A new competition for disabled anglers launched in the East Midlands
A brand new competition for disabled anglers is being launched in the East Midlands. The inaugural East Midlands Disabled Angling Championships will be taking place on Thursday 22nd September at Rycroft Fishery, Derbyshire (DE74 2RE) on Moat Lake.
The competition has been established in partnership with the Angling Trust to create more opportunities for disabled anglers to fish in competitions. The match will form part of an on going calendar of local matches for disabled anglers taking place at accessible fisheries.
The Build Up
The Angling Times Supercup is the biggest club team event in the U.K match fishing diary, the 2015 event attracted over 300 teams! Over the last 5 years I have fished the competition for Warrington A.A and have been lucky enough to reach the final and also the semi-finals on a couple of occasions, in fact, being part of a team and going on a good cup run brings with it a massive amount of satisfaction. Not only do you have your own sense of triumph but you also feel that of those around you.
With Fish ‘O’ Mania qualifiers beginning a full month earlier than in previous years it was fast approaching my first of three in this year’s competition. This would see me taking a trip to Solhampton Fishery in Stourport-on-Severn, a venue I had never fished before. For this reason, I decided I would fish an open match (especially arranged by the venue’s owners in the build-up the 140-peg Fisho qualifier) to ensure I had at least some knowledge of the venue and to make sure I wasn't going into the match completely blind.
Solhampton Fishery houses seven lakes totalling 195 pegs. Each lake is stocked with plenty of species – carp, tench, bream, ide and roach, to name but a few. All the lakes have their own parking and the complex also has an on-site tackle shop and café. During the summer months match weights regularly exceed 200lb and the all-time record is 325lb.
Having made the relatively straightforward journey from Cheltenham and arriving at the venue with plenty of time to spare, I decided to chat with some of the regulars and the owner to get as much information as possible. The day’s match would be held on Valley Pool. However, come the day of the qualifier, all seven lakes would be included, so finding out as much information about these was also vitally important because I’m simply not going to have the chance to fish them all before the day of the big match. The majority believe that Duck Pool is the one to draw on the qualifier and that a couple of pegs will almost certainly throw up the sort of weight needed to win and qualify for the finals weekend. A couple did highlight that all of the lakes are capable of throwing up some really good weights. I don't expect the sorts of weights that have been known during the summer months, but I do expect the winning weight to be around 120lb, especially if the weather warms up a few degrees.
At 9am the draw was made. The competition seemed to be a mix of venue regulars and a couple of guys who had also decided to use it as a practice for the Fisho qualifier.
I picked Peg 29, an 'alright' peg according to most of the guys, including the owner.
I was reasonably happy with the peg. Valley is an open lake with no specific features other than some reed-lined margins. It therefore makes the lake reasonably fair and, according to the locals, pegs all over the lake have been known to produce match-winning weights.
My plan of attack was to focus on three main line. Firstly, a long line at 13 metres, where I found the depth to be around six feet. Float choice was a 4x14 Daiwa KC Carpa 1, down to a 0.12mm hooklength and a size 16 B911 F1 hook. This was teamed up with white Hydrolastic.
My second was a short-pole line at five metres. Here I decided on a 4x12 Daiwa KC Carpa 1, 0.12mm hooklength and a slightly stronger, size 16 B911 hook. This time a Preston Innovations 13H elastic was used.
Finally, a margin line. I would usually situate this tight to a marginal feature or bank. However, in my margins I found just a few inches of water, perfect for summer but with temperatures of just 3ºC fish were unlikely to venture that close in. I therefore decided on finding three feet of water, which was about two metres from the bank to my right-hand side. Float choice was a 0.2g Carpa Ape and 0.14mm hooklength, a size 16 B911 hook, and 13H elastic completed the setup.
Following an initial feed on my short line, I started the match on my long-pole line, feeding through a small Cad Pot with just a few pellets and a couple of pieces of corn, lowering my rig among the loose offerings. It didn't take too long before my float dipped and my first fish of the day was in my net, a skimmer of about 10oz that had fallen for my pellet hook bait.
My second put-in again produced, this time waiting around 10 minutes for a bite. My first carp of the day was the result and found its way into my net after a spirited fight.
A theme seemed to be emerging and over the next hour I caught another five carp between 1lb and 3lb, by no means prolific but a solid start nonetheless. Feeding a small amount each put-in seemed to be working, or so I thought.
After a good start my fortunes changed and my next three put-ins resulted in the exact same outcome, a similar wait for a bite and then lost fish due to foul hooking. Having attempted to catch off the bottom unsuccessfully, I decided to change the way I was feeding the swim in an attempt to pin the fish to the bottom. They seemed to be coming off the bottom to compete for the bait I was dripping in. I decided to feed solely corn, which sinks quickly, hopefully focusing the fishes’ attentions to feeding on the bottom. Despite this change, it seemed that the commotion the lost fish had caused had killed the swim.
At the mid point of the match I estimated a weight of around 20lb. Although this wasn't too far off the pace I could see that a few people had caught well from the off, including some much bigger carp than those I had caught.
I had fed my short line from the start by hand and the big pot on my cupping kit whenever I felt it necessary. With half the match remaining and my long-pole line in need of a rest, I decided to drop onto my short line. This instantly paid dividends and within a minute of me lowering my rig in I had my first fish from this line. I could tell straightaway that this was a bigger fish and a carp of around 6lb was the result. The next hour saw me go on a good run of fish, catching a mixture of skimmers and carp. The skimmers tended to be around the 1lb mark, whereas the carp ranged between 1lb and 6lb.
During this spell I had more than doubled my overall weight. However, as had happened on my long line, a lost fish due to foul hooking seemed to kill the swim. Strangely I hadn't been missing bites, which is usually the telltale sign that fish have moved off the bottom and made it difficult to read the swim, often only finding out when it was too late!
The final hour wasn't overly productive and it was a case of rotating my three swims trying to pick up what I could and hoping a few fish would settle over one of my lines.
My margin line failed to produce despite dropping onto it at various points throughout the match. However, I did manage to have one more carp from each of my long and short-pole lines in the last 15 minutes to end the match well.
On the all-out I was certain there were better weights than mine, I had caught well in spells but consistency was the issue. I would catch a good run of fish but then the swim would go quiet for long periods. I suspected fish had moved off the bottom at different points of the match but catching them was a different matter and no bites came while trying to target them. This could have been a sign that some are still in winter mode, drifting about off bottom but not actively feeding. Changes to feeding in case fish were competing for bait, to try and get their heads down, also didn't work a lot of the time.
Weights looked pretty consistent all around the 30-peg pool. By the time the scales made there way to me there had already been some good weights on a bitterly cold day. I estimated having between 50lb and 60lb.
I knew that the guy two pegs to my left had caught well all day and this was reflected in his weight of 82lb 4oz. The next biggest at this point was 60lb 8oz with a couple of weights in the 50s and 40s, with the majority falling between the 20lb and 40lb.
My first net went 29lb. An okay start but, knowing I am usually pretty accurate with the splitting of my fish, I expected there to be about the same in my next net. This was confirmed when my next net went 31lb 1oz, giving me a total of 60lb 1oz and putting me into 3rd overall, annoyingly just 7oz off second.
It was not a bad result considering the majority of the day’s competition were regulars and had been fishing in the venue’s winter series for the last couple of months. Despite this, I couldn't help but feel that I should have done better.
Nevertheless, what I have learnt could prove invaluable come the qualifier on March 19th.
1st - M Bettering - 82lb 4oz
2nd - D Hobbis - 60lb 8oz
3rd - J Fowles - 60lb 1oz
4th - R Blease - 54lb 8oz
5th - C Jones - 50lb 4oz
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Moss Farm Fisheries (Maddisons Pool) 09.01.16
Firstly, a happy New Year to all readers of my posts. Hopefully this year will bring even more success and I hope you continue to follow my progress. As always, it is very much appreciated!
My first outing of 2016 saw me take a trip to Moss Farm Fisheries in Irlam, just a six or seven-mile trip up the road for the final round of the winter series that I have been part of and my first opportunity for silverware this year.
People who have read my last couple of posts will be up to date with how I have been getting on in previous rounds of the series, but for those who may have missed them, out of the previous three rounds, I was unavailable for the first (luckily we are able to drop our worst result). That meant the three remaining matches were even more important because there was no room for a poor result. Round 2 saw me finish 2nd in the match, a solid start to my winter series. Round 3, again at Lloyd’s Meadow Fishery, resulted in a silver-fish match win, but only fourth in the overall competition. Not completely disastrous but it did mean that going into the last match I was sitting in second with a group of people just one point behind me in the overall standings. Derek Smith was top of the table at this point. However, he was not fishing the last match and ultimately could not figure in the overall standings.
Having arrived at the venue early I made my way to the on-site café where the draw would be taking place and got myself a full English breakfast, joining a few of the lads who had the same idea. As I mentioned in my last post following my first visit to Moss Farm, the venue has brilliant facilities with the on-site café as well as a tackle shop.
It didn’t take too long before all the expected participants arrived and we began the draw. Before the match I had been advised by people who had fished the venue before that the better pegs were those on the near side of the lake (1 to 7) or closest to the car park. Having not seen the lake before I wasn’t too fussed where I drew, I just knew I needed to do well!
I pulled out Peg 8; apparently the wrong end of the lake but being an end peg I was happy with my pick.
On arrival at Maddisons Pool, the match lake here at Moss Farm Fisheries, I pretty quickly came up with my plan for the match. The lake is a pretty standard canal/snake-type lake, although in places pretty wide. For example, my peg was 16.5 metres to the far side, meaning options are increased slightly from more conventional narrow snake lakes. Setting up the tip rod was an option but in the end I decided to keep it in my bag.
I decided on three main lines: A top two plus two at the bottom of near shelf feeding maggots, using a 0.3g AS3 float, 0.08mm hooklength and a size 18 B911 F1 hook. The second was fished at 11 metres to the bottom of far shelf feeding pellets and dead red maggots, using a 0.4g AS3 float, 0.10mm hooklength and a size 18 B911 F1. The final setup was my far-bank dobbing rig comprising a 0.1g Carpa Ape float, 0.11mm hooklength and size 16 B911 F1 hook.
I kicked the match off by putting a small sprinkling of soaked micro pellets in on my 11m line, along with a few dead red maggots, hoping that when I moved onto this line some fish would have settled over it.
The first rig I picked up was my far-bank dobbing rig, set six inches underdepth with a strung-out shotting pattern to help the bait fall as naturally as possible. I dropped it in on the far side, poking it into gaps in the far-bank foliage and up against the features along the bank.
It took around 20 minutes to get my first bite of the day. This resulted in a carp of around 1lb. My next few put-ins resulted in nothing more than being mithered by small rudd, which were interfering with the bait wherever I dropped it in. To try and avoid this I altered my shotting, but to no avail.
A change was in order and I decided to see if anything had settled over my initial feed at 11 metres. Two dead red maggots was my initial bait of choice and it almost instantly produced, with my float burying after just a couple of minutes; a small yet scrappy carp of around 4oz finding itself in my net following a spirited fight.
Next put in I waited a little longer but again a small carp fell for my hook bait and inevitably ended up in my net. I’d have been happy to continue catching these small carp but that wasn’t to be.
It took 20 minutes to get my next bite, this time a carp of around 3lb; a nice bonus on what looked like it was going to be a tough day!
Following this I struggled to get another bite from this line. A rest was in order, so I topped the swim up with another sprinkling of pellets and moved onto my 2+2 line, where I had been trickling in maggots from the start of the match.
I was expecting bites straightaway from here because it was my line to catch everything and anything – or so I thought. Not a single bite! Not even those pesky rudd had moved in.
At the halfway point I felt I was doing okay. Not many big fish were being caught and most people were ticking over with small silvers with the odd small carp chucked in.
For the next 90 minutes I rotated between my far-bank line and 11m line, picking up plenty of small fish, rudd, roach and small carp of no more than 4oz to 6oz. I could only see the people directly opposite and Jeff on the next peg. He had been catching silvers from the off down the track but had struggled to catch any bonus fish. Will Willows, my main competition in the overall standings, had caught a lot more consistently than me, with a few better carp mixed in. However, apart from him, I could not see that anybody had caught much more than me.
The last hour was simply a case of trying to pick up anything possible. Despite being a hard winter’s day’s fishing, the fact that I didn’t know what I was going to catch next made the venue good fun and I had to work hard for bites; something you have to do if you are going to catch during winter.
In this time I managed another carp of around 2lb and some smaller fish, mainly from my 11metre line, some falling to a 4mm Xpand pellet and some to maggots. I did also manage to catch a couple of chunky roach from my 2+2 line in the closing minutes to finish the match off nicely.
After some trouble with the batteries in the weigh scales, we did eventually manage to get the weigh-in started after one of the carp lads from the neighbouring lake kindly leant us a set of dial scales.
It was noticeable from the first few weighs that the bigger carp hadn’t really shown a great deal, although everybody seemed to have caught plenty of fish.
With four people weighed in, 10lb was winning. Will was next to weigh in and easily took the lead when his mixed net of fish took the scales round to 21lb 6oz. I knew I hadn’t done enough to beat that but as long as he didn’t finish more than one position above me we would be level on points.
Following a weight of 7lb coming from the peg to my right it was my turn. I had guessed at between 10lb and 12lb and wasn’t too far wrong when the scales read 12lb 8oz, putting me into 2nd place at this point. However, there were still seven people to weigh in and if anybody came anywhere between Will and me, I would drop down the overall standings.
Jeff Stoll and Pete Mahoney were next to weigh in on the two pegs directly to my left. Strangely, both weighed in with 6lb. Following these, other weights on this side of the lake included 8lb and 5lb.
With just Paul Ryan to weigh in on the end peg the standings hadn’t changed, with Will and I still sitting top of the overall league and 1st and 2nd on the day.
Paul had fancied himself on this venue and was confident before the match that he would do well and rightly so, when his net of carp put him into 1st place with 24lb 6oz, a great weight on a tough day!
This dropped Will and me down a place but, more importantly, kept the gap to one position between us. Noticeably, Paul’s fish were of a much better stamp than anybody else’s. Having asked him after the match how he caught, it’s safe to say his experience on the venue was his edge.
In the end I was 3rd overall on the day and had done just enough to secure first place overall in the winter series, sharing the spoils with Will.
1st – Paul Ryan – 24lb 6oz
2nd – Will Willows – 21lb 6oz (Sec)
3rd – Jake Fowles – 12lb 8oz (Sec)
4th – Mike Dench – 10lb
5th – Simon Evans – 8lb
6th – Arthur Plumb – 7lb 12oz
7th – Dale Shingler – 7lb
8th – Jeff Stoll/Pete Mahoney – 6lb
10th – David Smith – 4lb 14oz
It was a typical winter’s day fishing at Moss Farm Fisheries; hard work yet everybody managed to catch plenty of fish. The venue has a great setup with really good facilities I would definitely recommend it.
It was a nervy last match but in the end I managed to do enough to secure the overall league title and collect my first piece of silverware of the year, hopefully the first of many!
A big thank you to Paul Ryan and Simon Evans who have run a really enjoyable series over the last four months and to both Lloyds Meadow Fishery and Moss Farm Fisheries for accommodating the matches!
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