My normal match fishing circuit keeps me away from all things carpy, but being lucky enough to be invited to the Drennan Knockout Cup each year due to doing a bit of writing in the DHP magazines about once a year I have a go for them. It's the only time that I tend to fish a lake or fish for carp each year – in fact, because I couldn’t fish last year's match I haven’t set up beside a lake since the first round on Larford two years ago!
The normal format is that the first match has 100 anglers from which the top 64 progress to the next round, then 32, 16 and so on! So it would seem that the 1st round is the easiest to qualify from as there is a greater percentage of anglers getting the golden ticket to the next round? But I haven’t got past the 1st round on each occasion I have fished!
So, this year my target is to get past the Round One (Oh dear, I’m going to make a fool of myself now!) and as the style of angling is far removed from what I do I felt a trip to Woodland View before the match was in order. Alan Scotthorne made an interesting comment in this month's Match Fishing magazine along the lines of; If you're not catching, get up and watch someone who is! I think this is an excellent piece of advice, which shows that even if you are a five-times world champion you can still learn more from others!
So when my team mate Mike Burntsen mentioned that he had a ticket for the Fish 'O' Mania match on the Wednesday before my event, I suggested that I kept the front seat of his car warm for the two-hour journey (But unfortunately I kept it soggy for the two hours home, because a fortnight after the water companies enforced a hosepipe ban on most of the UK, it hadn’t stopped raining and Wednesday was no different!). So, armed with waterproof clothing a small umbrella and a pair of binoculars I set about finding out how to fish for carp.
For the final two hours I plonked myself down behind Pole Fishing magazine’s Jon Arthur who made extracting carp from Peg 4 on Arles pond look very easy. Magazine articles like the ones in Pole Fishing are brilliant for showing rigs, elastic hooks and basic feeding, but by watching someone for a couple of hours you also see the timings that they change swims, the little changes in feeding and how they lift and drop the rigs to stimulate the fish to take the bait. Maybe DVDs show this better, but they are edited to an hour long so you don’t see the full five hours and see why the anglers make the adjustments to keep on catching.
I reckon my trip up to Woodlands has prepared me for the 1st round. I’ll certainly look forward to going back there on Monday, and it's not just the breakfast, it's the prospect of catching a few carp, and those who know me will see that as a bold statement. It's common knowledge now that Jon caught 101lb and came second behind Jamie Hughes with 118lb, but at the time of weighing I thought he had enough to get on the Final. It was exciting to be there, I’ll be just as excited if I get 64th place on the day!
So, if you fancy watching 99 of the top commercial anglers in the country and someone who normally just catches roach, pop on down to Woodland View on Monday 30th. If you learn as much as I did on Wednesday, it’ll be worth it!