This weeks Open at Hillview was split over the 3rd & 4th Canals. As always I hoped for canal 4 as this is generally the better pool compared to the other pools on the complex. But again canal 3 became home for the day, however I drew on peg 70 an end peg so I wasn’t to disappointed as this is generally a good area to do a weight. However the wind was blowing down to the other end of the pool which wasn’t ideal but I hoped to a good day.
I’ve drawn on this area on canal 3 a few times lately and maggots have been the most consistent bait all winter but it’s always been slow going from the start of the match. So this time I decided to start the match on soft pellets over against the far bank while priming a couple of maggot lines for the 2nd half of the match.
Soft Pellets over to the far bank
I kicked off the match fishing a Sonubaits 4mm Pro Expander tightly over to the far bank at 13 metres, cad potting in a few 4mm hard pellets and micro’s in about 2 foot of water. This produced straight away and I was the first angler to catch a fish. Two or three followed in the next half hour which gave me confidence I was doing the right thing not starting on maggots. The previous week had seen me fishless for the first two hours when starting on maggots down the track. So if I could catch a few early fish on pellets over to the far bank it would be a bonus before fishing maggots later, which I was confident I could catch on later. But going into the 2nd hour this far bank pellet line was slowing down. I switched to maggot here but there where still no signs. So I decided to have a look down the track with maggots earlier than I was planning.
Cad potting in maggots down the track
So time to try down the track at 2+3 with maggots. I opted to begin cad potting in 20 to 30 maggots at a time and to fish a bulk and two droppers over the top hoping that potting in the maggots would get some of them down to the bottom past any small fish. I caught a couple more small carp and F1’s but it wasn’t good. Probably still a little early in the match so I returned to the far bank pellet line for a while but it still wasn’t really working. I was just catching the odd fish and it wasn’t long before I turned to the maggot track line.
This time I changed the feeding deciding to throw maggots and to fishing a lighter strung out rig opting for a 4×12 Preston F1 fine with strung out no.11’s for a gentle fall through the water which was 3.5 foot deep. I began to catch a few small gudgeon at first but I continued to feed the maggots via hand hoping bigger fish would move into the peg and push out the small ones. This worked to some degree and I began to catch some small F1’s and small carp to 2lb with a single maggot hook bait. I changed to double red and the average stamp of fish improved a little but they were still on the small side. But at least I now had fish in my peg and I was catching fish. Looking around the two pools most of the other anglers were struggling, catching the odd fish. The angler opposite me on canal 4 was catching the odd fish but they did seem to be bigger and he was catching me up.
So I decided to get my head down and to try to catch as many of these small carp and F1’s as I could. As the match progressed the fishing just got better on my 2+3 line and all was good although the fish were small. Going into the last two hours my catch rate was beginning to drop. I needed another change. I had potted some mirco’s in the left margin and thought about trying it but I felt I could still catch down the track so I added another couple of pole sections and went out longer to 10 metres straight out in front of me, hoping to find the fish again. If it didn’t work I could fall back on that margin line. So I began to feed via the catty on the 10 metre line and I soon caught some more small carp and F1’s. So for the rest of the match I just alternated between my two maggot lines, catching one or two fish before resting each line. The last 30 minutes was really good and I hoped all these small fish would all add up to a decent weight.
The Weigh in
I estimated I had around 40lb which was good enough for the section the previous week so hoped for a pick up. The angler opposite me on canal 4 weighed in first putting 48lb on the scales. He hadn’t caught many fish but the one’s he had caught where bigger than my average stamp of fish and as I watching the scales move along canal 4 I could see the weights weren’t that good considering there were some good anglers in that section. I was last to weigh and I couldn’t see how my section had faired. My first net weighed in at 32lb and I was astonished to hear the scales man say I only needed 17lb in my 2nd keep net for the match win and only 38lb was winning my section. I knew I had clicked to 40lb so I knew it was going to be close, It’s difficult to gauge the weight of these small carp and F1’s but the scales tipped round to 25lb on my 2nd keepnet giving me the match win with 57lb 8oz. All my hard work getting my head down and catching these small carp and F1’s had paid off and I went home happy! Bites all day dispite the weather being still really cold.
Best rig of the day
The light strung out rig was far the best rig of the day baited with double red maggot. I used the ultra fine 4×12 Preston F1 fine because of it’s 1.2mm bristle to spot the shy baits and offer little resistance to the fish. This was set up on 0.15mm Guru N-Gauge mainline shotted with 9 no.11’s at 3 inch gaps going up the rig from the hook length loop for a natural fall of the bait. Hook length was a 6 inch Preston size 18 SFL-B pre-tied (0.11mm) Ready Rig. (No need to tie your own these days). The elastic was the green 11 Preston Dura Slip though a standard puller kit. This is a fantastic elastic for winter carping and will land anything at this time of the year when using light hook lengths.