I recently fished the Maver Larford Lakes silver fish festival, after practising the week prior on the Wednesday with traveling partner Lee Kerry I thought we were going to be in for a great competition as the specimen lake was fishing very well.
Catching around fifty pounds of Skimmers on both pole and feeder it really did look promising but what we didn’t realise is how the weather would deteriorate from that day onwards to the point that on the last match the lake was partly frozen!
Arriving at the draw on Monday the talk was all about how difficult it had been over the weekend but undeterred the forty anglers all made a draw and my starting section D was to be on the high, far bank. Peg 72 was in the middle of the section where the pegging was quite tight and I felt it would affect the fishing. Although I fed a pole line with four mil pellets for skimmers just in case the fish did come onto it, I felt it was always going to be a feeder match to do any good.
I started the match with a Drennan four square Stainless Oval cage feeder mini with about 15grams of extra lead super glued to the base, casting thirty five turns to clip was to be my starting point and looking to move further out as the day wore on to keep in touch with the fish. My groundbait was a 50/50 mix of Sensas Crazy bait IM5 Betaine green that has a high fishmeal content and 1bag of F1-Tench commercial groundbait for the skimmers. Adding just the very odd caster to the feeder and dead maggot and fishing various hook baits like single dead red or bunches of dead pinkies, I settled down to be patient only recasting every twenty minutes.
I knew something was wrong after an hour I had not had a sign, after two hours I had mustered just one skimmer so decided to move out to 45 turns of the reel and re clipped up there. I did manage two bites from this spot, both were Carp at 14lb for the pair but being a silverfish match, only counted as two pound: Not what I was looking for!
I finished last in the ten peg section with 5lb, Matt Piley next peg to me had come second in the section with 18lb of skimmers to make matters even worse, but I really didn’t know what had gone wrong. That was my festival over at that point so I was then just fishing to win the match each day to reap some reward, on the bright side Lee had won his section with 10lb of Roach on the pole in B section so at least he was still in the hunt.
Next day I was in B section the most difficult so was only fishing to win the section on the day as it was almost impossible to make the frame. What a difference a day makes, the Roach had shut up shop and my one skimmer on the tip left me in fifth with 1lb 8oz on peg 28 in the section. Tommy Pickering winning the 10peg sections with a brilliant 17lb from peg 23 all skimmers on the tip. No one could put any fish together at my end of the section and I felt the cold weather had really tightened up the few fish that were feeding.
Wednesday it was my turn to be on the better section C and with the wind blowing slightly across the lake it was much more comfortable and I felt if I didn’t catch on this section I was doing something seriously wrong. Incidentally Richie Hull had drawn my peg from day one and only had 2lb so this made me feel a little more confident that my tactics were not too wrong. I did make a couple of small changes one being I scrapped the feeder being in a loop and changed to a fixed paternoster rig with a two foot tail, casting fifty turns to a clip was my revised plan and I had suffered a couple of tangles when forcing the feeder to a bigger distance. When you are sitting up to 20 minutes waiting for a bite the rig must not be tangled as that’s time wasted.
Using the same feeder I cast out at the start and just sat patiently, my first bite coming after 15minutes and a Skimmer was safely in the net. Five casts in the first hour and four fish, followed by four in the second hour things and were looking good then the action slowed. I decided to move lines but instead of going out further I moved a few yards to the left towards my spare peg. This resulted in three more fish but the last hour was without a bite. I felt I had fished a good match only missing one bite and never lost a fish all week even off the size twenty Drennan Silverfish Maggot barbless that I now love for this type of fishing. 17lb was just enough to win the match on the day and it really had fished extremely hard, Lee was in my section on this day as the sections were randomised so the anglers were in different sections every day. Lee was second with 15lb but still had chance to make the frame with a 1, 2 and a 4 to count.
Day four with the top end of the lake frozen was never going to be a good match with a cold wind blowing into the Bure Bank, I drew a good peg but could only muster 10lb. Andy Mores won the section with 18lb but with four fish on his first four casts again the fish were tight together. Tommy Pickering put in a faultless display of feeder fishing to win with 6points wining also the last match and Lee did well to finish fourth so we had a few quid to share. Andy Mores was second and Grant Albutt third to celebrate his call up to the World Feeder team, Congratulations, mate. I will probably fish this again next year as I feel it could be good given some better weather!
Thank you to Match Fishing Magazine.