Yesterday, 8th July 2010, a group of avid Gofishing Forum members descended upon Larford Lakes commercial carp fishery in Worcestershire to not only put faces to usernames, but also to enjoy the warm British weather, catch as many fish as possible and enjoy a day of good-humoured banter, organised by Jack244 – a long-standing member of the Gofishing Forum.
After many handshakes at 9am the squad of 14 anglers either used Larford Lakes’ quad bike and trailer, or carried their masses of tackle, to pegs 10-26 of the specimen lake, their target to catch as many of the venue’s big carp, bream, tench and roach as possible.
We were fishing from 10.30am to 4pm so everyone got their heads down setting up poles, pellet wagglers, float rigs and Method feeders, plumbing the depth and deciding upon their approach for the day.
The weather proved perfect for a match. There was a good ripple on the water pushing down the lake from pegs 26 towards pegs 10, the sky was overcast and the water temperature was high. Everyone was certain they’d be latching into a good few carp and some good weights would be on the cards.
As the whistle blew the sound of Larford’s own pellets hitting the water could be heard from most pegs, together with the odd splash from Method feeders and bait being cupped in.
If1sky, on peg 13, wetted his landing net first. In a matter of minutes he’d catapulted enough 8mm pellets over his distant line and roused the attention of a sizeable bream which was steadily skimmed across the surface to the net.
That marked the start of a very different day indeed. Most anglers fishing the match knew the lake contained bream, but we all were ready to hit into the carp. Little did we know that the vast majority of weights were to be made up of mainly bream. And not bream caught on the deck either – these were cruising mid-water, chasing the feed as it fell through the depths.
Working from the higher pegs down we had JohnRH on peg 26. Unfortunately for John he was having one of those days, but was quick to laugh it off!
“Everything that has gone wrong did go wrong,” he said. “I lost three good carp in the first hour, my hook box blew into the water scattering them everywhere and I almost fell of the platform backwards!”
AintreeAngler’s father Larry Jones had peg 24. Intent on latching into the lake’s carp he’d set up a feeder rod and stuck with it all day. It was a wise move too. Although the carp didn’t show in great numbers, Larry’s tip wasn’t stationary for very long at any point in the match.
AintreeAngler – another key Forum member – sat it out on peg 23. He’d opted to tackle the venue on pole and Method feeder. With paste producing the goods on the lake the previous weeks he’d chosen that as his main bait on the pole but blustery conditions proved awkward. The constant push of the wind against his rig continually affected presentation, pulling the hook from the paste and putting an end to that tactic. I quick change to corn on the hook and alternating between the pole-fished corn and Method feeder saw him latch into a decent double-figure mixed haul.
To his left sat Brain, aka Sperko, on peg 21. As well as providing great banter and intriguing stories of drumming alongside members of Deep Purple and Black Sabbath (what a claim to fame!) he’d kept a constant rhythm with his Method feeder, regularly hitting the same spot.
He’d taken great steps to get his mix right, which comprised Marine Halibut and SwimStim, mixed 50/50 together with a scattering of hemp. His hookbait was corn. He’d certainly got this worked out, but had drawn a bad section and only managed a few bream.
Upping the tempo of the chat and providing us all with a good laugh was John, otherwise known as 7barble. A regular visitor to Larford Lakes, John knew what to do and how he needed to do it. He’d chosen a waggler approach but again the luck of the draw meant that his weight wasn’t quite up to scratch, not for want of any tactical or feeding changes.
Judd Gill, on peg 18, had quickly found that the larger fish in the lake weren’t going to play ball where he fished and was quick to react. He opted to maximise on his peg’s potential and pole-fished a variety of baits on a light set up with No3 elastic. Roach and skimmers were his target.
The hero of the day Ray Oldfield – Jack244 – who had arranged the day, the match, the bacon sandwiches, the meal afterwards and the route needed, sat it out on peg 17. He too had no other option than to make the most of the smaller silvers in his swim. He rigged up a feeder rod with a delicate and sensitive tip and caught roach and skimmer bream steadily – between walking the length and snapping as many action photos as he could.
Andy, fishing peg 16, managed to cope with the blustery breeze and present his pole-fished paste for long enough to catch a dozen skimmers before the undercurrents became too strong to hold his rig steady. After that it was a session fishing the Method feeder and pellet waggler to make up the rest of his weight.
Forum moderator and long-standing member Alan Spacey - Tenchstar - sat it out on peg 15. Like so many others fishing the match, he chose a couple of lines of attack – the pole at around 10m and Method feeder at range. Although he’d caught skimmers on the feeder, the best method for him on the day proved to be the pole.
The Gofishing team had peg 14. We had chosen a pellet waggler and pole approach, feeding two pole swims, one with pellet and corn which proved good, the other with riddled meat and meat cubes, which never produced a fish. Iain Toombs began the session for the team, spraying 4mm pellets over the waggler line and caught a few skimmers shallow and soon had to give up his seatbox for Rose to take over. Having only fished the pole for 10 minutes previously, she soon got to grips with the technique and alternated between the pellet waggler and short 8m pole for the remainder of the session, catching a decent stamp of skimmer bream.
Behind the bush to our left sat If1sky, real name Ian Fisk. An avid match angler, Ian knew his stuff and worked damn hard throughout the day feeding, casting, retrieving and bringing a steady stream of skimmers, a tench and a handful of quality carp to the landing net.
He had set up an ingenious up-in-the-water rig comprising an insert waggler with the sight tip removed to provide casting weight, then a fluoro sight bobbin as a bite indicator, then an 8mm pellet strapped to the shank of the hook using a lasso. That was the killer method of the day, proving very effective indeed.
Ian had also set up a Method feeder which he used at the start of the match. In the first hour he’d lost “a real donkey” on it.
It was plain to see that Ian’s tactics were paying off. He’d maximised every area of his swim to take top honours with a superb weight of 122lb 7oz. Well done fella!
On next peg, 12, sat Jerry, aka Hogweed. He’d set up two options: pole and feeder. Fishing with Ringers paste on the deck proved fishless for Jerry, so he quickly changed bait and alternated between pellet fished hard on the bottom and off the deck. With fish being caught either side, Jerry had to do something else drastically to keep in touch with the field so out came the Method feeder, which proved to be a wise decision.
Nick Walters, Norfolkinesox’s mate and travelling partner had peg 11. Making himself very comfortable in his adjustable chair, Nick set to work fishing a cage feeder at the start of the session. Although he caught on the feeder, bites coming as the hookbait fell to the bottom made Nick change tactics to fishing a pellet waggler fishing 8mm pellet on the hook set well off the bottom.
He began his pellet waggler session fishing only 2ft deep in around 10ft of water, but had to deepen off to 4ft to keep in touch with the many fish in his swim. All-in-all Nick had a great session, weighing in a superb mixed bag to take him to third place.
On end peg, where the wind was blowing into, sat Simon (Norfolkinesox). He’d drawn the best end of the lake and had chosen his attack wisely. He started on pole, feeding really heavily to catch a few skimmers and roach. He wasn’t happy with the speed in which the pole produced fish so changed tactics to pellet waggler at around 25m out. Switching the depth of his suspended 8mm pellet found the optimum depth as 3.5ft. That led to the downfall of many decent bream and a handful of weighty carp.
Simon fished a great match and got the most out of his peg, catching the most carp of anyone and taking second place in the match.
After the match the pools money was distributed to the top two anglers and everyone walked away with a prize. Then we all motored down to the New Inn to enjoy a few well-earned drinks and a slap-up three-course meal.
1 If1sky 122lb 7oz
2 Norfolkinesox 103lb 13oz
3 Nick Walters 46lb 9oz
4 Larry Jones 41lb 4oz
5 JohnRH 27lb 2oz
6 Rose 26lb 11oz
7 Hogweed 17lb 14oz
8 Andy 17lb
9 AintreeAngler 15lb 20z
10 Tenchstar 11lb 3oz
11 Severnbarbel 6lb 14oz
12 Sperko 6lb 13oz
13 Jud Gill 4lb 12oz
14 Jack244 DNW (but did catch)
A few images from the day...
AintreeAngler checks the weight of his 15lb 2oz mixed catch
Coming in fourth with a great 41lb 4oz catch was Larry Jones
Hogweed in action playing another bream on the feeder
Match winner If1sky lands another bream on the feeder...
...and he couldn't stop catching these on the feeder or the pellet waggler
Only a third of If1sky's 122lb 7oz match winning weight
JohnRH with his 27lb 2oz mixed catch. He lost three quality carp.
Nick Walters unhooks yet another skimmer caught on the pellet waggler
Nick came in third with an impressive 46lb 9oz catch
Norfolkinesox lands an impressive bream on the pellet waggler
He kept the bait going in on his pellet waggler line throughout the day
Gofishing's Rose gets ready to slip another bream in her keepnet
There were plenty of laughs at the weigh in, overseen by Larford Lakes' fishery manager