Shiplate League Round 1 – Tom Downing

Bait-Tech’s Tom Downing reports back on the first round of the Teams of Three league at Shiplate Farm where he and his team mates were hoping to retain their title under the Bait-Tech South West banner…

The weekend just gone saw the increasingly popular teams of 3 league at Shiplate Farm Fishery near Weston-Super-Mare. The fishery is a very well run complex comprising of 4 lakes, 3 of which will be used in the series and a stretch of the river axe, all of which are looked after and kept in pristine condition.

The 3 lakes that will be used in the series are Hawthorns and West Pool; both are canal style lakes with the far banks being the prominent feature at lengths between 10 and 16 meters. These two lakes are on the outside on the 3rd lake, The Main Lake. A favourite of mine with plenty to go at with a couple of islands and better stamp of fish on a whole – a few pole breakers up to 25lb plus too are also present.

The set up for the league starts with a blind draw on the first round, with the captains of each team drawing for their fellow two anglers. With myself being the captain of our team, Team Bait-Tech Southwest the pressure for a good draw was on my shoulders. First of all the captains from each team draw numbers to decide which order the main draw will be done. A very organised way with no shoving or ‘pushing in’!! Out popped number two so lots of good pegs left in but also the odd ‘duff’ draw. Into the buckets of dreams I went with the first peg being for myself and out came peg one on the Main Lake!! Happy days one of the best pegs on the complex I certainly had no complaints what so ever! Next peg out was peg 4 on Hawthorns for Titch… Not one of the best but certainly not the worst but would be a hard section. And finally peg 2 on the West Pool for Lee, an end peg but at the wrong end of lake, although a free peg either side could benefit with a bit off room. Peg one on the Main Lake really is a dream draw. Lots to go at but not too much to make it a complicated match. As I got to the peg, I had no ripple what so ever with the island sheltering the peg from the wind but pegs 12-15 had a perfect ripple. Luckily for me those pegs weren’t in my section so I needed to ignore what was going on and just concentrate on my own match as I couldn’t see anybody in my section.

The first thing I set up when I got to my peg was a small inline method feeder to the end of the island which is normally good for a couple of early fish. I used a small 30g Preston feeder which I would load up with dampened down Bait-Tech 2mm Carp and Coarse Pellets mixed 50-50 with Bait-Tech Kult Sweet Fishmeal. I used this ground-bait purely for the reason that both carp and bream love it! And with the rain we had had on the Friday and the drop in temperature overnight, no-one was too sure on how the venue would fish.

My main approach would be on two other lines though. The first being at 14.5 meters where a bit of ripple had picked up. I set up two rigs for this line, one for fishing on the deck and one for fishing shallow over the top. For the deck rig I used 0.17 main line to an 0.15 hook-length with a pr36 Size 16 with a banded hair .Float choice was a MAP WD1 4×14 with a strung out bulk for a slow drop though the water. The float has a wire stem for maximum stability with the breeze picking up and the tow being a nuisance at times! The swim was fairly level but managed to find a nice flat spot with around 4.5ft. For the shallow rig I used a MAP S2 4×12 to 0.17 with the same hook and hair as the deck rig. Bait for this line won’t get any simpler, Bait-Tech 6mm Carp Pellets for feed and a few 8mm alike for hookers. The second of the two main attack lines was down my right hand edge. Although I only had 4 or 5 meters of bank to go at, I was told that it’s the only side worth going down as it back off to a channel that no one can fish to so the fish hold up in that area. My rig for this edge was a Drennan carp 4 0.4g to 0.19 to 0.17 hook length and a Drennan Margin Carp size 12 was the hook choice. I like a heavy float for the edge this time of year to keep the bait on the bottom and stop the rig getting wafted around too much when a number of fish are in the swim. I managed to find 2.5 ft down to my right which was spot on and just out of interest hipped long to my left and managed to find the same depth so I had this as a throwaway line in case they backed off. So that was the main approach for myself although I did set up a short meat line but never had a look on it so I won’t go into any detail on that!

Once the all in went I fired a couple of pouches of 8mm Bait-Tech Carp and Coarse pellets out around the island and cast the method feeder to the spot hoping to tempt a quick fish. In the mean time I would be firing a few 6mm pellets out to the 14.5 meter line just to start prepping the swim. After a few pouches on that I see a swirl from a carp and with the tip motionless it was clear to see what I had to do. Straight out on the shallow rig where I started off at around 2ft, out went a pouch of pellets a couple slaps of the rig and the elastic was pulled out almost instantly. A fiery battle all the way to the net and the hook pulled! As I feared the fish was foul hooked so I moved the float up 6 inches and the same again, another foul hooked fish lost at the net. With this happening I moved the float up once again this proved to be the correct thing to do as I quickly managed to put a couple of good sized fish in the net. With the ripple coming and going the fish didn’t settle at any depth so I had to keep playing around with my rig and the way I would feed to try and get a few bites. I stayed on this line for pretty much the first half of the match as I was catching odd fish and keeping up with the anglers on the other side so no one was clearly running away with it. With around two and a half hours left I decided to feed my margins down to my right, the main side that I would attack, I potted in two big pots of Bait-Tech 2mm Carp and Coarse pellets and a pot or corn, both of which I had soaked in the Bait-Tech Sweet Coconut Liquid. After the initial feed I would loose feed over the top with small handful’s of the 2mm’s and corn. On my other margin I fed few pots of the pellets I was using as my method mix to give me another option to go at. In the men time I kept scratching away on the long line and managed to sneak a couple more fish out. With an hour and a half to go I guessed that I had roughly 70lb so still had a bit of work to do, to guarantee good section points so it was time to look in the edge. I started off with double corn for hook-bait as silver fish have been a nuisance for me on the venue on previous occasions. I was getting a few bites but none that were really positive!

Just to see if it was silvers playing with the bait I popped on a single grain of corn lowered the rig in and as soon as the float settled, it buried and an angry carp came to the net, well up around the double figure mark. Whilst playing the fish I loose-fed some more corn and went straight back over it and it wasn’t long before I was into another carp! This pattern continued for the rest of the match and I had a very good run of fish and at the all-out I felt I had done well and guessed my weight to be 110-120lb.

As the scales got to me the other section had fished really well with top weight on the lake so far at 112lb backed up with 80’s and 90’s. My section on the other hand hadn’t fished as well, but my 3 weighs went 137-6 which was enough to importantly win my section for 6 points and also enough to win the match. Next up for me is the West Pool!

Lee was on West Pool peg two, to see his report click the following link.

Titch’s Report:

Hawthorns is a lake that I struggle with at times but always give my all to try and work out what the fish want. Peg 4 isn’t the best of draws but I was fairly happy that I could catch a few fish and get some good section points although being in with pegs 1,3 and 8 it would be difficult to say the least. After a cold night I felt a simple approach with not a lot of bait at the start would be the way to go. The lines I set up were straight over to the far bank, one at the bottom of the far shelf and down the margins but as they are quite deep on this lake I also had a shallow rig for the margins as-well. I started off on the far bank with maggots over Bait-Tech Special G Gold Groundbait and had a couple of quick fish but the lack of ripple made bites hard to come by with the fish not feeding with any confidence. With anglers down on peg 1 and 3 catching down the edge I felt this is the way I had to go but again only managed the odd fish from both sides with most of the fish coming to 8mm cubes of Bait-Tech N-Tice Poloni! It ended up being a very frustrating match for me unable to string bites together and ended up with a weight of 54lb which was unfortunately only good enough for 3 points. Next up for me is the Main lake where I hope Mr Downing can draw me a better peg and better my points tally!

As a team we ended up joint 3rd on the day so a good result with a couple of bad draws on the day. Round two is on the 25th September where we all rotate round to the next lakes. Hopefully the buckets of dreams will continue to be kind. I hope you enjoyed our reports and check back again for next rounds report.

Tight Lines

Tom Downing

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