3rd overall and Section win off the Heron pool, Hillview Sunday Open, 66lb 12oz

This weeks Hillview Open saw 17 anglers split over the Moorhen and Heron pools. With the weather finally turning mild and with no frosts during the week. I was unclear how it would fish. Would fish begin to feed or would we all still be in winter mode?

Hillview, Heron pool, peg 29

Normally the Sunday Opens at Hillview are held on the canal pools, but this week a club had booked 3 of them so the open was on the lakes, Moorhen and Heron. My first mistake of the day was because I thought the match was on the canals, I’d not brought my rods if the fish were out in the middle of the pool. But today the weather was kind to us with no wind forecasted and so I felt confident of doing well on the pole. I drew on the Heron pool, peg 29 a flyer in the summer with a great margin to the right. Although it was still February the weather had gone mild so the big question was would the margins come into play. I’d not bothered setting up a margin rig all winter but today I needed to, just in case the fish were waking up from the winter months.

A slow start

As the weather was on the change I set up for hard pellets long, the first time for ages it seems, soft pellet over micro short and maggot rigs plus the margin for later in the match again with micro and either soft pellet or corn on the hook.

I started on hard pellets on my long pole line first tapping in only a few 6mm’s. It was a bit of a gamble as yes the weather had gone mild but still being February the water was still cold. At least I could sit it out for a carp rather than being pestered with small fish on maggots. After 30 minutes it was clear the gamble wasn’t going to work, Not a sniff of a bite! It was still worth the gamble early on and although a few fish had been landed by the other anglers it was time to get back into winter mode with maggots!

So maggots next and I shipped out to 13 metres with triple red maggot hoping to avoid small silvers and began to feed them via the catty. The next 30 minutes passed and in between trying single, double, triple and even four maggots on the hook I couldn’t hook a Carp or F1, just small silvers. The fishing was tough and I tried my short maggot line next but still it was no good. Time for the next change.

Next I tried soft pellets, 4mm and 6mm on the hook cad potting in a few micro on my short line. I caught a nice Skimmer here after 10 minutes but that was it. Two hours into the match now and about 4lb in my keepnets. I was going know where. So I tried corn next but still no joy. I just couldn’t catch anything decent. So would the margin work at this time of the year? its was time for an early look.

Into the Margin

Being mindful of the time of the year and not wanting to put much bait in I cad potted a few micro’s into the righthand margin and fished a 6mm Sonubaits Pro Expander at the bottom of the marginal shelf up against some reeds in about 2.5 foot of water. I didn’t expect fish to be in the shallower water close into the bankside at this time of year. The day was a bright sunny day so I hoped the fish were there in the deeper water looking for a bit of cover. I soon caught a small F1 after switched to corn which was encouraging and given the fact I couldn’t catch a decent fish anywhere else I re fed some micro’s and a few grains of corn and waited for another, which it did come after 5 minutes and a decent F1 around 4lb this time. So I’d found some feeding fish at last. So here I stayed and I caught several more recent F1’s ranged from 2 to 4lb for the next hour or so before it began to slow down.

I felt it was time to rest the margin line now and cupped in some micro’s and corn and returned to my short poles lines. These didn’t work at all despite trying maggots, corn and hard pellets on different lines. In fact I never had a bite for 30 minutes. The only place I could catch was from the margin line. So back I went hoping that as we were now going into the last hour the margin would come good again. I soon began to catch again but I was getting a few foul hookers so I cut down the micro’s and fed a little more corn. The F1’s were a good size and then as we went into the last 20 minutes I caught a couple of carp around 5-7lb. Then in the last 5 minutes I lost a big foul hooker which was partly my fault as I bullied it to much wanting to get back in for another! I hoped that wouldn’t cost me.

Weighing in

The scales arrived and 98lb was the top weight so far. I didn’t have anywhere near that but I hoped for a section win. My fish went 66lb 12oz which at the halfway point of the match I would have taken as I was looking at a DNW up to then. There were some good anglers to my left in my section and I’d seen them all catch fish. It was just a point of how many so as I packed up and pushed my trolley along the bank back toward the car park I stopped and watched hopefully. The angler on the next peg weighed in 51lb and then the next best weight in my section was 61lb so I’d won the section just. Happy days. I’d actually ended up 3rd overall as the best weight off the Moorhen pool was 66lb.

So the margin got me out of jail today I was going know where in the match. I’m glad a set up for that margin line even though it was February and the waters still cold but there’s fish to be caught sometimes in the margins at any time of the year.

Best rig of the day

The margin rig was one that I use in the Summer. There is the potential to catch big fish here if they are coming into the margin. There it no point fishing light here even in February. if you hook a double here it’s going to put you in the race at this time of the year and you don’t want to lose it. I used a Preston 4×14 Edge pole float with 0.19mm main line with a bulk of no.8 stotz’s above a size 16 0.17mm Preston XSH-B Ready rig cut down to 4 inches. Set up on Preston 17 Yellow Dura Slip elastic through a short Garbolino margin kit that slips onto my UK3 pole.

Preston 4 x 14 Edge
Preston XSH-B size 16 Ready Rig (cut down to 4 inches)

2 thoughts on “3rd overall and Section win off the Heron pool, Hillview Sunday Open, 66lb 12oz

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