Saturday, 28 June 2008

Nicks Forum Match - Hartleylands Farm

Bramley Lake

Well today I'd planned an out and out Pellet waggler attack on my visit to Hartleylands to fish Nick Gilberts forum match. Luckily I drew peg 18 on Bramley, a fairly decent peg with the wind off my back so things looked good. Chucking the pellet wag out before the match to find the range to clip up I hooked a carp with a bare hook so there were obviously fish in the swim.

At the "All In" I fired 6mm pellets out to the island and followed with my wag baited with a 6mm banded pellet and immediately was in to Carp no.1. As this was my first really serious go at fishing the Pellet Wag in amatch I'd set myself a target of 75 Carp, 15 an hour, which I thought may just be enough for around a 100lbs so this was a good start. The first hour continued with a fish coming almost every cast and by the end of it I'd hit my tagert of 15 fish. The only problem was most of them were around 12ozs and not the 1lb - 1lb 8ozs fish I'd hoped for.

I changed hookbait to a banded 8mm pellet and this improved thing slightly with a few slightly larger specimens but there were still too many small ones. By the end of hour 3 I was still on target with 47 carp now in the net.
Hour 4 was a little better with 24 Carp gracing my net and in this were a few better fish, I still felt frustrated that I was catching so many smaller samples though.

Into Hour 5 and I was hoping to pick up a few bigger fish from the margin line I'd been feeding all day. By now there were tail patterns everywhere so there were obviously some decent carp rooting around tight to the reeds on my right. After 15 minutes more on the Pellet Waggler I put it to one side and shipped out my margin rig, a Malman Thicko with a size 12 B911 tied direct to 5lb maxima, bait was a large lump of paste. Straight away the pole was almost ripped from my hand and I was attached to a rather angry Common carp of around 5lbs. Eventually the elastic did it's work and the fish was safely netted. Next put in and the same happened, this time a Carp of around 3lb being the culprit. Then the margin line died. All I could connect with was a few roach and a skimmer of about 12ozs. Another pot of pellets went in and it was back on the Wag for 15 minutes.
4 carp later and I went back on the margin line, now it was really solid and Carp after Carp came to the net right up until the "All Out". I was still frustrated though as they were still only smaller Carp. My final fish count was 92 so I'd beaten my target but would I beat the 'Ton', I was doubtful, those 12oz Carp might just not be big enough.

Word going round was that, surprise surprise, Nick had caught well and so it turned out with him winning Peartree with 117lbs 1oz. Matt Love was 2nd on Peartree with 88lb 10ozs. Rusty Groves was 1st to weigh on Bramley and he had a superb 137 fish going 125lb 1oz almost all caught shallow. Next it was my turn, 3 weighs later and the final total was......................... ................... .............................................................................. 80lb 10zs. Oh well, not the 'Ton' I'd hoped for but still a decent return from my first match fishing the Pellet Wag.

I'd enjoyed the day and got seriously sunburnt in the bargain , I just didn't realise how hot the sun was, the breeze off my back was keeping me quite cool all match.I was pleased to see I'd beaten a few decent anglers on the day including Derek Gladwin and Andy Silver.

Congratulatons Rusty on the match win, even though you were pegged next to me I didn't have chance to watch your display of shallow pole fishing, never mind there's always another day.

Can I do it again? who knows, but I'm certainly looking forward to the next time I get the chance to fish the Pellet Wag.

Sunday, 15 June 2008 Individual Champs
14th June 2008
Packington Somers Fishery Meriden, Coventry.

Today was the annual Maggotdrowning Indivdiual Champs for 2008. Some superb prizes had been donated and the first 3 anglers were to the lucky recipients of a brand new seatbox kindly donated by Jim Burton of Matchbox. 6 reels had also been donated and were to form the 4th place prize and for each of the section winners. These had been kindly donated by John at The Matchmen, Nottingham.

Here's my take on the day.

My Individual Champs experience started with a 166 mile drive from Kent on Friday the 13th. I left home around 3.30pm hoping to miss the worst of the M25 traffic and was quite lucky until I reached Heathrow. 3 miles in about and hour wasn't exactly what I'd planned. Fortunately after this hold up things went well and I finally arrived at the B & B around 8.30pm. I booked in, dropped some stuff off in my room and popped off to the pub to find Bucko and his lady wife.
After an enjoyable pint we all left to make our way back to the digs, however I forget to tell Bucko I was popping down to the Bull in Meriden to say Hi, to Simonelsey, Aigy and CroydonAngler. Bucko being the nice caring soul that he is started panicking and was soon ringing his way round the Maggotdrowners trying to find someone who had my mobile no. Peter and Dirk both heard from him, however, they were wasting their time trying to ring me as I hadn't got any signal on my T Mobile phone anyway. (Bloody things got to go.) Rumour has it Peter told Bucko "I was probably at the bottom of a ditch somewhere but he was sure I'd find my way home soon". Thanks for showing your compassionate side Peter.

After a decent nights sleep I woke refreshed and ready to go and was soon pulling in to the fishery, mind you it was only 3 minutes from the B & B. First impressions were very good, a nice looking golf course along side the drive and lakes in the distance. Arriving in the large car park I could see a number of MDers standing around chatting clearly looking forward to the day. By the time of the draw 42 excited MDers had turned up and an orderly queue was formed as hands went in the draw bag hoping for a favoured peg. Before the draw John, the fishery manager, had told me he thought the match would be won from one of the island pegs in the mid 40's so when I saw local expert Missabite had drawn 44 I was fairly sure he'd be somewhere in the frame come the end of the match. For the record Peter drew me peg 37, he had peg 48 and Dirk was miles away on peg 15.

Arriving at peg 37 it certainly looked very inviting, probaly the nicest peg I'd seen all the way round the lake. Llillies either side of me and a bay in the island with reeds fringing it. I stood and surveyed the peg before settling on what to do.

My plan of action was to fish the feeder tight across to the island and also feed two pole lines, one at 8 metres and the other in the margins close to the lillies. At the All In if potted in a couple of pots of chopped worm and caster on each pole line and then cast the feeder in to the bay opposite. 10 minutes in and no bite so I picked up the pole and tried the 8 metre line. first drop in and the float sailed awy. However I didn't meet with the expected hard fight of a Crucian but the jig jagging of a tiny perch. Next put in and the same result so I decided to go back on the feeder.
As the hour mark approached the tip flew round and Bream no.1 was soon in the net, a nice looking fish of around 2lbs or so I thought. (more of that later) A couple of casts later and another Bream was in the net slightly bigger this time. As the match progressed I'd take a couple of Bream and then have a quiet spell befoe taking another couple. At the 3 hour mark I was happy and estimated I'd probably got maybe 30lbs. Next cast and as I waited foir a bite I rang Peter to see how he was doing, I think I managed a couple of words before I had to drop the phone and dive for the rod as it tried to make it's way in to the lake. Haning on for dear life I managed to turn the fish before it got too far through the reeds and slowly managed to gain some ground. This was clearly much bigger than anything i'd caught so far so I took my time suspecting it may be one of the large resident Tench. Sadly for me as the fish surfaced beside the landing net I saw it was a Carp of about 10lbs so I skillfully knocked it off the hook without the need to lift it from the water. Next cast and I barely had chance to put the rod in the rest before the tip bent double and another good fish was on. i wondered whether this may be a Carp too as the fight was similar however, I was happy to see a nice looking Tench surface just in front of me which was safely netter. I guessed it was about 4lbs. Back in again and I was on again this time a Bream of maybe 3lbs. I eventually got round to ringing Peter again and perhaps wished I hadn't as after telling him about my last few minutes he didn't sound too happy and hung up muttering something about 2 tiny perch and a skimmer.
With about 30 minutes to go word reached me that that I was catching better than most and was apparently in the lead, well that made me smile and I celebrated with another Bream. By now I thought I'd got maybe 50lbs. A few more smaller bream/skimmers and it was time to blow the whistle for the end of the match. Dry Nets to my right came to see me and said he thought I'd probably got around 60lbs and must be in line for a win as he hadn't heard of anyone else having that much. In no time at all the scales reached my peg and a quick look at the wiegh sehhts showed Matt Nutt in the lead with just over 40lbs and Mike Globe next with 38lbs. I was pretty sure I'd beaten both of them and was feeling quite good for a change. Then my day turned sour, the scalesman shouted 29lb 13ozs, are you sure? I asked him to check again and he said 29-13. I was absolutely stunned. I was so shocked that I checked my nets for any large holes the mice might have made. Drynets just looked at me in disbelief. I can only think the bream were hollow after spawning which accounted for them not weighing anything near their size. Still I was in 3rd place and hadn't heard of much being caught from the pegs after me so was still in with a shout of a frame place and a lovely shiny new Matchbox Seatbox. My joy was to be short lived when only 4 pegs later Missabite put 43lbs 12ozs on the scales to push me down to 4th. I followed the scales round to Peter and couldn't help smiling inwardly when he weighed a huge 5lbs 9ozs . Sadly with all the roganistion I'd been doing for the draw I'd forgotten to have our customary £1 side bet.
The last few pegs were weighed and I held on to 4th place but couldn't help but feel disappointed as I'd used my clicker to roughly estimate my weight and it showed 47lbs. How did I get it so wrong?
Back at the clubhouse and after I'd worked out the places the presentations were made, with special thanks going to Ray Best for arranging the superb prizes and to the fishery staff for looking after us so well and carrying out the fastest, most efficent weigh in I'd ever seen.
A huge array of raffle prizes were up for grabs and thanks were given to Bucko's wife (I can never remember her name) and to Roger for sorting out the raffle. It seemed to take forever, but was worth it with £224 being raised to be split between The Kent Air Ambulance and Great Ormond Steeet Hospital for Sick Children.
After everyone had I left I sat and looked back on the day, I concluded that it had been a great success. the fishery was lovely, the company excellent as always and the banter up to it's usual standard. Highlight of the day had to be when halfway through the raffle Dave realised someone had picked up the bottle of wine he'd won earlier on. he'd put it on the table in front of him and one of the later prize winners had picked it up thinking it was still up for grabs, the look on his face was priceless.
Will I run it all again next? Of course I will, I just need to start considering a venue.
I made one final note to myself before I left and that was to speak to Nick Gilbert about lessons in weight estimation, we all know how good he is at that.