Sunday, 20 February 2011

Grand Union- Milton Keynes

There is a more detailed report on the Vespe site

2lb 10oz, won my section by default.

  • Baileys Lock
  • 7lb 1oz 8
  • 4 th in my ten pegs
  • 8th overall (i think, 60 pegs)
06/03/10 Semi Final
  • Team was 5th overall with 49 points
  • Black Horse won with an impressive 30 points!
  • Starlets were 2nd with 42 points
  • I was 2nd in my section with 3lb (2 perch and 1lb 6oz of tiny fish)

I am lucky enough to have fished a few semi’s in the past of this venue, and my last one was only two years ago, when Drennan Oxford qualified for the final off the same length.  So I have got a little back ground on the venue.  Milton Keynes is without doubt good fishing, as your almost always guaranteed bites, despite how bad the weather has been.  I remember one practice match for the semi  where I draw in the “Jungle” stretch where is was a good three inches of ice, and it was difficult to break, I had to borrow Gary Millier’s friend 8kg ice breaker, which I could only throw seven meters!  I actually went onto to win the hundred peg match with 3lb 10oz of all tiny gudgeon.  I remember not catching for forty minutes, but when they come, it was solid.  A lot of the sections have lots of tiny fish, normally little perch and gudgeon and you can catch a lot of these fish from most of sections, however, they are 40-50 to pound at times.  Catching the little perch tend to linger around by the tins, close to the bank if there is enough colour.  The best of catching these fish is by feeding your joker raw, which will normally results instant action. So this can be best to start on this line, which will rest your main lines.  However, on some sections you have to start on the bread, as this could catch you an early bonus fish, like a skimmer. 
The Match
The issue with all the matches is the amount of end pegs there are, and they are worth their weight in gold.  So when Mark Teasure (our team captain) drew peg 1 which meant we had 3 end pegs out of 10 anglers!  So that was a good start, as these pegs should produce good team points.    However i wasn’t lucky enough to be on one of them, the section that I drew was D, which was Gallon, which has been very tough.  On arrival to my section, I was disappointed as there was 4 end pegs and to make matters worse where I was it was very tight pegging with only eighteen yards separating us. The only positive was that I had a small tree in the water opposite, which can produce perch, however it was fished last week, and there was a lot of fresh soil on the ground which is where an angler has cleaned his worms, which would indicate that this peg has been fished again, even though the water is shut to all anglers fishing the semi final a week before the event.   These big perch, don’t like getting caught too much and do shut up shop, so I could be in trouble.
I set up a mountain of gear, as I didn’t want to leave anything to chance!  I knew the first hour and last thirty minutes were so important.  Ideally I wanted:
·         An early skimmer on bread to boost my target weight of 2lb. 
·         The next bonus fish was perch on lob worm, now these fish live here (or should) so I was wasn’t going to be over positive with feeding.  These fish can range from 8oz to 2lb
·         Gudgeon were the quarry on most of the stretches unless you were lucky and drew well.  The gudgeon responded well to double leam mix, black leam with some grey leam, and feed very little joker within the balls.  The harder the section the less joker.  Normally quarter of kilo to two kilos of leam.  However today it was eighth of a kilo today, as I knew it was going to be very tough.
·         Raw joker, this is where you are likely your roach if lucky enough to catch any.  Now I would look for 2 foot of water and have your dump line there.  Also if you have 18 inches on the far bank I would feed it there (the first time five visits).  On the day I had two raw lines, one at 2 foot of water, where I braved it with ¼ kilo of raw and the other was a marble size in the rat hole on the far bank.    
·         The boat track, which ranges from 4 meters to 7 meters depending on the section you draw.  This has been devoid of fish for me and I haven’t seen any fish caught here.  I’m not sure why (welcome to any suggestions from anyone).
We had 11am start, which saw a couple of boats before the match had started and loads of people on the tow path walking as it was a beautiful day.  This was going to make it more difficult to catch fish, as lots of disturbance from people and boats.  When the match started, I wanted to start on bread for a slim chance of a skimmer bream, however a cupped in the bread and then cupped in my several lines quickly, but when I went to start on the bread, I dam boat was coming and normally as soon as a boat goes over your bread line, it’s gone!  Unless you on a “shed full”.  So I saw the boat ploughing down the far bank, I tried to encourage it to come down the middle, as this would cause less destruction to my peg, so started at two meters in hope of some early gudgeon and safe my peg!  If the boat doesn’t  see the end of my pole hopefully it will come down the middle, well that was my theory and does work for a lot of boats, but no this one.
Ten minutes had gone and we were all looking at each other.  So I decide to go fourteen meters on the choppy to try and catch an early perch, either side were catching  on their long line, but they were tiny gudgeon and to be honest this wasn’t a good idea in my opinion, as these lines need to settle and the fish will spook if caught to early.  So I was happy to watch my neighbours catch, as this gave inspiration that my lines will be stronger in the long run!  Remember it’s a five hour match and these bonus fish are caught early or late so they aren’t pulling away from me and if I was lucky to catch I pound perch, then that would equal forty five of their fish.   However, my float didn’t sink and therefore thirty minutes had passed without a fish, so went on my 2 foot line at 12 o’clock and caught a gudgeon within seconds on a single English joker and then went at 2 o clock fish and caught there and rotated between the two swims and only took one first at time.  After an hour I went on 2 o clock for fifteen minutes and caught very quickly, and I had about 30 fish, which was good, as people were struggling around me, even my old team mate, Micky Elliott, on the end peg was struggling, but my section had four end pegs in a section of ten.  So head down and fish for these little fish to get my important section points as I would be happy with third in section and the way it was I felt two pound would be a good weight.
After two hours, I felt that that I had 10oz and there were a few runners for other teams.  Now I try and be honest with these people as they can be a useful tool and I needed to know what has been caught.  I was told by the Starlet runner that I was doing ok with the weight that I had, and was running 4th in the section, and he seemed honest (fair play he was spot on), but I was really concerned as a perch would wipe me out!!  So I had been feeding casters and some minced lob worms regularly (every twenty minutes) to hopefully build this bonus area up and I would have quick frequent looks and hopefully be rewarded, which was with an 8 oz perch.  The Starlet runner said “that was welcome”. I felt lot happier now, as I had about 1lb 2oz.  But my lines were slowing down, but looking around, no one was catching around me, and rotating my mountain of rigs and lines I could catch “blade roach” and tiny gudgeon, but I felt these fish were so small, that I wasn’t really benefiting from catching them, but hopefully there activity would attract something bigger??  Well, it did and I caught a 3 oz roach with my efforts, which was huge to what I was catching.  Feeling happy and I felt that I may have 1lb 8oz.
The last thirty minutes was on me, and i did feel the pressure a little as everything could change now and I didn’t want to waste all my hard work, so I had to make the right decision?
Do I?
Fish the raw line and hope to catch some roach, as in all my matches I have caught these fish.  This would add maybe 2oz – 10oz.
Fish the bush for a perch.  Which could result in section winning fish....
So I decided to try and do both and it didn’t quite go plan, as I could catch on either.  So I put my 0.06 rig with two bloodworms over the choppy!  Risky, but hey this didn’t result in a bite.  So I looked around and we all looked “gnomes” nothing was happening.  The Starlets runner said that his guy may have 2lb and he had caught two early skimmers and the guy next to him had two big billies!  So I decided to get the lob worm rig on again.  Five minutes to go, I looked to my right and Micky Elliott was playing a good fish, which made Martin Phipps and Jono look up (runners for his team).  I looked at my float and one final lift and as I held the rig still about three inches off the bottom, I felt a bump and lowered my rig so this fish would take it as I didn’t want to lift it back out of it’s mouth.  Then I strook and three foot of pink hollow came out and my heart began to go, and normally I never get nervous but I knew this fish could be so important, not just to me but to my team as every point is so important.  As the amount of Finals that I have missed because we have been 2-5 points short is unreal!  So I knew this, and I didn’t want cost the team, but at the same time, I didn’t want to play it too gingerly as that can be equally as bad, as big perch are awesome in finding snags that you never knew were there.  So I did keep a lot of pressure on it, and try and keep it mid water, which resulted everybody looking at me.  I was relieved when I got it in the net and I had a minute left, could I catch another?  Errr, no I didn’t.  The perch was about 10oz. So I felt that I may have 2lb, but depends of these tiny gudgeon.  So on the phone, and I learnt that we had a mix of results, it was either good or bad nothing in-between.  Starlets runner (will find out your name, Stuart I think) reckons that we would qualify, but I wasn’t sure as we had a last and second from last.  That’s nineteen points, not good and just showed the venue did prove to be a little cruel to people.  Cosgrove and Bailey’s were awesome and the winner came from the same peg as last week, but only 7lb, which proved the venue didn’t fish well as last week.  These bright and busy conditions didn’t help as last week was wet and wild and my 7lb last week was only though 7th.
We had 49 points and Drennan Oxford and 50 points and Martin Green said they (starlets) had 42 points, but Imagine Black horse had a incredible 29 points and Bathampton had 40 something points.  So we were going to be 4th.  So I gave Drennan Oxford boys a little stick, but I had walk back out the pub with tale between my legs as we tied on points, but they and a section winner, so they were 4th and we were 5th.  So I got a lot of stick back twice as bad!!!
I wish Black horse, Starlets and Bathampton all the best in the final on Furzton and Willen lake, in Milton Keynes.

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