Rolf's Lake - 8th & 9th October 2015

The popularity of this event led to calls for a second visit in 2015 and therefore grateful thanks to Big John Palmer for organising another great road trip. 

14 anglers made the trip this time when it was hoped that the fickle mood of the carp in the Spring might be gone and that they would be stocking up with food before the Winter. How wrong can you be.....

On arrival on day one, the Autumn sunshine had literally hundreds the carp basking all over the lake with some areas absolutely black with them. All the signs looked good and the first-timers especially, couldn't wait to get started.  However, this is usually a slow-start venue so it was no real surprise that only the odd fish was landed early on, but Craig Winchester in Peg 4 had much of the bottom end of the 'Little Lake' to go at and put a couple of real lumps on the board with a Common of 17lb 8oz and a Mirror of 16lb 4oz taken in the margins on pole to really set the pace. 

The late surge didn't really materialise so with a few smaller specimens added throughout the afternoon, Craig managed 1st on the day with 58lb 9oz. Paul Oliver was on Peg 13 and struggled for the first two hours trying to get a bite on the bottom without success. Deciding to try the margins he stopped to grab a handful of bait whilst shipping out and by pure luck a common of 13lb 4oz almost wrenched the pole out of his hand. Taking this as a sign, he stuck to fishing up and mid depth to nab another 4 carp and 2nd place with 50lb 11oz. Dave Hughes was in corner peg 22 at the top end and worked hard as always to winkle out a few fish on the pole for 40lb 4oz and 3rd on Day 1. John Palmer didn't have a fish until gone 4.00 pm when he saw some movement in the margins of peg 30. Perhaps we should not let novices fish at Rolfs as somehow  he managed to shatter the top two on his super-heavy margin pole and ended up winching in the 17lb common by the elastic. Whilst this is totally contrary to the fishery rules, after much pleading and lobbying of the owner, John Bennett, he was grudgingly allowed to count the fish on the grounds of fish welfare that it was better to get the fish in than have it towing around a length of elastic and shattered carbon. Plus of course John Palmer is a very nice man....  

Day 2 was an equally sunny bright day and once again, there were carp all over the surface, taunting us. It was decided to include the flyer peg 34 this time and also 38 to even up the pegging. Dale Smith was the lucky guy to draw 34 and endured a real baptism of fire as fish after fish escaped under the rope to freedom. In desperation, Dale hung on so hard to one fish that his top three simply exploded under the strain and yet another one got away....

It was lucky John Palmer who drew the other un-fished peg 38 where sticking to the open water with 8mm cubes of meat, he found a steady stream of decent carp and the odd bream. Come the weigh in, he had 47lb already on the board, so with the others in the net his final tally was 61lb 14oz and good enough for the Day 2 win on another difficult day. The up in the water tactics of Day 1 proved totally useless for Paul Oliver on Peg 26 so he resorted to nicking the odd fish on the long pole on banded pellet and a couple from the margin on corn which included a double hooked ten seconds before the final whistle! This was enough for 2nd again with 50lb 13oz. Dave Hughes drew the opposite corner peg 18 and started Day 2 well with an early run of decent carp on the long pole, but his swim simply died in the latter half so had to settle for 3rd again with 42lb 1oz.

Overall, the two 2nd places and probably that last ditch carp on Day 2 was enough for Paul Oliver to win the overall competition and restore some credibility after his dismal showing in May, but with just a 101lb 8oz total, it showed just how hard it fished. With his top weight on Day 2 and lucky carp on Day 1, John Palmer did enough for 2nd overall on 91lb 6oz and Dave Hughes's consistency brought him 3rd with 82lb 5oz.

Craig Winchester was hugely frustrated at not being able to capitalise on his Day 1 lead, as he failed to find any carp at all on Day 2. Just to sum up his day, he did snag the line and elastic from someone else's lost fish (probably Dale) only for the original hook to pull out just as he was getting ready to net it. Nobody likes to see that.....

The tough going applied equally to the silver fish with very few of the big bream showing, but nevertheless, the competition for the silver fish prizes was intense. Steve Hanson did manage to snag a few bream on day 1 which gave him an unassailable lead and a 2-day silvers total of 15lb 11oz. Dave 'Silver' King was 2nd with 9lb 4oz, just pipping Craig Winchester's late bid of 9lb.

In the gallery below, we have the full results plus pictures of Craig's biggest fish winning but ugly carp of 17lb 8oz and better looking mirror of 16lb 4oz and Paul Oliver with one of his carp on the board. (Click on the pictures to see full size) 

The fishing was harder than expected, but the drinking was not as a few were sunk till late in the Plough as usual. Thanks again Lucky John for organising things.

Rolf's Lake - 28th & 29th May 2015

A total of 16 made the road trip to Oxford this year for yet another brilliant two days. John Palmer, Dave Hughes (Doc) and Dave Harper went a day early to fish the regular Rolf's Wednesday open, where the Doc put down a marker for the next two days by claiming 3rd place.

The rest of the bunch arrived Thursday and started match preparations with a monster breakfast at the nearby Harvester ready to draw at 11.45am for the 1.00pm to 6.00pm day-one match.  Perhaps predictably, the Doc drew noted peg 34 and almost immediately set about a Masterclass of how to get the fish away from the roped-off lily sanctuary with his first fish "on the board" (i.e. over 10lb) within 10 minutes of the start. Shortly after, Craig Winchester on Peg 8, latched on to his first fish of the day and after messing about with it for more than 15 minutes finally managed to land what turned out to be the best fish of the event, a 20lb 8oz Common.

All looked good for some mega-weights, but things then went somewhat quiet for the next few hours with just the odd fish coming out around the lake. The Doc did keep the fish coming steadily although a few were still quick enough to to get under the rope despite his best efforts. Things picked up a little for most in the last hour or so and by  the end of the match, Mark Merrett  on Peg 13 was claiming 5 fish "on the board" somewhere between 8lb 8oz and 12lb 8oz.....

Come the weigh in, despite Mark's best efforts, the Doc had done enough with a total of 87lb 7oz, Mark weighed 74lb 8oz and John Palmer managed third with 47lb 4oz, just ahead of Dave King on 45lb 12oz.

The post-match review was held at the Plough Pub over a great dinner, cards and the odd drink and with so much to discuss, finished about 2.00am with Mickey Biles still complaining about being caught for a "£24 round...."

Controversy struck over breakfast on Day 2 with a debate about how an 8lb 8oz carp was found still in the weigh tank at the end of the match, when no one had a fish of that size "on the board". There is an honesty policy in place for weighing the larger fish, so it was disappointing how this could possibly happen, but no one was prepared to let it spoil the day. 

The Day 2 match was to be an hour later in the hope of improving on the last-hour catches of the previous day. Jasper Stevens drew peg 34 this time, under pressure to improve on the Doc's Day 1 performance. Sadly, it was not to be as after 90 minutes, the score was 5-0 to the carp and the rope. He did manage to get a few out eventually for 37lb 9oz but nowhere near enough.

Terry Merrett drew his brother's peg 13 so made the most of the family information by fishing shallow to catch fish regularly and a Day 2 winning weight of 104lb 1oz. Very close behind was Graham Stevens who found that piling in the bait brought a lot of fish into his peg 17 where amazingly he managed to land several doubles hooked in the tail as part of his total of 100lb 6oz which also included a number of decent bream, all taken on the worm. The Doc continued his success coming 3rd on the day with 75lb 13oz nicking a few fish from each of the far side of Peg 8, down the channel and shallow in the nearside margin. There were a number of other 40-50lb weights, the best being Craig with 50lb 2oz.

Reigning Club Champion Paul Oliver has clearly "shot his bolt" with a pathetic return of just 40lb 14oz over the 2 days and last place.

Big thanks to John Palmer for making all the arrangements. Cheers Big John!

For the full 2-day results please see the details in the gallery below, but in summary:

NameDay 1Day 2Total
Dave Hughes87-7-075-13-0163-4-0
Terry Merrett34-7-0104-1-0138-8-0
Graham Stevens28-2-0100-6-0128-8-0
Mark Merrett74-8-042-12-0117-4-0