Holding back the feed was key to win at The Oaks Lakes

Frugal feeding was the key to Ian Bailey’s midweek Oaks win on Cedar Lake, the Harrogate rod feeding sparingly with micro pellets as he worked his way towards a 61-11-0 bag of F1 hybrids and a lone bonus 5lb mirror carp. And he needed that fish, because runner-up

Dean Smith was just a few pounds off the pace with 54-13-0.

Drawing peg 32, Ian initially wasn’t that pleased, as it wasn’t an area of any real recent form, but the fish were there from the off. Starting down the middle in the deeper water at 8m, Ian then worked across just off the far bank at 13m as the match progressed.

“I fished two lines down the middle left and right away from me and caught roughly 10 fish an hour, most of them averaging 1lb 8oz apiece,” Ian said.

“Going into the final two hours I went across into around 3ft of water where I’d fed at the start and kept on catching, but it was a case of feeding a small amount of bait and then leaving the swim to settle while fishing elsewhere rather than feeding to your bites.

“I’ve found that if the fish are there to begin with, then they’re there for a reason. You don’t need a lot of feed to make them have a go.”