"Recently I spent a few days in Peterborough competing at a well-known venue called Decoy Lakes in the Fens. The first day was practice as we, the London Central team, had never seen the fishery before. After gleaning some information from Kevin Wilmot from TCF magazine, I was confident that the Strip lakes would suit my style of fishing - and it did.
I was soon into carp and barbel of good size and it was clear that too much feed put the fish back, while under feeding attracted more bites. Day two we had a 12 man knock up with all of us in a line and the skipper placed us into what pegs he wanted. My 0.5g float and 6mm expander pellet was soon gobbled up as I started to amass a decent weight of carp from 2lbs up to around 7lbs+. As I tuned into the venue and went into the zone, I was unaware that behind me a gallery of anglers started to build up and while I was enjoying myself, I was also entertaining a small crowd that also contained competitors over the next two days.
The other teams had started to arrive and news soon got round that I was emptying the place - hence the sneaky little so and so’s from the West Midlands team, sneaking a little too near, to clock what baits I was using and the make-up of my rigs. Of course, once the penny dropped what was going on around me, I started to ease off - I did not want to reveal any more tips on how to fish the lake.
At the weigh in I scaled 135lbs 14oz with 96lbs being the nearest weight. The next day, with a draw of Oaks 28, it put me at the wrong end of the lake and with the wind blowing hard into my face, making pole presentation almost impossible in the last two hours of the match. I weighed in 46lbs to win my side of the lake and a section win, but I was cheesed off as I knew if I was on the other side of the lake it would have been a different scenario as only 99lbs won the 74 pegger.
A team effort
On the team event draw, I drew Oaks again but this time on the other bank and I was rubbing my hands in expectation of a big weight, as I had been drawn down the end of the lake, spot on. After a hearty breakfast I drove off to the venue and when I climbed out of my car I was gobsmacked to feel that the wind had changed direction and was blowing even harder right down the lake. I caught early and it looked good, but then the flow started running against the wind direction and I started to foul hook fish. My match went downhill with a weight of 42lbs putting me fifth out of 12 in my section. We finished second in the team event, behind the Yorkshire lads who put in a great performance and deserved the win. Next year we are off to a place called Solhampton Fishery near Worcester to try to put things right."
“Last week I held a 32 peg open on the Old Lake at Bury Hill as part of the run up to Autumn Silvers festival on 20 and 21of September; where 50 anglers will be competing in what is sure to be another enjoyable event. I managed a good draw to secure fifth place with 45lbs 8oz of bream on the feeder as the fish just would not come over the pole line and I can only imagine that the reason for that, was the rain we had suffered the previous day pushing the shoals back into the deeper open water. Adam Lee fished a fine match to win on the day with 61lbs 1oz. The performance of the match was from 14-year-old Bradley Gibbons from Berkshire who came third with a creditable 53lbs 6oz of feeder-caught bream. Last Sunday was the third round of KAL at Orchard Farm in Kent and, fresh from my win on the Rother, I was not really looking forward to it as with 54 anglers on a 60 peg lake, the tiddly F1’s were going to prove even more finicky to catch. The round was a disaster as my team NDP10 finished last on the day and my 32lbs 8oz got me nowhere, as Dean Lock recorded the only ton up bag to win with 114lbs.
A better day
The following day I was back at Monk Lakes fishing a 20 peg open on Lake Two and drew peg 77 for the first time- which is one of the form pegs. The wind was blowing in the other direction so I was a bit concerned, as the fish do follow the wind but I caught steady without going mad, to put 51 fish in the net for 157lbs and sixth place. With carp up to 6lbs and barbel up to 4lbs it was a very enjoyable match which blew the cobwebs away from the previous day’s disaster.
A guest spot
This Sunday I am guesting for my old team Sport One in the Rye teams of four on the River Rother and by all reports the river is still gin clear. No doubt it will be another difficult match but I am still looking forward to spending another day on my favourite river. My diary in September is solid and starting next week I am off to Decoy Lakes in Peterborough for the Barclays National individual and team event which I am very much looking forward to. With two days of practice and two match days it is going to be a nice break on a venue I have not seen before and with news of barbel stocked in the entire match lakes, let battle with the whiskers commence! Tight Lines.”
“Last week I competed in my club's three day festival at Monk Lakes in Kent with the first day being held on Bridges Lakes.
We were allocated probably the worst pegs on the lake and a draw further up the lake was needed for a good weight and with a draw of peg three, I was at the wrong end to win the day. When all the wind started to blow across from right to left as the match progressed, the bites became very finicky with small skimmers playing havoc with presentation. I was nicking the odd fish here and there with the occasional bream of 2lbs being a bonus and one tench of a 1lb plus but with just fewer than 30lbs; I came fourth on the day with 32lbs good enough for second spot. The easy winner was Andy Goldthorpe with 86lbs.
A confident day two
Day two saw us on Lake Two, where I drew permanent peg 49 again up against some much better pegs but I do well on the lake and with some recent big ton weights already on this lake I was confident I could make some headway. Feeding my margin lines and then left to settle down I caught the odd carp on my six metre line out in front of me for the first two hours and when it was time to move in on my margin lines all hell broke loose as it was barbel time. With the odd lumpy carp in the mix I had a busy last two hours putting 70lbs in the net for a final total of 129lbs for second place, no match for Andy who again won on the day with 168lbs of big carp. This put me third overall just one point from second but had the luxury of a four point cushion from those below and with a top four pay out to aim for, a good enough result on day three should secure some winnings.
A close finish
Lake Three was the lake for the final day, a moody lake with a good draw essential for a big weight or two. I drew peg 106; not good as again I was on the wrong end of the lake and I counted seven much better pegs to contend with. It was a very slow day for me and with an hour to go I had thoughts that I was going to blow my four point cushion and miss out on the frame. I had just 28 carp in the net and was not confident that I had made my target from the peg of 100lbs which I felt was needed to frame. The draw had put paid to me trying to fish for second so it was a case of damage limitations and my weight of 95lbs was bettered by weights of 97lbs, 99lbs, 128lbs, 157lbs and 162lbs giving me sixth place on the day but thankfully good enough to hold onto third overall by one point.
It was an enjoyable three days and the local B&B called ‘The Granary’ where I stayed made for a pleasant break all round. Roll on my next festival next month where I am off to Decoy Lakes in Peterborough for a few days of more fishing, can’t wait.
"Last Sunday I competed in the second round of the Kent Angling League, on the River Rother in Sussex between Iden Lock to Newbridge and I make it no secret that the Rother is my favourite river with plenty of team points and section wins knocked up over the past few seasons.
Banter by the water
Last Sunday I had a feature appear in MatchFishing magazine which clearly indicated how I approach my matches on the river; plus on my http://www.youtube.com/user/RussEvans1 angling channel I also have some film footage showing again how I fish the river with rigs, baits an approach openly discussed in front of the camera. The river as I found out earlier in the month is gin clear and fishing very hard so I knew it was going to take a good effort to put a few pounds on the scales and when I drew the first peg F9 at Newbridge I knew I had a good chance of winning the match. A few of the opposing lads had seen the article and passed comment -banter style- but I knew they were trying to put me under pressure with their mind games as I was in a good peg. I am too long in the tooth to fall their games and being confident on a venue makes all the difference and I casually smiled at all of their remarks. With 54 anglers taking part it was worth winning and I set up all my tackle and prepared my bait with even more confidence as I was very keen to back up my feature with a good performance.
With the water clear I did not ball in at the start as I normally do but cupped out four big balls of my black groundbait mix with loads of chopped worm. I fed my eel line but felt it was not the right conditions, never the less I had to feed it as I might need to give the line a go. A few minutes into the match I was catching some small beak but then my first small skimmer came some 15 minutes in and I knew that was a good sign. During the match I could see a few whips going up and down so I knew some of my section rivals were after the bleak, but as I caught more and more skimmers, bigger as the match went on I knew providing no one had found some big slabs I was going to go close. Confident that I was going to win the section anyway from any peg I got my head down and worked my socks off for the win and by the time the scales had come to my peg just 7lbs 4oz was winning the section. I knew I had reached my target weight for the Rother which is double figures and when the scales stopped on 11lbs 15oz, it was another section win under the belt.
Word had spread around that the river had fished hard as I knew it would and my weight was the only double figure weight recorded with 7lbs 4oz the nearest. A cracking win for my team and a very enjoyable and satisfying round win for me.
“I sometimes wonder how I manage to fit it all in, but this week has been another busy week for me with two matches, an Anglers Mail Action Replay feature in the bag plus finding the time to write some features for UK and European magazines and finish the editing for the next part of The Obsessed Angler series, but I have. The week started with a section second at Framfield in Sussex on Brookhouse Lake during the latest round of my club’s championship, it fished hard, it was quite cold and wet and in my weight of just 44lbs I caught my first ever catfish of around 1lbs on a piece of worm. Hopefully it will be my last as they along with Sturgeon are way down on my list of fish I want to catch but saying that I have been approached to film on a lake that holds Cats of up to 60lbs, so I am thinking long and hard before committing to an answer.
The following day I got soaked again down at Monk Lakes in Kent where I was targeting barbel for the Anglers Mail Action Replay cameras, it was as I predicted to the AM a busy and frantic feature with elastic stretching out in all directions and the feature should be out in print within the next few weeks, needless to say, like the recent filming I did at the fishery the fish just kept coming and the tactics and bait worked a treat.
Later that day I heard news from the editor of Sport-Rybolov which is one of the Czechoslovakian angling magazines I write for, that I had made the front cover of their June issue so I am well chuffed about that and with three features already printed in Sport-Rybolov and Noviny magazines I have also been asked to write a Carp feature for their Karpmania magazine which is already on their news desk. Last year I did a feature on the River Rother for MatchFishing magazine and that feature will appear in next month’s edition so if you buy that particular mag keep an eye out for it, it was a good day.
The Obsessed Angler
The next part of my The Obsessed Angler series will be out around the 20 June where I visited Monk Lakes to target the barbel hence the title ‘Stillwater Barbel’ and whilst filming I had a PB Ide, all caught on film plus eight other species, it was a brilliant day and the action on this 50 minute DVD is busy to say the least. I am also pleased to announce that Part 5 Tench is available to view on Onlinefishing.tv with the other four parts on fishingcinema.tv. Next week I plan to film another part solely dedicated to my favourite species Crucian Carp and I can’t wait to get stuck in.
The week ended with a second overall in the Ralph Mankelow Memorial match with 39lbs 12oz with Nick Cannings winning the match with 41lbs 1oz. I had lots of carp but all of small stamp and that bonus fish I needed did just not show on what was another drizzly and wet day. To crown off a busy week I am on the verge of signing up with a new bait sponsor to help promote a new match range that they want to bring out in the next few months, Sticky Baits is the name and they are going places quick and fast.
“Now that the weather has picked up and the water temperatures have increased plus all the marginal growth like reeds, bushes and lily pads have sprung into life so have the anglers and the angling trade is all smiles again for at least the next few months until late autumn when all the fair weather anglers retreat back into the armchair for winter. But that is nothing new and will always be the case so I say to all, enjoy while you can.
Enjoying the river bank
I always enjoy myself when I am on the river banks or lake side as I am doing what I like doing best, competing, filming, target fishing, pleasure angling or doing magazine work where I am under pressure to deliver the goods. By mixing up my angling duties I always feel my next trip is different as it can be quite easy to get in a rut of doing the same thing time after time and as they say variety is the spice of life. This week I will be back on the lake side of Monk Lakes in Kent filming the next part of my angling series The Obsessed Angling plus doing a short film for Anglers Mail TV to help promote an Action Replay feature for the paper I have planned for June 6, where I will be targeting barbel on the pole. The filming and the feature will be fast and furious as the barbel are in many numbers and I can’t wait to get stuck into what will be plenty of pole elastic stretching action for the cameras, it could well turn out to be the best of the series to date which will be just fine as I aim to push the series as much as possible. Angling needs more up to date and current shows with latest techniques, screened to reach the large angling audience which for most tend to watch more angling shows than actually fish themselves, I guess it is their way of getting their angling fix. With part five, ‘Tench’ now out on DVD I have to say I am very pleased with the feedback I have had from the viewing public and the email responses asking questions about the series have been great and very rewarding. Being screened on www.fishingcinema.tv and TENCH soon to be screen on www.onlinefishing.tv has helped the cause of The Obsessed Angler and whilst the interest is still there I will continue to make more of the series over the following months.
Disabled Angling’s Team GB
I was approached a couple of months ago by the Disabled Angling Association about their intentions to set up a TEAM GB squad of anglers to represent the United Kingdom in future disabled angling events, some of which are held on International venues. Worried that my lack of time would not allow me to put the 100% effort into the role of TEAM COACH I thought long and hard about whether I would be able to give the position the commitment needed and after some recent discussions about time scales and meet ups to put the team into place I am happy to say that I have accepted the role and look forward to help putting a successful team together in the forthcoming months. With the hope of attracting sponsors for the team to help put everything into place the Disable AA team are already busy contacting potential sponsors outside of the angling trade as well.
“Recently I organised a two day festival at Bury Hill Fishery and this is my report of the events.
Ton up Steve hangs on to early lead
Bury Hill Fishery hosted another spring two day festival with a good turnout of 47 anglers taking part on the Old Lake at this famous fishery in Surrey. Event organiser Russ Evans was pleased with the turnout although three late drop outs prevented the maximum field he was looking for with the whole lake in use for the first time for a silvers festival. With a quality field taking part it was going to need some big weights to clinch the overall weight event and on day one the festival record was smashed by Steve O’Rourke who had a great day on the long pole catching bream, skimmers and tench for a brilliant 145lbs 7oz, 47 fish, from end peg 75. Steve was second from last at the draw bag and everyone knew the peg was going to throw up a good weight as some good practice catches were taken from behind the island pegs leading up to the festival. Catching on soft pellet over pellet and groundbait Steve confessed to his day as being one of the easiest day’s fishing he has had and got a bite on virtually every put out. Geoff Vallence a past winner of the event drew peg 35 on the long bank and feeder fished his way to 81lbs 2oz of bream and tench using a groundbait feeder and pellet attack casting two thirds over to the island.
Third place went to Chris Nicholls on peg 39 who caught a string of bream plus the odd tench late in the match on the long pole using corn and pellet over groundbait to put 73lbs 9oz on the scales.
Result day one
1 Steve O’Rourke (Nash Peg One) 145lbs 7oz
2 Geoff Vallence (P.I Delcac) 81lbs 2oz
3 Chris Nicholls (Garbolino Apollo) 73lbs 9oz
4Jason Weir (Guildford AC) 70lbs 12oz
5 Tony Lock (Garbolino Apollo 64lbs 8oz
6Lee Perry (Carshalton DAS) 52lbs 8oz
With a 60lbs plus lead from Day 1 Steve O’Rourke just needed a decent weight to help seal the festival and when he drew peg 43 along the long bank, Steve knew he needed to work a bit harder to put some fish into the net and he did just that with 28lbs 12oz to give him a final total of 174lbs 3oz and total festival winnings of £530. Nearest challenger Geoff Vallence drew peg 70 which was a good draw and using similar tactics as the previous day put 24 bream in the net for a day winning 75lbs 4oz to close the gap on the leader but his total of 156lbs 6oz put him approx. 6 bream short of winning, Geoff picked up a total of £550. Chris Nicholls put in another good performance from peg 26 using pole and pellet on two lines to put bream and tench in the net for 61lbs giving him a total good enough for third placed overall in the festival and collected £390 for his troubles. Third on day two was Andy Turner who feeder fished his way most of the time to a handy 60lbs 10oz of bream, skimmers and tench with hair rigged corn gaining most of his bites and action.
Result day two
1 Geoff Vallence (P.I Delcac) 75lbs 4oz
2Chris Nicholls (Garbolino Apollo) 61lbs 0oz
3Andy Turner (Carshalton DAS) 60lbs 10oz
4Billy McKinley (Bury Hill) 57lbs 0oz
5Tony Barthomlew (Anchor Croydon) 56lbs 4oz
6 Steve Gardener (Milo) 54lbs 10oz
Overall Top Six
1 Steve O’Rourke 174lbs 3oz (£350)
2 Geoff Vallence 156lbs 6oz (£230)
3 Chris Nicholls 133lbs 10oz (£150)
4Billy McKinley 95lbs 12oz (£130)
5Lee Perry 95lbs 9oz (£100)
6Don Garnish 95lbs 9oz
The next Silvers Festival will be on 20 and 21 September 2011, £80 all in and to book in please call Russ on 01306 883621.”
“With British summertime now finally with us and water temperatures on the increase it won’t be long before the Crucian Carp start to go on the feed in numbers. I have been lucky enough to fish many lakes and ponds over the years that hold these cracking little fish and to date my personal best is a superb fish of 3lbs 14oz which popped up during a match on the Old Lake at Bury Hill two seasons back. The one thing to remember when targeting the crucians is to make sure your terminal end tackle is presented in a light and delicate manner as the crucian do feed in a finicky manner. Any resistance felt and they will blow the hook bait back out which is why many bites they give are little rises and dips in the float. One of the main reasons why I love fishing for the crucians is because sometimes they drive me made especially when they are in a really finicky mood. The bite can sometimes take up to three to five minutes before they decide to take the bait and bury the float and then on other occasions they will hit the bait instantly providing instant bites and plenty of action.
Crucians love soft pellets
Crucians love soft pellets as it is an easy meal for them to suck in and digest so when I fish for them in the spring and summer months I pump up 4mm RS Elite expanders to use on the hook and for feeding I soak 3mm skretting pellets overnight which come up all soft and fluffy which are ideal. The key however is not to overfeed with the soft micro pellets as you can quickly feed them up too much and when this happens the bites dry up and become almost unhittable. If I am using a pole to fish for them which is probably the best way to tackle them I feed via a small pole cup and put just a pinch of feed pellets in the cup and tip them out over my dotted down pole float every now and then to keep them interested.
0.13mm diameter pole lines and 0.11mm hook lengths are fine with a size 18’s or 16’s hook just perfect for the 4mm expanders. A very sensitive and light float is also needed to show up any small indication of a bite and with all that in place the final and most important thing to do is plumb the depth of your peg accurately enough so when you slide the float up a further two inches you know for sure that you are fishing two inches over depth which is one of the best ways to tackle up for the crucians. The last and vital thing to do is place a dropper shot two inches away from the hook so when a crucian picks up the bait to either move away or lift the bait up by dislodging the shot nearest to the hook will make the float either go under or lift thus indicating a more positive bite.
A great many crucians
I have had up to 70 odd crucians in a session before on many occasions fishing this way as the set-up is so sensitive it will show any sign of a bite and the next thing to do is strike immediately as you know the fish as the bait in its mouth. Give it a try!
This week I am off to Hartleylands for the next round of the KAL and with a coaching lesson midweek to do it is going to be another busy week, full of fish I hope.
“I have to admit, I was dreading last Sunday’s first club match of the season as it was on lake one at Monk Lakes and after the previous weeks struggle I had during the Kent Angling League, it was going to another tough match.
Lake one had a few problems last season and the fishery is slowly increasing the fish stocks back to match levels; so with bites at a premium especially at this time of the season I had learned some lessons from the week before and my plan was to concentrate on the tip.
I drew peg 14, which put me on permanent peg 25 and with a few rushes down the edge, I also decided to set up a close in margin line, just in case a few fish moved in later in the day. As I was walked off to my peg I found out en route that I was drawn on the Golden peg, which meant that if I won the match I would then scoop a pool that had been accumulating over the past few matches, bit like a rollover. With nearly £200 in the pot plus match day pools, I had a good incentive to try just that little bit harder to tempt some match winning bites. I set myself a target of 20lb which I thought would put me in with a chance and with three small carp in the net after the first hour (all from the tip) I was putting myself in with a shout, as word from around the lake were anglers were struggling for a bite.
I had to keep switching my baits to get a bite with worm being the best bait on the day for a decent fish. Whilst I was fishing the tip trying to keep warm as the wind was blowing into the side of my face, I kept a trickling of red maggots going in on my pole line. Midway in the match I had six carp ranging from 1lb to nearly 2lb plus and with others on three to five fish it was still a close call and I had to keep working my peg for that bonus fish.
A try down the margin line produced two small chublets but at least I was adding to my weight and when I put two tench in the net as well I was happy that my margin line was starting to kick into life. Resting each line for the rest of the match I had a cracking golden tench of 2lb which really set me on my way as I then had my biggest carp of the match on the pole around the 4lb mark. I started to feel confident aided by the fact that my rivals had stopped catching; I was opening up a nice lead as I continued to build my weight with further chublets, tench and an ice perch.
The final whistle
At the final whistle I had seven carp, five tench plus some silvers for 25lb 13oz on a cold and demanding match but just over 14lb being good enough for second place. I ran out an easy winner picking up match day and golden peg pools on the day plus an early lead in the club championship.
After a couple of recent disappointments it was good to get my head in front and with eyes peeled on the scales at the weigh in I knew for sure that this time I was the clear winner.
My coaching lessons start next week and I have been pleased that I have been booked in for quite a few one to one and two to one lessons already, which is good as normally the enquiries don’t start coming in until the weather warms up, it’s good to be in demand as they say.
All four parts of The Obsessed Angler DVD series are now showing on www.fishingcinema.tv with the latest part Winter Carp now out on sale in the shop at Bury Hill, or available to buy via PayPal by contacting me at [email protected]
“I have just caught a dace. A solitary silver dace. Not a chub, but a dace.
They can get mixed up, I know. Sometimes a dace can be mistaken for a small chub. But I have the eyes of an expert where issues like this are concerned. I have never caught a large dace and you may argue that this dace, this seven ounce dace, was not a large dace. However, I want you to think again.
The British record dace as I was growing up weighed in at a mighty one pound, four ounces and four drams. It was caught in 1960 by a Mr Glasson. My seven ounce dace was over a third of that weight.
Let us consider the blue marlin. The world rod-caught record weighed in at one thousand eight hundred and five pounds. A blue marlin weighing a third of that would weigh over six hundred pounds. I have never fished for a marlin, nor am I likely to, but you have to say a 600 pound fish is a big fish – a very big fish indeed.
Incidentally, my seven ounce dace was caught within sight of a tackle shop. You can see it over the road in the accompanying picture.
I almost took the fish into the shop to show it off in the net, but then I realised it would be wrong on so many levels.
1) I would be laughed at.
2) A fish should never see the inside of a tackle shop.
3) It might not have weighed as much as seven ounces when weighed on their scales.
4) It might have been a chub.
So I placed the net gently back into the water, lowered it, and I watched my biggest dace to date swim off over the rim. I loved the way he immediately turned right into the water and darted off upstream away from the tackle shop. I watched him as he sped into the depths. In ratio terms, all 600 pounds of him.”