Fortune Favours The Brave

Wayne Swinscoe explains how a bold, single-minded attack with hemp and tares lead to a match winning net from the River Trent.

Wayne Swinscoe and his 21lb winning catch of roach from the River Trent.

After two days of the Burton Festival I was disappointed to be out of the running as far as the overall title was concerned, even though I’d caught double figures of fish on both days.

The last day offered me a chance to redeem myself, however. I drew at Shardlow on the Navigation Board. It had produced 10lb of roach the previous day on ‘wag and mag’ (one of my favourite methods), but I wasn’t having any of that. I’d decided an all-out hemp and tare attack was the way to go and thought that gave me the best chance of winning.

The peg was a lot shallower than I thought, only about 4ft at 14.5 metres of my Acolyte pole, plus the bank behind me was very undulating and high , so it was going to be a very hard working day!

Two top 4s were set up; one with a 4×16 rig to a size 16 Polemaster Wide Gape hook and 0.08mm line, the other rig was a 4×14 set up the same. Both rigs were a full top 4.

I also set my up 15 ft Acolyte Ultra float rod with a 3 No4 lignum stick float shotted shirt-button style with No8s, again to a size 16 hook. This was to cover the downstream part of my peg.

All Wayne ad on his side tray was hemp and tares!
All Wayne ad on his side tray was hemp and tares!

It was a bold move to start with hemp from the off. I started on the pole just to get the right distance for feeding and was amazed to start catching after just 10 minutes.

The fish were right up on the loose feed. The peg was really pacey and I was feeding quite heavily with 20 to 30 grains a cast plus a few tares now and again. Roach from 6oz to 12oz were coming steadily but as the sun broke though the clouds the peg suddenly died.

Switching to the stick float kept in touch with the roach when the sun came out.

A few changes were made and I tried different rigs but nothing really happened. A swap to the stick float rod with tares brought an immediate reaction. The fish had clearly dropped downstream a few yards, probably spooked by the shadow of a pole in the bright sunlight.

This was pattern that repeated itself all match. I managed to keep the fish coming virtually to the whistle. I suppose it was more of a steady catch rate than bagging, but I ended up with around 55 roach for 21lb 6oz, a lovely day’s fishing and a match win!

Would I have been so positive if I’d have been in contention for the Festival? Who knows…