The prolific Pete’s pool at Tirley Court is a venue I always look forward to match fishing every year. It never disappoints!
It’s not a commercial venue just a pool on a farm. But by-god it’s simply awesome. The fishing here is far superior to any commercial venue I know. Its just a large pool on a farm just south of Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire that allows clubs bookings for matches on it. However booking it may prove hard as its sold out most of the year, the fishing that good. I’ve been fishing it now for around 10 years. Mainly once a year and it I’m lucky twice a year and I don’t recall catching less than 100lb in the matches I’ve fished their. I go there now with the Jubilee Nomads and bag up every time. One of our matches a couple of years ago was actually won with a phenomenal 440lb.
But how would it fish today on the hottest day of the year with temperature’s in the 30’s. Today was definitely a brolly day to keep out of the sun and the good thing about Pete’s pool is that half the lake has very shallow margins sloping from nothing to 2 foot before you get out into the deeper water. These areas are commonly called the Stones, the grass bank and then there is the deeps on the other side of the lake. I drew half way along the grass bank area. So it was a case of wearing a pair of shorts and going in bare footed to place my seat box in the shallow water. So although it was the hottest day of the year, I was cool all day long and I had the foresight to freeze a couple of bottles of water overnight which were lovely and cool as the sun thawed them out.
When you arrive at Tirley the fish are literally crawling up the bank in inches of water but they can be very hard to catch in this very shallow water. It’s much better to ignore them and fish a pole a little further out, generally 2+2 in about 3 foot of water is best. I set up for fishing hard 6mm pellets with a 4×10 Preston Carp pellet pole float on 0.17mm Guru N-Gauge mainline with a small bulk of no.10’s and one no.10 dropper above a size 14 (0.15mm) Guru banded SLWG Ready rig (no need to tie your own these days) An identical rig was also set up with a size 14 Preston GPM Ready rig for fishing soft pellet or corn if a change of bait was needed. But this also meant I had a spare rig plumbed up ready to go if the first rig got damaged as I expected a catch a lot of fish. I also set up a margin rig but this was only going to come into play if needed.
This was going to be a 6mm hard pellet attack throwing in by hand. I had some soft pellets and micro pellet for the margin and corn as a bait change if needed but I felt confident fishing hard pellets from fishing the venue for 10 years.
A great start
At Tirley the fishing’s that good the owner insists in weighing in half way through the match. At the all-in I began to fish on the bottom in about 3 foot of water and fed 6mm’s by hand and it wasn’t long before I was catching carp. During the next two hours the fishing was great. Easy fishing, just throwing a few pellets at the float every couple of minutes to keep the fish in my swim. Come the mid way weigh-in I placed 94lb of carp on the scales. The next best weigh was 50lb so I great start to the match. I just needed to carry it now.
After the mid match weigh-in I carried on where I left off, fishing hard pellets at 2+2 and even after a spell of not feeding anything while the weigh-in took place I continued to catch carp. All was good then small Rudd began to be a problem. Up until now they hadn’t been a problem for me but they had been for other anglers. My carp catch rate was dropping so I primed my margin line with a big pot of micro and corn. The fish were on it straight away and seeing tails swirling in the margin I just couldn’t leave it. They proved difficult to catch here as expected due to the shallow water and I caught a couple on double corn but I was waiting for bites for to long and the other anglers were now catching me up.
So I returned to the 2+2 line which had been rested for 30 minutes now but still fed. I changed hook bait to double corn thinking this larger bait would see off the Rudd. This was good I caught a few more carp and this seemed the way forward. But no the Rudd returned and were attacking the double corn hook bait straight away. I couldn’t get my hook bait through them. I moved my bulk to 6 inches from the hook but still had the problem Rudd to deal with. My catch rate had slowed right down now. So I returned to the hard pellet hook bait and increased the free offerings hoping to feed off the Rudd. This worked to some degree. I caught some more carp but I still had the Rudd problem although pellets were much better than corn. Now with 30 minutes left. Do I try the margin again? My 2+2 line was producing carp when I could get through the Rudd. I couldn’t help myself though, seeing all these swirling tails breaking the water. I tried it again but for little return so I returned to the 2+2 line for a few more carp until the end of the match.
Come the weigh in, given my good start with my 94lb on the midway weigh-in leading the match, I had a 40 odd pound weight advantage over Andy Mitchell two pegs away. But I knew he’d had a good 2nd half of the match, much better than me and had caught well. He weighed in 212lb 8oz. An excellent weight. Did I have enough to beat that. I placed 90lb on the scales this time giving me a total weight of 184lb 8oz. A bit short and I had to settle for 2nd place overall. The time spent in the margin chasing tails had really cost me. But that’s fishing, it could have been good in the margin. If you don’t try it you never know. But really I spent to much time in the margins, costing me the match. However I was happy with how the day went considering it was the hottest day of the year so far in the 30’s which can effect the fishing. But Tirley never disappoints, its the ultimate bagging venue. If your lucky enough to fish a match here you are in for a excellent days fishing. Take plenty of keepnets, you’ll need them!