Pro Natural Silvers – Jamie Rich

More horrendous weather during the week with loads of rain and strong winds so the club switched the venue for our annual open match from the river to the pond and hopefully with some colour in the pond, we should all get some bites. Although when I woke up we’d had a frost which probably wouldn’t do us any favours. After another really nice Little Chef breakfast we headed to the pond for the draw where there was a good turnout. Last year conditions were very similar for this match and it was won with only 1lb 15oz but hopefully it would fish better this time around.

Looking at the pegs I didn’t really mind where I drew with the exception of the hero or zero pegs by the bush (1 and 24) or peg 15 which is on a high bank and awkward to fish with the fence just behind you. When the draw was announced, I decided to try and get in early for a change and went in fourth or fifth and was really pleased when I saw I was on peg 13 which is on the bottom bank and an area I really like.

I got to my peg and it was still quite misty and there was a definite chill in the air, after setting my box up, the first job as always was to mix my groundbait which was Bait-Tech’s Pro Natural Dark which I use for nearly all my silvers fishing on natural venues and I also added a glug of ‘The Juice’ to the water for mixing the groundbait. This end of the lake tends to be a bit deeper so I opted for a 4 x 16 Preston Chianti with a size 18 Kamasan B611 barbless to 0.10mm. On the side tray I had maggots, casters, pinkies and Bait-Tech Superseed Hemp.

I said to a few people that I thought it might take a while before we started getting bites but as I was setting up there were quite a few small fish topping which I hoped would be a good sign. The match secretary shouted the all in and as I cupped in two balls of groundbait at ten metres, I saw the angler opposite me on peg 4, swing in a small fish so that was my theory out the window! I put two pinkies on and shipped out, fed a few casters and a pinch of hemp, the float settled and dipped before sailing away and a 2oz roach got me off the mark. I had another seven in as many put ins and probably had a pound in the first 15 minutes, a great start!

My next couple of fish were tiny so I tried single maggot which didn’t really help, double maggot was better although I was having to wait quite a while for bites. Most people seemed to be catching small fish and the lad on peg 18 had netted a skimmer on the feeder. After an hour I was on 26 fish and doing well from what I could see.

I kept trying caster but was having to wait ages for bites and went back to pinkies and maggots, I was still catching small roach with the odd 3-4oz fish and thought if I could catch around 20 fish an hour at an average ounce and a half apiece, I wouldn’t be far off 10-12lb which I thought would be a good weight today. The next hour was similar although things started to slow up as we approached the half way point, I started coming half a section closer and also fishing to the right and left of my feed and I’d get a couple of fish before going back over my main catching area.

The angler on peg 7 had a good bream and a skimmer on the pole and peg 18 had also added a couple more skimmers. So far all my fish had been roach but in the fourth hour I hooked a fish which pulled a bit more elastic out before I netted a 4oz chublet, some better roach also put in an appearance and I was still on course for a decent weight although two anglers fishing the feeder were still getting odd skimmers.

With two hours left I started catching more fish on caster including my second chublet although I kept having spells where I’d bump or miss several bites on the trot which was very frustrating, I also lost a good roach as I unshipped the top kit and I hoped it wouldn’t cost me. I was slightly ahead of my 20 fish an hour target and then with fifteen minutes to go I hooked into a decent fish and elastic streamed from the pole tip. After the initial run it didn’t do a lot and I carefully shipped back and was surprised when a 2lb chub popped up, it didn’t give me too many problems and was a welcome bonus. I still had time to land another couple of roach and my clicker was reading 128 when the all out was called. I thought I had around 12-14lb with that chub but wasn’t sure it would be enough to beat the bream and skimmer weights.

I packed up and took my kit back to the car before going to help with the weigh in, peg 24 didn’t bother the scales and then there was a 2lb 8oz before peg 19 had a nice net of roach weighing 7lb 14oz to go into the lead, peg 18 had six skimmers for 6lb 3oz which surprised me as I thought he had a lot more than that, then the guy on peg 17 had done really well to catch 248 fish for 8lb 9oz. Then next two pegs had struggled before I was last to weigh in the section and the needle settled on 12lb 6oz which I was pretty happy with but I didn’t think it would be enough to beat the angler with the bream in the other section.

Back at the results and it was close, very close in fact and the top weight in the other section was 12lb 8oz! So I ended up in second place and had nice pick up of £75 thanks to the superpool but was left cussing all those missed/bumped fish and that’s twice in recent weeks I’ve been 2oz off winning, but still a really enjoyable day catching silvers.

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Tight Lines

Jamie Rich

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