Against The Clock

When the opportunity of getting a ticket for the new Preston Innovations UK Pole Champs came about I jumped at the chance to have a crack at the first qualifier, fished at Aston Park Fisheries near Sheffield. It’s bit of a different format this one compared to say Fisho or Match This where you have to win the match to qualify for the final. It’s a 60-peg match and 20 anglers will qualify for the final at Woodland View in September so the odds are favourable. But rather than just have the top 20 weights on the day, the match has been broken up into mini sections of three and if you win your mini section you qualify for the final so everybody is in with a big chance.


The lakes included in today’s match are Lanta, Bills and Butts and I felt I wanted to draw Bills or Butts to be in with a chance of getting in the overall frame or winning the match. There was the usual buzz at the draw and I was fairly happy when Dave Wesson drew me Peg 3 on Butts, although I didn’t really know anything about it. Obviously, a low number meant I was very close to the end of the of this snake style lake and that could be a good thing or a bad thing… only time will tell.


Arriving at my peg it’s a very narrow and ‘pokey’ swim and obviously not knowing the venue very well, I’ve had some advice from the lads in the on-site shop. They’ve informed me the best approach for where I am is not go in all guns blazing and take it very steady with the aim of hopefully catching around 50lb. So it could be a bit of a scratchy day but I don’t mind that, as long as I know what I’m fishing for I don’t mind if it’s not a bagging match. So the plan is to fish several lines across to the far bank for carp and catch one fish from each before swapping to another. I’ll also loose feed maggots down the middle just in case and I’ll feed some down the edges too. The last time I was here I drew on Bills and caught down the edge all day to win the match, but it’s not going to be like that today with all these anglers on it. It’s going to be a bottle job of sticking to the plan and setting traps and most importantly of all, being patient and capitalising on those mini runs of fish when they hopefully come along.


My bait for this match is very simple and I’ve got some 2mm pellets, some 4mm pellets, a few expanders for the hook, maggots and finally some groundbait which is just a ‘garage’ mix made up of some open bags I had left over. It’s the right colour and that’s the most important thing for me. Almost forgot, I’ve also got a tin of meat, which I’ll use to pick off better fish if I’m getting bothered by small fish, but I’m not sure whether my line down the middle should be fed with meat or maggots for small fish. Because I’m expecting a relatively low weight, I think I’ll feed maggots down the middle so the meat might not even get a look in today. I’m expecting the carp to be either tight across or tight down the edge.


My rigs for this match are for three lines: across tight to the far bank, down the slope across to the far side with hard pellets and down the middle on maggots. For the far bank I’m using Malman Goldie floats and these are my mudline rigs for when a little more sensitivity is required. I’m using a 0.3g float for the shallow water shotted with a bulk of No10s above a 3in trace, which is 0.14mm to a size 16 Matrix MXC-1 hook. Main line is 0.16mm. The slim blue floats are Tim Moore’s Carbon Slims and I’m using these in size 4x12 for fishing hard pellets down the slope in two and a half feet of water. Main line is once again 0.16mm Matrix Power Micron X to a 0.12mm hooklength and the hook is a size 16 MXC-6. This rig is shotted with spread No10 shot. Finally, the slim grey float is a 4x12 Tim Moore’s Carbon Maggot for fishing maggots down the middle. Lines are the same as above but the hook is a size 16 MXC-5. Shotting is again No10s spread down the entire rig.


I’m going to start the match across and feed very little just to see how the fish respond. If that doesn’t work I’ll come down the track a bit into the deeper water with hard 4mm pellets and then finally I’ve got that maggot line down the middle. I will feed some maggots down the edges to my left and right but I won’t be interested in those until much later. It could be one of those days today where I end up making new rigs during the day because I’ve got no idea what to expect. My target to begin with is to catch 30 carp and because of the stamp, that should get me somewhere around that 50lb mark.