Sunday, 3 March 2013

Angling Trust Semi Final - Grand Union Canal at Milton Keynes

  • B9 (Rouges lane)
  • 4lb 10oz
  • Section Win
  • Team 3rd overall

I was looking forward to fishing the Grand Union Canal at Milton Keynes, this would be my 5th Semi Final and knowledge on the water was reasonable, but as a team we were up to speed. Some of our lads had fished it 6 timers prior to the event, myself I’d fished it four times, and for me it had been very tough:

1. 3lb 8oz = 2nd in section
2. 15oz = 1st in section
3. 7oz 2nd to last in section, only cause Mark Downes didn't weigh in, but if he did, then i would of been last!
4. 1lb 7oz in our team line up, which was 4th in our ten man line up. But a team line is about trying new things.

These little beauties weren't plentiful like they had been.....

The weights had been very low compared to previous years. Not 100% why, but I think the weather hasn't helped. The canal had been a horrible colour and the water was freezing! Roach haven't been feeding and skimmers seemed to have disappeared. So we were in for a tough match!
To make things more even more difficult, we were given the news on Wednesday that NO BLOODWORM OR JOKER was coming into the country. This caused lots of concerns, and Mark Downes agreed to bring ALL teams some bait (fair play, he brought some good bait with him).

Big Perch


We, like a lot teams did struggle to come up with a solution or a method to catch these big perch aka "big billies". I'd fished the canal for 20 hours without any success catching these valuable fish. There was talkamoung our team on only cutting up one lob worm and going straight on it, however I felt this was too negative. One thing was for sure, these fish were down the deep water, unless you drew a feature peg, like a bush or tree.  So, there isn't anything to give away here and to be honest you needed to be a little bit lucky to catch one! 

I was going to feed four lobs every 20 mintues which I cut to mush and have a quick look.  That was my plan, nothing fancy.

Tiny Fish Approach

The good thing about fishing for Drennan Banbury Gunsmiths is there is no selfish anglers in our team and they will fish for team points. Therefore our main focus was to figure out how to catch these small fish.

Sticky Leam

Double leam, but over wetted and becomes very sticky and therefore the fish take a lot longer to get into the leam.  Our lads were calling it the "pongo".  This was good for gudgeon and tiny perch, but not so good for roach......
Raw Joker
Raw joker line, or known as your "dump" line hadn't really worked for me in practice sessions.  I think the main reason was the colour of the canal.  The canal was really coloured and therefore didn't work well.  We found that light leam was best......
Gary Barclay's side tray, every neat, like very single item on his fishing gear.
Chopped Joker

Chopping joker up and adding black dye was a good method for tiny roach, but the issued had been the lack of activity from these fish. 
My Match

I drew B section which was where you didn't want to be really, it's better than Deans Road, but this was going to be a tough match as the canal was frozen and clear! Decided to fish:
  1. 1 meter at the keepnet with raw joker as feed and on the hook.
  2. 4 meters with double leam with pinch joker in two BIG rock hard balls
  3. In 3 foot of water with bread and joker mixed together and then fish at nine meters
  4. Then "ten and two o'clock" with chopped joker and black leam.
  5. Chop worm at 11 meters down the track at 45 degrees to my right.
  • Colmic F55 Airon Pole
  • Vespe 2 elastic for all my pole rigs apart from chop rig was Vespe Bi core 1.8mm
  • 4x8 - 4x14 Colmic Senna floats for 3 foot or less water
  • 0.3 and 0.4 Colmic Lux
  • Jon Walker hand made float for chop rig.
  • Lines were all Colmic X5000 main line (0.105mm) and Colmic Stream 0.064

Perch went 2lb 4oz and 2lb 6oz of roach. Nice days fishing.
At the "all in" I cupped in a golf ball of bread with a pinch of joker on my 3 foot line and then feed 8 lobs worms at 11 meters down the peg out of the way. Then feed my raw joker line at 1 meter. Then feed chopped joker, then went on my bread in hope of a early skimmer............... that didn't happen but caught a tiny roach (a great sign). Then missed a couple of bites, then tried a 2mm punch rather than a 4mm and started to catch these tiny roach (60 to 1lb), asked Simon Fry (to my left) if he had caught, which repiled in "No mate" and the guy to my right (C section, so didn't matter) he was also struggling. So decided to feed 4 meters and to leam line which was about 20 minutes into the match.  I didn't want to feed lots of lines and if it would have been an "Open" fishing match, then I would of only fed my bread and chop lines, and then your straight onto your hopefully productive bread line.  I felt feeding lots of lines wasn't the way to go as you were spreading your fish everywhere in your swim (if you were lucky enough to have a few around). 

In my match the bread line with joker was the best line for me, and I caught well on Bloodworm (joker fish were 80 to the 1lb), I was lucky to catch a lob worm fish, the first match out of 5, glad it was this Semi Final. The perch was so pale, and to be honset I thought it was a big bream when I first hooked it. But soon realised it wasn't and knew this fish was going to be VERY important to me and my team, and what was a alarming was the massive sheet of ice that had drifted down the canal when I was playing it, therefore didn't take any chances so my Colmic landing net went straight through the ice and netted the perch, which alerted every angler in 100 yards that I had netted something big!  Simon Fry then said "you can enjoy the rest of your match, as no matter what happens now you will have good points"

I went in on the lob worm line again, hopeing there would be another big perch, which there wasn't, and I topped this line up throughout the whole of the match and never had another bite. The roach line in 3 foot was good, and I caught around 100 tiny roach, a couple of tiny perch and 1 big perch on lob for 4lb 10 oz and a section win. I feared the worse as some of anglers had struggled as team runners had said that Starlets and Black Horse had run away with it...... so I was relieved to find out that we were third overall and off to the final on the River Trent on 6th July

Angling Trust Semi Final Results:

  1. Starlets 69 Points (won on section wins)
  2. Garbolino Black Horse 69 Points
  3. Drennan Banbury Gunsmiths 64 points
Well done to the Starlets for winning the team event and to Mark Downes sorting us out with Joker.

Tony Hobbs

Gary Barclay won his section, off a peg that none of us would of fancied

My pole rigs
Jon Walker 0.4 gram for chop rig
Colmic Lux floats
Colmic Senna floats

Mick Denton at Baileys
Bubbles came 2nd in his section.

Matt Herbert was 4th in his section
Fishing at Baileys in our team line.....

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