|Last time I fished this side of the lake - Maze Lake can be a bit bleak in the winter...|
Even so, I did manage to catch fish and actually land them. Most of the fish I caught were small silvers and about half a dozen in a session, but I was happy and catching the odd skimmer/bream was an event. By June, last year, I had been invited to join in one of the friendly matches at Beaver Fishery. I had said from from day one of my journey that I was not interested in match fishing and all I was intending to do was spend a few hours on the bank, catching fish for pleasure.
Well... I am still not interested, in serious match fishing. I am not the most competitive person ever to cast a rod. The only sports I have had anything to do with (darts and snooker) usually involve beer and were pursued as an excuse for a pint, as we have no got a dog (Just taking the dog for a pint... er... I mean walk, Dear). Friendly matches are different, they are great fun and I have learnt a lot from talking to the guys and trying new techniques. I have even managed not to be last - so far.
I discovered that I could catch a whole lot more fish with a method feeder and they were a lot bigger than the silvers I had caught on my waggler. I had tried using a feeder rod fairly soon after taking up fishing but spent most of the time losing feeders in trees and bushes. It was not until I got to my first match that I had even used one before. The guy in the tackle shop said that would be the way to go. Armed with my feeder rod and my first batch of Two Dog groundbait to use as a feeder mix, I was off. From that day on I was moving further and further away from my initial intention and now with more kit than I know what to do with the 'pleasure' was in danger of becoming a chore.
|Lush with vegetation Maze Lake looks a bit more inviting this time of year|
The alarm went off at the usual time and because I had so little gear to load I was ready in half the time it usually takes. I twiddled my thumbs for a bit before leaving, took a leisurely drive down to Beaver and was still there fifteen minutes early.
After the usual pleasantries were exchanged - me handing over my ten quid and a couple of 'ello mates' it was off to Maze Lake to claim my favoured peg. By 07:20 I was fishing. Result!
I had pre-rigged my vintage rod that my mate Dave had given me. This I paired with a modern fixed spool reel loaded with 6lb line. I did not want to go too light as there are some bigger fish in this lake. Officially the carp are no bigger then 10lb but I know for a fact some are a lot bigger than that. There is a seventeen pounder that got put back and now the bailiff is offering a prize to anyone who can catch it. I also had a spool of 4lb line with me in case the heaver line became problematic.
As well as the usual bait, maggots, sweetcorn, bread and bacon grill, I had a packet of Tesco 'Everyday' frozen prawns I was hoping to tempt a perch to take my hook. I also had an ice cream tub full of damp groundbait that had been enhanced with all sorts of free offerings. This was for feeding my swims and hopefully hold some fish in my peg.
|Bait selection - feed and hook bait|
|Drennan Glow Tip Antenna float|
|The biggest rudd of the day - I still enjoy catching the little fellows|
By now I was doing far better than I have ever done on a waggler before. In the past I had caught the odd bream, today I was catching them one after the other. Although I am far from an expert at any of this fishing lark, I must be getting better at it. Balling in the ground bait initially and topping it up from time to time seemed to work well but eventually attracted the wrong type of attention.
|Now look you lot, go and find somewhere else to play... Please!|
|A small piece of prawn hook bait|
I chopped a few up using my tackle scissors. A pair of those multi-bladed scissors that are intended for chopping up live worms (yuck!) would be useful here. I am not too bothered about chopping up ready-cooked prawns, but causing mass carnage to a group of unsuspecting worms is a totally different thing...
|This bream thinks he's a perch and has been eating Mr stripe's bait. That will teach it...|
|Well, at least it is a perch|
Having given up on the perch I decided to put a hair rigged hook length on with a meat stop. I had a lot of meat with me chopped up into various size cubes and punched into several sized 'pellets'. Having had lots of success with meat on the feeder as hook bait, I had never caught anything on it using a waggler. That changed and I was catching bream easily. At this point I was still using the same Drennan float. Then with a ping the hook link snapped and the rig came home by air! It was at this point I noticed the tip had gone. It had not snapped, simply pulled out of its socket. Although I had another float, time was now marching on and I had another target in mind.
|That small red dot is the tip of the float|
|Gotcha! Nobody was more surprised than me, except maybe the fish|
That was it for the day, and what a day. A minimum of tackle, a few different baits and I was fishing all day. I may not be the worlds greatest angler but I had one of the best days out I have had in a long time. Limiting the gear I take with me is the way to go. I can't wait to do it again.
Next week I will be back at Beaver for the August match. I had to miss the July event as I had to work so I am looking forward to trying not to come last!