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The high bank on Pollawyn lake is legendary!
Week commencing Sat 19th June 2010
My name is Ian ‘Yozzer’ Hughes, and I am one of a group of fellas who have been holidaying at Whiteacres every June for about ten years. There’s normally 8 of us spread over two 8-berth caravans, but unfortunately this year Tony could not make it so the party consisted of John (Sumo), a self appointed open match angler, but results suggest a good club angler at best, Peter, who works part time in the local Wirral Angling Centre, so is privy to much info, and Kenny, whose tackle comes out each June for a week and promptly disappears back into the garage for 12 months. They share a caravan, as fine home cooking and a few beers is as important to them as is the fishing.
I share the other van with my cousin Cookie, who occasionally dabbles in club matches, Norman, who has ’been round the block’ fishing winter leagues, etc, and George, who is another occasional angler. Our van is obsessed with fishing , a bag of salted peanuts with a pint being a culinary treat!
Having done this for 10 years, we have a system which works for us. We travel overnight to Cornwall from our Merseyside base and arrive for a breakfast in the Whiteacres café at about 9am Saturday. We leave a mobile number at reception, collect our fishing permits, and start the fishing with a choice of most good pegs on the complex. The caravans are usually ready between 1 and 4 in the afternoon so we have a reasonable fishing session, and reception call us when the accommodation is ready. We’re not sitting impatiently, harassing them every half hour from about 11.30 like we used to do.
The High Bank’s Empty
The high bank on Pollawyn lake is legendary, and when a quick tour indicated we could all fish the best pegs, we don’t need a second invitation.. Sumo set up a method feeder on peg 27, Peter decided to pellet waggler 28, Cookie(29) and I (30) go for a pole approach. Sumo ended up catching steadily, but they were mainly small F1s and skimmers, although he did manage a couple of 4/5lb carp.
Peter flogged the waggler and was rewarded with a decent carp and a perch of well over a pound, while after a slow start, Cookie caught a good net of skimmers on pellet at 14m. I fished meat on the deck at 13m and was into quality skimmers from the off, while monitoring what was being caught around me, with a view to changing if carp started to show. We all dream of doing a ton on the first session (or any session come to that), but in reality it’s rarely gonna happen. A word of advice if you are new to Whiteacres, don’t go expecting a ton of carp every day or you will be disappointed. There’s so much more to the complex. How could you be unhappy with a 30lb bag of skimmers?
We got the call at about 2.30. The caravans were ready. After unloading all the gear and having a bite to eat and a coffee, we decided on an evening session on Jennys lake pegs 19-22.
For some reason Norman didn’t have his fishing head on and consequently never settled into a catching rhythm. There’s something for everyone on Jennys, from pellet wag to method for F1s and ‘Proper’ carp into double figures, and fishing at 3m for quality silvers. Me, George and Cookie all adopted a similar approach and fished at 5 or 6 metres with pellet or meat, so that when the float went under it could be a different species every time. We all caught plenty of tench, skimmers and crucians. Cookie and I had a numbers match, with 50 fish being the target. Cookie led by 4 or 5 fish for most of the way, bur I caught him in the mid forties and won 50-45.….great fun. I had a majority of crucians averaging 12oz for a total weight of around 40lb, while Cookie had mainly tench , some as big as 4lb and could have had a total bag in excess of 70lb. Unlucky son, hand over the pound.
Most of us fish in the Silver match held on a Wednesday as we are of average ability and only fish at club match level back home. As the match is likely to be held on TwinOaks lakes, and another couple, this is our choice for Sunday. It seems, however, that it is also the choice of many other anglers. Pegs were few and far between on the low numbers, so we headed for 19-36. As the weather was scorching hot sun and very little wind, its likely to be a tough day, but we settled into adjacent pegs in the middle of the lake.
Cookie decided on an initial pole line at 9metres and soon started to catch lots of small F1s on 6mil pellet. George followed at 6metres and was also getting F1s every go in. Norman quickly adapted his approach and was catching the same F1s at 2metres. I decided to get some much needed practice with rod and line, and using the meat feeder with hair rigged meat on the hook, I was also catching those small F1s, but not quickly enough. We had been vaguely aware that this lake had been stocked, but did not realise the numbers involved.
Norman started to introduce small balls of ground bait and was rewarded with three quality skimmers of around 2lb to go with his F1s. I encouraged him to count the F1s and he could get them at about 30 per hour. At 2 to the pound, that could make it a viable approach IF they fed that close on match day. A big if though. I managed one bonus ‘real’ carp, a common of about 2.5lb
One Lump Or Two?
After a little rest in mid-afternoon, and a bite to eat, we decided to try for a few better carp and an evening session on Trelawney lake beckoned. This lake, along with several others, can prove a little difficult in the daytime, but come the evening, and the bigger residents tend to occupy the margins and become catchable.
We chose to fish pegs 9-12, and as we were setting up, we met up with some old acquaintances. Some people return at the same time every year, and it’s easy to make friends. David and Kirsty from Sheffield are a couple who holiday for two weeks every June and we first met them about three years ago. One of the good things for us is that our week coincides with their second week so they always update us with the latest info on which lakes are on form and the best tactics to employ.
We had heard that this lake had also received a winter stocking of F1s, so with this in mind I set up with the intention of catching a few at an easy 4metres on meat. It was text book fishing! No sooner had I started catching a few F1s and quality roach, when all went quiet for 30 seconds before I latched into a carp of 6lb or so. The theme had been set and every time I had a little run of smaller fish, the float would disappear and another lump was on its way to the landing net. I finished the session with 9 proper lumps and a great mixed bag of F1s, roach and skimmers.
George fished next to me and had a couple of decent carp down the edge, and Norman did likewise. Cookie bucked the pole trend and fished the method for a while without success, but made up for it with some good carp, including a double figured munter on paste fished in the margins. We’d all had a few proper carp, so we could now ‘relax’, the pressure was off.
As a group, the only moan we’ve had over the years is that we couldn’t have a proper knock-up, using keepnets and weighing in at the end of the session. We’ve improvised with fish counting ’matches’ but its not quite the same, although we have had some real good laughs along the way . At the time of booking we didn’t realise that Whiteacres let groups fish private matches on Trewaters complex, which is a few miles away towards Redruth. I’m sure Kirsty will furnish you with details if you are interested.
Anyway, as the Gold match was on, and using five separate pools, we decided in advance that we would try a knock-up at nearby Mawgan Porth pools, which is a day ticket fishery a few miles away. With keepnets, landing nets, and hand towels supplied, we had a proper match among ourselves. The fishery is very shallow, with large beds of Canadian pond weed for the fish to hide in, but its stuffed with small carp up to about 2lb. The inevitable happened, and although we all caught well, the open angler AKA Sumo outclassed us all and won with 84lb.Our seven anglers weighed in a total of 370lb, impressive and enjoyable day!
More Match Practice
On Tuesday, we decided to try a few things in preparation for Wednesday’s match, and opted to fish on Acorn lake as there was a possibility that it would be included. Even the gastronomes from the other van kept breakfast down to a lightly poached quails egg, and joined us. Norman bailed out and went back to Twinoaks 19-36, as he wanted to perfect his F1 technique at 2metres. He reportedly did quite well, catching 100 fish in 3 hours, on corn, and reckoned 60lb was possible in the match. Cookie fished peg 7 on Acorn, and fed balls of ground bait at ten metres, with loads of pellet, corn and meat. He caught steadily with those baits on the hook and had an assortment of carp, tench and big skimmers. George sat on peg 6, fished the pole at 6metres with meat and pellet and also had a mix of carp, skimmers, and tench, and a couple of crucians, too.
I chose to fish the margins, and after a couple of early carp, was pestered by roach. However, I found that by feeding red coloured, tandoori flavoured meat, the roach were not attracted to it in the same way that they were to plain meat, pellet or corn. I ended up with 10 carp, a few nice tench, and some proper skimmers.
On the other side of the lake, on peg 16, Sumo also found that red baits did not attract the roach in any numbers as he caught well on strawberry corn in the margins. Peter, on the other hand, found loads of roach, and small skimmers, by fishing paste at 5metres on peg 14!
Kenny had the most fun, although not the best catch. Having spilt a small handful of pellets down the front of the concrete platform, he noticed plumes of mud coming up at his feet, and some large tails in amongst the cloud. He promptly moved away from his peg and dropped his end tackle down the side of the concrete. Despite throwing handfuls of bait in, and seeing up to half a dozen tails constantly by the concrete, and his float disappearing on a frequent basis, it was a frustrating hour later that he finally caught a rather large carp approaching double figures. He did manage one further fish, but was totally engrossed for a couple of hours.
After another little siesta and some refreshments in mid afternoon, me and Cookie thought we’d get on Twinoaks 1-18, and try to master this method feeder cast tight to the far bank. Upon arrival at the lake, we chose pegs 7 and 8, but the obvious presence of lumps in the margins meant that feeder plans went out of the window. We both got margin pole top threes out and mixed up some paste. As we say, it was like shellin peas. Cookie suffered from lost fish, and ended up with 4, but I managed 11 carp for a weight of about 80lb, and all in three hours.
Cloud With A Silver Lining
Wednesday dawned, and nerves started. It was the day of OUR biggest match of the year. We prepared some communal bait and headed for the fishing lodge to join the draw queue. Norman was first in and picked Trelawney 17. No Twinoaks high number for him, and practice had been a waste as none of us drew it! Everyone except me drew on Trelawney, with Peter on 10, Sumo on 24 and Cookie next door on 25. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry as Twinoaks 17 stuck to my hand. This had been the winning peg in Monday’s gold match, so I immediately felt the pressure, but on the other hand I had half a chance of doing well.
A quick visit back to the van to sort out appropriate bait, and I was off. Upon arrival at my peg I was greeted by Kirsty, who was on peg 16, and we both felt better as she admitted to being really nervous at drawing a good peg, the same as me. Much as I hate fishing the method, it had to be done on these pegs, so I set up my tip rod and a couple of pole rigs.
Kirsty was into a carp first, which settled the nerves for her, while I waited about 20 mins for my first fish. By mid-match, Kirsty was giving me a lesson in how to fish the method, and just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, she changed to the pellet waggler and promptly doubled her catch rate. Boy was I in trouble, so I tried the pole at 8metres, to no avail. I decided to fish to my strengths and use paste down the edge. Although I lost a lump first go in, I felt more comfortable, and started to catch the odd quality carp, and steadily put fish in the net for the last two hours. With ten minutes to go, I foul-hooked a large carp in the tail, which gave me the runaround, before snagging in some bankside grasses. After a brief tussle, I managed to free it, along with the grass, and looking at my watch, the whistle was due. I was just planning to shout ‘fish on’ when the all-out was called, the hook pulled, and I called ‘fish off’ instead… or words to that effect.
Kirsty had fished a brilliant match and weighed in 71lb, while I managed 54lb, and peg 18 had somehow sneaked in about 25 carp to win the match with 80lb. I didn’t see him catch half of them! On Trelawney, Peter had 3 good carp in the last half hour to add to his otherwise empty net, and secured a section win. Well done mate. Norman had a mixed bag for 28lb, and although they were about level with an hour to go, Cookie weighed in with 25lb, while a great last hour saw John catch a few quality carp on the tip to boost his weight to an honourable 67lb. This was enough to put Sumo in third place, maybe he is open class after all. Quality! With the winner on 18 and Kirsty finishing second on 16, I somehow managed to win our section of six by default, and got a £30 envelope to prove it. Magic.
Use Your Loaf
After the intensity of the match, George and Norman decided to go with floating bread to Twinoaks pegs one and two for a quiet evening session. This has been a successful ploy on more than a few occasions over the years. Me, Kenny and Cookie went to chill out and ‘watch’.
Its amazing how three hours and a loaf of bread can go so quickly when you’re not catching. Every time a few pieces of bread were dropped in the margins, large carp would surface and violently devour them within seconds. Every time the ducks saw a free meal, the carp would literally chase them off, it was hilarious. Despite the presence of many big carp feeding, most of the bites ended up being missed, but it was very entertaining. At the end of the session, about 6 carp had been hooked and landed, and we’d all shared the tackle to have a go. As I’ve said previously, there’s more to the complex than a ton of carp every day.
High Number In The Rover? …..Don’t Worry
The rover match is a much more relaxed affair, even with 155 anglers entered. We all had a dip into the dream bag and came out with nightmares. I think the best number within our group was about 89. Norman chose Jennys, as did Cookie, and Sumo decided on one of his pleasure pegs, Acorn 16 (don’t forget the red baits). I got No.154 but thought I’d got a plan. Eery lake is a little 12 pegger in the corner of the complex, and attracts little interest as its allegedly been restocked with loads of small pasty carp.
I thought I might take advantage of a quiet lake and catch a load of small carp to make a decent weight. Three pegs were already taken by pleasure anglers, as they have until 8.30 to fish anywhere they choose. As numbers 141-150 were called to the queue, all the other pegs were still available, but four of them quickly disappeared, taken by anglers thinking like myself. This now made my plan look decidedly unattractive, so I changed my mind and took the one remaining peg on Jennys. I could have some banter with Norman and Cookie, and hopefully catch a few fish too.
It turned out to be frustratingly slow on Jennys, and after three hours, with no chance of framing, me and Cookie tipped back about 20lb each, and headed back to the caravan. Norman soldiered on and weighed 38lb of tench, skimmers, and crucians, while Sumo caught 42lb from Acorn. Imagine my frustration when I got a text a while later saying it had been won with 126lb………….from EERY! It turned out that David from Sheffield had taken advantage of his high draw and caught an all carp net on method feeder. His biggest fish was about 2lb. A fantastic performance, well done David!
After the buzz of the previous two days, being involved in the matches, we all decided we wanted some more. This prompted us to take a return trip to Mawgan porth. Only 5 this time as Sumo and Peter opted out, Sumo muttering something about easing the pressure on the rest of us. They did turn up to watch the weigh-in, and we had all improved from our previous visit. I had the best weight with 108lb, followed by a vastly improved performance by Norman, up from 36 to 73lb. Cookie had 61lb, George 43, and Kenny 27 (minus 4 wagglers).
They Think Its All Over……….
Friday night is always a good time to go fishing at Whiteacres. Most visitors are busy preparing to go home, so the lakes are usually quiet. Cookie and I normally do some margin fishing for big fish on the Friday evening, but this year we chose to have a go on Eery, to find out if its worth a full session when we return in September. It will definitely be worth it!
After some initial roach trouble, we got things sussed, and fishing paste, we managed to get the pasties lined up. For regular visitors to Whiteacres, you’ll know what I mean when I say the fish were typical Whiteacres of yesteryear, slate-grey mirrors and leathers to about 3lb. There are still a few of the old Eery lumps in there too. An angler opposite had three double figure ghosties on floating bread, including a ‘hooked in the tail’ fish of 16lb 9oz. Wow, what a struggle to land that one.
It was over all too quickly, but thankfully there’s always next year… or September
Ian ‘Yozzer’ Hughes
An aquatic game of snakes and ladders!
Unbelievably It was time for the first White Acres spring festival sponsored by Bait Tech , I’m not sure if this year they have the correct terminology as the festival was competed in winter like conditions! Due to the weather the festival as seen through my eyes could better be described as an aquatic game of snakes and ladders, the draw bag is the dice and the pegs are the game board where you land decides whether you climb up the leader board, or go sliding down those slippery snakes. I actually enjoy the format of this festival as it is more of a traditional type of fishing match, firstly it is pellet barred event, hook lengths for the feeder have to be a minimum of 12 inches, and no inline feeders are allowed. Most anglers know the format but just as a quick reminder; the sections that you will be fishing are pre drawn so that you know where you are before you arrive on site. You stay in the same 36 peg section but can you can draw against anybody in your group in nine peg sections. There is a rotation system and each day you fish a different lake so after day one everybody has an idea of what to expect!
Here we go
There is always a buzz on Monday morning at the draw; everybody is hoping for that bit of luck that will give them a reasonable peg and a start on the leader board, I was no exception hoping that this festival will be the one. It is really good mixing with old friends and saying hello to some of the stars. As I approached the front of the queue in C section my thoughts were firmly on a peg on Trelawney as I fancied getting amongst those new F1’s and a few of those big edge dwellers that would give me a me good start in the festival. Peg 29 Twin Oaks is what came out of the bag of dreams and my initial thoughts were that it would be a struggle with silvers an important part of the day. As I walked out of the club house I bumped into Harry Billing and he confirmed my thoughts stating that 30lb would be a good weight in that section and a good proportion would be silvers fish.
At the peg I assembled two SPRO Midwater 4 x 16 floats with .10 Xedion hook lengths and size 18’s T213 hooks, I planned to target both Silvers and F1’s at 13m fishing two swims one at 10 o’clock and the other at 2 o’clock. The same rigs would also be used for the 5m that I would fish straight in front of me. I had an edge rig which was a 4 x 10 J12 float with a .12 bottom that I hoped I could catch silvers with and would give me a chance of landing a carp if I hooked one. A straight lead that was clipped up so I could fish tight to the far bank was also assembled; this could be changed to a small feeder if I felt the need. For bait I had plenty of casters, a few maggots and some corn, meat, hemp and worms. Ground bait was my regular Swimstim mixed with Yorkshire Baits Green Betaine.
At the start I fed reasonably aggressively on the left hand side with six balls of GB cupped in and half a cup of meat and hemp on the other line. I loose fed corn on the 5m line. Starting on the straight lead with corn I cast just short of the far bank and started pinging single grains of corn over whilst I watched the rod tip. I was really pleased to see it pull round and a 1 ½ pound common opened my account in the festival. It unfortunately was the only one and a later change to ground bait feeder resulted in a couple of F1’s but I was having a huge problem with overhanging vegetation, including some that was submerged, it cost me a couple of hook lengths and feeders, plus the time it took to re tackle. I found myself getting a little frustrated with my start especially as they were catching quite a few F1’s to my left!
I had a couple of F1’s over my ground bait and a couple of roach but it was not responding as I hoped, there was not a bite to be had on meat line. With two hours gone I was at a loss on what to do especially as they were now sacking with F1’s to my left. I decided for some reason or other to start a new line at 11.5m straight in front of me feeding 125ml of meat and hemp. I put a bit of meat on the hook and shipped out and the float literally disappeared! A 10 oz F1 was the culprit! Putting on a toss pot and feeding a few pieces of meat every drop saw me have a bite a chuck until the end of the match. I was now literally in a race trying to catch up with the others. What an amazing three hours I had, finishing third in section with 46lb 10oz, second was 57lb and the winner had around 60lb which was all big carp. Oh man this was a couple of points dropped in my book. As I write this I still cannot believe that I could not get a bite at 13m and yet it was solid a couple of metres away! Sometimes this game of ours is a strange old thing. But, I had the good fortune to pick up the section money by default which was a bonus. I was on that snakes and ladders board, not finding any ladders but importantly missing those snakes!
This is a match I always look forward to, but I find it a very time consuming affair changing all my kit around to fish purely for silvers and then swopping everything back at the end of the day. I wouldn’t have it any other way as it is a top venue in my eyes. I was really keen to fish it as I have not been there since last May. My thoughts at the draw was to be ‘on the boat’ well at least my kit as I wanted the far bank in particular peg 77 which has the only proper platform on the match length! That wasn’t to be as I could see it had already gone as I approached the bag, a quick dip with my left hand and out came peg 74, great next peg to where Andy Gregory won the match the previous day with 19lb I was well pleased with the draw.
Good old rods
I set up two old Normark feeder rods, one with braid which I set up as a conventional paternoster rig using a.12 Xedion hook length and a size 20 Milo AS hook which has a micro barb and in my opinion is the perfect for the feeder. They are large for their size hence a 20. The other rod had a hair rig which would allow me to have the odd chuck with corn both were clipped up around 25 turns of the reel handle.
I also set up a1.25 gram Tamas Walter pencil float to fish at 13m where I found a gentle slope. At the start I cupped in around eight balls of ground bait which was Swimstim darkened with a bag of Mosella All Round Select, there was a lot of chopped worm and caster in this mix.
Starting on the feeder with red maggot on the hook I had three quick casts to get some bait on the bottom. On the third cast I think my feeder caught on something behind me as I felt it jar just as I prepared to cast. I saw the feeder land perfectly where it should have but it was no longer attached to my line! Oh man not the start I wanted! Putting a bit of corn on the other rod I cast out whilst I re tackled. When I was ready I reeled in the corn rig and thought it felt heavy but I could not believe my eyes, I had only hooked my lost feeder in the swivel! I actually thought I could win today with luck like that!
I started getting bites from small skimmers and was pleased to be putting some fish in the net as from what I could hear anglers were struggling for bites. I stuck to my guns concentrating for minute bites and at the same time putting a reasonable amount of corn through the feeder hoping to attract and hold some bigger fish in my swim. I did manage a couple of better skimmers but the cold water was having its toll and it was slow, that said there were fish to be caught. After 1 ½ hours I had a look on the pole line and in a dozen put ins I had 10 perch between 1 oz and 4 oz probably putting a pound of fish in the net within a very short period. But after the tenth fish there were no more bites. I re fed but never went back on the pole.
I managed to catch fish slowly until the end of the match, I even had three fish on the corn which were of a better stamp. But the jewel in the crown came from a bite on worm and after a hard fight I had a 3lb plus bream in the net. I have to say that a 3lb slab is a big fish to play on a light rod with braid as you feel every little shake of the head but it was worth it! There were two other slabs caught in my section one was a beauty of 5lb 8oz caught by Tracy to my right and the other around 4lb two pegs to my left. My net went 14lb 5oz which was good enough to win the section. The better news came when I reached the car park and found scales man Mark Lazell waiting for me with the news that I had won the match, second weight was around 10lb 10oz so I didn’t need the bream! The dice had rolled well for me today a double six helped as I found one of those big ladders on the board and moved up to 13th place!
Peg 31 was the number that stuck to my hand today and I felt it was an ok draw with a chance of good points. A look at he previous days results showed me that Steve Ringer had won the section from peg 33. On the way back to my van I called at Steve’s caravan and cheekily asked for a run down on how he approached the match. What I got was a full briefing on how he fished and more importantly how he would fish if he was going there today! What other sport could you speak to one of the top players in the country and be given honest and very good advice. Thanks Steve, I really appreciate the time you spend trying to help other anglers.
So with some sound advice and my own experience of fishing the lake I set up a .5 gram Cralusso Capri to fish two lines on the long pole at angles so I could feed one and fish the other. I also had a line at 5m which was fished with 6m of pole again at an angle. I also assembled a shallow pole rig which was a .30 gram J13 inline float, just in case but Steve did tell me that very few were caught shallow. Bait was 6mm pieces of meat that I was hooking direct on Milo hooks T252 I had them in size 16’s and 14’s a new hook to me but one that I really like the look of.
Steady start in the nursery
My match started steady with a few fish gracing the net but they were not coming with any regularity and they were on the small size. I could see fish moving on the surface but they seemed to be on the other side of the lake and the angler on peg 44 was putting a few fish in the net that he caught shallow and what’s more they were big fish. I had a go for them shallow and eventually caught one but did not get another bite. I felt I was waiting too long for bites so I went back on the deck. The rest seemed to do my swim no harm and I had a quick run of three carp.
The match was drawing towards the last hour and I really needed a boost, it was quite close in the section, that is with the exception of peg 44 who had pulled away from the pack but if I could manage a second I would be on one of those small ladders. It was time to put all the effort into the 5m line that I had primed fro the start. It wasn’t frantic sport but the fish were coming, I think I had five more fish. With minutes to spare I was playing a carp, I looked at the time I saw I had a minute or so left and was thinking it might be important so better take my time and land it, just as I thought that it surfaced and I scooped a 4 pounder. There was still time on the clock so I quickly re baited and dropped in, the float settled and buried a firm lift saw a yard of purple J range lastix shoot out of the pole just as the all out was shouted! It was a good feeling shouting fish on, it was also a good fish for me personally as it was over 10 pounds. This fish lifted me into second place in the section beating Dorkings Dave Harpin by 7 ounces! The ladder I landed on today moved me up the board to 8th place.
Oh Man not again!
Thursday saw our section move onto the Match Lake and I was really hoping for a peg that would give me a chance of competing but all my hopes were dashed when the bag of dreams once more turned into a nightmare and peg one came out! That part of the arm had been poor and it is an area that I have drawn on regular basis! I tried to keep a positive head on and approach the match hoping the fish were there.
There is not much to write as I tried hard but failed miserably and could not catch. I fed positive on one line for silvers but there was just blades feeding. I had 40 minutes looking for a carp tight to the island but nothing was happening. As soon as I came off that line two ducks spent the rest of the day diving down for the bait that had not been eaten by its intended quarry. With two hours to go I set up a small feeder and fished this as far to my left as was legal about 1 ½ metres off the far bank just hoping for a run of carp. I even put away all my silver rigs just leaving the feeder and an edge carp rig to finish the match with. I wanted no distractions as I knew if I didn’t catch some bigger fish I was sunk. I managed one 5lb mirror and three nice sized perch that took a fancy to 6mm luncheon meat, finishing the match with just over 12lb for three points. I did however find that big old snake that resides near the top of the board and found myself sliding down the board to around 40th place!
Wind and rain to finish the week
The last day was also a worry as we were on Jenny’s and Python, I love both these lakes but the Python narrows with the exception of a couple of pegs were very hard. I put my hand in the bag and as I pulled it out the number was facing Kirsty who was doing the draw, I could not bring myself to turn it round and asked her what I had. She told me I was on peg 5 and I gave her a great big grin in relief! I was happy with that it, the section fished hard the day previously with my peg returning 10 lbs and 2 points but Steve Ringer had won the section with 36lb from peg 6 so I felt I had a chance.
Steve had caught skimmers on the pole and that is what I set up for. Two lines one at 5 sections and the other at 11.5m I wanted to fish longer but the forecast was terrible and I wasn’t making the mistake of going out too long. My rigs were .5gram Cralusso Capri’s for the longer line as I wanted something I could hold on to when the wind got up. The swim was around 5’ deep, hooks were size 16 T213 to a.10 bottom as worm was the bait. I also set up a.4 gram SPRO Midwater float with an 18’s hook to fish at 5 sections of pole. The last thing I set up was a small GB feeder. I had three pints of caster with some maggots and a kilo of worms plus two bags of Ground bait.
At the start I fed aggressively at 5 sections and I was pleased to see that I was the only one to do this, 5 big cup full’s of GB went in on that line as I hoped to attract some skimmers in close. A big pot of chopped worm and caster was deposited on the 11.5m line. Starting on the GB feeder I managed 3 Cornish F1’s in the first 30 minutes but I was been beaten by my neighbour on peg 4 and also by Matt on peg 7. Just prior to the match starting there had been a pleasure angler fishing the feeder dead opposite me and I think this had a detrimental effect on my line. I have no gripes about that angler as he was also on holiday!
Changing to the 5m pole I was really pleased to see a skimmer first put in on double maggot. A few followed and I introduced a little choppie over their heads and I stated catching on worm. The line appeared solid. I noticed that my hook had lost its point so I fed a small ball of GB whilst I changed it and when I dropped back in I couldn’t catch! I just could not believe that a small ball had such an effect but they had gone! I fished it for awhile in case it was carp that had moved in but I was now struggling.
Moving onto the longer line and I could not buy a bite other than small roach. I took the decision to introduce GB here as well and that worked! I started catching skimmers again. I had a vey enjoyable match on the pole catching around 35lb of mainly skimmers. It was a shame that the Tench didn’t arrive as they would have boosted my weight but I mustn’t grumble! Apart from the weather which was awful with very strong winds and torrential rain it was nearly a perfect match. I finished third in section the winner from peg 8 having 50lb of F1’s on the feeder and the chap to my left having 39lb his earlier fish on the feeder took the match out of my reach.
The third place put me back on a ladder and I finished the festival in 20th place with 31 points out of a possible 36 once again I really enjoyed my week’s fishing with the exception of one day! The good thing for me was that I qualified for the Preston / Parkdean festival in October which I was pleased about as this was my only chance of qualification this year.
What a performance
Phil Ringer absolutely took the place apart winning his section every day finishing with a perfect score, quite an achievement. Yes, you have to draw well to do that but I can assure you that no one just lets you have the points you have to earn them. Well done mate absolutely brilliant. Richard Kinning also had four section wins but he dropped a third place to finish second followed by Joff Rogers and Steve Ringer on 35 points.
Well done once again to the fisheries team at White Acres another fantastic festival which was very well run. Also thanks to the festival sponsors Bait Tech who gave everybody a nice selection of their products it’s great to see your support this festival every year every year.
courtesy of fishing4fun
At the other end of the Match World
Spring is nearly upon us, the frosty mornings are becoming less frequent, birds have begun to make themselves heard and that can only mean one thing – its festival time at White Acres.
For those mere mortals like me, the feeling is akin to being 10 again, and looking forward to Christmas.
The excitement of fishing one of these festivals is inexplicable, and cannot be translated to love ones left at home….you have to experience it to understand it.
In the weeks leading up to departure, we will go through the ritual of stocking up on too much ground bait, purchasing floats we will never use or need, and reading just about every article we can that pertain to sacking up on carp.
Week by week the days are ticked off, and you pretty much know from January how many days there are left before you leave for the event.
No need for an alarm clock on that Saturday morning, sleeping very little the night before, just as you did on Christmas Eve.
The 303 mile pilgrimage passes by in a bit of blur, with only Keith Arthur’s dulcet tones and wit breaking the silence for a few hours, courtesy of his excellent early morning show. The miles count down, now on the A30, moving through Bodmin, then Oakhampton, and soon the first of the signs for Newquay are spied.
Thoughts of memorable section wins against all odds start to run rife, banishing the previous memories of fighting for the scraps of section points. It will be no different come the day, of course it won’t, why will it be any different to those years before? For the mere mortals of the match world, this is all about rubbing shoulders with the elite of the sport...and pipe dreams.
Swinging into the car park, all the familiar signs are still there, the perfectly tended flower beds, the smell of pasties waft from the shop, and you struggle to pick your way through the cars scattered around the entrance, abandoned by eager festival goers, all checking in way ahead of the 4pm time…I join them.
As ever...the caravan will not be ready, who cares? Back in the car and a short trundle down to the tackle lodge to find out just what section you will be fishing first...and normally the destination of the Sunday practice. Surveying the sections, it is a who's who of the angling world, and not for the first time, the enormity of the task of actually beating any one finally dawns on you ...( 'fodder' you think to yourself).
The need to fish cannot be contained any longer, and with anything up to 5 hrs. before your caravan is ready, you spend another small mortgage on more duplicate tackle before happily setting off for one of the fish stuffed lakes on site.
A sacking session then follows, filling you with misplaced confidence. You feel ready to take on the gods.
And then it dawns on you on the first Monday that perhaps fishing can be a funny old sport....and a tough one! Shoals of hungry fish that were so eager to jump on any bait or method you wished to serve up for them a day earlier, have now deserted you, and instead are impaling themselves on the super stars lines with gay abandon.
Still you soldier on, taking in the surroundings and trying to glean just what they are doing, that you are not….such are the mysteries of the sport. The scales arrive at your peg, and a quick glance at the impressive weights already recorded let you know once more you have been turned inside out by pretty much everyone else...but then that's how it should be. Those I share the bank with are the professionals here; it will be those very people fighting it out at the top each day.
I stop and remind myself, ‘where in the world can you get the chance to compete alongside current and ex world champions of your most favourite sport…?’
My position at the end of the festival matters little to me, I am here for crack of it all, and will come back year after year for the buzz it gives!
MJ AKA Essex Maverick
Whiteacres Bait Tech Festival 2010
Author – Snooty Fox
Firstly, I will try to make this a good read although when I talk about pegging etc it may only be understandable by people who have been to Whiteacres and know the layout of the lakes etc.
Firstly I will explain the format of a festival ...
Festivals attract a maximum of 180 anglers who are all divided into 5 sections of 36 and you stay in this 36 for the whole 5 days. On the day of the matches, each 36 peg section rotates around the 5 lakes.
When you draw your peg your 36 peg section is divided into 4 further 9 peg sections and this is where the all important points system comes into play. For winning your 9 peg section you get 9 points all the way down to 1 point for coming last.
At the end of the week your total is your best 4 results and your final position is decided for your dropper. As an example, if your daily points were 2, 7, 4, 9, 4 your final point total would be 24 dropping a 2. If there is someone else with this score then total weight comes into the equation.
This year I had been drawn in section ‘C’ which put me in the company of fellow MFS members Ian Didcote (Diddy123), Joff Rogers (Joffmeister) & Andy Meadows (Redpaste).
The rotation for this section was –
Day 1 – Trelawney / Twin Oaks
Day 2 – Porth (Off site)
Day 3 – Bolingey (Off site)
Day 4 – Pollawyn
Day 5 – Jennys / Python
Day 1 – Trelawney / Twin Oaks.
This 36 peg section is over the 2 lakes and to be honest I would say that most people would prefer to draw Twin Oaks. In went the hand and out came Trelawney 23 which I was told was not too bad a draw.
Upon arrival at my peg, I had Ian Didcote on my left and Mark Richardson on my right. My peg has a lovely bay in front of it which was about a 25 yard chuck to the other side. Ian was on the straight to my left and had a 20 yard chuck whilst Mark to my right could get to within a couple of feet of the island with 16 mtrs (this is the pole limit at W/Acres).
I set up an 11 ft feeder rod and various rigs to fish from 4 mtrs out to 14.5 mtrs. Bait was meat, hemp, corn, caster, worm & maggots (keeping within the 8pt limit).
The feeder was despatched to the far side and a 2lb F1 was in the net after 10 mins but from this point my match went downhill and despite alternating from meat feeder to g/bait feeder there were no bites OR liners forthcoming in the following 40 minutes. Ian then snared a couple of F1’s to my left and Richo had a 4lb carp fishing pole to the island to my right and I was forced onto the pole due to lack of movement in the bay.
The pole line was equally as hard and Ian was also struggling. It seemed at this point that the F1’s were shoaled on the end pegs and Mark was catching proper carp to my right by fishing to the island at 16 mtrs and waiting.
Ian now made the decision to fish caster short and fish for roach and whilst I stuck it out for F1’s and carp it was unlikely that they would turn up. In the end I also decided to fish for roach to put a few fish in the net but by this time knew I had suffered a major blow out.
At the end of the match - end peg 36 won the section with 56lb and Mark was 2nd with 40+lb. My paltry 9lb of roach (including that early F1) only beat one in the section and I had a paltry 2 points from the first day.
Ian had 23lb of roach which I believe put him 5th and 5 points.
As can happen at W/Acres (my excuse anyway) my peg fished well for the rest of the week. Having subsequently spoken with anglers who were on it, I don’t believe I did a lot wrong – its just that the fish weren’t there.
Day 2 – Porth
Porth is a large reservoir and the main quarry is small roach, skimmers and perch. There are some bream in there but are caught irregularly and you take a major risk by targeting them. Usual tactics are either feeder or waggler at short range (25-40 yards) or pole as far as you can fish (wind dependant !). Usual target weight for good section points is 7lb upwards.
Out came peg 34 which is one of the longest walks you can imagine. I am in the middle of a section and on the previous day the peg had 4lb and 4 points so I set my target at 7lb. I didn’t bother with the pole and decided to set up the feeder clipped at around 35 yards and the waggler fishing around 4ft deep in 8-10ft of water at about 25 yards (this distance was determined by how far I could catapult casters).
Usually on Porth you get bites straight away but it was obvious from the way the whole section was fishing that there was a distinct lack of roach in the area. Things started to pick up and for most of the match it was a struggle. Fortunately the wind dropped sufficiently in the last hour for me to catch a few roach up in the water to avert a total disaster.
Feeding on this line was caster (can be catapulted further than maggots) and either maggot or caster on the hook.
My final weight of 3lb 13oz may sound poor BUT it got me 4th in the 9 peg section and 6 points. I beat either side of me and was only beaten by both end pegs the other was next to an end peg. Section winning weight was 7lb odd with 5lb 2nd and 4lb 3rd.
Day 3 – Bolingey
Bolingey is off site and is regarded by many as one of the best fisheries in the country. It had fished well in the first 2 days with a few ‘tons’ each day. The good thing about Bolingey is that they use split section and what I mean by this is that all the ‘fliers’ are in one section and then the rest are in the other 3 sections (they are still all good though). Because of this, it is not always best to draw one of the fliers as you will be in what they call the ‘big hit’ section. A perfect example of this, as I recall, is Des Shipp weighing 100+lb and coming 5th in the section.
Anyway, my draw put me on peg 16 which can be ok. To be fair, I am one of only 2 pegs in the section which does not have an island chuck (these are relatively short at around 20-25 yards) but I do not let this affect me as it means I can concentrate on the pole for 5 hours. Looking around the section I had Joff on 18 and immediately knew he had a major chance of winning the section from there. Peg 11 had performed on Monday and the right angler on there would catch to the island and the same applied to peg 17 to my left who also had an island chuck. Peg 12 was not in our section (remember the split) and I was relying on him to chuck to the island to take fish from the others in my section. Imagine my dismay when he didn’t even set a rod up!
Bait for the day was 4pts of meat (6mm cubes), 2pts corn & 2pts maggots although I knew in reality that I would probably only use the meat. Bolingey is deep with about 8ft at 6 mtrs and 10 ft on the 16 mtr line in my area. I decided to go for an up in the water attack with a deep rig set for that line also and a deep rig at 6 mtrs. Margin rigs were also deployed which meant coming about 1 mtr from the bank to find 3 foot of water due to the water clarity.
Once the whistle sounded I simply put 6 cubes of meat in the catapult and flicked out to 16 mtrs whilst all around fed their pole lines. First drop in at around 2 ft deep and a 4lb carp was in the net! Despite constant feeding and lifting and dropping of the rig no more bites were forthcoming in the next 30 mins. I was extremely frustrated as pegs 17, 18 & 11 had started to pick the odd fish off utilising the waggler chucked close to the island.
After 1 hour and no further fish I decided to fish the 6 mtr line whilst continuing to flick meat over the 16 mtr line. A couple of fish followed on the 6 mtr line but they were small at around 3lb and the other pegs were still catching fish against the island. Halfway through the match, and in hindsight I should have done it earlier, I dropped the deep 10 ft rig over the 16 mtr line and the float buried. A 5lb carp was despatched into the keepnet and I could not believe that despite pinging 4 cubes of meat every minute that those carp had remained on the deck. I continued to pick off odd fish on this line until the final 45 mins and then decided to have a look down the edge (I left it that late because people were already fishing their edges with limited success).
A couple of 8lb carp were caught during this period and although I knew I hadn’t won the section I thought I had done as well as I could from the peg. My 70lb 6oz was 4th in the 9 peg section and I was beaten by the 3 anglers chucking the waggler to the island. The section was won by Joff with 115lb however peg 11 had 80lb and peg 17 had 77lb which frustrated me as one more edge fish could have pushed me up to 2nd.
Joff fished a good match on the waggler despite having to borrow a rod from Diddy !! My theory on the pinging was proved by Richard Kinning who won his section with 93lb catching on the deck at 10ft deep whilst putting meat in little and often with the catty. This is duly noted for my next visit !
Day 4 – Pollawyn
Historically my draws on Pollawyn have been awful and when peg 36 came out I feared the worst. Looking at the previous days results, 14lb won the section with peg 36 coming 3rd with 9lb (that’s the lake win out of the question then !). Fortunately I know the bloke (Kelvin) who was on it the previous day and had a quick chat with him to gather some information.
On Pollawyn, everyone wants to draw the infamous High Bank pegs 27, 28, 29 & 30 (Steve Ringer won the lake the previous day from 30). Now then, I have to walk past these pegs to get to 36 and I pass Joff on 28 and Diddy on 29!!!!!!!!
In all seriousness, I do not have to worry about these pegs as they are not in my section and I would be targeting silvers anyway due to yesterdays result in my section.
Upon arrival at my peg, I can reach the island at 16 mtrs and would also set up a track rig for skimmers (8 mtrs) and an edge rig with caster for Perch (I had seen Lee Edwards do this on the Sunday practice day 4 pegs away and catch loads of Stripeys).
Kelvin had informed me that he had caught roach skimmers and perch on the 16 & 8 mtr lines and I also had the benefit of knowing about the short edge caster line so these 3 lines would be my plan of attack with 15-20lb of silvers the target for good points and a possible section win.
All rigs were .10 utilising Maver Pure Latex in a size 10. Riddled meat would be fed over, groundbait and worm down the track and caster on the short edge peg.
Based on the previous days results the first 3 drop ins on the 16 mtr line were strange–
1. 10lb carp lost at the net…….oops
2. 8oz skimmer
3. 10lb carp successfully landed.
Bearing in mind that I am fishing fairly light (for silvers), the above has taken 30 mins to achieve but I am quite happy as I have already beaten the weight that came of the peg the previous day. Also, I believe I am on for good points.
The trouble with this section is that you can only see one other peg (34 to my left) so you cannot judge what is actually happening.
Back to my match and a few more silvers follow but I am having to wait 5 mins for bites despite topping up with a pinch of meat every time. A quick look over the g/bait line at 8 mtrs with worm produces nothing so I decide to have a look my short edge caster line (which is actually top 2+1 at about 10 0’clock). I am immediately into a steady run of small roach and perch when ‘clunk’ – something heavier takes a liking to my caster hookbait. I really have to take my time as I am now attached to another large and angry carp on light gear. After 20 mins I slide the net under an 8lb fish and estimate that I now have 22lb of carp and silvers 2 hours into the match.
This line is immediately killed due to the commotion and proximity to my pallet so I have to move back out to the 16 mtr line. After another 30 mins of the odd silver I latch onto another carp albeit smaller this time at around 4lb. Another of around 3lb follows shortly after and with one hour left of the match I decide to sit it out on the 16 mtr line for more silvers whilst gladly accepting the odd carp that swims by !
With 20 mins left I am attached to another carp which takes me 25 minutes to land. I know it’s another 10lb fish and decide not to bully it hence the length of time it takes (I actually land it 5 minutes after the match finishes).
I am happy with the way I have fished the peg and during the weigh in it is obvious that the whole section has fished better than the previous day. My 5 carp and silvers go 43lb which is beaten by peg 45 who weighs 64lb. I am happy with 2nd in section and 8 pts but even happier to learn that the guy on 45 has framed on the lake which gives me the section money by default.
At the end of day 4 my points tally is 2, 6, 6, and 8 and on the assumption I will be dropping the 2 I have 20 points with 26/27 points normally needed to qualify for the Preston festival in October.
By the way, Diddy and Joff were 1st and 2nd on the lake from pegs 28 & 29 (they can’t half draw you know)
Day 5 – Jennys / Python
As per Day 1 there are 2 lakes used and to get a lake win you needed to draw Jennys.
Python 10 came out of the bag which ruled out a lake win, however looking at the previous days results Kieron Rich had come 2nd in the section. I had a word with Kieron and he had caught at 13 & 14.5 mtrs on the pole catching anything that swims on the worm and caster. He also commented that the F1’s were in the middle of the section on the widest part and would be forthcoming to the feeder if the anglers on these pegs fished for them.
Upon arrival at my peg I was disheartened to see all the anglers setting up Feeder Rods for F1 hunting but decided to put this out of my mind and fish similar tactics to Kieron.
After a couple of hours it was obvious that the section win was out of the question due to the F1’s being present on the widest part of the lake (just as Kieron predicted – how do they know these things !) but I persevered on the pole to try and get my 6 or 7 points needed. I had a lovely days fishing catching roach, perch, skimmers, small tench and the odd F1 for a total weight of 22lb 3oz.
The guy to my left weighed 4lb and the guy to his left weighed 5lb which justified my efforts on the pole. The next pegs all weighed F1’s – 34lb, 34lb 12oz, 22lb 12 oz and 19lb before the weights dropped off dramatically again. That 22lb 12oz gutted me a bit as I was only 9oz off getting an extra point, however I had easily the best weight outside the middle of the section so was very happy with my 4th place and 6 points.
My final points tally was 2, 6, 6, 8, and 6 giving me a total of 26 dropping a 2.
The presentation night on Friday is the highlight of the week as everyone is waiting to see their final position. The important thing is the final top 10 as these are the ones who win the money, however everyone is keen to know there final placing be it to see if they have qualified for their Preston Festival or beaten their best previous placing.
Once the presentations to the top 10 are over, the full results are listed and a quick peruse of the board saw me in 68th place from the 180 anglers taking part. Last year I made 56th so it was a slightly worse result but one that I hope will see me back for the Preston in October (Kirsty will be receiving an email shortly !)
A few more words before I finish –
Well done to Phil Ringer who won the festival with 36 points dropping a 9 (effectively 5 section wins). Awesome performance. Well done to Richard Kinning who came 2nd. Another awesome performance from someone who is a very capable angler and a damn nice cap aswell.
Thanks to Diddy for showing me that ‘knot’ – awesome. Nice chap and very approachable.
Well done Joff on your 3rd place – another fine chap.
Finally – if you are thinking about doing one of these festivals but are a bit weary the don’t be. Everyone is friendly, all the top boys are approachable and you will have the time of your life.
Snooty Fox 23-03-2010