Tom Downing’s Match Diary


After having 6 weeks away from match fishing due to work and holiday commitments I was itching to get back out on to the bank on the open match scene! With Stafford Moor only 20 minutes away and it fishing relatively well it would have been silly not to pay the venue a visit! With 20 plus anglers in attendance the two main match lakes get used, Tanners and Woodpecker. Woodpecker being my favourite lake but one I very rarely seem draw in recent times.

Stafford Moor has really been transformed over the last couple of years due to the hard work of new owners Paul and Joanne Coombes. One of the biggest changes us match guys notice and struggle with currently is that both lakes have had new platforms put in and been totally re numbered. All joking aside the platforms are superb and we will get used to the numbers soon I’m sure!

Into the draw bag I go, hoping for a woodies draw but it was not to be this week when I pulled out peg 14 ( or 25 in old money) on Tanners. It’s not the greatest of pegs but it has won odd matches over the years and can certainly have a chance of winning a section. On arrival at my peg the lake was flat calm with no real signs of fish anywhere so I wasn’t feeling to positive about the day ahead. On a plus note though, I was in good company with James Guy on my left and Sam Powell to my right so it would certainly be a good laugh!

With the conditions how they were I felt it may be  bit of a scratching day so I set up a few different lines to widen my options. Firstly my favourite way to catch at the moor is on the pellet waggler so I set up a couple of pellet waggler rods, one at 18inches deep and one at 2 ft with 0.17 power and a Drake 2ssg waggler. I then set up a long line to fish shallow on the pole, I used a Dino Bob float, perfect for fishing on a long line as you can’t slap at the moor. I fished this on 0.17 to an 0.15 hook length. A meat line at 5 meters with a 4×12 MAP WD1 to 0.15. Finally an edge rig for next to the tree stump I used a Dino Trux 0.3 float to 0.19 and an 0.17 hook length.

I started on the pellet waggler with an 8mm Carp and Coarse Pellet on a banded hair whilst feeding the same pellets. I gave this an hour which only resulted in landing 2 carp whilst foul hooking and loosing 3 others. With it being really still the fish wouldn’t feed with any confidence. Sam on my right started catching really steadily on the pole down his right hand margin so with me going nowhere fast I decided to sit on the 5 meter line where I had been feeding some 8mm cubes of meat that I had soaked in the Sizzling Spicy Sausage Liquid. I had indications straight away and was soon into my first carp on this line. I decided to top up the peg through a cad pot purely to try not to bring any fish up in the water resulting in more foul hookers. I stuck it out on this line for the remainder of the match where I had a few more carp and some good stamp skimmers. I did have a look down the edge but all I could seem to catch was really small skimmers.

At the scales my silvers went 15lb and with the carp a total weight of 64lb 3oz was my total for the day. Not the best of days result wise but an enjoyable days fishing none of the less and good to be back on the banks after 6 weeks off!

The following week I decided to go back to the moor for another try and fingers crossed get my drawing arm back up to scratch! Another match close to being fully booked and again myself wanting to draw woodies but once again I was rejected the chance of that but drawn one of the best pegs on the venue ( behind peg 19 ) in peg 20 on tanners ( old 36!). On peg 19 was Dave Stockton, probably one of the best waggler anglers that fishes the moor so I certainly had my work cut out to compete with him on that method. With this in mind instead of just fishing the waggler, I also decided to set up the pole long up the bank to have my own water to fish to. Just like the week previous, the conditions where flat calm and still. I started on the waggler with the usual Carp and Coarse 8mm pellets in the mean time I’d ping some 6mm Carp and Coarse pellets 16 meters up the edge. In the first hour I had only had the one carp and Dave had none so it was certainly a hard start to the match. I decided to have a look up the edge and after 5 minutes my second carp was safely in the net so I stuck on this line for a little while only managing one more carp. In this time Dave had started getting bites on a more regular basis and had the same number of fish as me so I went back out on the waggler but I couldn’t seem to get a bite. To try something different I popped on an 8mm orange Juice Dumbell Wafter I managed a quick few carp but bites then dried up and Dave was pulling away catching steadily so I had another look on the pole. I started getting more bites but couldn’t catch quick enough to catch Dave.

I spent the remaining 2 hours on the waggler catching odd fish with a good last 30 minutes. I was first to be weighed in and tipped the scales round to 98lb 15oz which managed to get me second on the lake behind Dave who had a great weight of 165 lb 14oz! He certainly taught me a lesson that’s for sure.

Finally I made the 65 mile trip up the M5 to Bait-Tech sponsored Viaduct Fishery in Somerton. I hadn’t been to the fishery since the final round of the spring league where I had a second place from Cary with just over 200lb. Looking at previous results Campbell lake was fishing the most consistent so a draw on there would be lovely! Into the good old coffee tin I went and 112 stuck to my hand! A good peg in a good area which I was certainly happy with!


My set up for this match was really, really simple. A bomb rod to fish with pellets. Long on the pole where I would ping pellets and fish it up and down. A short line at 5 meters to fish meat and finally an edge rig fished at the same depth on either side of my peg.

I started the match off on the bomb for the first half of an hour whilst I pinged some pellets over my long pole line . No indications on the bomb and the odd swirl over my feed on the pole line seen me quickly change over. I started off by slapping but the fish seemed really spooky so switched over to my longer line with a Dino BoB to see if they didn’t want the pole and as much disturbance over their heads. Expecting the fish to be lined up by now I was a bit disappointed when I hadn’t put anything in the net. But on the 2 hour mark my elastic shot out the pole and the first carp was in the net! This seemed to kick a bit of a run into action and in the next 30 minutes and I was quickly onto 6 fish! As quickly as the run of fish started it stopped again leaving me struggling to get a bite. With half of the match remaining I decided to start to concentrate on my short and edge lines! I kicked my 5 meter line off with half of a big pot of 8mm meat which I, as usual had soaked in the Sizzling Spicy Sausage liquid I also chucked a small handful down my right edge and put 2 pots of ground bait down my left. The ground bait I used was the Big Carp Method Mix Tiger Nut and Peanut. I also put some micros, meat and corn in to really get the fish routing around! I fished a 0.3 Dino Trux on my edge line and a MAP WD1 4×14 on the short meat line.  Straight down my right edge with a cube of meat rolled on the hook and my first edge fish was in the net within seconds. Only about 2 pound though which is a very small stamp for this lake. Shortly followed by another so I fed a little more meat and looked over the other edge and another 2 carp where safely in the net! Due to some bankside disturbance the fish seemed to back off leaving me again struggling for bites so I topped both sides up and sat on the 5 meter line for a little while adding some good skimmers up to 2lb and 2 more carp but not catching any where near quick enough to compete with a few anglers.

With an hour left, I went back on to my edge line where I had been feeding meat and it was solid! I literally couldn’t get the fish in quick enough! I remained on this line with the odd look on the other edge until the all out. I have to say using new floats don’t always give you the most confidence but the Dino Trux stood the test and were absolutely solid for fishing in snaggy margins. I didn’t count my fish but I had around the 20 mark I think for an estimated 130lb.
When the scaled came round my total weight including 15lb of silvers was 141lb 2oz which was good enough for 2nd on the lake and 3rd overall which I was extremely happy with that having had the start that I did.

So after 6 weeks away it was very nice to get back on the bank and manage a couple of half decent results. Hopefully my good run of form will continue and get better as I have lots of fishing lined up through autumn and winter with 3 leagues a week long festival and lots of opens to look forward to!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading.

Tom Downing
#TeamBaitTech


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