Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Match report No.3

Listen to me, casual as you like, reporting on my latest experience of match fishing. Anyone would think that I am totally at home with the idea, the old slippers of the fishing calendar. That may be the impression but underneath that calm, cool exterior there is a little boy bursting with excitement... Okay, maybe I am a bit old to be cool, but you get the idea!

What's that!? Groan... "It's your alarm - turn it off!" "'Morning dear"...

05:00 time to get up, deal with the ablutions, pack the bait into the coolbox, make a flask of coffee, pack the van and get on my way before the six o'clock news. There is a definite nip in the air, the windscreen is covered in dew and the inside is misting up. Autumn is sending a message it is on its way.

Lots of tip watching and recasting every 40 seconds or so don't half make your arm ache
The match does not start until nine o'clock but I have to be round the South Circular and out onto the M25 well before half past six in the morning if I want to get to the fishery in time to get set up. Leave it any later and my journey time will be doubled, at the very least. No hold ups today so I arrive at the gate with fifteen minutes to spare. Time for a chat with a fellow angler also waiting for the gate to open at seven o'clock. I can taste the bacon sandwich as the sound of the burger-van shutters are lifted. Dead on time the gate opens and all eyes are on the draw that is posted on the front of the shed - sorry 'match-office'. Peg 16 - that'll do me - I can get to the fish from there. You see, as a seasoned matchman now, I know exactly where the fish are and I will be able to just casually pull them out one after the other. Probably.

As we had a couple of hours before the all-in whistle, I decided that I would rig the rods on the bank and sort out (riddle!) the groundbait method mix. In case you are wondering I was using my Two Dog groundbait. This time I had a plan. I had a couple of feeder rods, set up with method feeders and clipped up at different distances I had established by casting hook-less feeder before the whistle.

For the first half an hour nothing, not a twitch. I continued my campaign of building up a bed of ground bait. My casting is getting better but I can't guarantee hitting the same place every time. While I am plugging away, the guy on the next peg is landing fish after fish on the pole. Then after about 40 minutes I get a bite and land an F1 my target fish. I can't tell you how good that felt (but I guess you already know that feeling). another chuck and another fish. I bag about four fish and then it dries up. Meanwhile, I notice the guy next to me is looking glum and is getting no fish either. I swap rods and start to build a second line. After half a dozen casts I am on the fish again. I must be getting better at this as I knew it was a bream long before I saw it as it just played dead and allowed me to haul it in so it could slime up my tackle - thanks!

Even Sid, the Jack Russell, could not find a fish!
Another chuck and I was back with the carp. Fishing was very slow for the greater parts of the match with everybody moaning - except me, because I just love sitting there in the rain, getting all my gear wet (No brolly yet) and catching absolutely nothing.  There were a couple of periods of activity when I caught the biggest fish of the day by anyone, but it got away. This must have been a very slippery fish as it turned out as everybody else had caught it and, yes, it got way from them too! The last hour made up for the lack of action and I think I caught half of my final weight in that time.

I was happy with 8th place, but if only that one had not got away...
Come the weigh-in I was surprised to see my catch and so were some of the others. The guy next to me had a flying start but hardly caught a fish at all for the rest of the match. I ended up with a 15lb bag that gave me an 8th place out of thirteen contestants. Not great, but I was more than happy with that considering the low scoring all round.

The grounds around the lakes are heavily forested and make a picturesque backdrop - I recognise that van!
I stayed on and continued to fish after the match and although the fish were biting, It is the slowest I have seen this lake in my short experience.  A good day was had by me and I now have to think about the next match. The Two Dog groundbait is still working well but I think a change of tactics might be in order so I now have a month to try a few things out before I decide how to play it next time. I have a 5m whip that I am thinking I could use to try and bag one of the bigger carp that I could see cruising the margins late in the day.