Wednesday, 5 October 2016

152 ounces sounds better than 9½ pounds...

The water was much clearer today than it has been for a while
Having missed the last match through oversleeping (yes me!) I was determined not to miss this one as I thought it would be the last of the season. As it turns out it was not, I'll explain later. For once I was organised well in advance. Bait and rigs all sorted well in advance and a new slimmed down approach to what tackle I really needed to take with me.

As usual the alarm went off just before 05:00 and I was out of bed and running like a sprinter out of the blocks as the gun went off. Well, I managed to stand up without staggering around to get my balance - that's a start. All I had to do was make my coffee and pack the last items from the fridge into my bag. Bottle of drink - check! Sandwiches - check! Maggots- check! The van was loaded in record time and like a robot I got in the van and drove off with no regards of the time. My normal routine will get me on the road just before 06:00. As I was driving down my road the 05:30 news came on the radio. Groan...

After taking it as slowly as I reasonably could, being overtaken by articulated lorries on the motorway, and if we still had them, letting the milk float out-drag me at the lights, I still arrived half an hour before the gate was due to open. Even the fishery cat was curious as to what idiot was here half an hour early and sat on his side of the gate trying to stare the van out. The gate opens at exactly 07:01 (Radio 4 time), I notice these things. As I started the engine and drove through, I was hoping I had drawn a different peg. The last two matches I had drawn the same peg, a peg I would rather not have fished from. To my relief I had drawn the peg I would have picked given the choice.

The new organised set-up meant I was ready to fish in record time having everything ready to go an hour before the all-in. I had time to go for a chat with the other competitors. Estimates for how the day was going to work out ranged from dreadful to excellent. Somewhere in between would make me happy. A day spent on the lake, the week before last, confirmed I was not going to use the pole in a match here until I was feeling a little more confident. Today it was going to be all about feeder fishing, something I am happy with and proven to work for me.

Pawel, to my left, was catching all the fish that were heading for my groundbait
The all-in was called and I cast a loaded feeder out to the first of my target areas, waited for a minute and cast again. Third cast and I was away. A nice sized F1. Great! next cast another and then a couple more casts and another. Twenty minutes gone and three fish in the keep-net. There I was thinking this could be my day. Two and a half hours later I caught another fish, but this one got away by shaking the hook loose. I was fishing a 9ft feeder (picker) rod to the same spot. Time for a change. I had an 8ft rod set up to fish closer in on the same line. This failed to produce a bite. Despondent at my lack of fish, I decided to try and supplement my haul with a few silvers. No luck. This was turning out to be a disaster. Looking around there was not many catching. It was obviously a hard day all around.

Well, at least I wasn't last...
By the time the all-out was called I had caught five fish and a total weight of 9½lb which to my total surprise was not last. I have now worked out that the fish must swim anti-clockwise around Jeff's lake as the winning peg was to my left and he caught all my fish as they were making for my groundbait.

Joking aside, the lake was very much clearer than it was last time I fished it. I could see the end of my keep nets and the bottom of the close margins. What I could not see was any fish. It is said that fish do not like feeding over light-coloured groundbait and my Two Dog groundbait feeder mix is bright yellow. The guy who won the match was using a feeder and a dark coloured groundbait. I feel a new groundbait recipe coming on here...

The best fish of the day came after the match finished
I stayed on fishing for two or three hours after the match but only caught a few more fish. The weather is definitely on the turn and the water is clearing. Time to brush up on the silver fish technique and if time permits I feel a few trips down the Regent's Canal over the next few months with the little plastic fish and very light dropshotting gear chasing the perch, is in order.

Looks like there will be a November match this year as lots of the guys were up for it so I will get one more in this year. The Southern Fur 'n' Feather is held on the one day in December I have to work. Last year it was held on a Sunday but this year it is a Saturday, always a dodgy day for me as work can often get in the way.