I saw this match advertised on Facebook and asked the Tart if he fancied it, he said yes and got us tickets, Andy Saunders also said he was up for it and would give me a lift – top man! I have fished these lakes many years ago with Chard, the first match on the bottom lake I won with 1lb 5oz!, in the next one I hooked a big carp on very light gear and played if for an hour and a half before losing it and I threw my 9 metre Silstar pole like a javelin up the bank! The last time I fished it we were on the top lake and I struggled for not very much, looking at the results now, it’s a very different story with some good weights of skimmers coming from the top lake. On the bottom lake, carp would play a part but they would only count as a kilo each.
Andy picked me up in the morning and we made good time, as we pulled into the fishery, it was already really busy and I saw quite a few people I recognised, the Tart and Howard were already there and it was really nice to see Tom Downing for the first time in ages. There was a stand set up with loads and loads of raffle prizes so we went to have a look and let the organisers, Simon McCabe and Martin Cox, know we were there. Along with the raffle there was also a mystery weight competition with some brilliant goody bucket prizes and after the match there would be an auction for some top Guru gear including an Aventus rod.
After buying some raffle tickets and paying a fiver for the mystery weight, we went and got some bacon rolls and a coffee, as we were scoffing those, Paul Homewood, Jamie Parkhouse and John Dursley turned up. Fed and watered, we then unloaded the van (I say we, I mean Andy did and I supervised!). Steve Maynard (who makes the long trip up from Cornwall to fish the Isle and Tone in the winter) turned up and then Steve Kedge arrived as well and it was great to see so many people supporting such a great cause.
Simon announced the draw but and everybody was hoping to avoid the bottom lake, when it was my turn I delved my hand in and pulled out peg 4 which put me on the top lake but I don’t think it was one of the noted pegs. The payout today was excellent with the winner of each five peg section taking home £100 apart from the first section on the top lake which would be four pegs and the winner pocketing £80, this was because some of the pegs were a bit tight so one section on the bottom lake would have six anglers with £120 up for grabs. The top three on each lake would also take home some Guru luggage.
As I took my gear to the peg, I passed the Tart and Andy who were pegged next to each other and I sympathised with Andy and offered him my ear plugs! The chap on the next peg was called Dave and he said he reads the blog, cheers mate! I reached Darren Lawrence on peg 6 and then mine was the next peg (I don’t know what happened to peg 5!), I asked if we were going to catch skimmers and Darren said we might get the odd one which didn’t get me very excited. My peg was also set back in a bit of a bay which I didn’t think would help my cause.
Jason McGrath was on my right, with Jamie Parkhouse on peg 2 and Steve Bridle on the end peg which I thought would be favourite to win our four peg section. There were three pegs over in the trees, with John Dursley on end peg 20 and Kedgie next to him on 19 and the talk at the draw was that they would be in with a shout today.
I set up two Drennan 0.4 gram Carp 1’s, one for a top kit plus two with a size 18 B611 barbless to 0.10mm and the other for 11.5 metres where I would feed two lines, one with corn and micros and the other with dead reds and groundbait, this rig had a size 16 F1 Pellet barbless to 0.10mm. For bait I had micros, Bait-Tech Scopex corn, red maggots (wrigglers and non wrigglers!) and a few 4mm expanders. My groundbait for today was Omen Bream and Pro Nat Bream Dark which I’d mixed the night before.
Just before the start, Exeter Mike turned up for a walk round and said he’d tried getting a ticket but they’d sold out very quickly, the all in was shouted and I cupped in a ball of groundbait on the short line before potting in two at 11.5 metres straight out and then micros and corn angled to my left. I started short with single red maggot on the hook and thought I might get a few small fish as there had been a few topping but the float just sat there and when Jason next door had two decent skimmers in quick succession on the feeder, I was soon going out on my longer line.
After about five minutes I had a lovely slow bite that looked very skimmer like but struck into thin air! Next put in I bumped a small fish before I finally got off the mark with a tiny roach. Darren was getting some small roach and also bumped what looked like a better fish and Kedgie got off to a great start landing a couple of decent skimmers. My next bite resulted in a little 2oz skimbob which I netted to be sure and Mike said he was off up the pub and would leave me to it.
Just after he left, I shipped out and had a bite on the drop, as I lifted the pole, there was an almighty CRACK and my pole snapped in half at the number five section! Thankfully it didn’t sink and I was able to use what was left of my pole to retrieve the rest of it. I telescoped it through and put some gaffer tape around it and was soon back in ‘action’ although I use the term very loosely! I did get a couple more small roach but with Kedgie now on five or six skimmers and the lad on peg 1 catching as well, I needed to catch bigger fish.
I tried a 4mm expander and after five minutes I had a lovely slow bite, the strike resulted in a little bit of elastic coming out and I netted a 3oz skimmer so right species but wrong size. No more bites on expander so I tried a bit of corn with the same result. Kedgie had slowed up but John Dursley was now catching well so perhaps the shoal had moved. I’d been feeding maggots on the short line so with a couple of hours gone, I tried it just to see if I could get a few bites.
I had a few more small roach on the drop but if the rig reached the bottom, every other put in I’d come back with a stick and several times they’ve given me a cracking bite! To be honest I was going through the motions a bit, I knew the three pegs to my right were all ahead of me as they had skimmers so my main concern now was not losing a pound to the Tart. My float went under again and I struck expecting another plippy roach but this time some elastic came out and I netted a nice 4oz roach. I had another quite quickly but any thoughts of doing a decent weight of them soon disappeared when I couldn’t get a bite again and it was back to a DIY build a tree, branch by branch!
Jamie P walked past to go and get his boots as his feet were cold and on his return I asked how the the Tart was doing and he said he was admitting to less than a pound so it was still all to play for regarding the nugget. I was just thinking about going back on the long lines when I struck at bite only to be met with solid resistance, my first thoughts were that I’d hooked the tree responsible for all the sticks I was catching but then whatever it was nodded it’s head! As it moved off, my next thought was that I was attached to a carp but then it stopped and I could see it was decent skimmer and I played it carefully before netting a nice fish of around 3.5lb!
John D was still catching well over on peg 20 and it was looking like it would be between him and peg 1 for the lake win. No more bites short (apart from various sticks and branches) so I went back out on the longer lines but couldn’t get bites out there now either! Then with about half an hour of the five hour match to go, the float sunk from view and I’ve hooked another decent fish, this time a 1.5lb skimmer. Exeter Mike turned up again, suitably refreshed after a his visit to the pub followed by a Sunday roast, while he was with me, I had another decent bite but this time it was a 2oz roach and that was the last of the action.
The scales arrived to do the weigh in and Steve Bridle on peg 1 recorded a brilliant 18kg 525grms, Jamie P had done well catching a couple of skimmers early and then catching 6lb of roach on caster to weigh 4kg 525grms, Jason had found a few more skimmers and weighed 3kg 575grms. Then it was my turn and my weight was called at 2kg 650grms.
I finished packing up and Mike very kindly took some of my kit back to the van, as I headed back I asked the others how they’d done, Darren had 3kg 200grms on peg 6, Simon McCarthy had 600grms, Tom had found a late bream to weigh 2kg 100grms, Dave had struggled for 150grms and Andy 825grms which included a stunning little carp of around 1oz!
Reaching the Tarts peg, it was empty as he’d packed up early, he had caught a couple of small skimmers but chucked them back. We got back to the van (I actually helped load it this time!) before going to get a free burger and a drink. I also bought another fivers worth of draw tickets and then had a nice piece of coffee and walnut cake.
The others started arriving back and John D had weighed a brilliant 16kg 850grms which was second on our lake and Kedgie had 10kg 225grms for third. Jamie P had actually won our section as peg 1 was in with the pegs in the trees so the fourth peg in our section was peg 12! The bottom lake had been a real struggle with most of the top weights including carp, Steve Hayman had three in his 4kg 700grms, Graham Stewart had 4kg 125grms for second place and Wayne Mitchell had 4kg 50grms which included four carp. Steve Maynard had done well catching three carp (between 15-18lb!) for 3kg 50grms but he just missed out on the section by 125grms and he pulled out of three carp!
So with everybody back it was time to do the results followed by the raffle and auction but before that Simon made a little speech thanking Martin for all his hard work and generosity getting the fantastic prizes and he thanked the lovely Maureen Pearson for letting us fish the lakes, the many firms who supported the event (including Guru, Bait-Tech, Mainline Match and Culm Valley Angling among others) and lastly the anglers. I have to say it was brilliantly run match and I hope they do it again next year.
The top three on each lake were as follows,
1 – Steve Bridle – 18kg 525grms
2 – John Dursley (Enterprise Angling) – 16kg 850grms
3 – Steve Kedge (Somerset Angling) – 10kg 225grms
1 – Steve Hayman – 4kg 700grms
2 – Graham Stewart – 4kg 125grms
3 – Wayne Mitchell – 4kg 050grms
Then it was time for the eagerly awaited raffle and we all got out our strips of tickets hoping we were going to be lucky, the Tart had loads of different colours and number combinations and was like a kid at Xmas! As the tickets were drawn out, the world and his wife were winning prizes but it didn’t look like the Tart was going to be a winner and on more than one occasion, numbers were called out just before or after the strip he had in his hand. Howard’s numbers came up on several occasions and he selected some nice Guru gear, Exeter Mike had a goody bucket and a reel, Andy won a feeder rod and a tackle voucher but the Tart was looking sadder with every ticket pulled out of the hat, the only consolation was that I hadn’t won bugger all either. Simon Poynter won several prizes and even took pity on the Tart letting him have a bag of groundbait!
After the raffle, it was time for the mystery weight competition and there were two prizes for each lake. When one of the envelopes was opened for the top lake, the mystery weight was 2kg 900grms and much to the Tart’s dismay I was closest being only 250grms away so won a goody bucket worth about £75 that contained a Guru hooklength box, Drennan catapult, Bait-Tech groundbaits, hemp oil, wafters and a towel. Along with the goody bag in the morning, I took home £90’s worth of bait and tackle and lets not forget the all important nugget of Torquay gold! Lastly there was the auction for some Guru luggage and an Aventus rod, lots more money was raised and Andy bid for and won a big rod holdall.
So a cracking day (in my case, literally!) and although the fishing was hard for quite a few anglers, it wasn’t really about the fishing and a shed load of money was raised for a very worthwhile charity. Simon is also cycling to Amsterdam to raise money so if you would like to donate, here is the link,
Well that’s nearly it for this weeks blog but don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter, not many to go before I do a little exclusive competition and lastly the bit you’ve all been waiting for, The Nuggetometer!!
Next up – Perry St
Coming soon – Another great review
Check Out – My latest match below