Knockout Blow: Drennan Knockout Cup [2]

Decoy Maver Match

This In between the Puddledock matches was a day off work and a midweek Maver Match This at the phenomenal Decoy Lakes near Peterborough. Again Danny and I teamed up as he still had a van without a gearbox and incredibly we had another disaster in trying to get to the match on time!

We tried to be clever by cutting across country via Ely to avoid the Cambridge section of the A14; however, as we got just past Ely the road was closed due to an accident. We tried to find our way around the accident via Google Maps, but this just resulted in us hitting the closed road a few miles further down.

To cut a long story short we made a 30-mile detour along various bumpy back roads and ended up arriving half an hour late for the draw, feeling less than amused with our luck! My draw of Peg 11 on Willows meant that I’d be going to a lake I’d never fished before, while Danny ended up on Beastie in a cutoff arm from the main lake.

We didn’t fancy his draw as the wind was blowing out of this arm and it just didn’t look anywhere near as good as the main lake. I had a quick word with Richard Bond as he’d drawn near Danny and he said that my lake would be mainly F1s with a few carp, with some barbel to be caught down the edge.

When I got to my peg I had a central reed-lined island at about 25 metres away, and with plenty of fish spawning in them I felt that it could be a tough day, especially as I had no ripple on my area of the lake.

Due to our travelling fiasco I didn’t have as much time to set up as I’d have liked, and assembled a Method for the reed-lined island, which I didn’t fancy catching on as it seemed relatively deep in front of the reeds, a small waggler to fish over the same line, shallow pole rigs, a mugging rig and finally an edge rig for left and right. Strangely I had varying depths each side down the edges. Down my left-hand edge I had just over two feet of depth and the right-hand one nearer four feet.

With about 30 minutes to go until the start of the match the lake’s aerators were switched off and this occurrence proved to be key for shaping the start of my match. As I didn’t have any wind on my part of the lake the reeds/scum/detritus that had been pushed around the lakes by the moving water from the aerator seemed to gather in front of me and, as is often the case, some of the larger carp could be seen milling around among it too.

Five minutes before the start I could see about 10 carp sat under the surface, well within pole range and some only five metres out. My shades were on and to say that I was champing at the bit for the whistle to sound would be an understatement!

When the whistle finally sounded I went straight out on my long-lining mugging rig with an 8mm pellet on the hook and caught a 6lb carp straightaway! Some people don’t like mugging or dobbing carp for some strange reason. It is actually one of my favourite ways of catching. I love the fact that it’s so visual and the sense of anticipation you feel when swinging your bait in front of a fish.

Also, the eruption when you hook one on this method makes it feel totally man versus fish. Anyway, as the first hour continued I managed to mug several fish, including some nice ghosties, but sometimes the scum would drift out of my peg taking the fish with it.

Also, the fish were now wising up and drifting further out from the bank meaning that in the second hour I was having to fish up to 16 metres to continue catching. At the end of hour two I’m guessing that I had 60 to 70lb in the net. My catch rate was slowing and to mug fish at a range of 16 metres really is more luck than judgment, in my opinion, as you’re literally swinging your rig in the vague direction of a fish and hoping.

I even tried mugging the fish on a waggler as they went further out, but I think the carp now under the surface were actually chasing each other and in spawning mode, so it was time to cut my losses and change.

Fishing a banded caster shallow I was catching fish, but was missing probably 10 bites per fish. The rule at Decoy is to have 12 inches of line below your float and the same above. This was proving really restrictive as the fish were clearly taking the bait just under the surface and by fishing as shallow as I could I would have been catching much faster for sure. Very frustrating, but rules are rules and it’s the same for all. In fact, I’d had the same issue when mugging; if you didn’t get a bite as soon as the bait hit the water, you wouldn’t get one as the fish were reluctant to follow the bait down.

I caught pretty steadily on this, although a lot of the fish were not all true F1s; some were carassios which were quite small, probably averaging under a pound. The F1s were the ones that you wanted as they were often double the size.

With 45 minutes to go I ventured down my left-hand edge where I had been ‘big potting’ worms and casters and had a nice start, catching some decent F1s up to 3lb, Kindering a worm and caster mix over the top. Things started to go wrong, though, and in the last half-hour I had a bit of a disaster, only landing a few more and having lots of trouble with foul hookers. In hindsight I should have fished shallow with casters down here as well; as with the rest of the day the fish clearly wanted to be as shallow as possible.

I finished third on Willows with a weight of 114lb 4oz and with them paying three on each lake it was a reasonable result.

That’s it for this month and with the river season now starting there could be a few river matches to report on next month!

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