Day One – Trewaters Peg 33.
My plan for this match was really simple, I set up a long pinging rig, a shallow rig, a short 5m line, for throwing 6mm hard pellets, and a margin line to my left where I found 18 inches of water, where I would feed groundbait and meat for the last 90 minutes.
I started my match off on my pinging rig at 13 metres, and by frugally pinging in 6mm pellets, I caught small mirrors and commons and the odd carassio steadily for the first hour. After a decent start, the bites subsided, so I decided to have a look short, where I'd been throwing in 6mm pellets, the same way as I'd fed the 13 metre line, but slightly heavier in an attempt to draw more fish. This was a good line for about half an hour, as I picked up odd fish, mainly carrasios and smaller mirrors, until that dried up, so I continued to feed it and went back long.
This routine of swapping from my long line to my short line continued for the remaining two and a half hours, as I picked up literally two fish from a line, then rested it and repeated the process. With 60 minutes to go, I cupped in eight pots of loose groundbait, down the side to my left, and went straight over it. I caught five carp up to 6lb here until the end of the match was called. I ended up weighing 78lb which was good enough for second in the section, putting me on eight points.
Day Two – Twin Oaks – Peg 12.
Obviously this peg needs no introduction, as its definitely one of the best pegs on site. Again, I wanted to keep things simple here, and I’d heard that more fish were getting caught on the pole in this area, rather than on the Method feeder, which is the dominant method on this lake most of the time.
My plan was to fish up and down with hard pellets on the long pole at 14.5 and 16 metres, and then come down the edge late on. I set up a shallow rig, a pinging rig where I'd feed 6mm pellets, and rigs for both margins this time, left and right, as the depth was bang on (18 inches) down them both.
The match itself could not have gone any better, I caught around 50lb in the first three hours pinging long and slapping shallow over the top, catching literally everything that swims, big roach, skimmers, F1s and odd carp. With two hours to go, I big potted both margins with groundbait and 8mm meat, and caught 10 fish for about 85lb. This gave me a total of 137lb, which was enough to win the section and the match overall. This put me on 17 points, which left me around 6th in the festival after day two.
Day Three – Porth Resovoir – Peg 23.
As I was doing well in the festival so far, I wanted to play it safe and fish for roach and small skimmers. Only 4lb had come off the peg the day before, which was good enough for around sixth in the section, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Anyway, I decided to set up a short line, where I would big pot hemp to start with, and loose feed red maggots throughout the day, I set this up at six metres where I found about six feet of water. I also set up a long line at 14 metres, where I fed a mix of sweet and fishmeal groundbait casters and dead pinkies, for skimmers later on.
At the all in, I put two 250ml pots of hemp in on the short line, and five balls of groundbait and casters at 14 metres. The match itself went really well, I started on the short line and never looked back, by loose feeding maggots over hemp, I caught 205 small roach for 11lb 10oz, which was good enough to win the section by 4lb on the day. Even though I fed the skimmer line to start with, I didn’t even bother looking on it, as I didn’t want to waste any time. So after Day Three, I was slowly climbing the ladder and in fifth place overall in the festival with 26 points.
Day Four – Bolingey – Peg 41.
After a quick look at the board to find out what had come off the peg on Wednesday, it became clear there were a few fish to be caught, as the previous day it was good enough for 80lb and fourth in the section. I decided on a really single-minded approach, 6mm pellets for the first four hours long, then meat short for the last hour. My inside lines were way too deep, so I decided not to bother setting up rigs for these.
I started short on meat, I fed five 8mm cubes and went straight over it, two 4lbers in the opening 10 minutes was a good start, but that was my lot. After these two “mug” fish, I started pinging pellets at 15 metres and caught a few F1s on this line and another carp around the 4lb mark, before liners became a problem. I ended up fishing shallow, and caught 21 F1s to 2lb and a bonus carp until the last hour came.
I decided to wait until everyone started catching on the meat line at five metres before I went on it. As they turn up at the same time for everyone generally, this was a good decision I felt, as I wasted no time at all, and made the most of my F1s shallow. The last hour was good, as I put five carp in the net for around 40lb, which gave me 109lb, and good enough for second in the section, and another eight points.
Day Five – Pollaywn – Peg 16.
So, on the final day I was second overall in the festival on 34 points, and the only way I could improve my score was by winning my section. I needed a section win, and when I drew Peg 16 I knew I had a good chance. I had a battle on my hands, though, with Cameron Hughes, as he was also doing really well at this point, and we both needed a section win. He was on Peg 21, so I knew it was going to go down to the wire.
Pollawyn had been really unpredictable all week, long and short pole with meat had been the dominant method on the high bank, and is a method I’m really confident in, so that was my plan. I also had a waggler set up, but tried to forget about it, as it hadn’t been working all week, I didn’t want to waste any time. At the all in, I decided to put a full 150ml pot of meat and corn short, and the same long at 15m. I started long, and in the opening three hours of the match I caught three skimmers, three carp, and two small barbel, for around 25lb.
I had also been potting meat and corn short religiously for three hours by this point, and my last two hours were steady, as I caught five big carp and a barbel here for around 60lb. This gave me 85lb and was enough for a section win, just, as Cameron weighed 78lb on Peg 21.
So, in summary, it was a great week. I ended the week on 35 points, agonisingly close to a maximum point score, but I was really happy with my result. I felt I’d fished five decent matches, considering I don’t really know the venue. I finished third overall, with Steve Ringer finishing second and Des Shipp winning the festival.