Fisho So Far


12924448_1122413854476363_9195134218119924922_nThe 2016 Fish’O’Mania Qualifying campaign is now well and truly underway with a relentless schedule of qualifiers coming around thick and fast for those lucky enough to have a clutch of tickets for this year’s competition. To date I have fished three of the matches and it’s time for a catch up on what has occurred while on my travels!

The first qualifier of the year took place at Tunnel Barn Farm near Warwick, I’d fished a round of the teams of four league here a week previous to the match so I had a reasonable idea of what methods and baits would be key to doing well – that’s all well and good providing you draw a good peg of course! A certain Mr Jamie Hughes was about four in front of us in the draw que and duly plucked peg 1 on canal from the bag big mistake letting him in the queue and a man of his calibre and form on the venue would take some stopping. Me? Peg 28 on Extension – go home they said! That’s about right ha! Anyway I went to the peg and actually had a really nice days fishing catching some fish short on pellets early a few across on pellets and later catching a nice run to finish on maggots short for 35lbs just a few fish short of the section which was a tad annoying but nevertheless I’d had a day’s fishing. Jamie’s devastating run of form continued pulverising the match with a massive 141lbs of dobbed carp!

Next up Gold Valley Lakes in Hampshire I’ve not fished a match at Gold Valley for a few years but the methods remain largely the same over the years. I drew peg 55 on Gold Lake a few pegs away from the famous club house steps peg to be honest I didn’t think much to this draw and was fully expecting not a lot to happen throughout. This match was kept silly simple with just a bomb and a method set up. First chuck with a straight lead with a 12mm punch of meat went out to the rope and left for 20 minutes with nothing to show so it was time to put a bit of bait in – onto the method loaded with Bait-Tech Sticky Method Pellets and a little 8mm yellow boilie I had a bite on my third cast just short of the hour mark which was probably the smallest carp in Gold at around 3lb! Sticking to 20 minute casts with all of my bites coming after 15 minutes of the feeder being in I managed to catch an odd fish here and there but was never really in the race and it was a tough day for most. Four carp and two skimmers for 25lbs was the end of that one – Start the car.

That brings me up to this Wednesdays match at my regular Coleman’s Cottage in Essex leading up to the match the fishing had just started to turn that little bit more ‘springy’ the day before the match I’d been and done a feature for an upcoming Match Fishing Mag issue and it was clear that if you were on a few the fish would now be prepared to come and take you on so a good qualifier was definitely on the cards! I drew peg 18 on Wood Lake and immediately knew it probably had little chance of qualifying especially with all 40 pegs on the lake in the bag but I felt it was definitely worth some bites at the least which is the norm at Coleman’s in any condition.

Arriving at the peg there was an odd fish topping in the bottom bowl of the lake which was encouraging but with lots of pressure on the lake I still decided to follow the same sort of methods I’ve used throughout the league on the venue focusing on deeper areas of my peg one difference with peg 18 though is that you have little shallow water on your long pole line and you’ve probably got 6 foot at 14.5m which can either go for you or massively against! My rigs for the deeper water at 6 and ten metres were my favourite 4×16 MAP WD1 floats on 0.15mm to 0.12mm MAP Power Optex line with a size 18 hook – with the wind off my back I was also able to fish with a strung bulk rig rather than a bulk which does seem to make a difference. I also set up another rig for fishing at 14.5m where it’s about 8 inches shallower this was a similar set up but this time a 4×14 WD1 for a lighter approach as I’d look to ping some pellets over this line too after seeing how the fish fed the day previous. The only other rig that was arranged was one for the edge to my right this peg does have the best looking margin in the world and it has a bit more room than a lot of the other pegs so I’d be hoping that kicked off at some stage. Elastic on all my deeper water lines was 5-8 Yellow MAP TKS Twin Core with an ever so slightly heavier 6-9 Pink for the edge.

12931157_1122413877809694_5851097778136003558_nKicking off I fed probably the equivalent of three medium flexi pots of micros on my 6m line and went straight out to 14.5m where I tapped in a full pot of 2mm Bait-Tech Carp and Coarse Pellets with a 4mm Xpand pellet on the hook. I waited around five minutes before the float shot under and the first fish of the day was on its way to the net only one of the shoal commons of around 3lb that frequent this area of the lake but if they get on you there can be loads of them so that would be interesting! Next put in a 2lb F1 and then nothing but with the odd bubble popping up on my 6m line 5 minutes without a bite made my mind up to come in and have a quick look. All the time I was fishing short I was dinking 3-4 4mm pellets onto that long line in an attempt to draw some fish and hopefully get a run of bites next time I went out there. The short line provided a bite after a few minutes and another small carp joined his mates in the net but only a skimmer after that so it was back out onto the longer line tapping in a few more pellets I slowly lowered the float in over the top of the feed and it just carried on going under – that’ll be on then! This period of the match was literally a fish every chuck and I soon ditched the kinder pot and just fed with a catapult as they were clearly loving it I reckon I had about 10 fish in 10 chucks for about 20lb and if that kept up I’d have a good weight by the end. Unfortunately with the lake being so pressured it soon slowed down but by going between my six metre line giving the long swim a rest I could go out and catch a couple more before they backed away again. I had a go down the edge in the last hour but while I’d fed it all day nothing but a few small roach showed up, to be expected I guess. I did have a run of three carp on my short line in a spell and a couple more long too so it wasn’t a bad finish.

At the scales my fish went 67lbs which was enough to win the section. As it turned out Wood wasn’t really in the race but provided consistent weights all over the lake considering the tight pegging. Cottage Lake had fished well with several 90lb weights and a 130lb weight which took second for Robbie Taylor the man of the day though was Ross Harold on peg 5 on Copse Lake with a massive 193lb a great display – Well Done mate!

The hunt for a good draw goes on and there are plenty of miles left to be endured yet but one thing is for sure you can’t qualify sat at home so it’s back in the wagon next Saturday for the qualifier at Somerset bagging mecca Bait-Tech Viaduct!

Tony Curd


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