw!.

I drew out Peg 71 on Pool 4 and had the proverbial ‘nightmare’. It’s the deepest peg on Pool 4 and that pool is the deepest on the complex which probably means that I had the deepest peg on The Glebe. Not surprisingly it’s a brilliant winter peg, the fish all huddle up and shiver in that peg however it was allegedly mid-summer and I really didn’t fancy it. It was gonna take about 20 minutes for my corn to reach the bottom!. Incidentally, it’s apparently one of the best feeder pegs on the lake but about as much use to me as a blind guidedog.

With the peg being so deep I decided to fish corn on top 2 + 1, it was still about 5 ft deep there, and still sloping off into the depths. The margins looked a bit more promising with the right hand side having a fairly flat area for about 10 ft from the bank. It was still deeper than I’d have wanted but at least it looked likely to hold fish.

I’ll not go into much detail today, nothing much seemed to work, I was foul-hooking (and losing) loads. About halfway through the match Roy Marlow came along the bank and took pity on me, he could see that I was fishing like a haddock!. He has a patented fish catching method that basically involved having a box full of rigs all set to 4 ft deep. He plumbs up until he finds 4 ft of water and fishes there. Cupping in groundbait and fishing maggot on the hook he plops the rig in so that the hook will finish right in the middle of the falling groundbait. He regularly wins the silvers prizes and the method catches it’s fair share of carp although it can’t compete with corn if they’re really ‘having it’. After my training session I did manage to catch a few, in fact at the end of the match I weighed in 1 lb more than yesterday but it had none of the satisfaction of yesterday. Rick ‘Happy Dangler’ Baxter weighed in 165 lb from end peg 66 and Andrew Williams fished an absolute stormer to weigh in 200 lb of corn caught fish from Peg 73. So third on the lake.

Big congratulations to Simon Skelton, Jamie Adcock and Kev Sims who filled the first three places on the 2 day event, all of them winning their section both days and the result being decided to weight.

Total Fishing – Day 1

Once more I’m going to start with “it was a funny old day”. Our Great British weather just will not settle down and I think that’s affecting the fishing. Some of our fish at the Glebe still haven’t spawned and we’re half way through June.

This two day match has 48 anglers from the total-fishing.com website competing over two days. The anglers are split 24 on Pool 1 and 24 spread over Pools 4, 5, 6 & 7 so that everybody will have one day on the main lake and one day on the smaller lakes. It’s a good concept but it makes pegging Pool 1 a nightmare because the anglers with an empty peg next to them seem to have a huge advantage. OK that’s got my excuses out of the way, I drew Peg 19 on Pool 1. It’s a decent enough peg, you wouldn’t RUN to it but yeah, it’s ok. It’s in a shallow area of the lake, pegs 19 to 22 are shallow on the nearside and 22 is famous as “the best feeder chuck in Europe” according to Roy Marlow because it’s so flat and shallow on the opposite bank. With my section including peg 22 and with peg 23 being the only empty peg on the high numbered half of the lake I really didn’t need a superstar such as Simon Skelton to be sitting on there….but he was!. Oh well, all you can do is to do your best.

Whilst tackling up it looked promising, there were a few big swirls here and there, and the wind was light but creating a bit of a ripple. Although I’d carried my feeder rods to my peg, it was only to let them see a bit of daylight, I had no intention of actually using them. Today’s plan was easy, corn at top 2 plus 2 put me in about 4ft of water…lovely. On Wednesday evening Roy had caught 60lb of skimmers from peg 16, so I thought that if the carp weren’t playing I’d have a day skimmer fishing. I’ve caught 100 lb of skimmers once on a Glebe match and I’d love to do it again. Fishing top 2 plus 1 and plumbing up halfway between straight out and the bank i.e. at 45 degrees, Id got about two and a half feet of water, again that looked good…I was ready to go.

Rob Hendrick was on peg 18 and he started on the feeder, a standard ploy for many of the Glebe regulars. He had a bite first or second cast and whilst he was playing that fish I hooked my first one. On his next cast I hooked another and then a big skimmer. At this point Rob decided that it was time to go on the pole!. Now don’t get me wrong, Rob is a lovely man and I’m not criticizing him, I just want to make a point here. When you’re fishing a water like the Glebe where there are so many methods that can produce fish you really need to wear blinkers. Yes, take note of what’s going on around you but switching and swapping trying to do what the people around you are doing just isn’t going to work. You need to have confidence that what you’re doing is right…and you should stick to it until YOU want to switch over, don’t be influenced by your neighbours else you’ll go round and round in circles before finally disappearing up your own arsehole.  Whilst I’m on this particular theme here’s another little snippet that you might want to store in your memory bank. A week or two back I had Gordon ‘Corn King’ Parker a couple of pegs away with one angler between us. I’d tried catching on corn and had given up and was fishing down the edge. Gordon had started slowly but was now starting to string a few fish together. Each cast he was feeding a few grains of corn via a little pole pot. The angler between us was lashing in corn like we do in the middle of summer. At the end of the match I’d won the lake, Gordon was second, the angler between us was an also-ran. So yes, do your own thing, don’t change methods just to match the angler next door but do be aware of what’s going on around you. If the best corn angler in the world is feeding 5 grains of corn each cast then there’s a reason for that.

Anyhow, back to the fishing. After that early spurt it all went a bit messy. Next fish was a little brown goldfish, followed by a tiny skimmer. Maybe it was going to be my 100 lb of skimmers day. Maybe it wasn’t!…seven casts, seven tiny perch…bugger, I’d really fancied catching 100 lb of skimmers..oh well. Back to the corn line and first fish was a skimmer. This was bizarre, what were they doing out there. I carried on and caught one or two more smaller skimmers but this was going nowhere either. Since the skimmers that I was catching on the corn line were bigger than the perch and skimmers that I could catch on my skimmer line I decided to try my skimmer rig straight out in front of me.  The top2 + 2 line was too deep for the rig that I wanted to use, and being a lazy bugger, rather than getting a new rig out of the box I took a section off the pole and tried that depth…perfect.

Cracked it!. Feeding slop through the cup and fishing dead reds or 8mm JPz I caught a succession of carp plus the odd skimmer. Weighed in 142 lb, well beaten by Simon Skelton who had around 200 lb but second on the lake. I was well pleased with that performance, ‘Skelly’ had an empty peg to his right and Jamie Adcock who I beat by 2 lb for 2nd in the superpool (Sorry Jamie) had 2 empty pegs to the left of his Peg 11.