With the weather changing for the better with temperatures finally rising during the week and a dry fine day forecast I was really looking forward to this match, this week held on the 3rd and 4th canals at Hillview.
Home for the day was peg 79 on the 3rd canal which I was fairly happy with as this pool has been the better of canals 3 and 4 over previous weeks. Peg 79 had won the section last week and I was confident of doing a good weight. Pegs 70-75 would have been a better draw looking at the recent results but on the whole I was happy with the peg. The clocks had gone forward during the night so I was mindful that the fishing may be slow at the start of the match as in reality we were starting an hour early but as the sun was out and temperatures on the up, would they come shallow?
So out came my shallow kits which I keep ready made up which saves a lot of time. Leaving me just 3 more rigs to set up. A maggot rig for down the track at 2+3 if things got hard. A pellet rig which I planned to start on at 2+2 and a margin rig which doubled up for fishing over to the far bank.
A slow start
So I started the match at 2+2 fishing a Sonubaits 6mm soft Pro Expander on the hook, cad potting in a few hard 4mm’s over the top. This produced a few small carp and F1’s but it wasn’t great and the angler to my left was already pulling away from me. So I went over to the far bank next trying pellet and corn hook baits but this returned nothing. Fish were swimming around in the top layers of water so I played around with 4 shallow rigs in various places all over the peg for the next 30 minutes but again nothing wanted a feed and another change was needed. I had a quick look into right margin next and I caught a couple of small carp on a 6mm Pro Expander and two more on corn after feeding some micro’s but things were still slow. I tried maggots next on the bottom down the track and shallow but I could only catch small Rudd and I soon binned the maggots off, returning back to my 2+2 soft pellet line. I was catching fish here like before but missing a lot of bites and I was wasting a lot of time out of the water re baiting the hook. In my mind with the weather being mild I was thinking about changing to a hard pellet hook bait and throwing them rather than cad potting. But was it still a little early in the year for fishing hard pellets?
Changing to Hard Pellet hook bait
I bit the bullet and swapped over to hard pellets. I needed to do something different and changed over to a banded hook length and began to throw 4mm’s over my banded 6mm hard pellet. This was much better and I was now catching fish quicker. The fish were small but with the occasional better 3lb’er amongst them. Throwing the 4mm’s had brought in the fish but I needed to just them feeding on the bottom so I began to throw a few 6mm’s thinking these would sink quicker to the bottom and the fish would follow them down. This worked well and as the match progressed the fishing got better and better. I had some quieter spells but I fed 4mm’s to get them back and once I began to catch I swapped back to feeding the 6mm’s. I was now beginning to build a decent weight off this 2+2 line but I planned to drop back to 2+1 for the last hour and began priming it with 4mm’s. This wasn’t great though and I alternated between 2+2 and 2+1 during the last hour. There was a club match behind me on canal 2 which had just finished and as these anglers were packing up and weighting in there was a lot of bankside noise and skylining happening and I felt this would push the fish out. So I binned off the 2+1 line favouring the 2+2 line until the end of the match. Then I little bit of luck came my way. The band on the hook length broke with about 10 minutes left in the match and being lazy, rather than putting on another banded hook length I just popped on a 6mm soft Pro Expander on the hook. A nice Ghostie around 5lb grabbed it on the way down!! So back out with another 6mm soft pellet and another couple of small carp followed. Maybe I should have changed back to soft pellets? But on reflexion I think I wouldn’t have caught so many fish on soft pellets with the time lost on rebaiting from missed bits. It was nice to catch on hard pellets after using maggots for months during the winter!
The Weigh in
I knew I had around 100lb which hopefully would be enough to frame. My mate and fellow Jubilee Nomad Robin Ballard had put 117lb on the scales so far on canal 3 with just me and the end peg to weigh on canal 3. I knew I couldn’t beat Robin off peg 73 which is a area that’s been fishing well of late but I knew I’d caught more than the end peg. I weighed in actually a dead 100lb and my first tonne of the year was in the bag, so I was happy with that and now I hoped Robin would actually win the match which would then give me the default section win. Canal 4 was still to weigh in, where there was an 110lb and a 103lb. So this gave Robin the match win thus giving me 4th place and the default section win. So an enjoyable day catching on hard pellets and some penny’s to go on a Chinese takeaway on the way home.
Best rig of the day
This was the 2+2 hard pellet line in about 3.5 foot of water which was a 4×12 Preston F1 Pellet set up on 0.17mm Guru N Gauge mainline with 5 no. 9’s at one inch gaps up from the hook length loop with 1 no. 10 trimmer shot to dot the bristle down. The bites were still very slight and the 1.5 bristle showed them up well. Hook length was a 6 inch size 18 (0.13mm) Guru SLWG Banded Ready rig and the elastic was Preston white 13 Dura Slip which was perfect now that the fish are starting to pull back a little.