A Great Week At Stafford Moor!

Drennan Bordon’s Ian Dixon reports back from an enjoyable So Simple Silvers Festival fished at the beautiful Stafford Moor Fisheries in Devon.

The top four (from left): Ian Dixon, Will Raison, Mark Goddard and Des Shipp with owner Andy Seery.
The top four (from left): Ian Dixon, Will Raison, Mark Goddard and Des Shipp with owner Andy Seery.

I hadn’t been to Stafford Moor for quite some time, so was really looking forward to a week of pure silvers fishing and meeting up again with one of fishing’s true nice guys – owner and Staffy supremo, Andy Seery.

Having arrived in time for the Sunday carp open match, I decided better of it and plumbed instead for a bit of ‘silvers’ practice on Peg 5 on Pines Lake, along with my travelling companion Dave Johnson. It was a pleasure to sit and take silverfish after silverfish from this prolific multi-species venue. It helped set me up for Monday’s practice match, which as it happened saw me draw unfavourably on Tanners peg 6, so enough of that!

Day One

Come Tuesday morning, things seemingly looked up when I pulled out peg 20 on Woodpecker which I was told was a good draw. Yeah, heard that before! As it happened, the info was actually spot on as I won the lake and section with over 55lb of skimmers!

I had decided to fish chopped worm at six metres, a positive groundbait and micro pellet line at 13 metres to my right at a 2 o’clock angle and another, more negative swim straight in front of me at 14.5 metres.

I started with choppy at first but was getting little response, so I went over to my positive 13m line, which I had fed with three balls of Bag ’em Finesse Green and a pot full of micros. I did say it was a positive line! In contrast, my negative line saw only a pinch of micros and a small ball of groundbait.

The response on the positive 13m swim was immediate and I proceeded to take skimmers up to 1lb-plus. With the knowledge that they wanted grub, I re-fed the 14.5m line more positively and spent the day alternating between both swims, refeeding each as the bites dried up. The worm line was shelved for the duration!

It was quite satisfying to weigh in 55lb and even more satisfying to push Dorking’s Mark Goddard into second place on the lake. He would bounce back later, though!


Day Two

Three lakes were used for the festival (Pines, Tanners & Woodpecker) and I had drawn Tanners peg 30 for Day Two. It had produced only 12lb in the practice match, but today it was an end peg… so things were building up nicely.

Again, I followed a similar format to Day One with a choppy/caster line at six metres and micros and groundbait on 13 and 14.5m lines at 10 and 2 o’clock angles. I also added a right hand margin line, as I was end peg, which I fed with just chopped worm. The 14.5m swim was positive and was fed identical to Day One, as was the negative 13m line.

Starting off at six metres, I took a couple of small roach on worm. As this line looked to be going nowhere, I had a quick look down the edge and took a couple of decent roach and two ‘sprats’, so fed some more chop and went out to 14.5 metres for a couple of skimmers, re-fed then went back down the edge for more roach and a decent 1.5lb skimmer. That was before Mr Carp put in an appearance and effectively ended my options there!

For the rest of the day I alternated between both long-pole lines and caught steadily in spells, eventually weighing in 43lb and swapping my Day One place with Mark Goddard, who beat me by 4lb.

Again, it had been a lovely day’s fishing and a 2nd in section gave me 3pts, tying with Mark. Will Raison had drawn spot on, yet again, and racked up another section win to go with his first day score. Des Shipp was dangerous as ever on 4pts.


Day Three

It was onto Pines for the penultimate day and peg 24, which was round the back on the causeway with Woodpecker. I was effectively out on my own with only Adam Lee far to my left in corner peg 28. The high causeway bank behind me was quite awkward, so I opted for just three lines: 5m slightly to my right, 13m straight in front and 14.5m to my left at about at a 10 o’clock angle.

Because the two previous days had been a success with pellet over micros and grounbait, I remained confident that today would prove no different. Even so, I still hedged my bets by feeding both 5m and 13m swims lightly, while creating a more heavily fed area at 14.5 metres.

I began on the 5m line and picked up a few skimmers quite quickly, but began swapping between the longer lines after a short while. After two and a half hours things were coming to an end close in, so I concentrated more on the two longer swims. Unfortunately, every time I fed these lines, carp would move in and mess everything up! Perseverance with a 50/50 mix of GB and micros through a Kinder cup, saw me net a good stamp of skimmers. This brought a run of good skimmers, but also tempted the carp back in!

I had still bagged a good haul of skimmers by my reckoning, but only the weigh in would confirm that. Surprise, surprise, my net went 42lb and gained me my second section win, and also the heaviest weight on the day. It was tight though, as Adam Lee on peg 28, had weighed in 41lb!

William Raison was by now the favourite to take the title, but it was possible that I might finish in the top two given a decent draw. Mark Goddard had dropped points by finishing third behind myself and Adam, so the leaderboard was now William on 3pts, myself on 4pts, Mark on 6pts and Des on 7pts. It was all down to the draw going in to the last day!


Day 4

Ian Dixon with a fine net of Stafford Moor silvers.
Ian Dixon with a fine net of Stafford Moor silvers.

The final day’s draw was a random one across both Tanners and Woodpecker. William showed once more that at the draw bag he has few equals by drawing peg 34 on Tanners for the second day running! His 40lb-plus net the previous day would now set him up for an incredible clean sweep… and he didn’t even need to put on new rigs!

My turn to draw came and out popped peg 5 on Tanners – perhaps the worse draw possible! My travelling partner Dave had drawn it the day before and Steve Collins the day before that and both had finished each day last in the whole match. Not a good omen! With Mark and Des drawing well on Woody, it looked as though I would get dumped out of the top four, never mind finishing in it!

Arriving at my peg, I decided to fish as long as possible with two swims at 16 metres and one at five metres. It was not looking good as the light was poor and carp were topping everywhere. Good job I managed to tie a load of hooks the night before!

Both 16m lines where again fed with a positive and negative strategy with micros and GB. Starting close with casters I managed a few small roach before the inevitable carp invasion happened, which effectively put paid to this line. Even my 16m lines were not immune from their attention, but I persevered and in between them I managed to pick up a 1lb skimmer but I was running out of options… and time!

I decided to chop up some worms and feed them with a tiny amount of GB (just enough to form a small ball) at five metres and quietly potted it in, so as not to attract any unwelcome guests!

After 15 minutes I netted a good 1lb-plus skimmer before those gatecrashers arrived again. I kept plugging away and picked up the odd tench and some better skimmers. By the weigh in I’d managed just 16lb and thought that last place in the section was on the cards.

As the scales went around the lake, it was confirmed that William had, unsurprisingly, won the section from peg 34. What was more of a surprise was that I’d beaten four others to earn five section points. Would this be enough? Mark and Des where on Woody and they had finished 1st and 3rd respectively, so all may not have been lost…


The Result

Totting up the final scores saw William Raison with a clear 4pt win. Mark Goddard kept up his good run with that last section win and a total of seven points. I managed to keep my head in front of Des Shipp by just one point for a (very relieved) 3rd place overall. Apart from that last-day draw, the fishing was brilliant all week and I’ll certainly be looking at next year’s event!

Stafford Moor website.