Barford Lakes Fish ‘O’ Mania Qualifier – Tony Curd

Match four of my 2012 Fish ‘O’ Mania campaign saw me heading off to Barford Lakes near Norwich in Norfolk, having never been before the week before I’d done a bit of homework on the venue and was looking forward to the match as the venue really seemed to suit my style of fishing which always helps in these events!

The match was to be held across the main Barford site, as well as Colton, Railway and Willow off site where all the lakes were a bit different but the word was that you needed to be on Match or Pleasure lakes to be in with the best chance of qualifying.

At the draw, peg 2 on Pleasure Lake greeted me, one of the better lakes which was good but being tucked away in a narrow corner really made it an all or nothing approach for me really. On this lake most of the fish are very big, averaging 10lbs and tend to be found in the wider section of the lake where pellet waggler tactics do the damage.

Anyway back to my pellet wagglerless peg, I decided on a long pole shallow approach, and 14 metres of pole was put up, with a .4g dibber on 0.17mm and a size 18 hook with a hair rigged pellet band. I had this set around 18 inches deep but set it up with a long line from the pole to the float, for flicking it out past the pole tip which can be a very good way of catching big wary carp which have seen it all before!

I set another shallow rig up, 3ft deep for fishing directly under the pole in case they wouldn’t come right up. The only other rigs set up for this match were a 5m line in 5ft of water, and a heavy margin rig for fishing into the snags next to an overhanging tree to my left, if I hooked any down there it was going to be a real scrap and could well end in tears!

Baits I’d arranged for the match were very simple, for the long pole shallow line I’d feed 6mm Premium pellets and fish a 6mm or an 8mm on the band. Short I’d feed heavily with Super Seed Hemp and Corn, with hook bait options of large cubes of Boosted meat or corn, again these are big fish so you need to use baits appropriate to single them out.

Down the edge I planned to feed hemp casters and corn in large quantities and build the peg for later in the match, although I felt I didn’t have enough room between me and the swim to have a real run of fish from it, but I had nothing to lose.

At the start of the match I fed the short line with a large pot of hemp and some corn, and large pot of the same down the edge. An 8mm prem pellet was put on my shallow rig, and was shipped out to 14m, and with the long line, flicked out a metre past the pole, I began by firing out 3 large pouches of hemp in an attempt to make a lot of noise which draws the fish in, settling down into a rhythm of feeding 5 or 6 6mm prem pellets and flicking the rig out regularly.

I had a few bites from roach but after 20 minutes I hooked a big carp which was very pleasing, shipping back all was going well before the fish decided it wasn’t going to play the game and took off across the lake, bottoming my elastic before a huge swirl on the surface then to my disappointment, the hooklength snapped, the fish was very big – maybe near to 20lb so I’d need to be aware of this should I hook any more!!

No more carp bites followed on the long line, so I dropped in on my short line after an hour and a quarter. An 8mm cube of meat on the hook was soon snapped up by another carp, this time I’d managed to get the upper hand on the fish before it took off and took everything else with it – I’ve never encountered such hard fighting fish! At around 10lb it was a nice start, and with the size of the fish it is never over before it’s over so to speak, 10 fish will be over 100lb and that’s far from bagging up.

Nothing followed so I put another full pot on the short line and took my first look down the edge to the tree, again an 8mm cube of meat went on the hook, and after 2 or 3 minutes the float buried and all hell broke lose, I wasn’t giving an inch and the carp was just as stubborn!

Eventually after a few minutes of struggling the 0.22 rig won and a 13lber lay in the landing net. Again, no other bites followed and I decided on trying the shallow rig again after re feeding the other lines, to my delight I hooked a carp after just a couple of minutes and another 10lb carp was netted.

For the next hour I concentrated my efforts on the short line and margin swims, nothing happened until 10 minutes from the end when the float on the 5m line buried and another big fish joined the rest! At the weigh in my 4 fish went 50lb on the scales, but way behind the winning weight of 157lb from Railway!

I never felt my peg offered enough room to draw any fish in and it never really had anything going for it which is always disappointing but never mind, off to the next one on Saturday at Tunnel Barn Farm, which is a great venue and a good days fishing is definitely on the cards!

Tight Lines

Tony Curd



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