The Oaks – Fish ‘O’ Mania Qualifier

The Oaks – Fish ‘O’ Mania Qualifier with Tony Curd

My Fisho campaign is now well and truly under way, and on Saturday I headed up to Sessay, North Yorkshire for The Oaks Qualifier. Being 240 miles from home it was a very early start to the day and left the house at around 3.30am to get there for the draw, arriving at the fishery – which I’ve only visited once before – it was clear to see that there had been a lot of rain overnight which could have some bearing on the fishing!

At the draw, I managed to pluck Cedar 50 from the bag, which if I’m honest, didn’t mean much to me as I’m not familiar with the venue. Arriving at the peg, it looks good! In a bit of a corner with some room, exactly what you’re after when competing in a Fish O Mania Qualifier.

Unbelievably as I walked over to the peg to have a look before getting my gear out, I was greeted by “You’re having a laugh…not again!” looking to my right Barry Mason was setting up. Nothing strange about that you might think but in all three qualifiers that I’ve fished so far Barry has been to my right every time, what are the chances of that in a 130 peg match!?

As with many snake type lakes throughout the country, this one isn’t much different, 13.5m wide with two pronounced shelves, much like a canal. With this in mind I set up a few rigs to cover all my options, the first couple were for fishing across to the far bank, a 4×12 float on 0.13 to an 0.11 hook length a a size 18 B911, this was in just under 3ft of water in front of the sedges, with the room I have on this peg I have several areas that are the same depth so it would be a case of starting on one line until it dies and starting new swims as the match goes on.

The other rig for fishing across was for fishing past the sedges in the shallow water tight to the bank which was around a foot deep, this comprised of a 4×10 float and .13 to .11 again. A shallow rig was also set up for slapping just away from the far bank where I’d feed casters, a 5m line where it was around 4ft deep to fish pellets and a margin rig for fishing long down the edge to my left. At the start, I fed 20 4mm cubes of Boosted meat across on one line in front of the sedges and fed my 5m line with some micros and more meat and some corn down the edge. A cube of meat was put on the size 18 and shipped across, to my disappointment nothing happened!

I gave it 20 mins on this first line, and decided that it wasn’t going to happen there so I filled a small pole mounted pot with some meat and fed a new swim off to my left a bit, a couple of minutes went by before the float dipped a my first fish of the day was in the net, a small carp of around a pound – one of these every cast for the rest of the match and we’d definitely win! Unfortunately only a few more fish followed, and I was already thinking of what to do next. I felt meat wasn’t the best way to approach it so I potted some micros tight to the far bank and decided on re feeding my margin line and trying the shallow rig before going across, I put two casters on the hook and fed a few before shipping the rig out to 11.5m, slapped the rig in 3 times and was more than pleased when a 2lb carp pulled the elastic from the pole tip, if this worked I’d have a real chance, again like the rest of my swims nothing really happened, apart from a load of small roach which weren’t worth catching in a winner take all type match so this was scrapped.

Baiting up with a 4mm Xpand pellet, and putting some micros in the cup, a bite straight away was great, 3 more fish followed, and then I got invaded by small skimmers, a few regulars had told me to move swims when this happened so I plumbed up again and found the same depth to my left, by cupping micros and fishing Xpands I caught fairly regularly until the end of the match, only small F1s and odd small carp. Disappointingly nothing happened down the margin and if I was going to do well I’d really need a few big fish from there.

At the end of the match, the area of the lake had fished really hard and my 14.400 was enough for 2nd in the section but an absolute mile behind winner Andy Geldart’s 67kilo winning weight from Maple there was nothing more to do other than pack the car and head off back down the M1 thoroughly disappointing.

Hopefully next Saturdays qualifier at Barford Lakes in Norfolk will be a better experience!

Tight Lines
Tony Curd

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