Fishing can be hard work

More House Fishery, Sidewinder Lake - 16th May 2021 - Mostly overcast with heavy showers - 13c

An impressive 28 turned out for this one - a venue that many profess not to like. Yet it does produce some decent weights and the fish and fishing can be interesting. Like Orchard, the existing F1's seem to have faded away and replaced by the old and new stocks of carp plus a fair head of bream/skimmers. 

One problem of having to leave a gap for 'day anglers' is that if none arrive, two 'end pegs' are created which can make a big difference, particularly on snake lake venues like this.

John Mills must have been truly knackered by the time he got home. Not only did he manage to haul in a humongous weight of carp, he had to organise the pegging and draw in the rain, had to go and get another net part way through, do the weigh-in for half the venue and then work out and distribute all the payouts. His brilliant day must have been some compensation though as he took proper carp, mostly from the margins on meat or single maggot (depending on which mis-information you listen to) with the odd fish long across and an amazing final total of 189lb 5oz and a great win. Talk about a one-horse race.

At the other end of the day-ticket gap was Darren Habgood, who already seems good enough to not need help from the draw, but nevertheless managed to pick up a few decent carp late on that had moved away from all the commotion that John was making at the other end and which proved enough for 2nd place with 63lb 3oz. 

Simon Watford came in 3rd with a mixed bag of skimmers and Carp from peg 40 on the Wides of 57lb 2oz. New Junior member Jack Fuller certainly looks the business as he set about his business on noted peg 19. With delicate presentation and feeding, he nicked a number of decent carp from right across and then switched to the nearside margin against the mud to take 4th with 44lb 10oz. Mark Merrett continued his good starting form with 43lb 4oz from unfancied peg 45 on the island to take the last money place.

As well as the top 5, section places went to Adrian Bell (peg 15) with 33lb 15oz, Josh Donovan (peg 31) on 37lb 15oz and Barry Stagg (peg 49) 28lb 6oz.

Whilst a few struggled, considering the conditions and the continuing cold temperatures, it did fish pretty well and the huge head of currently micro-carp bodes well for the future.

Normal Docker Service is Resumed

Orchard Place Fishery, Lake 6 - 9th May 2021 - Sunny Intervals - 14c

22 turned out for this one on a slightly warmer day, but still very cold overnight which is keeping the water temperature freezing cold. We are also still constrained with pegging and restricted to the car park bank and spit to ensure the carp anglers can have their 4 pegs each.

This lake has changed dramatically in the last year. Gone are the vast shoals of F1's that would occupy every peg and loved the open water. Instead, regular carp now dominate, congregating as they do, around all the features. This means that pegs without an island or other feature, can really struggle and so it turned out. 

Sam Docker was delighted to see numbers of carp sunning themselves amongst the branches hanging in the water in front of his peg, first on the spit facing the car park. Despite trashing dozens of rigs and hooklengths, he managed to drag enough of them out from where they thought they were safe, dobbing or shallow to amass an impressive total weight of 160lb. 

Only Ian Carley came close. With a small method feeder the only way to reach the fish tight to the island at the top end of the car park bank, he kept netting fish regularly for an excellent total of 144lb 11oz and 2nd place overall. A man in form, Martin Twine, made the most of another good draw to take 3rd place from 'Treasure Island' (behind Sam on the other side of the spit) with 101lb 10oz on the pole tight to the island. Mark Merrett managed 4th place with 72lb 4oz, Gary Toland 5th with 69lb 13oz and Josh Donovan 6th on 66lb 5oz. 

Those with no features struggled most so unless things change dramatically, Orchard will also become all about the draw, which is a shame really as it was one venue that could be won from almost anywhere. 

Twine ties up a Win

Monks Lake 2 - 2nd May 2021 - Overcast & Cold 11c

With lockdown easing for matches, it was a normal start for the season and all 24 that turned out were looking forward to getting back properly. Unfortunately, the recent weather has been stuck in a cold cycle with nightly frosts and cool days so the fish are not sure that Spring has arrived.

We welcomed a number of new members for 2021, all of whom look a bit too good, but the existing members may just have to up their game. With the continued socially distant draw system, Sam kindly ensured they all had decent pegs, most in the near bowl of the lake (which was very welcoming of him), which always seems to fish best in colder weather.

Nevertheless, it was the far end of the far bowl, where a few fish were holed up and feeding and Martin Twine made the best of his corner peg 90 where he found some right lumpy carp hiding in the reeds. He found it easier to control such large fish on the pole rather than feeder and ended up with enough to take 1st on the day with 111lb and a win for the 'old guard'. New member and young blood Darren Habgood fished similar tactics from the opposite side at the end of the spit, to run a close 2nd with 94lb 3oz. It is good to see some younger members even if a bit humiliating for us older folks. 

Keith Best was pegged next to Martin and able to get his feeder close enough to the reeds to pick up odd fish that ventured out, to finish an even closer 3rd with 92lb11oz.

Sam Docker was best weight on the near bowl with 62lb 1oz from peg 58 for 4th place, 5th was new member 'Spindle' (or Mark Nevins to people who like him) with 54lb 13oz from peg 66 and finally Big Si (Simon Watford) another new member on a flyer, with 49lb 14oz from peg 45 was 6th. 

Sam & John Mills are great match organisers and had decided in advance upon a 'continental' pay out system for the pools to make things fairer, where the placings are split over the two bowls with the top money going to the highest weight, 2nd going to the highest weight in the other bowl and then alternating between each bowl down to 6th. Embarrassingly, this promoted Sam from 4th to 2nd in terms of pools money. One can only imagine what some members' views might have been....

 By Monks standards, it was pretty tough for many so fingers crossed for some better weather soon.