Friday, 17 July 2015

The Angling Trust Canal Pairs On The Aire & Calder Canal.

It was quite some time ago that myself and Carl Shepardson entered this match, in fact it was so long ago that we both nearly forgot all about it altogether! This is very unlike us both as we both like to do our homework and get plenty of practice in on the venue. I don't know what triggered in my head, but something clicked and fortunately I remembered about the match, the downside was it only a week before the match, which gave us very little time to do anything about it. With the pair of us having to work all week, we were going to have to do something that is really quite alien to us, "go into the match blind".

Match Day
We arrived at the rugby club in the town of Thorne, the venue for the draw. After a nice breakfast it was draw time. I was in section B and Shep was in section A . This was designated by the Angling Trust on the tickets they provided. My home for the day was to be permanent peg 421 on the Pollington Boats stretch. Shep drew peg  32  on the Rawcliffe Wides stretch. We didn't have a clue how good the pegs were, but hey ho, off to the pegs we go. I finally arrived at my peg, which was a decent walk away from where I parked the car and to be perfectly honest, I liked the look of it. The Canal on this stretch is really wide at around 35 meters or so and there are plenty of boats moored up on the far bank. things looked good

My plan
My initial plan was to target 4 separate areas. The first line I opted for was at the base of the near shelf which was around 7 meters, this wasn't blatantly obvious as near shelfs go. What I looked for was (with some careful plumbing) where the shelf flattened out and turned into the main channel. The next line was at 11 meters. I would like to have gone beyond this but the wind was blowing straight down the canal and this would have made holding the pole really difficult. The 3rd line was at a 10 o'clock angle to my left well away from my main lines. The reason for this was I planned to fish hemp only on it, but feed it up and leave it till the last hour or so. My final plan of attack was to fish a maggot feeder across to the boats on the far side.

Bait wise I tried to keep things pretty simple so I had 2 pints of maggots, 2 pints of casters and a couple of pints of hemp plus a couple of kilos of groundbait and some soil. The soil is to make the groundbait heavier so it gets down to the bottom quicker. (Pretty similar to Shep really)


Near side Rig
  • Pole - Browning Champions Choice Silverlite 10-12 
  • Elastic - Browning solid 5 
  • Mainline - 0.12 Browning Hybrid Power 
  • Hooklength - 0.10 Browning Cenex Soft 
  • Hook - Size 20 Kamasan B911 F1 
  • Float - Tubertini Serie Pro 1.0gram 
  • Shotting - Olivette bulk plus 3 droppers 
11 Meter Rig 
  • Pole - Browning Champions Choice Silverlite  10-12
  • Elastic - Double 4 
  • Mainline - 0.12 Browning Hybrid Power 
  • Hooklength - 0.10 Browning Cenex Soft
  • Hook - Size 24 Preston PR35
  • Float - Tubertini Serie Pro 1.5gram 
  • Shotting - Olivette Bulk plus 3 droppers 
Hemp Rig 
  • Pole - Browning Champions Choice Silverlite 10-12
  • Elastic - Browning Solid 5 
  • Mainline - 0.12 Browning Hybrid Power 
  • Hooklength - 0.10 Browning Cenex Soft 
  • Hook - Size 16 Kamasan B520 
  • Float - Match Master 0.5gram 
  • Shotting - Strung Bulk 
Feeder Rod 
  • Rod - Browning 10ft Sphere Bomb 
  • Reel - Browning Blackmagic Burner 
  • Mainline - 0.14 Browning Cenex ABR
  • Hooklength - 0.10 Browning Cenex Soft 
  • Hook - Size 16 Kamasan B520
  • Feeder - Browning Window Feeder 20 gram  
The Session
I started the match by feeding 3 balls of groundbait with some casters, hemp and some chopped worm mixed in on both the long and short lines. I then filled the window feeder with maggots and casted it tight to the boat directly in front of me. After a couple of recasts I had a small Perch, but that was it. I had notice anglers around me catching across, but they were using groundbait feeders. This is when I realised I'd left my cage feeders in the garage at home. (What a plank!)
I decided to give the short pole line a try as I'd given it a bit of time to settle. I baited up with a single red maggot and lowered the rig into position. The rig immediately started towing from left to right, but after a couple of minutes the tow seemed to stop. After around 10 minutes I finally had a bite and a nice hand size Skimmer was the result.

Bites were seriously slow coming and it didn't seem to matter how I fed, I just could not get the fish to settle on any of the lines. I had to keep changing lines, altering the rigs, by going over depth, holding the rig back when it towed, letting it run through when it towed, lifting and dropping, everything you can imagine, I tried it.
Towards the end of the match I with a make something happen approach and potted in a shed load of maggots and casters. This has the desired effect as a large 'Eric the Eel' soon give me a good run about and after a number of attempts I finally landed him. This was the boost I needed. I fed some more maggots and casters and 10 minutes later I was into another, even bigger eel, fortunately this one played nicer and was landed much quicker. I was now a lot happier as i'd sussed it. Yeh right! I never had another bite on that line.

The remainder of the match was spent scratching for bites, I did manage to land a couple of Skimmers right near the end. In total I fished with 2 eels, 6 Skimmers, a Roach and a Perch and weighed in just under 3 kilos. Carl had a reasonable day, he manage to catch a lot more fish, but they were on the tiny size. He managed to finish with just over 3 kilos.

The ride home was certainly filled with what ifs! One thing this really did highlight, is that preparation and practice are absolutely essential and I will certainly not be making the same mistake twice!.