Round 4 of this league means going back to a open draw and then rotate the other two lakes, so no preconceived ideas before arriving and drawing - except that it would be tough for some.
I cannot deny its getting harder to write these blogs, as my winter has been dire and the only matches I am enjoying are the Viaduct Winter League matches, I always did enjoy team fishing, as at least it gives you something to fish for, for the full match and even if in the worst section, coming back with points in the bag is satisfying. I have no great desire to go back to the rivers and canals - because of the boats and bank side activity, but that's about the only places to get regular team fishing, shame we don't have a commercial team league in the area.
I am usually as close to the front of the draw queue as possible, but today, was fairly apathetic about actually being here, so hung back and drew what has been a good draw, 13 on Match Lake, can't say I was overjoyed when I heard that the match on Saturday was on this lake and won from this peg with 20lb odd. I think in the winter that these small commercials don't fish as well two days running, especially for silvers, but I also understand that its a commercial and not likely to be shut before league matches like many natural waters were years ago. I can recall when many anglers fishing a league (rivers and canals) wouldn't fish it the day before even if it wasn't closed.
So, at least there had been a couple of fish in the peg and as I was expecting a tough day, with a blustery wind forecast, I had taken a lead rod and a waggler, which I normally leave at home when fishing here. With plenty of time to set up I put the waggler up and had a cast around, the peg is a fairly even depth apart from a deeper hole in front of the island and as that is nigh on 18m, I choose to use that as the reference point for full depth and marked that on the rod. Lead rod was a simple 9' rod with a running bomb and a 0.16 hooklength.
4 topkikts out of the bag, one for fishing down to the pallet of 14 and it would also do to fish to the end bank, both sides of the tree that sticks out, just a simple HB margin float and a 16 LWG on 0.16. A rig to fish through the water, a 4x12 Chianti, with a 18 Kaizen to 0.14 (hoping for an early mug decent fish) another to fish the deeper water this time a HB Chump and a 16 F1 maggot hook on 0.12 and finally a similar rig with a 18 F1 on 0.10 to target silvers.
After 40 minutes of dobbing round the peg with maggots (I wish Mike would allow bread in this league...), I hadn't had a bite, Martin Rayet on 11 was in a similar position and he commented on how tough it was. Shortly after he was playing a fish from the end bank and then another, whilst I remained biteless. He then lost a fouler and I was getting concerned when the float dipped and I had a welcome carp of about 5lb. Martin then had a decent double, whilst my float remained motionless. Both doing the same thing, not feeding, fishing to the end bank.....
I switched to the silvers rig and hoped to put some roach and perch in the net, but nothing, could not get a bite on either line I'd fed, one caster, one micros. A switch to the waggler over the deep hole and a bite on single maggot, expecting a micro perch or roach, I was surprised when a 4lb carp was attached to the hook.
By now it was fairly obvious the not feeding or very negative feeding wasn't working, Martin had managed one more carp giving him 5, but he was no longer getting indications or bites. I started pinging a few maggots at the aerator, but to no avail, so a look round the other lines again, none of which gave even the faintest glimmer of hope that there was a fish in the vicinity. Back to the aerator and I had a bite out of the blue, another 4lb carp, then a 6oz hybrid, I think it was nothing more than the time of day, as there was 40 minutes remaining, I had another carp, another 6oz hybrid and a 2lb skimmer, too little too late sadly.
Against most predictions the top weights both carp and silvers came from the opposite end of the lake, which was the most wind affected and they hadn't been pegged the day before, my carp being of a small stamp weren't enough to trouble the frame, likewise the silvers. Fair play to Mike and Ade for top two weights on the lake, from pegs which at the start, the regulars weren't fancying and were the windiest pegs - good weights from all three lakes from the windiest ends.