Peg # / Lake
32 (Moat Island)
29 (Moat Island)
Ben Fisk (Bauer Media)
1 (Bridge Island)
Ryan Laycock (Pontefract)
Adam Richards (Browning)
Adrian Higginbottom (Matrix)
61 (Moat Island)
Matt Godfrey (Guru)
35 (Moat Outer)
17 (Moat Island)
British Pole Championship Qualifiers: Steve Rothery, Ben Dales & Ben Fisk
One hundred and ten (110) anglers attended this latest qualifier at Retford's Hallcroft Fishery. Despite conditions appearing ideal with plenty of cloud cover and with a slight ripple on the water, most anglers found the going tough early on in the match with the heavy, muggy atmosphere hampering what would have otherwise been an ideal day. That said, as the day progressed, the conditions improved a little with the resident carp moving into the margins during the final ninety minutes.
Winner on the day, and next to book his place on this year's big money final, was Steve Rothery. Steve, who competed in the very first Mega Match This Grand Final back in 2011, drew peg 32 on Moat Island and started his match fishing 6mm pellet short at 5m before looking down his inside late on finding some better quality fish to dead red maggot over groundbait. At the end of the five hours, Steve offered 140-14-00 to the scales to top the field and book his place in this year's British Pole Championship final in the process.
Finishing in second place was Ben Dales from peg 29 on Moat Island. Ben also fished pellet short at 5m before coming down his edge late on to find fish up to 10lbs to weigh in 114-01-00. Ben also qualifies for this year's British Pole Championship final as a result.
Third place on the day was occupied by Angling Times columnist, Ben Fisk. Ben secured a lake win from peg 1 on Bridge Island with 109-02-00 of carp caught on meat fished shallow to take the last of the automatic British Pole Championship qualification places.
Pontefract-based rod, Ryan Laycock, finished in fourth place from peg 20 on Canal. Ryan caught the majority of his fish from down his edge on meat to offer 106-04-00 to the scales at the end of the five hours.
Finishing in fifth place was Browning's Adam Richards. Adam drew peg 28 on Reed and opted to fish pellet long and down his margins to weigh in a final 99-03-00.
"Well... things have finally started to sink in after this Saturday's crazy events! sitting here, writing about winning a 3rd Fisho title is something I could never have imagined.
The draw for pegs on the previous night saw me pull out peg 7 which immediately gave me a massive chance, but the Arena lake can be very temperamental when under pressure and with 25 anglers pegged in a line so it proved. I felt that the match would be won somewhere from fisho pegs 5-15, as this area is where the fish are happiest to feed, so to find myself in this zone was a brilliant start.
I went into the match with a very loose plan of what I was going to do, silver fish had been feeding well in practice but some newly stocked carp could also be required to do well.
I began by trying to dob a few cruising carp that were in my peg to begin with, 2 fish after 15 mins was a great start and really settled me down, allowing me to focus properly on the fishing, after this the next hour was spent trying to catch anything on casters at 7m and 13m, it was slow to say the least and very clear that carp would be needed to put a winning weight together. I had fallen to around 6th place at this point and 2kg behind the leader. For the last 3 hours of the match, I focused all my attentions on catching carp. By feeding casters at 13m an occasional fish would show a bit of interest and by slapping a Bag’em 6mm pellet I could get an odd bite off fish cruising into the swim. I had a steady 2 hours doing this catching around 13 carp for 20kg, this put me ahead by around 6kg with an hour remaining.
For myself, the last hours was pretty uneventful with just a carp and 2 f1s added to my total. Fortunately, I had already done enough and despite an awesome comeback from Andy Power who put 12kg on the scales in the final hour to finish 2nd, my final weight of 26.900kg took the honours.
Id, like to say a big thankyou to Bag'em matchbaits, Map and everyone that supported me, without my family and friends winning, would have meant much less.
Can’t wait to do it all again next year…….’
Tri-Cast Weston Pools youth team takes top spot at Tunnel.
The newly formed Tri-Cast Weston Pools youth team, comprising young anglers from across the country, recently took top spot at this year’s 2017 Angling Trust Junior National. Eight top-flight youth teams fought it out for the top honours at the commercial super-water that is Tunnel Barn Farm.
The final result was decided over section placings, with Weston finishing well clear of the nearest rivals and sending three from the six-man team through to the junior Fish ‘O’ Mania final at Cudmore.
The top team was made up of Kristian Jones, Cagsy Parry, Jordan Holloway, Mike Rough, James Allen and overall individual event winner Will McCranor, who on the day took the top spot with a fantastic display of match angling from an unfancied area.
Not only did the first team win the day but the second team – Tri-Cast Weston Red – managed a very respectable fourth place, with standout individual Zac Worby taking the section honours and also paving a way to Fisho. Zac ended his match individually second overall on the day with over 120lb of shallow-caught F1s.
This has been the first event for the team and plans are already in place for the next campaign. The team wish to thank Steve Hopkinson from Tri-Cast, and Mike and Rachael Philbin from Weston Pools for taking over the full sponsorship – certainly big things lie ahead in the future.
Make the most out of every peg that you draw this month with Andrew Mann’s peg planning tactics…
Have you ever fished a perfect match? I often come away from the bank knowing full well that I could have made better decisions and got a better result. More recently however, I have started to plan out my matches. I used to think that fishing was too unpredictable and wild for a strategic plan to be put in place. However, especially on commercial fisheries, implementing a plan for your session will improve your results!
Planning my session begins before I get to the bank. For example, before today’s session here on the Mickey Mouse Lake at Docklow Pools, I knew that I’d be targeting both silver fish and carp. Before even arriving, I had a plan to fish at close range for the silvers in the early part of the session, with the hope of catching some carp in the latter part down the margins.
On The Peg…
It isn’t until after drawing your peg that the detailed planning really begins. I like to place my box down on the swim that I’ve drawn, and sit down to really think about the match ahead. Sometimes, I’ll sit for up to 10 minutes considering options. Today, I’m faced with a luscious swim full of options, but to get the best from it, I need to carefully choose where I fish, when I fish there and what I fish there.
Rule Of Three
The matches when I feel like I’ve done worst are always the ones when I’ve fished too many swims and made things overcomplicated. I stick to having a maximum of three swims. I’ve found this is the right amount to give you scope to catch various species and sizes of fish, without ending up in a muddle!
The first swim that I want to choose is a banker, where I’m going to get plenty of bites and catch efficiently to build up a weight of mixed species. The chances are that I won’t be able to catch big carp all the way through the match, so this swim will be vital in keeping my weight topped up. I need to be able to feed it accurately too, which is why I’m placing this swim just five metres out, straight in front of me, at the base of the nearside shelf.
While sat on the swim thinking about my plan, I also notice that there are quite a lot of fish moving out in open water in front of me. Normally, I would think about fishing on the bottom on the long pole, most likely with pellets. In fact before arriving at the swim, I had in my head that this would be an ideal long-pole attack.
However, after seeing an odd carp cruising about and lots of quality fish topping, I’m now planning on feeding an odd cube of meat, while attempting to ‘mug’ an odd cruising carp when the opportunity comes.
I feel like the best place for me to catch a number of big fish to potentially win the match off this peg, is down the margins. I’m presented with two options for this – one to the left and one to the right. I like to pick what I think is going to be the most favourable margin. I always try and choose the side that has the most fish-pulling potential. Today for example, I have an island to my left that leaves a very narrow gap to draw fish from. The near bank is also very open, with little cover in the way of bankside vegetation. However, to my right, I’m fishing towards the main body of the lake. There are loads of reeds and shade from several big trees growing beside the lake. This is a much more favorable area to target, and I’m certain it will bring the best result.
Pinging just two or three clubs of meat is enough to keep fish hunting on the long-pole swim!
Once set up and ready to fish a match, it’s vital that you remain in control of what you are doing, and that’s where sticking to the plan really helps. Watching anglers around you can be a big advantage in certain situations. For example, if someone starts catching down the edge, it’s a sure sign that fish may be moving in to feed. However, it’s vital that you don’t get sucked into chasing fish. If the guy next door happens to catch a 10lb carp out of the blue on the pellet waggler, the last thing you should do is pick that up and try and fluke one the same. Stick to your plan and you’ll catch him up later.
My basic plan for today is to catch on the short swim for as long as possible, while pinging just on odd piece of meat on the long pole. I am going to leave the margins alone until later in the match. If I feel like there’s an opportunity to catch a cruising fish, I will, and if the short swim needs a rest, I have the option to try the longer meat swim.
Starting The Match
At the off, I’ve simply shipped out to five metres and fed five or six times by hand with around 30 casters. I’ve also pinged three cubes of meat out onto the long line four or five times. Starting on the bottom on this short swim, I’m into fish immediately. I’m feeding as often as I possibly can at the minute to try and draw in lots of fish and already I’ve started getting bites on the drop as my rig is settling. Roach, ide and an odd chub are hitting the net regularly, and picking up my shallow rig, I begin to catch even quicker.
A Welcome Boost
After around an hour, I’m confident that I’ve got close to 20lb of silver fish in the net, and action is still thick and fast. However, I have just seen a swirl where I’ve been pinging meat, so I’m making a quick move to try the swim. Baiting up with my favourite ‘banded meat’ and looking at my watch, I’m giving it just five minutes so that I don’t miss out the silver-fish action. It seems that I don’t need to worry however, because as soon as my rig hits the water, there’s a huge swirl and my elastic is dragged out! After a short-lived battle, I’ve bagged a 6lb bonus carp in just two minutes. I see this as a free ticket to have another look out on this long swim, but all the time I’m feeding casters on the short line maintaining the plan of building a weight from there. A chub around 2lb follows on the long swim, before another quick look leaves me biteless for two minutes. This is long enough to urge me to get off this swim and continue putting fish in the net on the short line.
After another good spell of catching well on the short swim, I see a mugging opportunity on the long line, as a couple of large dark shadows cruse into the swim. I have a rig assembled for flicking out to these fish with a long line between float and pole tip, with the float set just six inches deep. My bait choice for this is always meat, a visible bait that sinks incredibly slowly, maximising the chances of a fish seeing your bait. Hard pellets or corn may fall that little bit too quickly for a fish to see it and grab it as it cruises past. A deadly trick when looking to ‘mug’ fish like this is to make sure you have your mugging rig hooked-up and ready to go beside you. I actually hook my hook into my pole sock, and lay the top kit beside me so I can quickly grab it and ship out to mug a lump.
This time, it works a treat and swinging my long line out towards the front of the cruising fish I quite literally watch a lean common engulf my cube of meat, before angrily swirling off like a torpedo, straight between the tree stumps out in the middle of the lake. I manage to turn the fish by lifting the pole high – a great trick if you feel like the fish is about to bottom your elastic out. This sudden change of angle often turns the fish. It certainly works this time for me, and I’m soon shaking a 12lb Docklow common into the landing net.
Areas of scum like this are perfect target areas for mugging fish!
A Free Match Win…
Sticking to my guns, I’m straight back on the short swim and as I’ve continued feeding this throughout, it’s no surprise that the fish are still feeding well here. Having my mugging rig set up and ready to go, I manage to sneak a couple more carp over the next couple of hours, both which have come right over the swim where I’ve been pinging meat all day. I’m sure the fish weren’t keen on feeding, but the noise of an odd cube hitting the water has intrigued them. When I’ve seen them, I’ve simply dropped a bait in front of them and they’ve fallen for it.
I can’t stress enough the importance of catching these ‘free’ fish. At the end of most matches, the result is often tight and those odd fish that cruise past can quite literally be a free match win. The great thing about mugging is that it takes just a few seconds to ship-out and try for a fish. Once it has swam off or you’ve caught it, you can drop back onto the silvers swim and continue putting fish in the net.
The Finish line
With the final hour of the match approaching, I’m planning to set a margin trap to give me a final weight boost. In my opinion, the later you can leave it to feed the margins, the better it will be. I’ve often left it until there is just 50 minutes of a match remaining, and find that fish come straight to this. I’m certain that the fish have modified body clocks based around match hours, which is why they often feed later on when their guard has dropped. The later you leave the margins, the more you’ll catch there!
For today’s feature, I’m feeding this with exactly one-hour of the session remaining. Rather than potting in loads of feed, I’m feeding just half a pole pot of hemp and 6mm cubed meat – enough to draw in a couple of fish and get them competing. Whenever I feed pots and pots of bait down the edge, I seem to foul-hook and loose a lot of fish, so more recently I’ve started feeding less and had great results.
I actually feed this swim another two times before fishing there, to get the fish used to the feed going in, and create plenty of competition for the fish. After the first pot of feed I could see the water colouring up, and now after three feeds and putting a few more silver fish in the net, I’m ultra confidant of catching some there!
One At A Time…
After feeding the next handful of hemp and meat down the edge, I follow this in with my rig baited with a single cube of meat. It’s vital that you pay attention to where you feed when fishing the margins in this way. You are only feeding a small area of bait, so you need to be fishing right over the top of it. Pick a marker, and ensure your top kit and cupping kit are exactly the same length! Quite literally seconds after lowering in my rig, my elastic is dragged out – proof the feeding tactic was right.
After landing a 5lb mirror, I re-feed with the same handful of bait, follow this is with my rig, and I’m immediately into another fish. This way of resetting the margin swim after each fish is devastating in the latter stages of a match, which is proved when I put a run of eight carp together to finish the day. Had I fed the swim earlier, or introduced too much bait, I’m certain I wouldn’t have caught this many.
Although I’ve caught really well, I’ve kept feeding the short swim. On some days, you can drop in down the margins and catch a couple of quick fish before they spook and bites stop. If you can quickly drop back in on the short swim and continue putting fish in the net, it makes the margin fish a real bonus. However, if you continue to sit down the edge catching nothing, you may actually end up catching a lower weight than you would do if you had continued to fish and catch in open water.
As you can see from the catch shot, having a clear plan has helped me put together this stunning net of fish today. By basing my day around putting fish in the net on the short swim, talking any free big-fish opportunities during the day, and attacking the margins late, I’ve ended with well over that magical 100lb mark. Plan your match carefully, stick to the plan, and those brown envelopes are sure to find their way into your pocket.
Name: Andrew Mann
Pole: Daiwa Tournament
Name: Docklow Pools Fishery
Location: Docklow, Leominster HR6 0RU
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Following an intense qualifying campaign, 48 of the very best Club Anglers from around the country are preparing to battle it out for the title of Garbolino Club Angler of the Year for 2017.
The final, that will take place at the stunning Barston Lakes on Wednesday 19th July is certain to prove a fantastic venue to host the coveted event. The 2016 event saw East Yorkshire rod Roger Edmond pick up the title with a stunning mixed bag of the venues famed skimmers and carp. Further to being crowned the 2016 champion Roger also picked himself up Garbolino’s UK1 Accomplice Pro flagship Pole and £400 cash!
This year’s prize list is just as impressive with two of Garbolino’s top end pole’s as well as a number of reels up for grabs for the top few anglers on the day. Further to that each of the 48 competitors will receive a goody bag containing a number of Garbolino products meaning there is almost £5000 worth of prizes available on the day... Not to mention the £3000 of other prizes the company have already supplied during the qualifying campaign.
All competitors are asked to arrive at the venue in a punctual fashion to book in with the event's organisers no later than 8:20am in the main function room of the venue.
The draw will then take place between 8:30am and 9:00am with the five-hour match commencing at 10:30am.
There will be an optional superpool on the day of £20.
Lindholme Lakes Qualifiers
Tunnel Barn Farm Qualifiers
Gold Valley Qualifiers
Drennan Red Range Target Carp Pole -
Joe Carass gets out on the bank with Drennan’s new Target Carp pole to see whether it is a hit or a miss.
I must admit, I do enjoy getting the chance to test poles at the cheaper end of the scale. Poles under £500 always surprise me with their quality and usability.
The Drennan Target Carp is the latest in this price range to find its way into my mitts; a 14.5m model that Drennan’s Jon Arthur told me I would be very impressed with for a number of reasons.
The first thing that took me aback when unboxing this pole was the spares package. This is my one criticism of poles at the lower end of the spectrum, as they often come with perhaps a spare power top two and maybe a cupping kit if you are lucky. The Target Carp is different and scores 10 out of 10 for me!
But what do you get? Six carp kits for starters, all factory fitted with Drennan’s side pull system. The pole doesn’t come with a cupping kit but it does come with the cups and adaptors to make one of the carp kits into a cupping kit, which still leaves you with five spares.
However, it is with the ancillaries that this pole really scores. It comes with everything that you need to get your pole up and running, bar the elastics. Six roller cones, 12 PTFE internal Polemaster bushes, EVA nose cones, eight side pull beads, extractor rod, Polemaster Pole Pot, two cupping kit adaptors and finally a set of protective tubes. Now I am sure you will agree that for a pole that comes in at a penny under 400 quid that is a nice little sweetener to the already impressive deal.
For my test session, I grabbed a few hours at Woodland View, near Droitwich. Front Deans were to be my playground and two of the carp kits were elasticated. A ‘carp’ rig with 10-12 Bungee was prepared while I also set one up with No5 elastic to try and target a few silvers. After all, poles in this price range shouldn’t just be all about carp.
A simple two-pronged attack was all that was needed, with a few loose-fed pinkies at 10 metres for roach and for the carp I decided to utilise the Target Carp at its full 14.5m complement, and with a stiff breeze, this was likely to be no cakewalk!
At 10 metres this pole is a dream to use. It’s stiff and well balanced and is relatively light. Add the first butt section to take it to 13 metres and the pole remains very nice indeed. Add the final butt section and I was probably just as surprised as anyone to find a pole that is actually good to use.
I had a great hour or so fishing at 10 metres for the roach; I even managed a few skimmers and a rogue F1 that presented a few problems on my lightweight No5 elastic. Fortunately, the side pull system helped me to get the fish under control quickly and effectively. This is a great system and the roller cone produces a silky smooth elastic performance.
With a tidy bag of silvers approaching double figures in the net, it was time to go carp hunting!
My bait tray was simple – pellets and corn, a great springtime combination. The pole was easy to use at 14.5 metres; I’m not going to say it is the stiffest pole out there, but for the price it is one of the best that I have seen, and for me if you mainly fish up to 13 metres but need the occasional session at 14.5 metres then you have to seriously consider this pole.
As soon as I hooked my first carp I knew that this was a strong pole. The 10-12 Bungee, while being a lovely choice for mid-ranged carp, barely even tested this pole. The Target Carp could easily handle a Red Bungee 18-20 and would make a great bagging pole.
I really like this pole; it’s a great bit of kit and the attention to detail is what really makes it. Drennan is a brand you can trust and I would be more than happy to part with 400 notes to bag myself one of these. Great work Drennan!
RRP: £399 - For more information head over to https://www.anglingdirect.co.uk/drennan-red-range-target-carp-14-5m-pole?a_cid=11111111&a_aid=dhpltd
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DHP recently ran its third annual David Hall Trophy match, at the fantastic Glebe Fishery in Leicestershire.
This event celebrates the life of company founder David Hall, who passed away in 2015, and his immense contribution to the world of fishing and angling publications.
For once the weather was good and the 38 competitors had a nice day out in the sunshine, although some caught rather more than others. This year’s winner was rising star Adam Dowd, who weighed in 223lb of mainly carp, beating Match Fishing editor Joe Carass into second place with 213lb. In third place was England Ladies International Kayleigh Smith with 211lb.
The winner of the Silver Fishpool was Scott Smith, with a fantastic 111lb of bream and skimmers, while the Pro/Am event was won by Matt Godfrey and DHP’s Roger Mortimer.
A collection at the draw raised £139 for Macmillan Cancer Support.
1 - Adam Dowd 223lb
2 - Joe Carass 213lb
3 - Kayleigh Smith 211lb
4 - Matt Godfrey 203lb 1oz
5 - Scott Smith 197lb
6 - Des Shipp 194lb 8oz
7 -Andy Findlay 180lb 10oz
8 - Tom Scholey 167lb 15oz
9 - Mick Wilkinson 157lb 12oz
10- Julie Abbott 146lb 9oz
Pictured is Adam Dowd receiving the David Hall Trophy from match organiser David Haynes.
Organisers of the Evesham Angling Festival are celebrating a new sponsorship for one of match fishing’s showpiece events.
Dynamite Baits – one of the top manufacturers of fishing baits in the UK - has agreed to become title sponsor for The Dynamite Baits Individual Evesham Championship – the headline event of the Evesham Angling Festival. The match, which invites 35 of the nation’s top anglers and pits them against 35 qualifiers, carries a top prize of £3,000 and kicks off the biggest spectator angling event in the calendar.
Dynamite is a great fit for the event,” said festival director Roger Mortimer. “Many of the anglers that compete over the weekend already use Dynamite Baits’ products and we’re delighted to have them on board.”
The Nottinghamshire-based sponsors have agreed an initial one-match sponsorship package that will see winners walk away with samples of its products and commemorative Dynamite clothing as well as the cash and trophies.
“The Evesham festival is something we are really looking forward to,” said the head of Dynamite marketing, Daryl Hodges. “We have sponsored the World Carp Classic for a good few years and we see this as the ideal equivalent in terms of traditional UK match fishing. It’s a really great professional event and fits perfectly with our product profile. “
“The Warwickshire Avon at Evesham is a fantastic natural venue to test real angling ability and an event that is really important in the angling calendar.”
The Evesham Angling Festival takes place on bank holiday weekend – August 26th to 28th – on the Warwickshire Avon in Evesham Worcestershire. It features the finals of three top events – The Dynamite Baits Individual Evesham Championship, The Wychavon Championship and The Match Fishing Team Championship, and regularly attracts bumper crowds of spectators.
Alan Scotthorne takes a closer look at one of the best fish catchers on the planet. Here’s a five-time world champion’s take on the Method feeder!
Feeder fishing has really taken off over the last few years and it’s not hard to see why. You can comfortably fish a feeder in practically any conditions you’re faced with. You’re giving the fish a concentrated pile of food on the bottom with a hook bait right next to it. It’s a positive approach and wins a lot of matches. It’s also not expensive to get yourself kitted out to compete on the same level as everyone else. There are now even feeder-only matches springing up all over the place; not just here in England but all across Europe.
There are loads of feeders to choose from so it’s just a matter of picking the right size and weight for the day depending on the conditions, the baits and the species you are targeting. Today I have come to Barston Lakes in the Midlands to show you one feeder technique in particular and that’s the Method. Where allowed, it’s the deadliest way to catch carp on the tip. It’s, therefore, a key technique we all must try to master. Here are a few pointers in getting the most out of this match winning method.
Top Tip – Boom
I always twizzle the last 12 to 15 inches of my main line to create a doubled-up boom. This is the area that gets the most punishment, both in the lake and when a fish is in the landing net, so it makes sense to double it up.
Where To Fish
There are different types of venues in England, from narrow snake lakes to large, open and exposed waters like this one. Each presents a slightly different challenge but the basics are always the same. Here, it is very wide but also relatively shallow, with around 4ft all over so there are no deeper holes or drop-offs to worry about. When this is the case it’s the distance you fish that can be the most important consideration. In match conditions, you will probably have everyone in a row casting out into the middle of the lake so it’s important to try and find yourself your own bit of water. Sometimes that will mean casting further than those around you; sometimes you might be better off starting much shorter. I know this lake is dominated quite a lot by distance fishing and a 50 to 70-metre cast can be commonplace.
The wind can play a large part too. A strong head wind will seriously hinder your casting potential. Today I have a tricky headwind but I have deliberately chosen to start at 70 metres to give my Acolyte Plus 12ft Feeder rods a really good flexing. In a match, I would probably have started at 60 metres, to begin with, and see how things progress. I have actually clipped up at this range too and use some Cygnet Distance Sticks to measure the exact range, so I know exactly how far I’m chucking. These sticks aren’t essential but they are a useful aid if you are feeder fishing a lot and also want to have two rods clipped up at exactly the same distance. They are a more accurate alternative to counting the number of turns on your reel.
Another big consideration is the number of specimen carp anglers that visit your lake. Barston sees as many specimen anglers as it does match anglers and these guys like to cast big leads a long way. They also regularly use spods, throwing sticks and bait boats to get plenty of bait out into the middle of the lake. The more pressure a lake gets from carpers the more that will affect the behaviour of the fish. They know where all the high-protein bait gets fed and match anglers need to pay attention to this.
The best angler in the world with one of the world's best fish-catching methods. A deadly combination!
Top Tip – Hands Free
Always use front and rear rod rests with the Method. This ensures your hands are free to do other jobs, but make sure the front rest is a design that won’t allow the rod to get ripped off and dragged into the lake on the take!
Clip Up Or Not?
To begin with, I like to maintain a fixed feed area in my peg. Later on, you can try unclipping to search further and shorter – or better still have a second ‘roving’ rod set up for this purpose. Feeder fishing is no different to any other method and a slow build up of bait in a specific area will often lead to the peg getting better and better. Often the last hour is when it will really kick in.
By clipping up at a set range you also establish an area of undisturbed water beyond this where you can try casting later on.
Another good reason why I like to clip up is to ensure the feeder lands properly. Several times today I haven’t quite hit my line clip and could instantly tell by the noise the feeder made on impact. When this happens I won’t hesitate to reel in, rebait and recast. When I am waiting up to 10 minutes for a bite I want to be certain the feeder has gone in right, with the feed still intact. I cast quite hard to ensure I hit the clip and then bring my rod sharply back just before it reaches the distance. This straightens the line and also acts as a brake, effectively slowing it down and reducing the feeder’s impact. You are aiming for a reassuring plop rather than a great big spladoosh!
Alan uses a free-spool reel when Method-feeder fishing
It’s important to tailor the rod to the distance you are fishing. My rod for today is a 12ft Acolyte Plus as I’m fishing a long way out. At this kind of range, you have to reach a good compromise. You want enough backbone lower down for casting but still some forgiveness in the top section for playing carp, F1s and skimmers. If I was fishing shorter I would use a 10ft or 11ft rod instead as shorter rods can have a more forgiving casting and playing action.
I’ve matched the rod to a Series 7 BR 9-40 reel which is a reliable workhorse model. This also has a freespool mechanism which I like to use when I’m not clipping up. I’ve loaded this up with Drennan Feeder & Method Mono. You want something that’s strong, hardwearing and sinks well. I am using 6lb today which is a great all-round choice. If I was specifically targeting big carp closer in then I might use 8lb.
However, 6lb is thinner and casts much further. To achieve even greater distances I will use 5lb line combined with an 8lb shock leader. The shock leader is necessary to take all the pressure on the cast.
Barston is renowned for its lumps and thet're suckers for a Method attack
I prefer to use Drennan In-Line Flatbed Method Feeders which are of a good, strong and robust design that casts ever so well. The 25g model sees the most use and is always my choice when I am casting to an island as the weight grips well on a steep slope. However, I am using a heavier 35g today purely to reach the distance.
I have also gone for the larger frame size as the main target are big carp so I prefer to give them a reasonable amount of bait to home in on. If I was targeting smaller carp and F1s and was casting much more frequently then I wouldn’t hesitate to use the smaller frame size instead. In general though, for open water and when I expect to wait longer for bites I prefer to use a larger feeder.
Incidentally, when these feeders first came out I was never convinced they could land the right way up all of the time. It was only after lots of experimenting with countless casts on a gin-clear lake that I was completely satisfied. Every single time these feeders settled the right way and I have never doubted them ever since!
Top Tip – Boilie Boost
This venue sees a lot of specimen carp anglers who feed lots of boilies, so I like to add a sprinkling of white shellfish boilies that have been ground down in a blender. Where allowed they can give your mix an extra boost of attraction.
My hooklength is 0.18mm Supplex which is strong enough for double-figure carp but also acceptable for the F1s in this lake of which there are plenty. Around four inches is the usual length for a Method feeder hooklength but this is something the fish must be very used to. For this reason I also experiment with slightly longer five inch versions and this has worked quite well today. It’s worth experimenting as sometimes going shorter or longer than the norm can make a difference.
To attach my hooklength I use a Cralusso Quick Snap Swivel combined with a medium Drennan Swivel Stop Bead. The hook is a prototype pattern I’ve been field-testing in sizes 12 and 14.
There are three main choices when it comes to what you mould around the feeder; groundbait, pellets or a mixture of the two. Some venues will show a marked preference but again it’s worth experimenting. My groundbait is Sensas Stimul-8 with some extra crushed marine pellet and fishmeal added. I like quite a strong mix for maximum attraction. The pellets are wetted enough so that they cling around the feeder well but quickly break down once the feeder hits the bottom. I use mostly 2mm micro pellets but also add some 4mms to vary the particle size. A couple of bowls on my side tray mean I can easily vary the ratio of pellets and groundbait as I see fit.
You can also vary the actual volume of bait you mould around the Method and on a place like this I am a big fan of ‘double skinning’. That simply means forming your feed around the Method feeder as normal with the help of a mould, then adding a little bit more feed to the mould and forming a second layer on top.
Top Tip – Hard Pellets
Try adding some dry pellets to your wetted 2mm and 4mm feed pellets. This is a good trick when there are lots of silver fish about and also makes sense if you are fishing with a hard pellet on the hook.
In no particular order, my top Method feeder hook baits are boilies, hard pellets, punched meat and dead maggots. Again, these will vary depending on what’s happening in the swim. Boilies and hard pellets are much more resilient if small fish are a problem but meat and maggots are softer, lighter and less likely to be rejected.
A selection of Alan's favourite Method hook baits.
Today a pink Crab & Krill Bandit Dumbell boilie has easily been best, but I have also had fish on an 8mm piece of punched meat and a couple of big F1s on a bunch of dead maggots. It definitely seemed like the fish preferred a bold, contrasting hook bait today though, especially the bigger ones, including an immaculate looking linear mirror that must be at least 15lb. It doesn’t take many fish like that to build a winning weight and that’s why the Method Feeder should never be ignored!
Tel: 01675 444890
Marsh House Farm Lane, Barston, Solihull, West Midlands B92 0LB
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Heronbrook Fisheries, Slindon, 13th May 2017
Peg # / Lake
Damian Bracken (Garbolino)
Jamie Hughes (MAP / Bag 'Em Baits)
21 (Match Lake)
Mark Fox (Maver Midlands)
19 (Match Lake)
Steve Openshaw (Lingmere Fisheries)
Qualifiers for Maver British Pole Championship: Damian Bracken, Jamie Hughes & Andy Christie.
Eighty-seven (87) anglers lined the banks of New Canal, Canal, Meadow, Bridge, Island and Match lake for this latest Saturday qualifier event. Conditions on the day were cool to begin with due to plenty of cloud cover and a stiff breeze making things feel a lot colder than during the week leading up to the match. By mid-afternoon, however, there was plenty of sunshine, which brought the resident carp and F1s up in the water where they obliged on pellet and casters.
Winner on the day, and making his way through to compete in his first Match This Grand Final, was Garbolino's Damian Bracken. Damian drew peg 27 on Meadow and caught carp and F1s pinging pellets and fishing caster shallow taking fish to 6lbs for a final 166-14-00. Damian also qualifies for this year's Maver British Pole Championship final taking place at Maver Hayfield Lakes in August. Damian fished a superb match to see off the challenge of MAP's Jamie Hughes just a few pegs away.
Jamie (MAP) drew peg 23 on Meadow and caught carp and F1s fishing pellet over to far side cover and meat short. Jamie found better quality fish to 8lb, but fell just short of Damian's match-winning weight offering 153-13-00 to the scales at the end of the five hours to just miss out on making his fourth Match This final. He does, however, qualify for the British Pole Champs.
Completing the main frame finish was Andy Chrisite. Andy drew peg 39 on Canal and confirmed a lake win with 138-04-00 of F1s caught shallow on caster. Andy will now compete in this year's British Pole Championship final for his efforts.
Former Match This finalist, Matt Arnold, finished in fourth place from peg 21 on Match Lake. Matt started his match fishing a hybrid feeder to take around 40lb before switching to his short line at just 5m on corn to take better quality fish to over 14lbs to end proceedings with a final 129-10-00.
Fifth place was taken by Maver Midlands man, Mark Fox, who drew peg 2 on Meadow. Mark fished most of the match short at 5m offering meat and worm over groundbait and micro pellets before switching to his inside line late on incorporating similar tactics to weigh in 111-02-00.