It’s hard to get onto a match at Hawford Bridge. Most weeks all the pools are booked out but this week I had an invite from a local match group the Bears to fish on the Broomhill pool. After a nice full English at Julie’s Café in Droitwich myself and travelling partners Robin and Andy headed down to the venue.
I’ve only ever fished the Penn pool once before at Hawford so on arrival I was really looking forward to the match as it was somewhere different to fish. Even though it was cold and we were now into the first week in December. I drew peg 4 and I was told it was a flyer. (as usual) On arrival at my peg which was at the far end of the pool I had the back of an island to throw a pellet feeder to and while plumbing up my pole lines I found 6 foot of water long and short which is a good depth of water to fish during the winter months.
I planned to fish a small 20g ICM Preston pellet feeder with a Sonubaits 6mm White Chocolate bandum as hook bait on a 4 inch (0.17mm) size 18 Preston KKM-Ready rig with normal micro’s as feed. I was originally going to fish the bread and bomb but I was told it was banned! So my thinking was to fish a white coloured pellet to mimic bread as this can be great in the winter. I started the match on the pellet feeder and began to catapult a few red maggots out into my long pole line every 10 minutes with the plan being to switch to the pole if the pellet feeder wasn’t working.
I waited only 5 minutes for my first bite on the pellet feeder, the tip shot around and 5 minutes later a carp around 5lb was safely in one of my keepnets! A great start and I threw out the pellet feeder again around 2 metres off the island and continued to prime the long pole line with red maggots. 10 minutes later the tip moved again and another carp was in the keepnet! The next fish was a longer wait about 20 minutes and then a fourth about 30 minutes after that. I began to think the feeder hitting the water was beginning to spook the fish. I was definitely waiting longer for the bites. So an hour and half into the match it was time to try the long pole line next. I’d been feeding red maggots via a catapult here since the start of the match. The other anglers in the match were fishing the pole and they hadn’t really caught much, so I planned to try the pole for 20 minutes and if nothing was happening I would go back on the pellet feeder and wait for the bites.
I shipped out to where I’d been feeding the red maggots since the start of match and waited with my double red hook bait at dead depth as there was no tow today. The rig was a 0.6g Nick Gilbert XT Wire Gimp pole float set up on 0.15mm Guru N-Gauge main line with a bulk of no8 stotz’s 18 inch from the hook and 3 no.10 dropper stotz’s above a 0.13mm size 18 six inch Guru LWG Ready Rig. This was set up on a Preston 11H hollo elastic through a side puller power kit. It wasn’t long before my first carp bite and I’d now caught five carp two hours into the match which is good for December! It wasn’t long before I caught another carp on this pole line and I continued to feed the red maggots thinking I’ll now stay on the pole longer. I began the catch well and I was now beginning to build a good weight on this long line. Things were going well on this long pole line but I expected it to slow down at some point and I began to feed my short pole line with maggots for the last hour of the match.
During this period on the long pole I got broke two times on my 0.13mm hook length and once on the knot on the 0.15mm mainline even though I was using a light 11H elastic. This was really strange and I can only put this down to the fish rubbing up against a hard rock bottom? Anyway as the fish were clearly having it today I put on a heavier summer 0.17mm rig and upped the hook to a size 16. I hoped this wouldn’t kill the swim. I don’t really think line diameter really matters that much when catching carp anyway and strangely I hadn’t caught any silvers with the maggot hook bait so I had no worries about using the heavier line diameter. Using the new rig didn’t stop the bites and I continued the catch carp well and going into the last hour I stopped feeding the short pole line. The fish were clearly happy sitting out further and I carried on catching carp right up to the end of the match.
Come the weigh in my first keepnet weighted in at 46lb. Then match organisers battery on his digital scales went and we had a few problems with his reserve set of digital scales which kept showing an error with my second keepnet. I guessed my weight in this second weigh to be around 60lb but the scales were showing 50lb giving me a total weight of 96lb. If this had been a serious open match I would have insisted that my second net was re-weighed. However it was a couple of Old boys struggling to weigh in and as there wasn’t much pools money up for grabs I settled for their results. Andy was next to weigh in and he suffered the same problems with a scale man recording 96lb after a few weighting attempts beating me by a couple of pounds.
It was really just myself and Andy that had caught today. Everybody else fishing had struggled to catch and we just decided to call it a draw. We both had caught a lot of fish for the time of the year so we were both happy and I clearly thought I had over 60lb for my 2nd weigh and this would have given me around 106lb. In the end this wasn’t a serious match. The two old boys were clearly struggling and as we were invite’s I didn’t want to kick up a fuss.
To catch 100lb in December made this a match to remember, what a venue!!