Melbury Revisited – Tom Downing

I recently fished a match at Melbury Reservoir just outside Bideford. The reservoir is just one of a number of waters managed by South West Lakes Trust and they certainly do a very good job in maintaining them! In the match I did okay coming second with 18lb of skimmers and roach but with first place more than doubling my weight I wasn’t happy with how I attacked my peg. With this in mind and speaking to the chap who won the match I decided to go back out for another visit.

The weather on the day of the match was quite pleasant, a slight ripple blowing in towards the dam, mild and slightly over cast. Today it was a lot colder , with a cold wind blowing across from the dam into my face and chucking it down with rain but I wasn’t to be put off. I sat myself in the same peg as previous and just set up one feeder rod to fish at 45 meters. I fished a basic paternoster rig using 3lb maxima mainline to an 8lb leader to withstand casting a loaded feeder all day. I chose to just fish the feeder mainly due to wasting to much time on the pole in the match and having no signs on it whatsoever proving to be costly.

My groundbait choice for the day was the new Bait-Tech Pro Feeder Dark Fishmeal which I mixed the previous evening to make the mix inert, therefore preventing it wafting up off the bottom too much keeping the fish on the deck. To the 1kg  (when dry) groundbait I added 1.5 pints of soaked 2mm Carp and Coarse Pellets and evenly mixed them in. Finally the only other loose feed I would use was a couple of tins of corn that I would just introduce each cast plugged into a feeder. I tend not to add the corn to the mix itself so you can get a better idea of how much you have fed and it also stops any unwanted moisture  going into the mix. I did have some maggots with me but they where intended for hook baits as where some worms and a pot of Juice Dumbell Wafters!

I kicked the swim off with 6 large feeders, then added my hook length to the paternoster. This consisted of a 16 carbon match tied to 0.11 power, I started at 2 ft then if I was getting maggot skins once retrieved I’d shorten until the bites were nice and positive. My first bite came after 5 minutes and consisted of a 6 oz roach followed by a 10 oz rudd! After half an hour or so I had put some good stamp rudd and roach in the net and bites had started to dry up so I decided to switch over to a banded hair. I prefer using a band when fishing corn as it sits and hides inside and can also be used for various other hook baits such as pellets or wafters. For this I used a pr36 16 to 0.13 power and approx 15 inches long. I popped a grain of corn on and cast out to the spot. I wasn’t expecting a bite as quick as I did with the tip slowly pulling round as I tightened up to the feeder. A nice skimmer of around a pound was victim and a very welcome one at that.

After switching to the corn I never really had to do anything else apart from the odd dry 10 minutes where I felt the fish had backed off so I tried following them out but they soon came back to the main area. I had some of my better bream on a white or yellow Juice Wafter and the bites were savage to say the least , nearly pulling the rod off the rest!

I decided to only fish for six hours so I could pretty much imitate a match just without pressure from other anglers. What a six hours it turned out to be with bites pretty much every cast and lots learnt from the previous match! I didn’t weigh the fish just a quick picture and popped them back but I estimated the catch to be in excess of 60lb!

The pulling power of the Pro Feeder certainly can’t be ignored! Grab a bag and pop to your local reservoir or commercial, and give it a go…

Tight Lines

Tom Downing

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