I have had a couple of big matches over the last two weeks at a very local venue, Lakeview Fisheries. Being only five miles from my house I decided it had to be one of the Fish ‘O’ Mania tickets I would apply for. I had already been fishing the complex quite a lot during winter for Lakeview’s Middy Extreme winter series. These are matches fished every Wednesday and Saturday and the winner from each goes through to a final where £1,000 is up for grabs, plus plenty of section prizes to be won. I managed to qualify back in January for the £1,000 match. This final was to be fished on the Saturday, March 19th, only one week before the Fish ‘O’ Mania qualifier, so it would make good practice if nothing else.
On the day of the final around 50 anglers made the draw. With cold weather and the fish shoaling together, a good draw would be essential to win. I drew Peg 9 on Canal Pool, a peg that had held a few fish on previous weeks, so I was quite happy.
Once I had finished setting up I had a rig plumbed for every possible eventuality, from dobbing bread a foot deep to pellet and maggot rigs for fishing full depth down the track, hoping to maximise my chances of getting it right on the day and to learn what was and wasn’t working. I learnt very quickly that the fish that had been sitting in this area had moved further down the lake to Pegs 4 to 6. I really struggled to catch anything early in the match, only putting four F1s and one carp in my net in the first three and a half hours! With an hour and a half left I decided to feed more positively in an attempt to stop any passing fish. I fed groundbait and maggots tight against the next platform and fed all my other lines more regularly.
This had an immediate effect and although I didn’t spend the last hour hauling, I did catch another five F1s and two small carp, weighing in 25lb.
Steve Haywood won the lake with 45lb and the match was won from a different lake altogether. On the plus side, I had learnt a lot and felt much better about the following week. Although I had caught fish late by feeding regularly, the guys who had drawn on a lot of fish had done the damage dobbing bread and/or maggots.
With all this in mind, I spent a long time preparing hooklengths and rigs suited to what I would need for the following week. I made all my rigs up on 0.13mm Preston Reflo Power, giving me the option to fish 0.11mm hooklengths for F1s or 0.13mm hooklengths if I had more large carp in my peg. For fishing Lakeview I like to use Preston PB Inter 1 and PB Inter 8 floats. The Inter 1s are great for all the pellet fishing down the middle of the lake in the deeper water, usually in a 0.3 or 0.4g, and all the shot bulked above a 4in hooklength. The Inter 8s are great for shallow water, so I use these in 4x10 and 4x12 for fishing tight to islands or dobbing shallow. When I am dobbing I try to use small No11 shot and spread them the full length of the rig. This allows the bait to sink very slow, looking more natural.
It was soon the day of the Fish ‘O' Mania and all the talk on the morning revolved around people wanting to draw pegs on Reef or Oasis pools. These haven't been fished a lot recently but due to them holding 10lb-plus fish it could always throw up good weights on such a busy match! At the draw the nerves kicked in, as they always do for me on big matches. I managed to draw Peg 19 on Reef but, to be honest, this really didn't mean a lot. Being the only lake on the complex that I have never fished, I really didn't know what to expect!
I plumbed about mapping my peg and found it was fairly deep, averaging five and a half to six feet. After spotting one or two fish swim past only a foot or so below the surface I knew it was worth starting off shallow with maggot and dobbing bread.
I spent the first two hours dobbing bread two feet deep tight across to the island in three feet of water using my 4x10 rig. This went well, putting 14 carp in my net for roughly 45lb. Unfortunately, due to the horrific wind and rain, a few anglers began to pack away in the third hour, leaving four empty pegs on the end of the lake. It seemed clear that I was losing my fish as soon as these anglers left the lake. The fish swam past me and the next guy into the undisturbed water and could be seen topping in these empty pegs. I only caught two fish in the 4th hour but both being 9lb carp I couldn't complain, boosting my weight nicely when I caught least.
The last hour was also difficult but changing to fishing pellets at full depth to my right at the very limit of my peg and catching four smaller carp and losing four due to foul hooking, I had done all that I could.
The word spread that two anglers on Oasis had caught in excess of 100lb. I was sure I had secured a section win and possibly frame over all. With 130 anglers on eight lakes you can never tell who has caught from where until the final weigh.
I weighed 76lb and had clearly won my lake and I’d had a lovely day.
At the presentation I found out that I had managed third overall. It’s always nice to frame in such a big match!
I am absolutely over the moon to congratulate my good friend Sam Brown on the match win and qualifying spot for the Fish ‘O’ Mania semi-final, weighing 149lb! He absolutely deserves it and I am so happy for him.
Top Five Overall
1st Sam Brown 149lb 14oz – Peg 17 Oasis
2nd Wayne Heywood 124lb 5oz – Peg 14 Oasis
3rd Ben Sharp 76lb – Peg 19 Reef
4th Barry Bush – Peg 16 Oasis
5th Luke Dobson – Peg 18 Reef
Thanks for reading my blog and you will hear more from me very soon.
The Ultimate F1 Fishing Guide.
Martin Stokes runs through his favourite Marukyu Products to help catch one of the most popular species of fish our commercial fisheries the F1 carp.
F1s are one of my favourite species of fish to catch throughout the year, they have now become one of the leading stockings in commercial fisheries all over the country. Due to their size and fast growth rates they have become a real winner with both the commercial fisheries owners and modern day match anglers such as myself.
In the summer, the F1 venues I fish, you need to catch 100, 200 and sometimes 300lb of them to win matches. But even in the winter they still continue to feed in the colder water when other fish slow down.
Personally my best weight of them is over 217lb, I have fished some matches and caught over 170lb of them, and come nowhere in the match.
My rig choice and bait choice changes throughout the year when targeting F1s. So here's a bit of a season to season guide, to my approach when catching them ...
Scopex, Coconutty and The One are my three personal favourites when fishing for F1's.
The hardest time of year to catch them, light rigs are a must. The way you feed your peg, is the key, with too much feed and you can completely destroy your peg. The fastest you can find the depth the F1s want to be in, the better day you will have. Once I have found this depth, fish to different areas of my peg with the same depth. This gives me the best chance of catching a good weight throughout the day. Catch one or two f1s from one area then change to another area, don't expect the fish to feed in the same area all day.
My bait choice is simple, I have a lot of success this winter on double white maggots that have been sprayed with Marukyu's Amino+ Scopex feeding Amino Maggots, when fishing deep venues I like using small balls of Groundbait to help get the bait on the bottom, Marukyu's Luxus Black Fishmeal is perfect for this, as it contains a small amount of food source but a lot of attractors which helps encourage f1s to feed.
The Favourite Winter F1 Pole Rig.
Drennan AS3 0.3g
0.11 Preston Power Line
0.10 Preston Power Line
Drennan Silverfish Pellet size 18
The time of year, F1s start to wake up a bit more, but feeding is still important. Up the feed a little bit, but don't chuck to much in. Fish tidy with medium sized cat pots rather than the smaller ones.
A great way of catching F1s in spring is the method feeder, dead maggots or a band 4mm/6mm Amino Pellet is a perfect hookbait. I go to White Acres at the start of April and the amount of F1s you can catch on Jenny's lake using the method feeder is unreal. The new 2mm Marukyu Sticky Pellets are great, I always tend to go for the Sweet Fishmeal flavour when catching F1s. One of the great things about the new sticky pellets is that you can soak small amounts quickly, rather than soak too much at the start of the match, and end up chucking the away after the match.
My Favourite Spring Setup.
9ft light feeder rod ( I use the 9ft CarbonActive by Preston Innovations)
6lb Guru Drag Line.
15g Small Preston method feeder (inline)
Preston Quick change bead.
PR36 (18) (micro bait band) 0.15 hooklength
Baggin Time!!! Big weights are on the cards this time of year. There are only two ways I like to fish in summer, margins and shallow. It's almost becomes a fishing race at this time of year. Big weights can be achieved by just fishing a top kit down the margins. Loose feeding and big pots can really work, loose feed to draw fish into your peg and cup in big pots to keep the F1s feeding on the bottom.
My favourite summer method has to be fishing shallow on the pole, I like to fish as far out as I can throw my bait. Hard pellets are my go to bait, 4mm/6mm Amino Pellets are perfect for loose feeding, I like the noise of hard pellets, I really think sound plays a massive part in shallow fishing. A bag of Marukyu's Skrill pellets are always in my bag bait this time of year, they can be a great edge for shallow fishing, because there dark colour seems to always get an extra bite or two. Feeding sloppy groundbait can also be great when shallow fishing, Luxus Active Sweet fishmeal with a splash of liquid krill is my go to mix. You can get away with heavier rigs when the F1s really start having it, stronger lines also reduce the amount of tangles when fishing the pole.
My Favourite Summer Pole Rig
Drennan Crystal Dipper 0.2g
0.15 Preston Power Line
Size 18 Matrix Riggers
Autumn is a lot like spring, there are a couple of the things that I like to change. Pole rigs have to be a little lighter than summer, margin fishing still plays a massive part in my fishing in the early months of autumn, 4mm expander pellets flavoured with your favourite Amino+ Spray are great, but if I only had one hookbait at this time of year it would be a Red 6mm JPZ pellet. Feeding soaked 2mm Amino pellets or 4mm Jpelletz, they both seem work great along side the JPZ's.
The method feeder can be a great option, sometimes using ground bait can work better than pellets, As the weather turns cooler, F1s can sometimes shy away from pellets, maybe because they have seen a lot of pellets over the summer months.
My Favourite Autumn Pole Rig.
JH series 3 4x12
0.13 Preston Power Line (main line)
0.11 Preston Power Line (hooklength)
Drennan Silverfish Pellet (size 18)
The F1 carp craze is going from strength to strength, so get out on the banks and catch some of these great fish! (Well, I would say that, because they are my favourite).
See you on the bank soon and tight lines
Our new blogger Ben Sharp reports back from Castle Ashby AT Winter League that was held on the 27th February.
Following on from a couple of good results in my most recent matches, I decided that I would try something a little different from the standard matches where F1 or carp are the dominant species. This would come in the form of a silvers-only match at Hampton Springs Fishery in Malpas, Chester.
I had been meaning to make an appearance here before now but other matches or events had prevented me from making the trip. Instead, Helen Dagnall and Dave Brooks, who had been asking me to book on with them, just rubbed it in telling me how well it had been fishing!
However, a free Sunday and I booked myself onto the match.
I had been keeping an eye on results and had also read a feature about Jamie Hughes at the venue, so with this information I didn’t think I could go far wrong.
Hampton Springs consists of eight fishable lakes with plenty of variety across the complex, with waters containing a mix of pretty much every species possible – carp, F1s, tench, barbel, skimmer/bream, big perch, roach and ide, to name but a few! The complex also has good toilet facilities and an on-site café, with parking next to every lake.
I arrived at the venue with plenty of time to spare before the draw, following the 35-mile journey from Lymm. This gave me a good opportunity to look at the lakes. Four would be included in the day’s match: Poplars, Alice, Rock and Meadow.
Although the original plan was for the draw to be in the standard pegged layout, because of the expected heavy winds the organisers decided that a rover-style draw would give the competitors a bit more of a chance to pick pegs out of the wind and in areas that would produce fish.
Although this was without a doubt a good idea, and one that made perfect sense, for me, making my first appearance at the venue since the summer and not knowing it or its pegs like the rest of the 20 or so anglers, who had all fished Hampton Springs on an almost weekly basis over the last couple of months, it meant deciding on where I would pick to fish from was going to be difficult!
From the draw bag No7 stuck to my hand (meaning I had 7th pick of any of the pegs on the four lakes included). Not a bad pick but by the time it was my turn to pick a couple of pegs that I did fancy had already gone. In the end I ‘panic picked’ Peg 22 on Meadows, the same lake I fished in the summer.
On arrival at my peg it was instantly apparent what my first mistake of the day was. Instead of being sensible and picking a peg where the wind would be off my back, I had chosen to fish with the wind cutting from left to right up the length of the lake. Not ideal!
I decided to set up three rigs, focusing on two main lines. One line at 13 metres, which comprised a 0.4g AS5 float (which I have noticed perform very well in windy conditions. Its slim profile seems to cut through the water rather than being effected too much by any tow or wind) down to a 0.10mm-diameter hooklength and a size 18 B911 F1 hook. This was teamed up to a size 8 Dura Hollo elastic. The swim was five and a half feet deep.
My second line, the one I envisaged I would catch the majority of my fish from was at siix metres. Here I found six feet of water, the deepest part of the peg, and I set up two separate rigs. The first consisted of a 4x14 Carpa Chimp float, a pattern with a rugby-ball-shaped body and a wire stem. My thinking being to have a wire stem to keep the rig nice and stable in the windy conditions. This was down to a 0.08mm hooklength and a size 16 Gama Green hook.
Rig two used the same hooklength but a 0.4g AS3 float.
My plan was simple, start on the long line feeding micros and fishing a dead red maggot or two over the top, hoping to catch a couple of decent fish from here. Skimmers, F1s, crucian carp, maybe, bearing in mind ‘proper’ carp did not count.
I would build my short 6m line up feeding casters, hoping to catch a real mixed bag of species from here once it had been primed.
At 10.30am the match started. I fed a small amount of casters on my short line. Just enough to cover the bottom of my cup, probably 20 to 25 just to put a little pile of bait into the swim but knowing I was hoping to loose feed this swim by hand, where the wind would allow it.
On my long line I cupped in a small amount of micro pellets with a small pinch of dead maggots mixed in and followed it straight in with a 4mm Bait-Tech Xpand pellet on the hook.
Despite the wind making it extremely difficult to present a bait on this line I did expect it to produce a few fish.
However, this wasn’t the case and after a difficult first 40 minutes where presenting a bait was near impossible with the wind and also happened to be biteless, I had no other choice but to see if any fish had settled over my short line. I had been feeding five or six casters on a regular basis by hand over this line.
It didn’t take long before my first fish of the day was in my net, a roach of about 6oz. I’d have taken these all day! My next few put-ins also produced roach, all ranging between a couple of ounces and 6oz.
After eight or nine my next put-in took alot longer to get an indication. When the float did finally dip I seemed to bump something of a decent size.
I went straight back in following a change of hook bait and got a bite within a minute of laying my rig in. This time I did manage to hook the fish, only to pull out of it just as it was coming up to the surface! I suspected it was a big perch, which the venue is known to house. They are renowned for having really bony mouths, and not setting the hook properly can often result in them getting off.
No matter, I continued to pick up roach and ide from my short line, continuing to loose feed casters over the top.
Ninety minutes into the match I’d had 15 to 20 roach and ide, all falling to a single-caster hook bait.
Similar to earlier in the match, my line went quiet. This time, however, I was prepared for what I expected was about to happen. When the float dipped I went for a proper strike into the fish to ensure that I set the hook properly. This time it wasn’t going to get off and I slipped my net under a lovely big perch.
At this point it did seem that a few slightly bigger fish had moved into the swim and pushed the roach and ide away. I was waiting longer for bites but my next couple of fish were a skimmer of just over 1lb and a scrappy crucian carp again around the 1lb mark. However, after a good run of fish it seemed as though coming onto this line earlier than I wanted was starting to show. I always feel that this line needs around an hour for the fish to properly settle over it.
I took this time to give my long line another go to see if any fish were sat waiting for me there, and also to give my 6m line the chance to build back up, with fish hopefully settling back over my feed.
The long line did finally produce a couple of fish on this second visit, although only little blades of skimmers of a couple of ounces. I had tried dead maggot and pellet on the hook with no real success. Before long the wind picked up once again, making this line redundant yet again.
With just under two hours remaining, and approximately 10lb in the net, I was really in need of a good run of fish between now and the end of the match. The guy on the peg to my left had thrown his four or five small fish back and packed up for the day. The angler to my right was also struggling and finding it hard to get regular bites from his swims. The only person who seemed to be catching relatively consistently was Mark Davies directly opposite. He had caught a couple of F1s along with a barbel and a good-sized perch.
Going back onto my 6m line I was almost instantly into fish, again roach and ide being the most regular species.
After a few of these the swim went quiet once again. This time, however, it was not a perch. Instead, I found myself playing a good-sized barbel on my size 6 Preston Innovations Slip elastic. I have this teamed up with a Puller bung, which was essential in helping me land these hard-fighting fish.
Over the next hour I managed to put another three in my net, each as hard fighting as the other and all between 11/2lb and 21/2lb. I actually found that laying my rig in about a foot past where I was feeding bait got me bites when fishing right on top of the feed wouldn’t. Following these barbel I hooked my first carp of the match. I had done well to avoid them up until this point! Annoyingly, it proceeded to effortlessly stretch my elastic right up to the aerator to the right of my swim, wrapping my rig into the obstacle and ruining it. Typical!
Luckily I had a spare rig set up, which meant I didn’t lose too much time. Unfortunately, the commotion must have caused the other fish to spook and it took a little while for my next bites.
I proceeded to put what fish I could manage in the net up to the end of the match, with mainly small ide falling for my caster or maggot hook bait. Again I found I was able to pick fish up fishing past my feed area.
With a couple of minutes remaining, almost simultaneously, Mark and I hooked decent fish. His didn’t seem to put up much of a fight and he managed to get it into his net, a perch that I could see from across the lake to be a good few pounds. My fish took a bit more persuading and with the all-out passing there was no need to overly rush the fish in, although the prying eyes of my competition around the lake were wishing the fish off my hook. A barbel of around 2lb was the outcome and a good end to the match.
Meadow was the second lake to be weighed in, following on from Rock Pool, where the biggest weight was Paul Cooper with 23lb 2oz from Peg 28 (The peg I was told was favourite for the day’s match).
I was first to weigh in on Meadow following a DNW from Peg 24. I had guessed at between 18lb and 20lb so wasn’t too far out when my mixed net of fish registered 22lb 8oz, putting me into 2nd place. Already that early lost perch had cost me!
To my right had a good run of fish late in the match and weighed in with 11lb 4oz.
On Meadows the weights seemed less consistent than some of the other lakes, with a couple of people choosing not to weigh in following a difficult day. Mark, who had had a few more bonus fish than me and a 3lb perch last chuck, weighed in with 24lb 12oz, enough to secure himself 2nd overall in the match and meaning I had the second highest weight on the lake.
With Alice and Poplars left to weigh in and those who had been on those lakes admitting to having caught quite a lot, it was looking unlikely that I would make it into the frame, which was the top five overall.
To my surprise, I managed to sneak into 5th overall. Andy Spencer won the match from Alice Lake with 29lb and Wendy Locker slotted into fourth place, beating me by 2oz! In fact, there was just 2lb 4oz between 5th and 2nd.
1st – Andy Spencer – 29lb (Alice)
2nd – Mark Davies – 24lb 12oz (Meadow)
3rd – Paul Cooper – 23lb 4oz (Rock)
4th – Wendy Locker – 22lb 10oz (Poplar)
5th – Jake Fowles – 22lb 8oz (Meadow)
It was a very enjoyable day at Hampton Springs Fishery. I decided on fishing this match knowing it was a change from the norm and I wasn’t disappointed. Catching eight species during the match meant I never really knew what I was going to hook next. If the wind had stayed down I believe I could have stayed on my long line for longer, giving my short line more opportunity to develop, which ultimately would have meant that I would have caught more consistently throughout the match. For the second match in succession a lost fish has almost certainly cost me a place or more in the overall standings. It’s something I need to eradicate from my performances. Nevertheless, I am happy with the end result, keeping up my run of framing in every match I have fished in 2016!
Please ‘Like’ my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/jakefowlesfishing/?fref=ts
When I arrived the lake we were fishing was very coloured and really cold so I knew that it was going to fish very hard.
I drew an area that doesn’t really produce but the upside of it was that I had a lot of room. The weather was really bad with wind and rain but I had the wind over my back, which meant I could present my bait well, which is key in cold-water conditions.
A group member, Darren Tracey, who commented on a post that we put on our Facebook page asking to show us your fisheries, suggested our next outing for a review day. So we contacted Darren and arranged a date to meet up and fish with him and another group member, Barry Smith, who also asked if we could review the venue, Greens Lane Ponds.
Without wishing to get enthralled in a tit-for-tat battle, Tom Scholey’s blog reply to my editorial in February’s edition of Match Fishing entitled ‘The Pursuit Of Perfection’ needs addressing.