This week I fished Hillviews Sunday open which was split over the Moorhen and Heron pools plus the first canal. With the weather returning to milder conditions I was hopeful of a good days fishing. I really wanted to draw on one of the pools as I fancied a day on the rods which had produced when I last fished the Heron pool a few weeks back but when peg 45 on canal one came out the draw bag I was still happy of catching a few despite the colour dropping out of the water in recent days.
Despite it going milder I still expected it to be a tough winters match so I set up two maggot rigs, one with a bulk and droppers and a lighter strung out one for fishing through the water. Plus a short pellet rig and one for over to the far bank for dobbing bread.
I started down the track cad potting in a few maggots directly over my float but after 30 minutes all I could catch was small silvers and this was soon binned off. So I began dobbing bread over to the far bank 3 inch’s off the bottom. This soon produced a small F1 and I thought this would be the method for the next couple of hours but despite another hour trying it no bites came my way. I tried the maggot lines again but these were just producing small silvers so the next plan of attack was the short pellet line. No bites came and looking at the lack of colour in the water I didn’t feel confident catching here. I needed to fish close to cover and thought the far bank could still produce.
Switching to Soft Pellets
I had caught my only F1 there on bread earlier and as the weather was mild I thought soft pellet may be a good idea so I decided it try soft pellet there next. I replumbed up a 4×12 pellet rig in 2.5 foot of water which was a good depth of water tight to the far bank, fishing a 4mm Sonubaits Pro expander on the hook and feeding a few fishery 4mm’s capped off with fishery micro via a small cad pot. It wasn’t long before the float dipped and I caught another small F1. I could see a ghostie swimming around near the bank so I felt confident a few carp would be sat around this far bank cover so I stayed there.
Over the next couple of hours a was now catching some small F1’s and I could see I was doing OK in the section, not much was being caught by the other anglers fishing. Most of these were fishing maggot in down the track with very little reward. I felt I was fishing it right, over to the far bank cover. Most of the fish I’d caught were small F1’s on a soft 4mm pellet so I decided to try a 6mm Sonubaits Pro expander next so see if any larger carp would be tempted. I still caught about the same ratio of fish but I did catch a couple of small Carp so I opted to stay on the larger 6mm for the rest of the match. The fish were still happy to take the larger 6mm pellet and there was always the option of tempting a bigger carp using these.
Two hours in I was still doing OK I had around 25lb of fish and I was beating the other anglers in the section. But I had all of these fish from the same pole line and expected it to slow down at some point and I began to prime my maggot track line a little heavier hoping to feed off the small silvers and have back up line just in case. But I stayed on the far bank line be as long as I could, I didn’t want to come of feeding fish!
Fours in I’d now caught around 40lb all from the same far bank line but it was now beginning to slow down. So time to rest it and I fished the maggot line next. But nothing happened, only the small silvers again. I did catch a Chub around the lb mark though. First time I’ve ever caught a Chub off this canal!
So back to the short pellet line next but again nothing. The only place I could catch was the far bank line with the cover so after 20 minutes I returned back there now as it had been rested but I changed to maggots on the hook. I felt I was winning the section and at least maggots would catch anything and even a few silvers would help me tick over until the end of the match.
Bonus Carp, on light gear!
I caught a few more small F1’s with the maggot hook bait and then I hooked into something larger. The elastic stretched out and I thought I’d been snagged up under a bush on the far bank, but no I had a lump on! So now it was panic stations. I needed to get this bonus fish out with only 30 minutes left in the match. But I only had an 0.11mm hook length on and I had a battle on. I was on 13 White Preston Dura Slip which to be fair is a little heavy for an 0.11mm hook length but with a size 16 hook on I had a chance of landing it. I didn’t want the hook to straighten out as it was only a light gauge wired size 16 hook (just right for pellets) or the hook length to break. After several minutes I finally got it down to my top kit and I was able to strip some elastic off the top kit. But this carp was an angry lump and fighting hard. I got it to landing net range but several times it bolted away and I couldn’t turn it despite changing the angle of my top kit. My 0.11mm hook length was probably really close to it’s breaking point. I had no choice but to let it take elastic several times when it made a dash for it, this seemed to stop it bolting off once the tension of the elastic was eased and it soon tired out and was ready for the net. All my experience playing large carp on light gear had come into play today. It’s not an easy task but I won the battle this time and a nice double soon graced the landing net! I then added a couple more F1’s in the last 20 minutes before the all out.
I thought I had around 50lb which for the middle of December is a good weight. I was fairy confident of picking up the section and actually weighed in 62lb 8oz with 41lb being the next best weight of the end peg. Could I beat the other two lakes, Moorhen and Heron? The answer was YES. with 51lb being the best weight from both lakes. So that lump had got me over the line for the match WIN.
Best Rig of the day
All my Carp and F1’s came off one line, which was unusual and probably due to the colour dropping out of the water and needing to fish close to cover. The rig was a Preston 4×12 F1 Pellet pole float set up in 2.5 foot of water on 0.17mm Guru N Gauge with 5 no. 9’s and 1 no. 10 shot at 1 inch gaps above the hook length which was a 6 inch pre-tied Preston size 16 SFL-B 0.11mm Ready rig. Set up on Preston white 13 Dura Slip elastic. Bait was 4mm and 6mm Sonubaits Pro Expanders fed with fishery 4mm’s and micro pellet via a small Preston cad pot.