Against The Clock

It’s always interesting fishing a match on a venue you don’t know and when I turned up at Manor Farm Leisure’s Island Pool for one of their Wednesday open matches, I had no idea what to expect. It was only a small match but the advantage of that is it gave us all plenty of room, and after speaking with venue regular Neil McKinnon before the start, a weight of around 150lb was expected to be needed to win. At the draw, the fishery staff have pulled out Peg 18 for me and the look on Neil’s face said it all! Not the best of pegs apparently but with plenty of room you never know.

Although I’ve been to this venue to do magazine features and filming in the past, I’ve only ever fished one match here and that was in the depths of winter when it was iced over. The lake is well known for its large F1s but there are now some small stockies, which could be a nuisance when I’m looking to catch bigger fish. There are carp in here as well to double figures and if they feed a really big weight is on the cards.

I’ve got the wind in my face on this bank, which rules out the pellet waggler (I know a lot of fish get caught on the pellet wag here), but I’ve got the island for fishing a Method feeder with pellets up to. I’ve also heard that they don’t really catch much here on the short pole but I’ve got to be honest, with the wind blowing at me I really fancy it to catch short so I think I’m going to go against the grain and start short on hard pellets and see what happens. If it doesn’t work I can always go out on the Method feeder.

I’ve got the margins too and hopefully later in the match I might get one or two fish there, and I’ll also feed hard pellet long at 13 metres with the aim of catching shallow but that could be difficult in this wind.

Bait-wise I’ve got plenty of pellets (2mm, 4mm and 6mm) with me because it’s a venue dominated by pellets. Hard pellet is the way to go because there’s a lot of small fish in here, which I want to avoid, and you have to net every fish here so the fewer small fish the better!

I’ve also got four tins of meat cut into 7mm cubes with me and I might change to meat on the short line later depending on how it goes. Finally, I’ve got some sweetcorn that I’ll mix in with my meat for feeding down the edge, and some groundbait mixed up but not sure if I’ll need it – if it’s going pear-shaped I might need to put some in.

My rigs for the match, starting with the Method feeder setup. For this I’ve got a 9ft Ignition feeder rod with 8lb Sinking Mono on the reel, a small 30g ICS elasticated Method feeder to 0.17mm hooklength and a size 16 KKH with a small band for fishing Band’Ums or hard pellets on the hook.

On to my pole rigs and the first thing to note is that I haven’t set a rig up for fishing on the deck long. It’s probably eight feet deep on the long pole line and with it being warm, I think to do any good I’ll need to catch shallow on the long pole or on the Method, short pole or down the edge. My shallow rig has a 4x10 Carp shallow float that I’ve got set at two feet deep, because Neil was telling me earlier that they don’t really catch any shallower than that on this lake. I’ve also set two short line rigs up to fish a top kit plus two, and a top kit plus one. I really fancy this because of that wind but chatting to Neil it’s not something they do here because it doesn’t seem to work, which amazes me!

The top kit plus two rig has a 4x14 Inline Diamond float and the top kit plus one, where it’s one foot shallower, has a 4x12 Inline Diamond. I’ve got a 4x12 Carp Shallow set up for fishing down the edge and I fancy feeding hard pellets down there to begin with because of all the small fish.

I’ve got No13 Dura Slip elastic on all my rigs because I’m expecting fish of all sizes on every line and this elastic is perfect for that. All my rigs are on 0.19mm main lines to 0.15mm hooklengths except the shallow rig, which has a finer 0.13mm hooklength for those cute F1s.