Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Blankety Blank

No, not the television show but the only way to describe six hours of sitting on my box. It had to happen one day not a single fish during the match. First match of the year and I was so looking forward to it. Nice weather, good drive down in the daylight, had all the right gear but not a single fish in six hours.

A nice April day, shame there were no fish to play with...
The day started well. It was one of those days when the alarm went off just as I was about to wake and getting out of bed was easy. The fact that it was still trying to be dark outside and the sun was just starting to chase the black of the night, away always helps. By 05:30, as I was loading the van, it was really starting to become light and that timid first light was fighting with the street lights for supremacy of the sky. As I opened the back doors of the van the light flooded in to reveal the fact that my van-keeping is not what it should be. Never mind, nobody can see but me. Van loading went on at a pace and we were off. We? Yes, Me, Jane and the family of spiders that live in the void behind the mirrors and spend their entire life making sure the mirrors don't fall out by tying them down. Jane? That's the irritating calm voice of the SatNav. I know, I should know the way to Beaver Fishery by now, but I enjoy the company.

I must get around to giving the back of the van a spring clean...
Thanks to whoever it was that caused the traffic to tail-back along the M25, I sailed through the gates at Beaver a few minutes past 07:00 and made my way to the match office. AKA Jeff's Lake Chalet, When someone hires it for an all-nighter. There, posted on the wall, is the draw. The draw is carried out the night before. I think this is a  hang over from when the matched used to start at 08:00. These days the start time 09:00 but the pre-draw is still in place. Suits me, It always takes me ages to get set up. I drew peg 12. A peg that nobody likes but I have not done too badly from there in the past, but it was not good for me today.

Not a good idea to mix the two
I made the mistake of not really making a plan. I had intended to visit the venue last week to see how the fish were behaving. Having only fished once so far this year I we at a loss as to what should be happening. The warmer weather got me thinking the fish would be more active than they were, so when my tried and tested feeder tactics did not pay off I was stuffed. My efforts to slim down what I take is becoming a real pain. I used to take extra bags of my Two Dog groundbait with me, just in case I needed it or I wanted to give some to someone else. This time I took just what I needed. I poured it into the bowl and promptly added too much water as my collapsible bucket collapsed a little, sloshing in a good splash of water too much. Have I ever done this before when I had a few more kilograms in the van? No. Now I was stuffed the groundbait was far too wet and clung to the feeder like treacle. All I had was half a bag of my green died Surf 'n' Turf mix and that was not dry. I decided to mix the lot together. That made the mix less wet but it was still not right and now it was a mix of all sorts. Well, my theory must be correct. I am convinced that groundbait selects fish by what they dislike, not what they like, Bream and tench are not keen on my Two Dog and Carp are not keen on my Surf 'n' Turf. Conformed. I caught nothing for six hours using a mix of the two.

The water was so clear I could see the end of the empty keep nets
I had taken my pole with me but that was never going to work, I had no bait plan or strategy and I am not very confident with using yet. I just have not had a chance to get practised with it yet. My box was not really set up as well as it could have been and the rollers were not working. All in all it was a mess so I gave up trying. Later in the day a few fish were being caught off the to so I tried with the pellet waggler, nothing. Although I was the only one to blank, there was no huge weight caught with several contestants only weighing in a few pounds. The top weight, caught from what is regarded as one of the best pegs on the lake, was only 38lb 10oz.

After the weigh-in I decided to stay on and fish for a bit longer. I loaded a feeder with the mix of groundbait, which had dried out a bit by now, and cast over to past the halfway mark where I could see a lot of fish. As the feeder hit the water the hooked bait, which was hanging loose, was taken straight away buy a unsuspecting F1. At last a fish!

It was just after 4 o'clock when I caught my first fish of the day
I fished on for a while and caught a few more fish but the fun had gone and I decided to call it a day. Packing up was easy as the van was only a few yards away on the other side of the little bridge that crosses the outflow from the lake back into Eden Brook a few feet below the lake at this end.

Not far to walk so no barrow today
Another poor days fishing for me. A total lack of planning and a muddled approach made for my first match without catching a single fish. Fail to plan, plan to fail. I need to get some time in on the lake before the May match, but that can wait. I am going to try a different venue next week. I am going back to the place where I caught my very first fish. Bax Farm, now under now ownership and renamed The Willows Angling Centre. I have not been back there for a couple of years and the new owners have spent a lot of time and money improving it - should be an interesting day.