White Springs – Fish South Silvers Qualifier – 20th January 2024

After really enjoying our first visit to White Springs in December, Nick and me booked in for another Fish South qualifier on Saturday. Leading up to the weekend, the weather had been horrendous all over the country with sub zero temperatures, venues frozen over and loads of matches cancelled. To be honest I was expecting this one to be called off as well but with the temperatures set to be relatively tropical at the weekend, a post went out on Facebook to say the match would definitely go ahead.

I met Nick at 5:00am and after the 2.5 hour drive (plus a stop for breakfast) we arrived at the fishery with plenty of time to spare. There were only a couple of others there, Glynn and McKenzie along with Rich Chapman. Rather worryingly, they said the Match Lake was frozen solid and there was also ice over several pegs on the Pleasure Lake.

As other anglers began arriving there were some grumbles that the match should have been called off which I think would have been harsh on the anglers who had travelled a long way! It would probably have been the right decision to cancel but that should have happened a few days previously. So the match was going ahead which in my opinion was the correct decision and the pegging was rejigged slightly with more anglers on the Pleasure Lake and the start time put back to allow ice breaking where required.

We were called up one at a time to draw with most people hoping to avoid Match Lake, quite a few of those pegs had gone when it was my turn and I pulled out number 7 on the Pleasure Lake. Nick was just along from me on peg 10 while it was mixed fortunes for the rest of the South West contingent, Joe McMahon got a good one (17 on Pleasure) while Des and Glynn both ended up on Match Lake.

Our end of the lake was iced over although it started to my left so I could fish straight out and angled to the right. Nick had a bit of a nightmare trying to break the ice and the chap on 13 was also struggling with it but a couple of blokes gave him a hand. In the last qualifier my peg hadn’t weighed in and Nick’s isn’t normally used this time of year so I did think we might be in for a bit of a struggle.

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You can’t really tell from the photo but it was iced over at our end

I set up a 0.4 gram Drennan Pencil for two lines at 14.5 metres, plus a little 0.3 gram F1 Carbon Slim for top two plus three. On the side tray were maggots, casters, worms, disco pinkies plus some Bait-Tech Special G F1 Dark.

On the whistle I fed the two long lines (straight out negatively and the other more positively) while the shorter swim received a little nugget of gb and some casters. Starting long on the lightly fed line, I was sure it would take a good while to get a bite. With only around ten minutes on the clock, I noticed Nick swing in a little roach which was hopefully an encouraging sign. Not long after, I thought I had a little wobble on the float, after glancing away for a second, I looked back and the float had gone! I struck expecting a little roach to fly out the water but instead number six elastic  streamed from the pole tip.

Shipping back gently, I could see it was a chub in the very clear water and netted a nice fish around a pound, what a start! I hadn’t seen anyone else catch a decent fish yet so was probably winning the lake but resisted the temptation to check on my phone where the final was being held as there was a long way to go yet!

Next put in I had a bite but this time it was a small roach and I was getting a few indications but at less than an ounce apiece they wouldn’t do me any good especially as the guy over on 15, Rich Chapman on 16 and Joe on 17 were getting the odd decent skimmer. I tried single and double dead red maggot followed by caster but couldn’t catch any quality. Worm head solved the small fish problem but then I wasn’t getting any indications at all! The local guy on peg 13 hadn’t had a bite and packed up after half an hour or so.

After an hour, Des came for a wander and said to Nick he’d already hooked five carp and only a few roach had been caught on Match Lake. I swapped between the two long lines and had the odd look short but over the next 3.5 hours I only added a few small roach and rudd to the net and it was the same for Nick. To be honest I was just going through the motions when, with thirty minutes to go, I dropped the rig in on the positive line for the umpteenth time and the float buried resulting in another chub.

The angler on peg 6 had caught a few decent skimmers and then lost one on his short line so with just twenty minutes remaining, I had another look on my top two plus three line where I’d been feeding casters all match. I had a very tentative indication which I struck at and was surprised when I connected with another decent fish which turned out to be chub number three. There were still five minutes left and I’m pretty sure I had another bite which I missed.

As I was packing up, Glynn phoned me and he was already nearly home! When the scales got round to us, Rich Chapman was winning with 15lb 8oz and the two pegs to his left were second and third. Nick chucked back and then my three chub and a few bits went 4lb 7oz. So after a disappointing day, we loaded the vehicles and began the long trek back to Somerset. Photo credit – Fish South*

1 – Richard Chapman (Winning Ways) – 15lb 8oz (Peg 16 Pleasure Lake)
2 – Joe McMahon (White Springs) – 14lb 12oz (Peg 17 Pleasure Lake)
3 – Arron Woodhall (White Springs) – 13lb 12oz (Peg 18 Pleasure Lake)

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Rich Chapman had the top weight and qualified from peg 16 with 15lb 8oz*

I’ll definitely come back for another go as the silvers fishing can be brilliant but hopefully when the weather is a bit milder!

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

Also 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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