White Springs – Fish South Silvers Qualifier – 9th December 2023

I’d really enjoyed my first silvers qualifier at Ivy House back in October and after watching Mikey Williams fishing White Springs on YouTube where the silvers fishing looked epic, I booked a ticket for this one. Obviously the weather has turned a lot colder (and now wetter!) and the weights have dropped off a bit but I was still really looking forward to it (apart from the bonkers 4:30am start and two and a half hour drive!).

The journey up the M5 and then across to Wales was a pretty hairy one, it was obviously still dark at that time in the morning and it’s absolutely lashed it down all the way. There was loads of standing water and we passed several accidents on the way. It was a relief to pull off at some services not far from our destination and we had breakfast at Greggs which was very nice. Even then the final few miles wasn’t without incident when had to drive through several floods due to all the water coming off the hills!

When we arrived at the fishery, we were a tad early and there were only a couple of other vehicles in the car park but it wasn’t long before it started filling up. We had a chat with Mikey who said we’d be on the Match and Pleasure lakes with the latter probably the place to be. The draw was announced and we were called up one at a time, my name was first on the list and I pulled out a red disc with the number 5 on which meant I was on the Pleasure lake and apparently a decent area (peg 6 was second in the last match). Nick was one of the last names called out and got peg 7 on Match lake.

You can park behind your peg and the lakes looked lovely with plenty of fish topping, my neighbours for the day were Andy Crocker to my right with Josh Davis on the other side. I set up a 0.4 gram Drennan Pencil for two lines at 13 metres, a Preston Innovations F1 Maggot for top two plus two plus a little 0.3 gram F1 Carbon Slim for fishing through the water. On the side tray were maggots, casters, disco pinkies plus some Bait-Tech Special G F1 Dark.

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On the whistle I fed my three lines with a little nugget of groundbait and a few pinkies before starting on the 13 metre line straight out. With all the cold rain that had gone in, I did think it might take a little while to start getting bites but first chuck a positive bite resulted in a nice 12oz skimmer. There were obviously some fish there as I had another next put in and followed that with a 10oz roach!

Josh next door was fishing shorter at around top two plus three and also catching well including a big ide that was probably 3lb+, Andy on peg 4 was getting a few but had also hooked a couple of carp. My first sixty minutes was lovely and I had several skimmers up to 2lb, that roach, a 2.5lb chub and some smaller roach although I did bump a decent fish as well.

Hour two started in a similar vein and I was beginning to think a big weight was on the cards but then I hooked and landed my first carp and another two in fairly quick succession obviously impacted my catch rate. I was toss potting in maggots and the odd little marble on the longer lines and feeding casters short. Then I hooked my fourth carp and when everything went slack, I thought it would just be a new hooklength required but the line had snapped above the float – disaster!

I decided to have a quick look short with caster and if I wasn’t getting bites, I’d have to set another rig up for 13 metres. No indications after five minutes or so and I was just about come off that line when the float buried and I was into a fish that didn’t feel like a carp but was pulling too hard to be a skimmer, I was sure it would be a F1 but a perch around a pound was a nice surprise.

It wasn’t fast and furious on the short line but I was getting some quality fish with some big skimmers, a couple more chub to 2.5lb and two large ide of a similar size. I felt like I was doing okay although Josh seemed to be catching quicker and not having as many carp problems whereas Andy and me were hooking quite a few. Dan Bowen over on 15 looked to be netting big skimmers on a regular basis as well.

The light, strung rig was working well but carp were being a pain so I tried it on the longer line but only had a couple of small roach. Back on the shorter line, I added a section and went past the feed which resulted in another nice chub and a big skimmer. With around half an hour to go I got snapped by yet another carp but this time my rig was in a bit of a mess so that top kit was out of action as well. My last top kit had a rig with a bulk and two droppers so I spread the shot out and had a brilliant last twenty minutes or so, landing two more skimmers, another chub and a big ide.

Josh had slowed up a bit towards the end but I was sure he’d beaten me and it would probably be between him and peg 15 to win the lake. The weigh in started round the other side and I heard someone say there was a 57lb which I assumed would be peg 15, when the scales reached me, my two nets went 42lb 9oz which was 28 decent fish plus a few smaller roach. I went to see what Josh had and when he pulled his nets out it was going to be close and I was relieved when it was called at 35lb 9oz. Thanks to Chris Hall* and Nick Payne** for the photos.

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I loved my first visit to White Springs catching 42lb 9oz of skimmers, chub, ide, roach and a perch*

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Nick had a cracking net of skimmers and ide weighing 23lb 15oz**

Back at the results and the Match lake had fished relatively hard with Chris Hall winning the lake with a brilliant 45lb 8oz from peg 23 followed by Jamie Thomas with 28lb 14oz and then Nick who had really enjoyed it to finish third with 23lb 15oz. On my lake, the 57lb 1oz was actually Sean Wilson on peg 13 behind the island (who I couldn’t really see) and Dan on 15 had won the lake and qualified for the final with a fantastic 65lb 1oz! I ended up third on the lake, picking up £30 which was very welcome but I was less then 3lb off picking up some super pool money.

Pleasure Lake
1 – Dan Bowen (White Springs) – 65lb 1oz
2 – Sean Wilson (White Springs) – 57lb 1oz
3 – Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) – 42lb 9oz

Match Lake
1 – Chris Hall (White Springs) – 45lb 8oz
2 – Jamie Thomas (White Springs) – 28lb 14oz
3 – Nick Payne (Ilminster) – 23lb 15oz

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What a venue, if only it was an hour closer! The drive home was a lot better weather wise although I was struggling to keep my eyes open. Thinking about my match, I’ve been agonising over whether it was an opportunity missed for me but to be fair, John Harvey qualified in the last match from peg 13 so that seems to be the area to draw. I was also wondering if I’d stayed long would I have caught more or did being forced to come short actually do me a favour? Certainly the four fish in the last twenty minutes made a big difference for me as there were several weights between 32-38lb.

Nick and me put our usual £2 each in the pot for today and tomorrow which takes the Nugget-O-Meter to £19.

There’s still a great offer running if you fancy treating yourself to some new fishing gear, use the exclusive discount code AgainstMenandFish10 to get 10% off when you shop online at Somerset Angling
Xmas is coming so if you’re stuck for present ideas, I still have copies of my book available from eBay here or Amazon here


And if you could spare five minutes to leave a nice review on Amazon, it would be very much appreciated.

Next up – Summerhayes

Coming soon – Lots more match reports

Check Out – My last match

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Posted by Jamie Rich

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