Oppressive heat and searing temperatures without a breath of wind are hardly the best of fishing conditions, yet double UK Champion Jon Arthur made light of the recent heatwave to top round two of this year’s event in style – with a new competition record weight of 477-14-0!
Matrix/Dynamite Baits man Jon landed 62 carp from peg 22 on Yew Lake at Decoy Lakes near Peterborough, ending the day miles clear of runner-up James Collison’s 282-1-0 off next-door peg 19. Richard Drage completed the top three with 263-7-0. Jon’s reward was not only a new record and a section win, but also £1,000 in winnings!
“That was the match of a lifetime,” reflects Jon.
“We all knew that under the right conditions 300lb was a possible winning weight because it is so rare to see 400lb caught at Decoy.
“I thought the weather certainly wasn’t right. It was the hottest I have ever been while fishing, but there were so many carp in front of me, I kind of felt that if enough of them fed, a massive weight was possible.”
AT THE PEG
“I drew peg 22 on Yew Lake and headed there thinking that it would either be a day catching shallow, short or in the edge because they’re the three methods that normally win on the strip lakes at Decoy.
“You’ve got to catch a weight as well, so 200lb was the kind of figure I was aiming for. When I got to my peg there were hundreds of carp on the surface all the way across the lake, so it didn’t take long to work out a strategy!
“I set up three mugging rigs with different lengths of line between the float and pole, as well as a margin rig for late on.”
WHAT A START!
“After 80 minutes, I’d caught 20 carp and the peg was carnage, with fish all over the place. I caught from 5m out to 13m out, but generally between 5m and 8m was the best range using a 6mm banded red pellet or a 7mm Dynamite Baits Washter and a 0.3g dibber fished 15ins deep. I like to fish deeper than normal because I think that when you’re mugging, you catch a lot of fish as the bait falls as opposed to them coming to the splash of it hitting the surface. Hook was a size 16 Matrix MXC4 to a 16-18 Slik elastic.
“What was also important was working out which way to lay the rig in front of fish. I like to cast to them, putting the bait closest to the fish and the float further away, and I also varied how the bait went in. Sometimes a hard slap on the surface worked while, on others, gently underarming the bait so it hit the water with a plop was better.”
GETTING HOTTER AND HOTTER
“In the second and third hours the temperature picked up even further and it was merciless. I fished in a vest and shorts but was dripping with sweat and sinking litres of water while wiping my head with a mouldy old towel in my carryall that I’d soaked in the lake!
“The stamp of carp seemed to tail off as well, but there were always enough fish in the swim to target, even though I reckoned 90 per cent of them weren’t interested in taking the hookbait. At this point I did begin to feed a bit of bait, 6mm pellets at 6m, and caught a few fish doing this – but it was really only a throwaway line.
“With 90 minutes to go I fed the margins, picking a swim that had the shallowest water I could find. Although carp moved into the edge, I couldn’t catch them so I started to throw in casters by hand around 2m out from the bank and picked off a few carp fishing shallow here.”
THE WEIGH IN
“I ended up with 62 carp for no idea what weight! It was only after I saw the lads around me weigh and worked out the number of fish for those weights that I thought my carp must average 8lb apiece. That’d make my weight over 400lb so I must have got my sums wrong.
“That said, 60 carp at 5lb each is 300lb and a lot of my fish were bigger than 5lb! It really was a red-letter day and amazing, given how unbearably hot the weather was.
“It’s nice to have the event’s record back again and I just hope the next round at the Glebe is a mugging day because I seem to do okay on that tactic in the UK Champs – last year I won round two at Hayfield mugging and the year before won a round at Barston doing the same!”