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When The Wheels Fall Off

Mark Poppleton reports back from the fifth round of his local winter league series. 

Ok, so it's Round Five of six in the Landsend League and I’m heading to Lake 3 (John's Water) today. As I mentioned in my last blog, the section I’m in is ultra-competitive so a good draw is essential and this lake probably has the fewest really good draws out of all three lakes on the complex. With the wind forecast to be strong and rain forecast to fall heavily all day a sheltered draw would make life easy – but as it turns out my wish for shelter was the wrong one...

I stuck my hand in the bucket and pulled out Peg 70. This is a corner peg with some historic form but so far this winter it’s been pretty poor. Nevertheless, it,s sheltered and this would allow me to explore the full range of water I had in front of me. On top of having a few options I had managed to avoid the dreaded draw of Peg 51. This really is a cemetery of a peg and possibly one of the few draws that would have seen me back in the car heading home. The unlucky soul on the peg today was Aaron Britnell, a really good angler who I think only managed two fish all day!

The layout of the corner pegs on this lake are a little different as there is a split island that runs down the lake and small outcrops come from the end bank, so you are essentially in a box with a small area of open water to the right.

I decided to target 13 metres down the shelf and used the same rig for off the point of the island at 16 metres where it was the same depth, the only difference being I would feed micros at 13 and casters at 16 metres.

My third spot was just off the big weed bed to my right, which is normally a banker for a fish or two – and I think this is where my day started to go wrong. I had decided that as I was top of the league I would fish positively for carp and F1s so rigged up and fed accordingly. Tom Thick next door, who is leading the silvers side of this league, went the other way, fishing negative for the many tiny skimmers and roach that live in the lake. History shows he made the right choice !

All In!

So, on the all-in I put a few 4mm pellets and some corn by the weed bed, some casters off the point and started at 13 metres with a Toss Pot of micros and a 4mm expander on the hook. It was very slow for most, with the far end corners, Ken Rayner on 58 and Tony Rixon on 55 (I drew it for him!), catching anything.

I had my first bite about 20 minutes into the match with a plump 12oz F1. I then had three more before a small carp and at this stage things were going ok. Moving into the second hour I had managed to add five more F1s and two more carp to the net so was really happy and lying third on the lake, behind Ken and Tony. Then, as seems to happen in winter, they just vanished!

I rested the 13m line and started to rotate round the other fed lines with no response at all. I was so concerned at the lack of activity that I opened up another line 17 metres into open water, fishing a much lighter rig and smaller hook in the hope of attracting some small skimmers. This line only yielded four tiny skimmers and it was too much effort for such little return, especially as Tom Thick now hammering the silvers at 11 metres fishing micros on the hook.

The anglers around me were suffering a similar fate in that they just couldn’t get bites. Further down the lake some big carp had been caught on meat by a few anglers, so the section was really starting to move around and I felt it was slipping away from me rapidly. 

With no ideas left I had to hope some fish would turn up. Eventually I had a run of fish over the 16m caster swim with two big perch and a crucian but I was gutted to bump two really big perch, which seems to be a common theme with these bigger fish. To cut a long story short, the final two hours were awful with very few showing at our end of the lake. 

The Result

At the weigh in it really showed where the fish had been today. Ken Rayner stormed the lake with over 80lb and Tony was 2nd with 64lb. Tom Thick smashed the silvers and barring a disaster sealed the silvers league again with over 30lb of mostly 4oz skimmers. Disappointingly, my 26lb only managed to beat five anglers and returned seven points. This left me only a point clear at the top of the league. Just one decent carp would have catapulted me up three or four places in the section and would have all but secured the league overall. I'm hoping that this will be my dropped result so it really will come down to the last match and with us on the Speci Lake anything could happen... and it probably will!

Until next time!

Mark Poppleton

More in this category: « What Species? Drawbags Unite! »

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