Thursday, 12 July 2018

Horseshoe not lucky for me at Decoy


Horseshoe Lake, Decoy, peg 18


A cooler day than we have had recently, with lots of cloud. There are several large lily beds in Horseshoe, and peg 18 has mainly open water, with lillies about eight or nine metres to the left.

Thirteen of us were in this Spratts club match, and when we got to our pegs Bob, on 19, didn’t fancy his swim, which has lillies all round, and jokingly offered to swap with me.  I actually said I would have been happy to, as I suspected that there would be more fish under the lily leaves. But I had a cunning plan (see the last entry) and started as I had planned – Method while pinging.
My swim - flat calm, but looking quite nice.


The plan works!
Everything went according to plan...for five minutes. I had a wrap-round on The Method with an 8mm pellet cast to the far-bank reeds, after five minutes but the 4 lb mirror came off at the net. Next cast gave another fish, which determinedly made a dash for the lillies and I had to grit my teeth and hold, but the hook length broke. The next two or three casts brought nothing so after half-an-hour I changed to a shallow rig at ten metres, where I had been pinging 4mm pellets.

After about 15 minutes I had a 2 lb F1, but although I could see carp under the surface bites came very infrequently, including a couple of roach. A change to a 6mm pellet brought two more F1s, and for the next two hours I persevered, eventually catching another four or five fish three feet deep, and having a couple pull off.  The bites all took my pole down – no messing about, and I don’t know why I didn’t keep catching.  I then tried fishing full depth with another rig, at about five feet, with expanders, but didn’t get even a liner. Very strange.

Big fish lost in the lillies
At one time I put in a single catapult of pellets over to the lillies, dropped in with the rig about a foot away., and immediately hit a very big fish which, after a few seconds, went into the lillies. I could feel it still swimming, and held as hard as I could, but the hook pulled out. So it hadn’t actually snagged me; but I didn’t fancy doing that again, so reluctantly gave up on that swim.

Martin fished shallow all day for third.
Eventually I had to try the margins, and first drop-in with meat over pellets and corn to the right brought a 1 lb tench. Buit roach were a real nuisance, but  what was worse was that it was impossible to distinguish the roach bites from F1 and carp bites – they were both taking the float down very slowly and hesitatingly. Annoyingly I hit about six big fish which all came off after a few seconds, and I don’t think they were foulhooked. They just didn’t seem to take the bait properly.

An hour from the end, in desperation, I put dead maggots in, but couldn’t get a bite on a bunch. However suddenly the meat produced a couple of fish before the roach and small bream came in. That kept happening – two carp then the tiddlers. Back out to the longer swim brought nothing – I didn’t get a fish there. One of the last fish was a 4lb barbel on cat meat fished a few inches off bottom!

Some managed to catch well!
Beside me, Bob Barrett was really struggling, with a couple of carp on feeder early on, and I could see he couldn’t get much in the margins. However I knew that Trevor, on his right, was catching well shallow, fishing at about eight metres to a lilly bed in front of him. He told me later he  had to fish close to the lillies to get bites, and inevitably lost some.  To his right John Smith, on 13 on the corner, managed to take some carp on meat in the margins. He told me all his fish came within five seconds of the bait going in...if he left it for longer the roach nipped in and pulled it to pieces.

John's single net, knocked back to 50 lb.
Round to his right Martin Parker fished shallow all day and ended third with 99 lb 4 oz...just 3 oz ahead of Peter Harrison.

Tevor won with 143 lb 12 oz, and John was third with  104 lb 76 oz, while my measly, and hard-won 63 lb 8 oz was beaten into sixth place by 90-year-old Ted Lloyd by exactly  1 lb.


What I did wrong
Actually I think it should be what I didn’t do. I should have a) tried paste to see if the roach left it alone long enough for the carp to zoom in; b) tried the Method in the margin swim with 8mm pellet; c) tried double sweetcorn in the margins, though a single grain invariably brought a roach or tiny bream. Otherwise I have to put it down to being just ‘one of those days when I didn’t really get started.’
Ted (90) beat me by 1 lb.

Not sure of my matches before the Vets National on July 25th. I don’t particularly like  Woodland View as the lakes are all so different, and peggy. But someone has to draw a good swim, so it might be me. Last time I was in the worst section of the worst lake (High) so perhaps I’m biased!
The result, and a good result for Mick on
Peg 1 after a day's coaching with Polly.






Monday, 9 July 2018

Beaten by the sun...and two anglers - Buttonhole.


Sunday, July 8, 2018
Buttonhole, Wisbech, peg  5

There were 10 of us in this Fenland Rods match, with a great welcome from the new(ish) owner Chris Smith who offered us all a complementary mug of tea. He explained that the barbel, which I know used to be numerous, and grow to 5 lb, had disappeared. That threw my plans (OK, a bit of an exaggeration)  into chaos, as I have always managed to haul myself up the field here in the last couple of hours by finding barbel in the close margins.

But it’s a cracking fishery anyway, so I still looked forwards to a good day’s fishing for the carp. Chris explained that he had stocked 150 small barbel, and asked us to immediately return any we caught. In fact I did catch one, about 6 oz, which went straight back. And the good news didn’t stop there – halfway through the match Chris and his wife came round in the sweltering heat offering us cool glasses of orange. On the house, of course. Service over and above the call of duty!

My peg was 14.5 metres across, and I know that when I used to fish here a few years ago, there used to be a reed bed just to the left. Chris explained that it has not been there since he took over a year ago. I took out a shallow rig to fish right across, though with no real expectation, as there were virtually no shallow areas there. In the event I didn’t fish there. I started alternating between the deep margins (my swim had no shallow areas even in the margins) and a swim five sections out which I fed with pellets and fished with expander or corn. Neither brought a touch of any kind for 45 minutes, at which point I decided to try shallow over the five-section swim.

Two early fish foulhooked
Fish were clearly moving under the surface, but in the next 45 minutes I managed just two carp here – both foulhooked on a banded 8mm pellet. One was hooked in the side, about 3 lb; the other was hooked under the chin and adfter a fight which lasted a good ten minutes on my grey Hydro I slid a fish about 12 lb into the landing net.

Some time after this, with only two or three nice roach from the margins on corn (several dropped off, and one about 1 lb never made the net) , I checked with Dave on my right who had four good carp from the margins, and Kevin on my left who had three fishing about four sections out on meat. I should have immediately done the same, but the heat must have got to me as I went back and tried my two swims again, which produced a 1 lb tench and a 2 lb carp from the margins, on corn, in the next hour.

The aerators were switched on, which produced a real tow through the swim, so I changed to a 2 gm float, and I had to overshot it, and then move all the shot down to within six inches of the hook, in order to hold the bait steady. I got several half-hearted bites, probably from roach, and briefly hooked a couple of better fish which came off.

I then made another mistake. The sun was so hot I went back to the car for a long-sleeved shirt and long pair of trousers in place of my shorts, and Les Bedford told me he had several fish, and Wendy had some, on the feeder. I said I’d probably try it...but didn’t. I should have done. I am sure it would have brought more fish than the pole in the next couple of hours. I kept trying the margins, as fish were swimming qround there, but they wouldn’t go down and take my bait.

Les deserved a medal for sticking it out
in the relentless heat. If he could have
 weighed in his oxygen cylinder he
would have beaten me into third spot!
Groundbait seems to work
With about 90 minutes to go, and with Kevin now landing fish very steadily, I started a new swim four sections out, and put in a little meat and some groundbait balls containing corn. Decoy, where I fish most of my matches, does not allow groundbait except in a feeder, and I often forget to even consider it. In the event I think it may have helped me on this occasion.

The aerators had now been switched off and the water was pretty still; and the fish came on. Using a 1 gm float,  I had  about four or five  fish to 6 lb in the next hour, and three more lost, probably foulhooked, and with less than 30 minutes left bubbles started to appear in the swim. That last 30 minutes brought one fish lost, but three landed, with the best one around 15 lb, which I landed 30 seconds before the end of the match.

I get proper lift bites
The interesting  thing is that I kept the 1gm of bulk shot about 6 inches from the hook, as I had tried when the tow was on, and EVERY bite was a lift bite. They looked like liners, but I hit every one, and all these fish were hooked in the mouth. So the fish were coming down, picking up the bait, and swimming straight up. Yet a bait fished off bottom didn’t get a bite.

With only three carp in the net in the first four hours I felt I had been given a Get Out Of Jail Free card. But why hadn’t those fish been willing to feed earlier, while Kevin was hammering them only 15 yards away?
 
Kevin took all his fish from four
sections, and never had a fish in
the margins.
THE WEIGH-IN
I knew Kevin had a lot of fish as he borrowed one of my spare nets. But first to weigh in was Les, who put a magnificent 58 lb 2 oz  on the scales. OK, it was good enough for just fourth place, but when you consider he is constantly attached to an oxygen cylinder and was sitting in the relentless sun all day, I reckon that was brilliant. He took all his fish on a feeder.

Kevin won with 154 lb 3 oz – I don’t know how he does it. I managed 63 lb 8 oz, thanks partly to those two big fish. The second big one appeared to be around 15 lb when weighed with just one other fish. That weight gave me third place.


Surprisingly Dave, to my right on peg 7, took just 51 lb 6 oz and told me that in the last three hours he had had just one bite. Opposite, on the other side of the Island, Tony Nisbet on peg 16 (I think) took 137 lb 3 oz at four sections, mainly on corn but with some on meat, for second.

The result - the first six were on the right bank and
the rest on the opposite side of the island.
A difficult day in the sun, but it’s a lovely water and a very welcoming owner, and I look forward to returning when we get some proper English Summer weather – cloudy with a cold wind and rain. That heat sucks all the energy out of me.

My next match is on Horseshoe at Decoy on Wednesday. Lots of F1s here, and my default plan is to start on The Method while pinging pellets out to around 13 metres, which I can fish either shallow or deep. Then two margin rigs will be ready, one for meat and the other for corn.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Peter's last peg



A sad day. Just come back from Peter Parlett’s funeral.

A passionate matchman, Peter had been a member of several clubs, and in particular Spratts for many many years. He used to buy some of the prizes for our special Christmas match, and bring them all to the match and lay them out for the presentations.


One year I chose a bird bath which Peter had bought, and the base was too heavy for me to carry so he took it to my car for me. It’s in my garden as I write, so every day when I look at it I think of Peter.

His passion for fishing led to his family having a lake scene printed  round the coffin. But that passion was exceeded by the love for his family – he would miss fishing matches so he could watch his grandson, Joe, box. Joe is now a professional – Peter was so proud.


A lovely, lovely man, Peter was only 60 when cancer quickly overtook him. It’s not fair.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Two hours fishless...then, Bingo! (Oak, Decoy)


Tuesday, July 4
Oak Lake, Decoy, peg 3

I fancied a peg on the Eastern bank for this 11-entry Spratts club match, as it faces the prevailing Westerly winds and bank erosion has left most swims with a nice shallow margin somewhere. In the event we all fished on the West bank and all 15 pegs went into the bag.

I like this idea – we all had the same wind, could cast right across if necessary, and putting all the pegs in meant that some of us would be fishing right next to another angler...rather than the modern thinking of giving everyone a spare peg (which for me is not proper match fishing). That meant we could actually talk to each other!

Also, putting us all on this bank is probably fairer than pegging us all opposite, as the peg on the bird hide has such a good reputation, particularly if the fish will feed in the margins. So I settled down to enjoy, at the very least, a decent day’s fishing.

It has been so hot I welcomed the light, cool North-easterly breeze we had at the start, though I would have preferred a peg opposite the bird hide – around peg 8. But we all agreed that conditions were pretty good, even given the fact that there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Peg 3 was drawn out as the Golden Peg, but I had no expectation of winning from here against the standard of opposition in Spratts club.

Nice margins, but no fish
I found reasonable margins each side, and put in a few expanders on one side and hard pellets on the other, and kept feeding these swims while also potting out pellets and hemp at five sections – about 8.5 metres. I could actually fish easily at six sections – 10 metres – but as always gave myself leeway in case the wind got up or I wanted to fish farther out.
We started with a nice breeze, but it soon turned nasty.

Amazingly, though there were fish topping, and an F1 humped its back out of the water in my right margin, I couldn’t get a bite. I stayed in the margins for half an hour, fishing full depth, half depth and all depths in between, and tried down the slope. Nothing. Out at 8.5 metres I still couldn’t get even a liner, but with fish topping I decided I must be able to catch shallow. Half an hour of this, feeding pellets very accurately, still brought absolutely nothing.

Cold wind
By this time the wind had increased from a light breeze to a full force 6, making presentation difficult even at 8.5 metres. Almost two hours gone and, still biteless, the wind was very cool and I walked to the car to get a long-sleeved shirt, and then wandered along the match length. Just three had caught fish – Mick on Peg 1 had one carp, with Peter Harrison having four on a Method feeder casting across right to the margins beside the bird hide. He always seems to catch fish using the The Method. Peter Spriggs, meanwhile, had four on pole at four section on his special home-made paste. All the others I spoke to had not had a touch.
Ted (90) was in the corner peg,
but had less ripple than the rest.
John on his first trip
since a major operation.

As I watched, John Garner hit a fish on a feeder...and then got a call on his mobile. I went to take a shot of him with bent rod in one hand and a mobile to his ear in the other, but he managed to drop the phone on his box and attend to the serious business of getting in his first fish before I could take a picture.

The fish switch on!
Back to my peg and I rigged up a Method feeder, with an 8mm hair-rigged banded pellet and cast out, more in hope than expectation. First cast was three-quarters of the way across; next cast was within a few feet of the far bank, and after five minutes I got a drop-back and was in business. This first carp was around 7 lb. Unfortunately the band was ripped off as the fish moved around in the net, so I re-tied another on a size 12 Kamasan Animal on 0.23mm nylon – quite strong.

Next cast, another drop-back, another fish, around 6 lb, and another band had to be re-tied. Two more came, and I had to re-tie the band every time. But at least I was catching. The band stayed in place for the next two fish, then another re-tie job...I then realised it was the band that was ripping off, caught in the mesh, and not the nylon breaking. Nothing much I can do about that. Luckily it takes only a minute to re-tie from scratch.

After I had taken seven fish on The Method I noticed Bob, on my left, take a fish close in, and Peter, on the next peg, playing a fish on the pole. It was almost impossible now, in the increased wind, to fish my original pole swim, so I cupped in hemp, corn and pellets at about six metres and dropped in a 1gm float with meat, prepared to go back on the feeder if nothing happened immediately.
Peter catching on The Method
prompted me to do the same.
 
Bob was on my left. When he
eventually caught near the side
 I changed back to pole.
Success

I had my bump bar on from fishing shallow, and was able to rest the third section on it to steady the rig in what was, at times, almost a Force 7 wind. This worked very well.

First drop-in I had the signs of a bite, and next cast a carp around 4 lb. Now the fish were really feeding well. After a few more, on cat meat, I swapped to a 2gm rig, and had in mind going up to 3gm or more if this worked better. Moving the shot down to within about six inches of the hook steadied the bait, I suspect, and fish came regularly, half of them lifting the shot and giving what looked like a liner. But all were hooked in the mouth.

From then on it was straightforward, though, as so often recently, I could take no more than two fish quickly without having to re-bait. Again I had an idea that the hemp was helping, and I have lots of confidence in it. And I stuck with the 2gm rig rather than waste time putting a heavier one on a spare top two.

TRAGEDY

At one point I stood up to get a tin of corn from my bait bag, and as I was opening it when a particularly strong gust of wind blew me off balance.

I managed to take one step over my pole, and was about to do the same over my landing net handle when I lost the plot completely, diving over the pole (I hoped) and spawling full length on the ground, banging my knee on some hard gravel, and sending the tin flying.

My first thought was for my knee (at 75, knees in working condition are particularly valuable) which was just bruised.

Then I saw my Number 3 section in two pieces. My Number 4 also had a jagged end, which looked to have brought a halt to fishing the four-section swim.

But on closer inspection the jagged end was, in fact, a few inches of the Number 3, still attached, which had broken in two places. I gathered them up and took them to the car because the wind would certainly have blown them into the lake if I’d put them on the grass.

Luckily I had a spare Number 3 with me and after a short prayer over the demised Number 3 I was back in business.

My best fish lost
I stopped the first net at 40 lb and the second at 39 lb, and after getting a third net from HQ I put on my waterproof jacket, as I was now getting quite cold. In the one hour left I put 23 lb on the clicker.  I admitted to 100 lb-plus.

I was playing what I am sure was my biggest fish when the whistle went – probably a double-figure carp. It just felt heavy and lumbering, and in a frenzy of excitement I shipped back to my top two before I had seen the fish. I like to have an idea of its size before doing this, but didn’t stick to my rule of thumb.

The fish suddenly decided to sprint to my left, towards a bunch of reeds, and it came out, but immediately it shot back and snagged me solid. The match had ended, and I prodded around with my hook and eventually got the whole rig back, but no fish.
 
Peter Spriggs always seems to catch
on his homemade paste.
Terrible estimates

My estimates were way out...not for the first time this season. In my defence, several of the anglers had nets over 50 lb. The fish seem to have become really solid since spawning, when they were weighing light. One fish I estimated at 4 lb was on its back in my landing net and I was surprised by its width – I should have re-estimated it, but didn’t give it a second thought until pulled my nets from the water!
Our organiser Trevor is
always smiling!

My 40 lb net was actually  55 lb; my 39 lb net 57 lb; and my final 23 lb net went 42 lb 7 oz (probably had not bothered to click the last couple of fish). So 142 lb total, but I had caught 154 lb in the final four hours – same weight as two days previously.In the event that gave me top spot...and £80 from the Golden Peg, though Trevor ran me close with 134 lb 10 oz. Luckily that lost fish didn’t cost me. I must be more careful next time.
The result - far better than we imagined it would be
after two hours fishing.




Next match is on Buttonhole Fishery near Wisbech, when I believe we will all be pegged opposite the island, rather than having some in the open water. I have no problem with that, in fact I think it’s much fairer. From memory it will probably be right across to the island shallow (14 metres across approximately) or deep on cat meat down the edge. I’ve got a good record here.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

A great club match – Decoy, Cedar


Cedar Lake, Decoy, peg 12
Fifteen of us fished on a hot day with just a light Easterly breeze, for a change. That wind seem to make all the difference to the fish, because they fed well, and no fewer than 10 of us topped 100 lb!

I fancied peg 26 in the corner (which I won from last year in the club Roving match), or failing that 6, 7 or 8, or opposite on 19, 20 and 21. Or failing them anywhere in the first half-dozen pegs near the car park, on either bank.

Peg 26 was first out – unfortunately it was not my fingers it was stuck to, but our secretary’s, John. The pegs I fancied went flying out to others, and I ended with 12 down the other end of the strip – next to the corner swim, which had not been pegged. I had this last year, and had had a quick read of this blog before leaving home to remind me what happened on all the Cedar matches. All I could remember was that I had had fish from a four feet deep margin swim to the right of peg 12.
 
A light breeze was most welcome, but the sun shone all day.
Hallellujah, everything was still the same, and I managed a quick barbel on corn after about ten minutes from this margin. The lefthand one was dodgy, with no real flat area, and I never tried it properly. I concentrated on the right margin, feeding half-a-dozen grains of corn every couple of minutes, but started a swim about ten feet out in the deepest water at the bottom of the slope which I fed mainly with pellets to start with.

Slow start (as always)
A slow start brought about four or five fish in the first hour, while Dick, almost opposite on 14, in the far corner, found fish steadily near the end bank. Nothing came from my deep swim to start with, but I found occasional carp and barbel to 3 lb from the right margin, while expander farther out lured nothing.

A good spell on corn inside gave me enough confidence to put in more feed in the deep swim,including hemp, which has seemed to kick-start swims this Summer, and eventually cat meat took some fish here, but nothing big, except for two carp around 8 lb each.

At 1 o’clock Dick went for a third net (50 lb maximum here) and I went half an hour later. But it took me nearly two hours to get around 40 lb in that net – I felt I should have been catching them more quickly, but time just slipped by as I waited for bites I could hit properly. The carp were lifting the meat but not taking the float down, a bit like roach. Often the float slid away gently as fish picked up the bait and swam out towards the middle...they looked like liners but if I hooked a fish it was always in the mouth.

Half-hearted bites all day
At one time I was feeding one swim, taking two fish, and then changing over. This worked quite well for a couple of hours, though the fish still would not give really good bites. At 3.15 I went for a fourth net and managed just 22 lb in it before the end – disappointing, as the wind had turned to blow directly into my bank, and conditions were really quite acceptable, despite the heat.

I lost only one fish after hooking it properly – I had it on for 15 seconds. I pricked just two others, which came off immediately, so was actually quite pleased at the end. though being right at the end of the lake I didn’t know how many others had fetched extra nets.
John Smith had THREE nets all over
50 lb from peg 26 - more than half his
fish were barbel.

I fact my 154 lb 11 oz was good enough for third place, the match won by Kevin Lee on 20 with four nets all over 50 lb – so a 200 lb total, taken mainly on cat meat towards the bottom of the slope. Often the fish will take a bait better if they don’t have to tilt themselves down to pick it up – in fact I had persevered just up the slope for some time in my swim, but found it not as good as presenting the bait in the deepest water. At the end I was laying on six inches, which was better than just touching bottom, but I never had a really good spell all day.

Spare a thought for Dick
Dick Warrener goes round with Kevin on the scales, and they started at peg 1. But disaster...when they got to Dick’s swim one of his nets had slid back into the water. Dick retrieved it, but every fish had gone, and he’d lost an estimated 25 lb. That would have been very close to me, possibly beaten me.

Great result for a club match with 10 out of 15 topping 100 lb.
ALSO Bob Allen had a 50 lb-plus net and could have overtaken me; Tony Nisbet had two 50 lb-plus nets; and John Smith had THREE nets all over 50 lb.

FETCHING NETS
Those anglers had possibly all caught more than me but the 50 lb rule docked their totals. I timed my walk to get another net – two minutes to the car; a minute to drive to the nets; half a minutes to get the nets; a minute to drive back; two minutes walking down to peg 12; then at least another half minute to screw the net on my attach and position it = a total of seven minutes.

So I can understand why anglers don’t want to risk losing time by fetching another net if they are near maximum late in the match. There’s also the problem (as happened to me) that when I returned the fish were not lining up as they had been when I left my peg.In fact my single lost fish was first drop-in after returning the first time.

Anyone at the car park end of the lake takes four minutes less than me each time they fetch a net – my two extra nets took me eight minutes longer than it would someone at the other end; that’s basically two fish when they are feeding well.

So I don’t feel too bad about sneaking in front of the anglers who declined to get another net!

ON Oak Tuesday - anywhere on the Eastern bank will suit me as the prevailing Westerlies have created bank erosion and most swims have some sort of shallow margin somewhere.




Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Huge weight off the top (but not me) - Kingsland Silver


Kingsland Silver Lake
(Monday, June 25, 2018)

Another hot, almost windless day, on this lake, which is called Silver because it used to be full of silver fish – tench, bream, crucians, chub...everything except carp. Fantastic fishing. But then, one hot summer, they vanished, presumably they died. A local tragedy, really. But Richard put a few carp in there from his other lakes and they have gone mad. There must be literally millions of 1 oz carp and rudd there – put a single floating expander in and a circle of fry a foot across immediately attacks it.

That was a real problem in this match – cat meat lasted only seconds before it was torn off the hook by these fish. There were plenty of carp to 4 lb cruising around, and Trevor, in the righthand corner, where the very gentle breeze  was  blowing, made the most of it, targetting the carp with floating expanders and holding his expander in the surface – it’s allowed on this water.
 
Just a little ripple to my right, until the very end, when it blew into me.
I was in the first swim on the righthand bank, started on pellet waggler, and soon had a 2 lb carp. But although I patiently catapulted out 6mm pellets for the next half hour nothing else hooked itself, although the float bobbed around constantly from the attentions of the fry.

I then tried dobbing a surface-feeding carp, and hooked it immediately – about 3 lb – and successfully landed it. But although I kept throwing out floating expanders hardly any other fish approached. I wandered up to Trevor, and he admitted, after 90 minutes, to 60 lb. The fish seemed more willing to congregate in his swim.

Another wander round and Peter Harrison had some fish well out on a Method feeder with 8mm banded pellet, so I rigged one up. First cast accounted for a 3 lb carp, but then the wheels fell off – three casts; three fish hooked; three lost – two at the net. I checked the size 16 hook and it looked OK, but I decided to change to a size 12 with band. Oh dear, none in my box, so I tied a band to a size 12 Kamasan Animal, and was pleased it took no more than about a minute.

Out again, and another carp safely in the net. But then nothing for half an hour. So I had a real go with cat meat in the side , but never had a sign of a carp – although I hooked a few small fish about 2 oz. So it was back to dobbing an expander on the surface, and this brought another two or three  fish in the next two hours. Then the wind got up a little, blowing right into my face, and the carp suddenly appeared. I dobbed another seven or eight in the next hour until, with half an hour left, most of  the carp vanished.

When the carp went I should have had another try on cat meat in the margins, but stayed dobbing and tempted another couple of stragglers. In fact Peter, next door to me, told me that he caught virtually all his 35 lb in the last 20 minutes on cat meat.
Martin Parker's cap!
Trevor had six nets out.
Nice big platforms here.


Trevor had six nets out, and put 265 lb 8 on the scales – a brilliant performance in that heat. Peter and Martin, second and third, caught on the Method with a pellet – the one thing the fry couldn’t actually demolish. I will remember that in a few weeks when Fenland Rods have a Waggler-Only match on this lake. I was actually pleased, after sitting so long fishless, to weigh  45 lb 3 oz for fourth out of the nine of us.
 
The result - 7, 8 and 9 had our backs to the Small carp lake.
Pegs 1-6 were on the roadside.
The reeds here extend a long way into the water, so when you hook fish on a pole you have to shove on a couple of sections and play it for a minute in the open water. Then when it is well out, ship back quickly to the top two and grab the puller to shorten the elastic. I managed without losing a single fish in the reeds. One small victory on another boiling hot, difficult day.

Hot and bovered - Elm, Decoy


Elm Lake, Decoy, peg 13
(Sunday, June 24, 2018)


A very hot day, with no wind and carp cruising around aimlessly just below the surface. Peg 13 is in the far corner of this strip, and although I would have prefered pegs 9 and 16, or next to them, I was not unhappy. However, I have never done any good from the North-eastern corner of any of  the four strip lakes, and this day was no exception! I hasten to add that there’s nothing wrong with the corner pegs, and many matches have been won from them, but I just cannot seem to get to grips with them.
 
Baking hot and flat calm in this corner swim. 
I started by putting pellets out at six sections, and within a minute fish had started to move below the surface, so I changed to a shallow rig. But almost half-an-hour later I hd not had a touch and the fish seemed to have disappeared. A quick look at full depth brought nothing, so it was round  to my right, in front of the pipes which protrude, onto a shelf about four feet deep, which I fed with dead maggot, hoping for barbel. This looked a really fishy spot.

Immediately I foulhooked something which came off, then  next drop-in a 3 lb barbel came. Twenty minutes later an F1 also took the maggots and I fed a swim to my left, in the deeper water, with pellets and corn and a little cat meat, because John, to my left, had had three good carp to his right. My only catch there were two 1 lb bream, and after 90 minutes, when member John Garner walked round, I had 7 lb while I estimated John had around 25 lb.

Already I need a miracle to win
John has had a major operation, and has not yet resumed fishing, but likes to pay us visits. So I asked him how Kevin, opposite, had fared, as I had seen him start to catch good fish after a slow start. He had an estimated 47 lb, so I knew I was not in the running to win, barring a miracle!


The rest of the match was frustrating, as John hooked fish after fish, losing some, but was obviously way ahead of me, as I found mainly barbel, which weighed half the weight of his carp and took twice as long to land. But I did still manage to add the odd carp from both swims, using cat meat or dead maggots. Corn failed to produce anything.  But I lost half-a-dozen fish, which was probably considerably less than most other anglers who pole fished, who nearly all admitted to losing more.

Barbel hooked (and lost) on paste
Towards the end I put on paste in an effort  to catch a carp...and what I am sure was a barbel immediately took it. It must have been a really big one because in three seconds it had dived under the bank beside me, which is heavily undercut, and pulled off. My tight purple Hydro was no match for that one, despite the fact that I had managed to hold all the others.  Opposite, Kevin had continued to add big carp and barbel steadily all afternoon.
 
The result. Pegs
1-12 are on the West bank.
The weigh-in
This was a pairs match and my partner Mel, on the oppposite bank, weighed 68 lb 1 oz – a weight  I thought  could not match. But the three who I thought would get good catches on that bank all put over 100 lb on the scales, so I knew our team of two was out of it. Surprisingly my fish weighed 69 lb 10 oz, so those 2 lb barbel must have weighed 3 lb.  John, who I was sure had well over 100 lb, totalled 85 lb 5 oz, and told me his biggest fish came late to his left, towards the next platform which was vacant. I finished  fifth out of the 8 on my bank and eighth overall. Kevin won with 139 lb 6 oz, and his pairing (with Tony Nisbet) won the team event.

A disappointing result for me, but I am still not sure what I did wrong. John’s carp were coming to cat meat from only a few feet from where I was fishing. However, even bland-looking commercials have underwater features that we cannot see, and if we could we still might not understand why fish prefer some areas to others. I am sure I did some things wrong, but I can’t fathom out what.