Gordon Clayton Memorial Match – Philip Jackson

jacko_memorial_2In 1981 Lurgan Coarse Angling Club was founded. One of the driving forces in the formation of this new club was Gordon Clayton, better known as Big Gordy. Gordy lived just down the street from me and from my first early enquiries into the fishing world, he spent lots of time in his garage and on the bank showing me all I wanted to know, which was quite a lot. I had him pestered!!! Gordy was a true gentleman, who put lots into our club and also lots into my personal development as an angler. Sadly, last April, Big Gordy passed away. This was a huge loss, not just to Lurgan Club but also to the wider angling community.

Saturday 5th April saw the inaugural Gordon Clayton memorial match, it was held on Lough Muckno’s Yellow Island.  This was to be a club day out in memory of our friend and founder member Big Gordy Clayton.

Fancied pegs on the day were in the middle of the match pegs 198-202, these are very consistent pegs with a depth close in on the feeder of about 20ft. So, into the draw bag, peg 207, not a great draw at all, this peg is much shallower with a depth of about 12ft. As I fish Muckno a lot, I know the pegs very well and I knew that I would find a shelf, or drop-off somewhere out there on a longer cast. On plumbing up with a bomb I found that the bottom started to drop off from about 55 turns, after much casting in and out, a relatively flat bottom in about 25ft of water was found at 70 turns, skimmer territory!

I felt a positive approach was required so this was to be my main line of attack, two feeder rods were set up, one for fishing at 70 turns and one for fishing in the shallower water close in for small roach if necessary.

A large Browning window feeder was used to introduce my mix of Pro Natural and Omen Bream which was laced with a few castors, some dead maggots and a few chopped worms. Having won a couple of matches on these pegs in the past with 20kg+ of skimmers I felt that this was my only hope of a match win off this peg.

After half an hour with no bites, I felt that there was enough food on the outside line to hold any skimmers which may come along. It was time for a look on the shorter line where the lads around me were catching a few small roach. Because I was only casting into about 12ft of water I started on a Kevin Leach cage feeder to try and kick start the swim with a visual impact for the roach. A few quick turn over casts to get a bit of activity in the peg and i started to catch some roach. The roach were quite small but a change to double floating maggot on a size 15 hook resulted in a better stamp of 6-10 oz roach plus a couple of bonus hybrids!

After about 2 hours the inside line slowed down considerably, time for a look on the outside line. This resulted in, NOTHING, not even an indication! Whilst trying to come up with plan C, the angler next door miss-cast, wrapping the line around the top eye resulting in the feeder landing about 10 metres out. On freeing the tangle he reeled in a 6oz roach! The decision not to put the pole up had been due to these pegs only being about 8ft deep and only in the middle of the summer a few roach can be caught on the pole. After a bit of “will I, or wont I?” I got up, put up 13m of pole, quickly added some water to my mix along with a little bit of damp leem, in went 5 balls laced with a handful of Bait-Tech Super Seed Hemp and some castors and pinkies. I then set up one rig; a Colmic Rovezzano 1gr shot rig which I felt would best cover all options.

jacko_memorial_1After a few put ins, the float buried, and a 4oz roach was swung to hand, then another, then a 10oz hybrid! Things were looking up; with less than half the 5 hour match left to go it was time to get the head down. With a little loose fed hemp and castor every second cast I started to catch a few better roach 6-10oz, I was steadily building a nice weight. With an hour to go I had 60 pole caught fish for an estimated 5kg plus about 3kg of tip caught fish, if they kept coming on the pole I reckoned 10kg was on the cards which may just be enough to win the match. In the last hour the stamp got better, with a couple of 1lb plus hybrids and lots of good stamp roach. 43 fish in the last hour left me sure that I had more than 10kg. In the last 2 1/2hrs I had caught 103 fish for an estimated 8kg, lesson learnt?

When the scales arrived I was very pleased and surprised to weight in 12.300kg which was enough to win on the day with 2nd and 3rd going to Brian McShane and Johnny McKinley both with 8kg.

On the day, a match win, a lesson learnt, and best of all, a great days craic with my club mates in remembrance of our old mate Gordy!!

Tight Lines


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