If you’ve been following the blog, you’ll know that after a really good first six months of the year where I was framing regularly and catching lots of fish, things went rather pear shaped in July and this downward trend seems to be continuing into August. Now with fishing, you’re always going to get good and bad runs, peaks and troughs and you just have to keep going, confident that things will get better (if not there’s always the golf clubs option!). I also don’t think there’s anything fundamentally wrong with my tactics as they’ve stood me in good stead over the years, so lets see what this week brings with a match on Longs!
We’d had some much needed rain overnight and it was still raining as I pulled into the carpark but it was due to fizzle out at dinnertime and we’d need a lot more of the wet stuff for the venues to get back to normal levels but it was a start. I got some nets, paid my pools and said hello to everyone, no Glynn today so just Jeff Sparkes after some pocket money this week. There was a Torquay trio in attendance with Geoff, Glenn and Chris all looking forward to a Tart free day.
Todays golden ball was peg 15 which is a really good carp peg so there was a chance it could go although I was hoping not to draw it as it’s not the best silvers peg. As the bucket did the rounds, Jeff drew peg 20 on the bottom bank and Roger was on 17, a great area for silvers, Glenn pulled out 39 which I fancied and Geoff drew 13 which has been doing some decent weights of skimmers in recent matches. With just three balls left, I wasn’t sure what pegs were left, I opened my fingers to see 36 staring back at me. It’s a peg I’ve never fished but the swims on the track side have a nice depth and I was quite looking forward to it, or at least I was until both Jeff and Roger said I’d get carped right out!
It’s quite a narrow peg right in front of the hut and by the carpark, there’s an aerator to the left with cables and pipes right the way across the swim, an obvious carp holding feature and massive potential snag! I was still feeling quite optimistic though as Glynn won the silvers recently from peg 37 and 35 and 34 are both great skimmer pegs so surely there had to be a few in my swim as well!
I set up the usual rigs, a 0.3 gram NG Mini Gimp to fish top two left, right and straight out and also top two plus one and one of Smithy’s wire stemmed floats to fish two lines down the middle, left and right at 8.5 metres. On my side tray I had Bait-Tech 2mm Carp and Coarse micros that I’d soaked the night before plus 4mm Xpands for the hook with a pot of Special G Gold soft pellets as a change bait and some Bait-Tech ‘The Juice’ and Special G Green groundbait I’d mixed the night before.
With my recent poor silvers results, lots of people have made suggestions from not feeding anything to fishing chopped worm and caster or even actually fishing for the carp! Well I thought I’d try something a little bit different to my normal tactics and while I’d plumb up several lines, I’d only actually feed two at the start and then feed the others as and when I fished them. On the shorter lines, there was a really nice depth, almost double what I had on peg 2 the other week.
On the whistle I fed a ball of groundbait on the top two line straight out and then a ball at top two plus one before starting on the top two line on my right and just toss potted in a few micros. The first bite came after ten minutes and of course it was a carp which took me all over the place before snapping me and as I put on a new hooklength, I was praying it wouldn’t be the first of many. Thankfully the next bite resulted in a decent 8oz leaping skimmer to open my silvers account. I was getting the odd indication but spent too long on that line really and after forty minutes, I still only had the one skimmer.
I switched to the left hand line and the first indication resulted in a carp tearing off but it wasn’t on long and the rig came back with a scale on the hook. As a poor first hour drew to a close, I must admit to feeling a little disheartened as I tried the top two groundbait line for the first time. A bite quite quickly resulted in a 6oz skimmer and then next chuck, the rig had barely settled before it went again and this time a pound skimmer flew out of the water. Another good bite and this time the strike was met with solid resistance, I was expecting a carp to wake up but it stopped and a big 1.5lb skimmer came to the top, hooked in the rudder. I safely netted it and I’d added nearly 3lb to my silvers net in five minutes!
Another 8oz skimbob early in the second hour had me thinking there were a few fish there but then typically the only bites I could get were from carp and I even had a cute little specimen of 2oz which although perfectly formed in miniature, didn’t help my cause at all. I didn’t want to try the top two plus one line too early and even though I hadn’t fed the longer lines yet, there were loads of carp moving about so that didn’t really appeal! I kept swapping between the top two lines but I couldn’t get a bite in the right hand swim and the left hand line only resulted in a colourful koi/ghostie hooked in the wing.
Then just before the second hour came to a close, I had two skimmers in quick succession over the groundbait. The next hour was a write off, punctuated only by the odd carp but I was still fairly pleased with around 4-5lb of silvers in the net at the halfway point, more of the same in the second half and I’d be on for a decent weight.
I cupped in another ball of groundbait on the short line before trying the top two plus one swim for the first time, I was getting a few indications and my first fish was a 2oz blade but when the next two fish hooked were carp, I decided to come back on the shorter line. The rest had obviously done it some good as I had another 8oz skimmer straight away and it felt like the way to go was to put some feed in and leave it for a bit before fishing it and nicking a couple of fish before moving to another line so I cupped in another ball on the top two plus one line while I carried on fishing the shorter swim.
No more fish here but when I went back out to top two plus one I had a nice skimmer straight away and then the next chuck a two pounder came flying out of the water, I safely netted it and was up to 7-8lb. The next bite resulted in a big fish moving off and a 5lb carp gave me the run around before I landed it. As I was getting quite a few indications on that line, I gave it another go and another 2lb skimmer performed some aerobatics before joining its friends in my keepnet. I had another 8oz fish and probably wasn’t far off double figures and there were still two hours to go.
A lost carp was next so time to feed another ball of groundbait and come back on the shorter line, I could see Glenn was catching carp on a regular basis and judging by all the elastic coming out in Mark Leahy’s swim, he was getting a few as well! A really good bite resulted in a good fish plodding around and I was sure it wasn’t a carp (how many times have I said that before!) but this time a big skimmer of 2.5lb surfaced and I was relieved when it went in the landing net. Next put in, the float sunk from view again and another big fish made a bid for freedom, again it wasn’t going berserk and this time it was an even bigger skimmer that looked to be 3lb plus which I thought put me on 15-16lb and there was still over an hour left on the clock.
I gave the shorter line another ten minutes but no more bites so went back out to the longer line but the carp had moved in so with twenty minutes left I decided to concentrate on the top two line. I missed a bite and then bumped what felt like a better skimmer (the first one I’d lost all match!). It felt like there were a few fish there and I missed a couple of bites and then Pete appeared behind with his whistle in his hand (I think it was his whistle!), he said I had a couple of minutes yet so I lowered the rig in and nearly right on time, the yellow tip disappeared and a good fish was on as Pete blew to end the contest. It didn’t feel like a carp and I took my time with it, the fish wasn’t giving up and I thought it might have been a foulhooked skimmer, I was half right when a carp hooked in the cheek, finally waved the white flag!
I packed up and loaded the car before going to have a chat with Glenn on 39, he said he’d done okay but lost loads of foulhookers, Pete arrived with the scales and he weighed 61lb 9oz, as we walked to my peg, Jeff turned up and asked how I’d done, I said I probably had 10lb or so and he gave me his pound saying he had nowhere near that (I’ve heard that before so mentally prepared myself in case I had to hand it back!).
My carp went 26lb 2oz and then my silvers went 14lb 1oz which was little less than I thought, Mark Leahy on 33 had 57lb 3oz and then Yardie on peg 30 weighed 76lb 4oz. John Billett had 69lb 15oz from peg 27 before Jim Jenner went into the lead with 92lb 9oz from peg 24. As we headed to the pegs on the bottom bank, I asked Jack how he’d done on the golden peg and he said he thought he had a chance as he’d caught well.
We reached Jeff Sparkes and his silvers went 6lb 6oz so his nugget was coming home with me (almost as nice as Torquay gold!) but he’ll probably have it back next week, Roger Russell wasn’t far behind with 6lb 1oz from peg 17. Then we got to Jack and he had 3lb 1oz of silvers, before he went to weigh the first of his three carp nets and then noticed there were only two! One of his nets had gone in and he was understandably gutted, we weighed his two remaining nets while Pete went to get his hook on a pole to try a retrieve the missing net. He came back and after a bit of searching he hooked the net and it was the right end too, there were a few fish left and his total was 94lb 1oz which actually put him in the lead with just Geoff Young to weigh, although he said Geoff had beaten him.
Geoff’s silvers went 6lb 13oz and then his carp nets went 100lb 9oz to give him a total of 107lb 6oz to win on the day. I felt for Jack but it’s happened to most of us and it’s not the first and certainly won’t be the last time it ever happens. Back at the results, I picked up £26 for first in the silvers and it was just nice to catch some fish after a tough few weeks.
1 – Geoff Young (Torquay) – 107lb 6oz
2 – Jack Billett (Tip Top Tackle) – 94lb 1oz
3 – Jim Jenner (Summerhayes) – 92lb 9oz
1 – Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) – 14lb 1oz
2 – Jeff Sparkes (Summerhayes) – 6lb 6oz
A really enjoyable day and I got home and retracted my bid for the golf clubs on ebay (until next week anyway!).
Next up – Summerhayes
Coming soon – My next trip down memory lane
Check Out – My last disaster at Summerhayes (below)