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Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Harescombe Match Lake, 10 Feb (13 pegs)

A few lessons were learnt today.  Firstly, the Preston Soft Shell pole jacket is more suited for summer showers than all-out "wrath of the Gods" weather, although the £20 ski trousers from Lidl did manage to hold their own in today's horrendous conditions.
Secondly, maggots and rain don't mix and, of course, the big one .... don't leave your expensive long bit of carbon fiber resting on your pole roller when you go for a wander.
Anyways, for those that don't know it (it was a first for Psv), Harescombe Fishery is tucked away in Cotswold bandit country somewhere between Gloucester and Stroud and the Match Lake that we were booked on is a 30-peg canal lake with a narrow central island running it's entire length so that each peg is 13m wide to the island with a depth of 5' down the track and a shelf of about 18 inches deep extending about 1m from the near and far banks.
Other than the above the lake has no features, the aim being that no peg has an advantage and makes pegging nice and easy!
The lake is heavily stocked with F1's and carp averaging 1lb and "bonus" fish to 3lbs along with a healthy stock of silvers ,mainly small skimmers.
So I was hoping (when I booked the venue) that despite the weather everyone would have a chance of a few fish.
Another appealing factor is that the venue has it's own large cafe (complete with a log-burning fire) where you can get a decent breakfast and there are layouts of each of the lakes on the wall  complete with peg numbers hung on pins, Hillview style, which is handy.
On the negative side the lake sits at the bottom of a steep valley and has no protection from the elements and also, it has suffered a landslip which has wiped out five pegs but that actually worked in our favour as it made the pegging easy with everybody having a spare peg to one side (no moaning)!
On arrival and setting up after the draw the weather was bearable, cold with drizzle and an Easterly breeze but once the match started the drizzle turned to proper rain and the breeze became a biting wind which made things difficult to say the least and worsened throughout the day.
In a repeat of last week's match, Simon Belcham was into a fish straight away, in fact, it was that quick I hadn't even got my nets in or any bait in the polecup as it had taken me longer than I thought to set up 2 rigs and it wasn't until the moaning started that I dug my phone out of it's little dry home and I realised it was 10:03.
A quick look round and it became apparent that there were several more poles with elastic coming out so I hastily cupped in some micros and maggots at three spots along the bottom of the far shelf and also cupped in a big potful on top of the inside shelf next to an overflow pipe slightly to the left of the platform of the up-wind peg (23) just in case.  But as it happened I never tried this swim as it would have meant turning round to fish head-on into the wind and rain which I wasn't keen on doing!
I also fed some maggot and micros by hand down-wind at about 8m along on the bottom of the nearside shelf.  Plumbing up had revealed that one rig would work anywhere in the peg in the deeper water.
Rigs were a 4x12 inline Mosella Impact float on 0.11 powerline (it's winter) to a size 18 808 for single red maggot in the deeper water with 4 no12 droppers to help anchor the rig in the tow.  To fish on top of the shelf I had set up a similar 4x10 float with the same line and hook, but this rig never got used!
First put in at 12 o clock on the 12m line with a maggot on the hook and the float settled and went under resulting in a skimmer of about 10oz which was soon followed by it's little brother and then an F1 of about a pound.  Swapping to the 10 o clock position produced a couple more F1s and by re-feeding and swapping these two swims I was able to keep a steady run of fish coming for the first couple of hours as well as getting the odd fish from down the inside at 8m, although these fish seemed to be smaller and it took longer to get bites here.
By now though the wind and rain were getting worse and it was getting more and more difficult to hold the pole at 12m plus decent presentation was almost impossible.  But as long as I could keep the pole still and the rig steady for long enough I could catch across.
To add to my problems my top kit got stuck on the no4 so I could no longer use my pole cup and had to make do with dripping feed in with the kinder pot but that probably did me a favour as it made no difference to my catch rate.
Looking around I could see Chris Szakacs opposite on 7 catching across as was Lionel Legge on the next but one peg down (20).  The bankside rumour-mill also revealed that Adam Caswell was catching with chopped worm up on the far shelf on peg 13 and both Darren North on 15 and Stewart Riddle on 18 were emptying their pegs.
Elsewhere, some of the lightweights had given in to the elements and were heading home for early baths.  I had a walk round the survivors and a swift opinion poll was held and it was decided to cut the match short by an hour.
At this point disaster struck as while I was away my flash new Maver double pole roller decided to do a cartwheel and snap my no8 section which put paid to fishing across although by this point the wind was gusting so badly that it was almost impossible anyway, so the rest of the match was spent at 8m down the peg picking up odd fish to finish up with about 25 F1's and baby carp plus half a dozen small skimmers for 31lbs 3oz and first place.
Second place went to Stewart Riddle with 24-10 followed by Darren North with 19-10 and Chris Szakacs with 17-0.  Only seven brave souls stuck it out to the end!

Full Result:
  1. Steve Burgess (peg 22) .... 31-3
  2. Stewart Riddle (18) ......... 24-10
  3. Darren North (15) ........... 19-10
  4. Chris Szakacs (7) ............ 17-0
  5. Lionel Legge (20) ............ 14-8
  6. Paul Reed (11) ................ 6-0
  7. Simon Belcham (9) .......... dnw
  8. Everyone Else ........... early baths

Thanks to Lionel Legge for "volunteering" to weigh in even though he never had his glasses but I don't think anyone was too worried about a few ounces here or there!
Next week Staunton Court, breakfast is booked at Watersmeet from 7:30 onwards.
Finally, there are a couple of late additions to the Match Calendar:
10 March, Plantations (Coarse Lake)
26 May, Rood Ashton