As well as specimen carp angling our blogger Wayne Box also enjoys a bit of match fishing as well, although it doesn't always go to plan!
In the October half term I had the opportunity to take the family to a well know fishing holiday complex in Cornwall called Whiteacres, somehow my entire match fishing set up ended up coming with us and before long I was booked onto a couple of matches during our week away, much to my partner's delight!
I haven't fished a match all year so I knew I was going to struggle, couple that with the freezing wind, freezing water temperatures and the fact that I have never fished here before and it was sure to be a tough test. I wasn't wrong!
First up was the Bronze residents match on Twin Oaks. Now there was only 10 of us fishing so a top 10 finish was guaranteed (sounds better than coming last!), we were on the low numbers, pegs 1-18 with every other peg being used. I was reliably informed that I needed to be on Peg 15, 16, 17 or 18 to have any chance of winning, so when I pulled out peg 10 at the draw my heart sank a little. Oh well, it was a days fishing and I was sure I could tempt a few bites.
When I arrived at the peg the sun was shining on and off but there was a bitterly cold northerly wind cutting down the lake. I set up a method feeder rod for the far bank, two margin pole rigs and a 5-metre pole line where I was going to feed 6mm fishery pellets to try and tempt the F1 stock of carp.
The match got underway and EVERYBODY chucked across with feeders, everyone except the angler to my right who started in close feeding maggots and catching roach from the off. It was going to take a lot of Roach to frame in the match but I silently wished her well as she dropped another roach into her keepnet.
On my method feeder were 2mm micro pellets soaked in the Dynamite Baits F1 sweet liquid and on the hook was banded 6mm hard pellet. Right from the start, I was getting plenty of indications, lots of taps, knocks and line bites so I felt pretty happy. I had forgotten how fast time flies by when match fishing and when my tip finally wrenched round it was a small carp of little over 1lb. I checked my phone and an hour and a half had flown by already! I dropped the feeder rod and fed the margins with sweet F1 groundbait, corn and dead red maggots. This would be my banker line of attack down both margins late on in the match.
I then went out on the pole at 5 metres to see if there were any fish about short, but not a sniff! Where had all those F1 carp gone?! I wasted another hour on the pole at 5 metres and then out to 13 metres to see if the fish had backed off, but again not a sniff! I was forced to go back on the feeder across and I did manage another small carp before I started seeing signs of fish down the edge in both margins. Here we go I thought, this is going to be easy as I picked up the left-hand margin rig and nicked on a piece of corn. I carefully lowered the rig onto the spot. To cut a long story short I foul hooked four big carp and lost all four of them!
I did finally hook one in the mouth with 10 mins of the match left and it was lovely 8 or 9lb common.
When the whistle went to signal the end of the match I knew I had come last but I wasn't bothered at all, I had my book of excuses ready! To top it all, the lady on the peg to my right had caught over 22lb of Roach! I weighed in a pathetic 12lb of carp, I lost double that amount as the foul hooked fish were comfortably double figures. My fears were confirmed I was dead last out of ten anglers and when my boys asked where I had come, I said I had come in the top 10 which sent them off running around the lodge celebrating! Little did they know that I was 10th out of 10!
The next day I entered the Rover match where all the lakes are included and you pick a number out the bag and number 1 gets the first choice of any peg they want, 2 gets the second choice and so on. You get the idea. I needed a top ten number to stand any chance of getting a decent match winning peg and yep, you guessed it I was nowhere near the top ten!
In fact, I pulled out number 20 out of 50 so not half bad to be fair, I chose peg 15 on Acorn lake following the advice from a fellow competitor! I did wonder if he threw me off the scent but there were 10 of us on Acorn lake and 19 pegs so we had plenty of room either way.
I arrived at my peg and I really fancied it, there was a lot of fish fizzing and a few fish crashing out tight to the island. I had been told to fish the feeder and the margins only, don't bother setting up a pole line out in the lake so I didn't. Hmm looking back this was definitely bum advice!
I started on the feeder tight to the island, again lots of little taps and encouraging knocks on the tip but no bites, it was a real head-scratcher! Nobody else was catching so I didn't feel too bad but then both anglers either side of me caught a carp each of about 5lb so I was now on the back foot. I had a look across to the island and it looked dead, I think the method feeder was presenting two much bait so I changed to a straight lead set up with an 8mm carp pellet on the banded hair rig.
I catapulted two pellets and then went over the top with my rig, 2 mins later in went two more pellets and I felt like it was the right thing to do, especially when next door caught one on the same method after spotting what I was doing! I could not buy a bite and struggled for 3 hours switching between the method and the bomb and pellet. I dropped the method short 3/4 of the way across to see if the fish were in the deeper water and the tip slammed round! a chunky F1 carp rolled into the net, here we go I thought!
Again, absolutely nothing happened thereafter! This was madness, I felt like I was fishing ok but the wind was a nightmare if I am honest and I was casting all over the place! With an hour to go, I had a look down the edge but it was dead, I think I had fed too much and I should have fed just corn on its own. Much like yesterday, lesson NOT learned!
With 10 mins to go, I went back on the method and I nearly fell off my seat box when the tip slammed round and a decent carp took off. I got it in the net and it was about 6lb, not long after the whistle blew and my Whiteacres match fishing career was over, for this year at least. On the scales, my two carp went 10lb 9oz and it was enough to finish 6th out of 10 on the lake, an improvement on yesterday for sure!
I love Whiteacres and I will be back when the weather warms up for sure until then I need to get the pole out and get practicing I think!