After last weekends poor performance at Hawkhurst Fish Farm, Al suggested on the Maggotdrowning forum that we go back for another go. Unfortunately a few from the previous visit couldn't go but 9 of us cdecided to try again.
The match lake is renowned for it's huge catches but as last week showed conditions have to be right. This weekend looked much better with reasonably settled weather the week before and warm sunshine greeting us on arrival.
As the cafe wasn't opening till 9am it was agreed that we would do the draw, set up and then go for breakfast before the all in at 10am. The favoured draw today was either peg 1 or peg 10 both end pegs. Hands went in to the draw bag and everyone was keeping quiet. I drew peg 4 which was OK as there was to be no-one on peg 3 giving me a bit of room. Trevor Little (M.T.Net) had peg 10 whilst Keith, who had only been fishing since christmas drew peg 1.
My plan of attack today was to be 3 lines, one at 5 metres in front, one at 3 metres tight to the boards on my right and one at 5 metres tight to the boards on the left. 2 cupfulls of 4mm skrettings pellets were fed on each line and I started by fishing tight to the bottom at 5 metres with paste. Despite a few taps and knocks, after 5 minutes I was still fishless whilst all around me everyone seemed to be catching. A switch to 6mm soft pellet did the trick and fish no.1 was safely netted, a carp of around 2lbs. Back out and carp no.2 was soon in the keepnet with it's brother. Things continued like this for about 3o minutes when suddenly the line died, I'd been feeding a small pinch of pellets every put in so wondered whether one of the larger residents had disturbed things. I fed another pot of pellets and dropped in on the margin line to my left.
No sooner had the bait touched bottom and the elastic shot from the pole and an angry, foul hooked fish charged away. Elastic today was a preston 12 solid and this handled things comfortably and soon enough the fish was netted. By switching lines I kept fish coming and was fairly happy with my catch rate although Colin and Dave the Fish both seemed to be doing alittle better. With about 2 hours to go I got another 3 pint bait box of pellets out of my carryall and promptly knocked the whole lot straight in to the lake right next to the platform. Unfortunately that was all the feed pellet I had left apart from a few left in the previous box. I worried that this may cause me problems but soldiered on. Shortly after my family arrived and sat behind me eating lunch before disappearing of after about 45 minutes.
During the time they were there I had lifted the pole in to a fish on the 5 metre line which seemed intent on trying to stretch my laccy to the limit. eventually I managed to get it under control and started to lift it to the surface ready for netting. I was a little surprsied when I noticed another length of line hanging from it's mouth together with a complete pole rig. I had hooked the fish perfectly in the mouth so It was obviously not affected by the rig it had been towing round. At around 5lbs it was my biggest fish of the day.
Back to the margin line and it seemd that the family's visit had upset things and the fish had been spooked. I continued to catch a few fish but the catch rate had dropped right off without any feed pellets it was going to be difficuklt to do much about it.
At the whistle I guessed I'd got maybe 85lb, not bad, but clearly not enough to win as Dave had had a fabulous last hour whilst there were rumours Trevor had caught well on Peg 10.
As the scales made there way along it appeared that the weights were much improved on the previous week, a special mention must go to Keith on peg 1 who fishing only his 2nd knock up had managed a creditible 47lb 8oz. Ali on peg 2 led the way with 167lb 8oz with Tony just behind on 157lbs when the scales reached Dave the Fish. 3 weighs later and Dave had taken the lead with a superb 190lbs. Finally the scales got to Trevor who told me at the end of the match he may have around 130lbs (we'll see). Again 3 weighs later and some carefull addition Tony's net of fish went exactly 200lbs. A cracking weight but somewhat more than his estimate, if he continues to estimate his catches that badly he'll be rivalling Nick Gilbert.
My final total was 88lbs, an enjoyable days fishing but one which could have been so much better had I not been so clumsy.