Heronbrook Spring League, Final Round
(80 pegs, 20 teams of four)
After five rounds of the Heronbrook Spring League, the final round had finally come around. I got to Heronbrook on Sunday morning with a hard frost on the ground and looking around there was no fish moving at all, so I was quite anxious how it was going to fish. Up to now we were winning the league by nine points, but it was still all to play for. With 20 teams involved and 10-man sections if things went badly there was a possible 40 penalty points in a four-man team!
My team was the same one that won this year’s Heronbrook Winter League, which was Jamie Hughes, Dave White, James Howson and myself, Craig Goldstraw. As the draw came around James put me on Peg 4 on Island which I fancied BUT I also knew it would be a hard day as it’s a very long way to the island. Most people usually go down the rod and line approach but I opted to fish 21 metres on the pole instead!
I set up four pole rigs plus a Method rod just in case it got too windy. I set two pole rigs up for fishing 21 metres – both of them with 4x10 Malman Champ floats; one with a size 18 Gama Pellet and the other with a banded hair. Both were on 0.12mm hooklengths. I also set up a margin rig, which was a 4x14 Malman Champ to a 0.12mm bottom and the final rig was for 14.5 metres in front in me, which was a Malman Winter Wire with a 0.10mm bottom.
I started the match fishing over to the far bank and after a biteless hour I was quite worried. So, I decided to put a big pot of Bag ‘em XP groundbait and hard 6mm pellets over to the far bank instead. I then had a look on my other lines for around half an hour and managed to find a couple of F1s in that time. At this point I didn’t even look like I was in contention for good points in my section!
It was make or break time now… I shipped all the way to 21 metres and first put in I found an 8lb mirror carp on a banded 6mm pellet – a nice bonus! After this, I never looked back and caught steadily for the rest of the match on this long line.
When the scales finally arrived I thought I had around the 90lb mark. After the weigh in I actually ended up with 109lb while second in my section was 48lb. This was also good enough for second overall in the match, so I was really made up!
Next came the anxious time of finding out how the rest of the team got on. My Maver Midlands Bag ’em team ended up with eight points which was 15 points ahead of second place and, more importantly, it meant we had held onto the lead and won it overall! It also meant we had done the double – winning both the Winter League and the Spring League. It made all the effort of fishing 21 metres worthwhile and I now just hope our great run continues!
Craig Goldstraw is a 20-year-old rising match star from Derby who fishes for Maver Midlands and is also sponsored by Bag ‘em Matchbaits.