Friday, 25 March 2016

Lindholme Lakes Winter League Final Round

To say this weekend has been tiring is an understatement! It all started on Thursday evening when I traveled down to Farnborough for the Big One Show; after a 4 hour drive I arrived at fellow Browning angler, Mick Fordham's house. Mick kindly put me up for the night so we could get an early start setting up the show stand ready for the Saturday morning. After an early start, we finally got the stand and the pole alley finished around 5 o'clock before making our way to the hotel for a well deserved beer and some grub. Saturday was extremely busy at the show; the response to the poles was fantastic and the new 'under development' pole was a major crowd-pleaser.

After the show it was time for me to head home to get ready for the Lindholme Lakes winter league final round, in which I was lying joint second. The morning of the match arrived and even after a tiring weekend I was still up bright eyed and bushy tailed :-) I arrived at the venue and to say it was packed would be an understatement. There must have been a club match on every other lake on the venue apart form the 3 lakes we were due to be on. For this final round, the match was to be spread over Bonsai, Benny's and Oasis and with a great turn out of 78 we would need them all.
One highlight of the morning was chatting to Steve Dyson, I asked him which peg he fancied and he said 29 Bonsai, as he fancied a day fishing the waggler. Draw time arrived and I drew out peg 30 on Bonsai and seen as 29 wasn't in, it was close enough. Steve immediately joked about swapping pegs as he drew Bennys Lake.

I made my way to the peg and on arrival at it I could tell why Steve fancied it now. It had an island around 25 meters away with a tree over hanging into the water. To the right of the tree was a grassy flat bank, with another tree a bit further to the right of that. The peg also offered plenty of open water and a nice looking margin to the right. With this in mind I formulated my plan.

The Plan
My initial thought was to start on the bomb tight to the island and trickle feed it via catapult. I could then switch over to the waggler once the fish had settled. I also planned to set up a couple of pole lines, starting at around 13 meters, this would then give me the option of pushing out further during the day.
The final line was to the margin to my right which looked pretty inviting.

The bait tray was a relatively simple one revolving mainly around pellets. I had some 4 mm pellets for feeding and fishing on the pole line. I had some 6 mm pellets for the waggler and bomb, I also had a tin of corn, as it has been "the bait" for the majority of the winter months. I also dampened some micro pellets for feeding down the margins with a plan to fish corn over the top.

Bomb Rod
  • Rod - Browning 10 ft Sphere Bomb 
  • Reel - Browning Sphere 930 
  • Mainline - 0.18 Browning Cenex ABR
  • Hooklength - 0.12 Browning Hybrid Power 
  • Hook - Size 16 Kamasan B911 eyed tied with a knotless knot with a hair rigged bait stop 
  • Bomb - 5 gram olivette style bomb 

Waggler Rod 
  • Rod - Browning Force Pellet Waggler  11ft 
  • Reel - Browning Xitan
  • Mainline - 0.18 Browning Cenex ABR
  • Hooklength - 0.12 Browning Hybrid Power 
  • Hook - Size 16 Kamasan B911 eyed tied with a knotless knot with a hair rigged micro band 
  • Waggler - Drennan Insert Loaded Crystal

Pole Set-Up
  • Pole - Browning Silverlite 10-12
  • Elastic - Yellow Browning Stretch 7 Hollow 
  • Mainline - 0.14 Browning Hybrid Power 
  • Hooklength - 0.10 Browning Cenex Soft 
  • Hook - Size 16 kamasan B911 tied with a knotless knot with a hair rigged micro band 
  • Float - 0.3g AS1 
  • Shotting - Spread bulk plus 2 droppers 

Margin Rig 
  • Pole - Browning Silverlite 10 - 12 
  • Elastic - Yellow Browning 
  • Mainline - 0.14 Browning Hybrid Power 
  • Hooklength - 0.12 Browning Hybrid Power 
  • Hook - Size 16 Kamasan B911
  • Float - 0.3g AS3 
  • Shotting - Spread bulk 

The Session 
I started the match on Bomb and corn tight up to the island, my initial plan was to utilise the visual bait and hope for a quick response before starting to feed anything. After a couple of recasts with not a single movement on the tip, I started to introduce 2 x 6 mm pellets every couple of minutes with a hope this would trigger the fish into feeding. 10 minutes went by and I had to change something, so I  switched over to the waggler. 25 minutes had now gone by and I still remained biteless, therefore I decided on a complete change of approach.

The plan was to go on the pole and trickle feed the island with a hope that it would fire up later in the match. I shipped the pole out to 13 meters and 'tip tapped' a few 4 mm pellets over the top then lowered the rig in nice and slowly, trying to mimic the falling pellets. I few minutes later the float dipped, a quick strike and I was in. For some reason though half way back the fish came off. This happened again the next bite, fortunately it was 3rd time lucky as I managed to land a nice chunky F1.

I probably spent a good couple of hours on the pole picking up mainly proper Carp every 10-15 minutes or so. It was a real waiting game and I had to keep the float active, lifting and dropping regularly. Most bites came just after the float resettled. For some reason bites on the pole ground to a halt, so trying to waste no time I switched to the waggler and fortunately never looked back as I started catching on this straight away and at a decent rate. 

One mistake I did make, but managed to get away with it was starting to up the feed. As soon as I realised the bites had deteriorated I cut the feed back to an absolute minimum and this soon had them lining up again. Towards the end of the match I had them coming almost every cast, The only thing that was slowing me down was getting the odd cast in the over hanging tree on the island and sometimes having to re-rig up; it was like a waggler graveyard near the island at the end of the match, but I had to be in it to win it! :-) 

At the end of the match I wondered if I had done enough to win the section, Ryan Bennet in the peg to my left had caught steadily all day so it was going to be tight. The weigh sling arrived at his peg first and he weighed in 82lb 4oz. 
It definitely was going to be tight,  but fortunately I managed to weigh in 94lb 3 oz, which gave me the section win I really needed. This gave me 6 section wins and a second that would give me 8 points to be counted for the final result.
I managed to finish second overall in the league behind a deserved winner Ryan Lidguard, who finish with 7 section wins and 7 points, well done Ryan :-) 

Top 8

Ryan Lidguard 
7 points
8 points
Les Marshall    
9 points dropping 2
Ben Fisk          
9 points dropping 3
Chris Reilly     
9 points dropping 4
Andy Bailey   
11 points dropping 2
Nick Speed     
11 points dropping 3
Paul Wright    
11 points dropping 4

I would like to thank Lindholme Lakes for running a fantastic winter league and I for one am looking forward to the next one :-)