Sunday 7 April 2024

06/04/24 - Ivy House - Old Match Lake

Weight - 39lb 10oz (12lb 4oz - silvers)
Catch - 4 Carp, 7 F1s, 18 Skimmers, 5 Roach
Weather - Mild, mostly cloudy and windy.
Match - Open (9 fished) - 3rd overall

It’s been a few months since I fished the Old Match Lake and in that time Andy has stocked a lot of small F1s into the lake which will add a different dimension to the matches.

With storm Kathleen due to blow through today I had mixed feelings about drawing p3, as its not the best peg, but it was sheltered from the worst of the wind. Due to the forecast wind I decided not to fish any longer than 13m, feeding a nugget of Uzit Crushed Expander and Black Bubblegum mixed 50:50, with fishery micros flavoured with P-nut cloud at 13m and 6m.

Starting on the straight lead and pellet cone, didn’t produce a bite either on pellet or corn after 45mins.

A switch to the 13m line fishing a 4mm expander, toss potting a tiny nugget of micros and groundbait started to produce regular bites from skimmers and F1s, plus a 4lb carp.

The wind was becoming more troublesome during the middle part of the match and I switched from a HB Frostie 0.3g rig to a SM Chimp 0.4g to catch a few more skimmers on dead maggot, but presentation still wasn’t great.

Back to the straight lead which produced 3 bites on 6mm expander. A carp hooked in the cheek, which I lost at the net, another I lost after 5 seconds and a small F1 which I successfully netted!

So far, I had kept the short line topped with nuggets of micros and groundbait, and when I switched, I was immediately rewarded with a skimmer and 9lb carp. I had also been feeding micros and groundbait a metre off the right-hand margin, catching more skimmers on 6mm expanders and ended up alternating between here and the short line.

As we came into the last hour, I had 2 carp from the right margin. As for the left margin I had fed it with corn and 4mm pellet, but so far hadn’t tried it as I had been catching short and down my right margin. With 30mins remaining I decided to just big pot it with corn and micros, and see what happens. I hooked 2 carp and lost them both, one was definitely foul hooked and the other I lost at the net as the fish was only lightly hooked.

A frustrating match, as I missed out on 2nd by 8oz. Losing the carp was frustrating, but I pulled out of a couple of skimmers using too heavy an elastic at the start and only have myself to blame.

That aside it was nice to have a few bites and a few things learnt for next weekend.

1.    58-10 – Phil Godding – p7
2.    40-  2 – Lee Seward – p18
3.    39-10 – Ken Rayner – p3
1.    27-  8 – Neil Richards – p1

Monday 1 April 2024

30/03/24 - Ivy House - Heron

Weight - 52lb 8oz
Catch - 31 Carp, 11  F1s
Weather - Mostly sunny, cool westerly breeze.
Match - Arthritis Charity (20 fished) - 6th overall

Only the one match this Easter weekend and it was back to Ivy House on Heron Lake for a charity match run by Louise for Arthritis.

There were 20 booked in so every peg was in except for the 4 corners and I drew p21 which is normally a good area. It’s been 2 months since I fished the lake when maggot was dominate and recent reports suggested pellet was starting to work, so that was my main focus.

On the all-in I started on a mini method with micros and Uzit green Re-Act groundbait and dead maggot on the hook, cast to the island. After 45 minutes I had 3 carp and its fair to say it wasn’t the start I wanted, however it seemed everyone was having a slow start, probably not helped by the cold night.

A switch to tapping in fishery 4s covered in Uzit P-nut oil at 16m, fishing a hair rigged 4mm pellet, resulted in me catching mostly small carp. It was slow going, but at least I was catching more than those around me, although I had noticed a few anglers on the opposite bank starting to catch.

My 16m line was proving tricky. I had expected the swim to improve, but I found I had to keep re-starting new swims slightly left or right to keep the fish coming. The stamp of fish was also frustrating, as I would get a couple of better fish, before the 8oz fish returned and fishing a 6mm pellet didn’t improve matters.

I must admit, I lost my way a little during the middle part of the match, when my catch rate dropped as I tried to work out how to improve the stamp of fish, fishing a lighter rig through the water and a shallow rig which only produced another small carp.

I had been feeding a short line with pellet, which produced a couple of better stamp fish, but the swim wasn’t as good as I hoped. This just left my right margin by the reed bed. By fishing corn over micros or 4s, I caught carp and F1’s averaging 2lb, but I felt it was too late to catch up with those opposite and that’s how it turned out.

My bank was exposed to a cool wind, blowing right to left and the more sheltered pegs proved to be the place to be. Although I came 6th overall, I had the best weight on my bank, so I can’t be too disappointed.

There was a raffle back at the cafĂ©, which helped add more money to the charity pot and Lou has raised over £700.

Lou’s dad also took some photos from a drone, which were interesting to see.

1.    93-12 – Jamie Dixey – p15
2.    79-  0 – Paul Giddings – p17
3.    70-10 – Mick Lane – p10
4.    67-  2 – Andy Dixey – p11
5.    53-  6 – Ross – p9
6.    52-  8 – Ken Rayner – p21

Monday 25 March 2024

24/03/24 - Harescombe - Meadow Lake

Weight - 5oz
Catch - 1 Roach
Weather - Cold during the week. Bright and sunny, with a cool NW breeze
Match - Teams of 3 (36 fished) - 11th of out 12 section

The last round of the teams of 3 and we had a very outside chance of a top 4 position assuming we won the day and others messed up.

I was on Meadow and handed p2 which was on the dam wall for the first time. Looking at the past results, it showed 1lb came off the peg in the last round and 6oz in the first round. However, there had been a 1
st and 3rd off the peg, which would have mostly been caught on the waggler.

When I got to the peg it was quite tight between p1 & p3, which meant I didn’t have much of a margin and the strong NW breeze was off my back. To be honest I didn’t fancy it but I didn’t expect it to be as hard as it was.

My one and only fish came after 90mins on dead maggot at 13m, I did hook a carp 30mins later which felt like a big fish, although it may have been a foul hooker, but the hook pulled out after 5mins so will never know.

I tried the straight lead, the waggler with pellet or maggot and shallow on the pole, but the wind had pushed the fish out of the area. I had also kept a short meat line topped up, where I thought I would get at least one carp, but I never had a bite.

Surprisingly I didn’t come plumb last as someone only weighed 3oz and to illustrate how hard the lake fished 1 6lb carp would have got me 6th in section. The whole lake had just switched off, probably not helped by the recent colder weather and the exposed nature of the lake whereas the more sheltered Field Lake fished well.

A really disappointing day and I probably wouldn’t change my approach if I was to fish the match again.

1.    84-  8 – Ricky Mills – p1 (Field)
2.    77-10 – Ed Bryant – p9 (Field)
3.    74-  3 – Andrew Black – p11 (Field)
4.    69-  1 – Ben Baron – p6 (Field)
5.    62-12 – Harry Hyde – p8 (Field)
6.    51-  8 – Jack Arpino – p2 (Field)

Monday 18 March 2024

17/03/24 - Harescombe - Meadow Lake

Weight - 48lb 5oz
Catch - 10 Carp
Weather - Heavy overnight rain. Cloudy with sunny periods
Match - Open (9 fished) - 2nd overall

Well, I got my car back and with no guarantee that the electrical issue has been 100% resolved, I decided to part-exchange it and brought another V90!

Only the one match this weekend and back to Harescombe for their open on Meadow Lake. More heavy overnight rain meant some of the roads on the drive up were flooded and it was also likely to have an affect on the fishing.

My draw put me on the 2nd peg out of the corner on the left bank and when I arrived the water was all coloured up in the left-hand reeds as the fish were still rooting around, which raised hopes of catching a few.

Plumbing up revealed the lake shelved away quite quickly and I didn’t see any point fishing long on the deck in what would be at least 7ft of water. Therefore, pole rigs were set up to fish each margin and a 3+2 line next to some lily pads in 5ft of water.

After feeding some meat covered in Uzit A-Krill cloud and 2mm p-nut pellet on the 3+2 line, I immediately started down the left margin fishing meat. Surprisingly, I never had a bite although there were still fish knocking the reeds.

Next, I tried the 3+2 line and the pellet waggler, but I was struggling for a bite. After 90mins I caught my first fish on the straight lead and 6mm p-nut pellet with a small tea bag of 2mm p-nut pellet.

So far, Luke Seabrook was already on 4 or 5 carp, whilst I was 1 of 4 who had caught at least 1 carp. As expected, it was fishing hard and over the next couple of hours I kept rotating lines managing 2 on the waggler, losing a 3rd. 

With 2 hours remaining I caught my first carp from the 3+2 line on meat, catching another 2 over the next hour, however I just felt I was fishing too deep. So, with an hour remaining I started feeding meat and micros down the right margin where I caught 2 more carp, plus a further 2 from the left margin.

5 fish in the last hour was very handy and I knew it would be close with Luke who had struggled in the last couple of hours. However, 2 fish late on swung it Luke’s way.

I was pleased to finish 2
nd, but I feel I need to find a way to catch more during the middle of the match. None the less, a tricky but enjoyable day.

1.    55-  9 – Luke Seabrook – p9
2.    48-  5 – Ken Rayner – p6
3.    34-  3 – Neil Martin – p1

Tuesday 12 March 2024

10/03/24 - Harescombe - Field Lake

Weight - 30lb 13oz (5lb 4oz - silvers)
Catch - 4 Carp, 7 Skimmers, 3 Roach, 1 Hybrid
Weather - Mostly cloudy, rain late on.
Match - Teams of 3 (36 fished) - 7th in section.

The Teams of 3 and my turn for Field Lake. Jason handed me p3, which initially I thought was a decent draw, however when I looked at the previous rounds weigh sheets, the highest weight from the peg was 14lb and the points so far were 9, 11 and 12 (out of 12), so not a great area. When I got to my peg it was just before the lake narrows, with no real room either side and I doubted the margins would feature.

After yesterday’s match, I had a clearer idea on how to attack the swim, so deposited 2mm & 4mm p-nut pellet at 14m slightly to my right in nearly 6ft of water and then groundbait and maggot at 13m to my left which would serve as a backup swim.

Whilst that settled, I thought I would try 3+2 line tapping in meat (covered in Uzit A-krill cloud) and 2mm pellet. I soon had a skimmer, soon followed by a carp which was a relief but I lost a second which I think was foul hooked.

After 45mins I moved out to the long pellet line, tapping in 4s and pinging 4s over the top. I had set up 2 rigs, 1 strung out rig to a hair rigged pellet and the other was a bulk and 3 droppers to fish expander or maggot.

I started on 6mm pellet and soon switched to 4mm hair rigged pellet catching a couple of skimmers, but it didn’t feel right. A switch to fishing 4mm expander was much better, catching a couple more skimmers, plus a carp.

Ed Bryant to my right started catching the odd carp shallow slapping a pellet. I followed suit, but never had a bite. Being a team match I didn’t want to waste too much time trying to catch shallow, so went back down on the deck picking up a few skimmers and another carp all on 4mm expander.

I did try the groundbait and maggot line, but only caught a couple of roach. I also periodically tried the short meat line without success, until the last 10 mins, when I hooked a carp and promptly pulled out of it! Fortunately, a few minutes later I hooked another which was a 10lber.

I was pleased to have weighed 30lb for 7pts from the peg and the team finished 3rd on the day.

Odd moment of the day was netting a carp to also net a couple of frogs.

1.    79-  9 – Luke Seabrook – p4 (Meadow)
2.    76-  2 – Nick Hancock – p8 (Field)
3.    68-  6 – Andy Taylor – p5 (Meadow)
4.    68-  5 – Ed Bryant – p2 (Field)
5.    55-  7 – Allan Oram – p6 (Meadow)
6.    47-  2 – Keith Builder – p10 (Field)

09/03/2024 - Harescombe - Field Lake

Weight - 38lb 12oz 
Catch - 11 Carp, 3 Skimmers, 3 Roach
Weather - Bright & sunny. Cool easterly
Match - Open (6 fished) - 2nd overall

As I was due to fish Field Lake on Sunday for the teams of 3, I decided to fish todays open to give me a feel for the lake, as the last time I fished it was 17 years ago.

There was only the 6 of us today so plenty of space. My draw put me on the right-hand corner of the dam wall, which had a very inviting right-hand margin. To my left was Steve Brown of Harescombe Maver, so it would be good to keep an eye on him to see how the locals fish the lake.

It was a slow start for everyone, probably due to an easterly weather system over the last few days and a cool wind. I caught my first fish after an hour 13m down the right margin on 7mm meat, feeding Uzit A-Krill cloud covered meat and 2mm p-nut pellet.

I caught 2 more before having to rest the swim. I had also been feeding meat and micros at 3+2, which produced a couple of skimmers and a carp. I had also been pinging pellet long to fish the waggler, but never had a bite on that.

Groundbait, micros and maggot were deposited at 13m and this only produced 2 roach which if I’m honest was a surprise, but I felt I may have overdone the initial cup of feed.

So, most of my fish came from the right margin at 13m. As it was only 3ft deep, I found it best to catch one fish, and then switch to another swim to rest the margin. When I returned, I would catch another fish almost immediately, until the last 45mins when I felt the fish had backed off. By moving to 14.5m next to the disused platform I managed to catch another 3 fish.

The only disappointment was the stamp of fish, as the biggest fish I caught was about 4lb, whilst the majority were around 3lb.

By the all-out I knew it would be close between myself and Steve, who had 8 carp and 13lb of skimmers to weigh 38lb 13oz, beating me by an ounce, which was some payback for Steve who I beat by an ounce in the last round of teams of 3.

Importantly, I picked up a few ideas for tomorrows match, as Steve caught over pellet and maggot.

1.    38-13 – Steve Brown
2.    38-12 – Ken Rayner
3.    16-  7 – Steve Partington

Monday 4 March 2024

03/03/24 - Hillview - Canal 3

Weight - 73-12
Catch - 30 Carp/F1, 14 Ide, 4 Tench, 1 Gudgeon
Weather - Frosty start, bright and sunny.
Match - Tackle Den (23 fished), 3rd overall, 2nd on lake

With my car back in the garage with ongoing electrical issues, I managed to get Volvo to pay for a hire vehicle for today. When I turned up in the car park Matt Greaves just pointed and laughed when he saw me driving a van with Enterprise emblazoned on the side, later suggesting I need to get rid of my car. He may have a point.

Today’s match was spread over canals 2, 3 and 4, and following the cold week, including a heavy frost this morning, a number of us brought bread only to discover that bread is banned at the venue after 1st March. Due to the weather the general feeling was it would fish harder than of recent, so I was pleased to draw p69, an end peg on canal 3, although I was the only one without a space peg.

I did think about dobbin maggot to start, but instead decided to start at 12m to the right of the aerator fishing 4mm expander over fishery micros. This produced a F1 and then a carp, followed by 3 tench which prompted a switch to the dobbin rig to try and catch up with John next to me on p70 who already had a couple of fish

The fish were being really spooky, even shying away from any loose fed maggot. To be honest, I wasted too much time chasing carp around the swim and I don’t really enjoy this type of fishing. I did manage 1 carp, but that was foul hooked, and I just felt I needed to take a more positive approach.

I had fed some meat and micros into the left corner and caught a couple of F1s and an ide, but it didn’t feel right. Instead, I decided to switch to maggot to try and catch some ide, fishing with .10 bottom, as it didn’t appear the carp/F1s were feeding. By tapping in a few maggots against the end bank, I started catching a few F1s and carp, obviously preferring a different presented bait, along with a few ide.

I ended up moving around the end and far bank to stay in contact with the fish and moved ahead of John over the next couple of hours, who was still catching the odd fish shallow. Whilst I felt I had more fish than John, the fish he was catching were a better stamp.

With 90mins remaining the maggot swims were waning and I had started feeding meat at 5m, plus down the left corner. Whilst those swims settled, I switched tapping 6 cubes of 6mm meat, across to the far bank and started catching again. When I needed to rest the swim I would try the left corner swim, which produced little, which was the same for the 5m swim. With nothing to lose, the 5m swim got a half cup of meat and micros. When I came back to the swim 20mins later I soon had a couple of F1s which were a little on the small side, but nothing more. Fortunately, when I returned to the far bank swim after resting it, I would have another run of fish on meat, losing only 1 fish under the aerator.

Come the weigh in it was very close as I only needed 1 more fish to win, coming 3rd to Andrew Black and Alistair Tilney who both caught dobbin maggot. Overall, an enjoyable day as it stayed dry for a change.

73-13 – Andrew Black – p96 (canal 4)
2.    74-  2 – Alistair Tilney – p82 (canal 3)
3.    73-12 – Ken Rayner – p69 (canal 3)
4.    65-  0 – John Pearce – p70 (canal 3)
5.    59-  6 – John Brady – (canal 4)
6.    47-  2 – Dominic Olivia – p64 (canal 2)