The forecast rain never came, the wind gusted and swirled, but not so much that it affected presentation and the sun shone, it was good to be out on the bank.
The Match Lake & the far side of the Specimen Lake were in the draw bag and after Fabio drew Tony Rixon peg 31, most thought they were fishing for second place - and so it came to pass!! Peg 5 greeted me when I opened the draw card, should be good for a few silvers was the consensus. I'd pretty much decided my tactics before setting off, having mainly hard pellet and caster in my bait bag, trying not to over complicate things. I did also have a tin of corn and a few soft pellets.
I set up three rigs, the shallow rig for tight to the island was a MW slim power on 0.17, to 0.15 and a 18PR36 with a hair rig band. The rig for soft pellet or banded hard pellet at the bottom of the shelf was a MW power diamond, which took 6 No8 stotz as a bulk, this was on 0.15, with a 0.13 hooklength and a 16 6313 hook. A rig for caster was also assembled, this being a Malman winter wire that took 4 no8 & 3 No 10 stotz, this was initially coupled with 0.11 and a 20 6313.
I wanted to try two lines at full depth, one feeding just micro pellet and wetted 4mm and another line with groundbait, that had just a few 3mm pellets in. The line up the shelf would be fed with 6mm pellet and the caster line was loose fed by hand (about 4m).
At the all in I fed the micro and 4mm straight across at the bottom of the shelf, the ground bait at 12m which was in open water, in front of the gap in the islands, some 6mm by catty up the shelf and caster at 4/5m, as well as few down the LH side at topkit range. In the first half an hour I had more bites than for the whole match on Monday. I had a couple of skimmers, a couple of F1's and 2 very small carp. The F1's seemed to prefer the ground bait line, rather than the pellet fed at the bottom of the shelf.
These fish were taken on soft pellet, but as usually happens (to me, if no one else) the bites got lightening quick and impossible to hit, how frustrating does keeping on shipping back 13m of pole to rebait, only for it to get taken again in 30 seconds... A change to banded pellet saw a big reduction in bites, but at least I hit them or could drop the banded pellet back in.
First drop in on the caster line and the float slid under, a lift of the pole saw the elastic come out and one of those skimmers crossed with a salmonoid leapt out of the water. Why do they do that on commercials? I've never seen it on a natural venue.
The water wasn't yet at summer colour and the fish hadn't settled over the caster line properly yet., A look up the shelf saw a 6lb fish in the net first put in, another about 4lb the next put in and then nothing. It seemed as if the fish were mooching round in pairs. Alternating between the two pellet lines saw a couple more fish in the net, Ide now replacing F1's as the fish sat over the groundbait.
Next look in on the caster line saw a steady run of fish, perch, skimmers and ide, until it went quiet, the float buried and the doubled No8 elastic flew out and a lumpy 7lb carp was powering to the island. Another carp next put in and in trying to stop it getting to the lilly pads by peg4, it snapped the 0.11. Stepping up to 0.14 and a 18 6313 saw another carp netted on the next put in - quite bizarre that they were queuing up at 4.5m, on the caster line, but not over the pellet.
With an hour and a quarter to go, the silvers line went quiet after I landed a small tench, so I went back out to the island shelf and managed another 3 carp - frustratingly losing 3, all of them under my own pallet. I've been experimenting with some different elastics and have found the Garbolino Bazookarp to be very forgiving and not lost many fish at all. BUT, my big mistake was thinking that the orange (for bagging or big fish!!) would be OK without a pull bung, no, it needs one, hence the lost fish. Rest assured that tomorrow a pull bung will be fitted to that topkit.
My 84.04 was good enough for second on the lake (to Tony 'the paste' Whitcombe), so was quite pleased, then down to earth with a bump when the Speci lake weights were revealed, Tony Rixon winning as predicted, with over 200lb. Although him and Dean both actually landed more, but both exceeded the net weight limit of 80lb per net. (Dean with two nets!!)
It was a nice days fishing, a mixture of carp & silvers and a pick up as well, thats helped my malaise which was growing about the venue.
1) Tony (I know its a flyer, but I didn't draw it) Rixon 206.05 peg 31
2) Dean (they didn't look that big) Malin 178.03 peg 25
3) Tony (I had to open a tin of corn, but paste worked in the end) Whitcombe 98.04 peg 19
4) Chris (not battered off the next peg today) Fox 84.04 peg 5
5) Adrian Bishop 60.00 peg 17
6) John Smith 57.04 peg 22
1) John Bradford 53.02 peg 3
2) Mike West 28.12 peg 12
3) Chris Fox 24.00 peg 5