I decided to fish the open match at Woodland View Fishery near Droitwich, as a practice for the forthcoming Drennan Knockout Cup round at the venue. After a misunderstanding revolving around the snooze button on my alarm clock, I ended up turning up and paying on just as the draw was about to start. As the drawbag has not been particularly kind to me lately, I decided that grabbing a bacon sandwich would be a much more attractive option than diving in for a peg. The move paid off when I was handed the last peg in the bag - peg 34 on Arles. As I don’t know the lakes, this meant very little to me- but when I arrived and saw that I was the only angler who could reach the lakes central island with a pole, it looked very appealing!
After talking to my Pole Fishing colleague and venue regular Jon Arthur, I decided to base my approach around fishing soft pellets up to the island, and also have a look down the edge and on the short pole. An early carp short proved a nice start, but sadly no more followed and it was time to have a look on the island line.
I caught steadily from here for the rest of the day, taking small carp and plenty of brown goldfish, tench and crucians. Even though their were clearly a lot of fish in front of me, they were surprisingly hard to catch. If I could cad pot in a few pellets, then lower my hookbait straight over the top, I generally found that I would get a bite as soon as my float settled. If I had a line bite, and lifted my rig out of the water, or if the wind caught my pole and moved my rig, then I wouldn’t get a bite though! It soon became clear that I was fishing for very educated fish.
At the end of the match, I wasn’t sure how much I had caught, as the fish had been a wide range of sizes. I was surprised to weigh 91lb though, the carp seemed to weigh a lot heavier than I thought. I was even mor e surprised to find out that this weight was good enough to win the match, it seemed that my bad run was finally over!
In light of the previous days success, I decided to return to Woodlands the following day, and fish the Sunday open as well. Given the fact that my good luck seemed to be returning, I decided to chance my arm in the drawbag this time. Once again I found myself on a decent peg, this time 48 on Back Deans. It was time to pick Jon Arthur’s brains again. He advised fishing pellets on three or four different lines, starting short and gradually working my way out.
I couldn’t have got off to a better start, taking a 9lb mirror on my first drop in on a top four kit! Bites soon dried up here though, and it was time to start chasing the fish out. Looking around the lake, I could tell that it was fishing quite hard, and they didn’t look to be catching a lot on Front Deans (which was also in the match) either.
Again, I couldn’t believe how wise the fish seemed to be. You quite literally didn’t get a bite, if you didn’t present your bait bang on top of your feed, straight after you had fed.
Although the going was tough, I had a nice days fishing, and though I was definitely on a good peg, I felt I fished a decent match.
When the scales arrived, Ed Warren was leading the field with 69lb. I wasn’t sure whether I would have this weight or not, but fortune favoured me, and I recorded 72lb. This proved best until the scales reached Ian Wood, who weighed 78lb from the end peg at the other end of the lake. I ended up second on the day, and though I was disappointed not to have won the match and made it a double, I was just pleased to have found some form (and my drawing arm) again. Roll on next weekend!
Tom Scholey is Pole Fishing magazine's Editorial Assistant, and a keen match angler.