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DDAS Junior Christmas Match - Pre match report

The picture above may be a little pessimistic, but I think you can assume that it will be COLD! The temp during the week is up and down from 8 to 5, then back to 8 again. So there is no real settled period which would help. According to the forecast it will be overcast, with the chance of the odd shower, and breezy in the afternoon. 8 degree temps will mean that a breezy day at Todber in those temps will feel ruddy cold. So make sure you wrap up warm with lots of thin layers. It is only a three hour match and there is the added bonus of prezzies at the end. Jerry Christmas has been working his little socks off for us to get some very good prizes.

With a potential of 16 Juniors fishing, it could well equal our record attendance for any event. I am happy to say that most have joined this year, so thank you all so very much for making 2021 monumental for DDAS Juniors. It is very fitting that we sign off with our first ever Juniors only Christmas match. So, on to the fishing and I have sought advice from two of Todber Manors leading super stars to give you all the best chance of having a good day. Roland Lucas and Ben Hagg are two anglers of substantial class, skill, and knowledge when it comes to fishing at the Manor.

Like Nick White at the last match, when they talk, you listen... Hear is what they had to say...

Roland said: "Nothing really changes at Todber in the winter apart from the amount you feed and how far out you fish as they won't come too close in at this time of year.

On Homeground at the moment, the fish have seen a lot of Sweetcorn. If I was fishing there, I would feed Sweetcorn and 2mm micro pellets as far out as you can (about 11 metres of you can) and fish it from the start. If you catch straight away, then you will probably catch there all match. But if no bites come, then fish a (small) method feeder with groundbait and dead red maggots** to the island until the pole line starts working.

Usually, on Homeground lake, the method feeder works at the start for a couple of hours. After that, get on the pole. However, If you are catching well on the feeder, stay on it.

Ash lake is different. Ideally you need to fish with a long pole (13 or 14 metres) with either groundbait and maggots, or micros and expanders. Just fish a pole or a float as far out as you can.

You need to set up a method feeder to fish the far bank and a 'bomb and bread rod'*** , but don't cast it tight to the far bank. Fish it a meter short in slightly deeper water.

Feed a few maggots and groundbait at 5mts but I doubt you'll catch loads there, but you never know...

Don't worry if you don't have a pole or can't fish a very long pole. In my experience you can catch wherever you feed them, even in the winter. There are so many fish in there, they eat everything"

**Your bait may be in the water a long time before a fish decides to eat it. So, we use dead maggots because they are dead and won't crawl into the silt like live maggots can.

To create dead maggots you will need to,

Buy some fresh maggots and clean them off with a riddle. (remove all the old sawdust) Put them in a clean Zip-Loc bag and squeeze out all of the air. Zip the bag closed and put them in the freezer over night. In the morning they will all be dead and ready to use once thawed out. Put them in a maggot pot of water whilst you are fishing so they stay 'fresh' and so they don't turn black.

***Bread and Bomb rod. Like a Method Feeder set up except you use a lead weight (Bomb) instead of a feeder, and a slightly longer hook link (about 25 to 20cm, 10 to 12" in old money)

If you are using the Preston ICS equipment (You should be, I've been telling you to all year!), this will be easy to do by simply changing the feeder for the square bomb and putting a longer hook link on.

Use discs of bread on the hook or with a Quickstop bait spike. The bread discs are 'punched' out with bread punches from a single slice of white bread. (Warburtons Orange Toastie bread is the best)

Ben said;

"I think the best method will be long pole and with maggots.

Fishing across with a bomb and using bread or meat on the hook.

Maggot feeder, fished like a Method feeder could also be good."

My own thinking is to be careful at the start with your feed. Use 2mm micros to feed and use 4mm expanders and/or live or dead maggots on the hook. If you don't have a pole, then fish as far as you can comfortably throw a small (thumbnail sized) ball of soaked micro pellets and try to do it as accurately as you can. Don't spread it around too much.

If you have a pole, fish it as long as you can straight out in front of you. Use a small pole pot to drop small thumbnail sized balls of ground bait in and fish live or dead maggots over the top. Start on or near the bottom, but be prepared to come off the bottom a little to search for fish. Do not over feed, let the fish tell you what they want. If you start to catch steadily, then you will have a few fish in front of you and you can up your feed rate/amount. 4 or 6mm Expander pellets could work too. The Preston ones are best if you soak them over night. Either that or put them into soak as soon as you get to your peg. You won't need many, just a handful will do. I would use a small method feeder or a Preston Banjo XR feeder. Both will carry less bait than regular feeders. If you start to catch a few fish, then you may need to step up to a regular feeder to increase the feed. Fish micros, with a bit of Dark Method Mix (75% pellets, 25% DMM). Just micros if you're catching well. Just DMM if you are struggling for bites with 3 or 4 dead maggots on the hook.

I would keep hooks smaller too. Size 16 hooks should be ok, but I would have 18's with me too...

I would keep a small Preston ICM maggot feeder close by too (above). Live maggots in the feeder, dead on the hook. Bread and bomb could be a very good option. Cast around the far side, but don't get too close because the water will be too shallow for cold conditions. About 1 or two metres away will be fine.

You will need one thing above all else if you fish the bomb and bread

That thing is PATIENCE!

The fish may be grouped in a tight ball. So you will have to cast around to find them. If you have patience then I could make a big difference.

If you do find them, then bread could be one option, but 6mm cubed Luncheon Meat could the other. Meat worked well for me during the S/J pairs match. I always have Sweetcorn with me anyway, so corn is always an option and could work well here.

The bait list for this event is fairly simple: At least 1 pint of live red maggots (Option for a further pint of Dead Maggots) Bag of 2mm micro pellets

4mm & 6mm Expander pellets At least one large tin of sweetcorn

At least one tin Luncheon Meat cubed to 6mm Dark Method Mix. I would take an extra bag of Dynamite Swim Stim Cold Water Dark ground bait to feed on my pole line.

So that's the fishing. Now for the fun bit. Because it is our Christmas match, Jerry Christmas has been feeding his worrying purchasing habit, and spending lots of wonga on lovely prizes for you lucky lot. Not only that, but he did a virtual online trolley dash through black Friday and has amassed a list of bargains that you can find on the website on our 'For Sale' page at,

Just in time for Christmas too!

Talking of Christmas, don't forget to consider some Junior apparel from Qwikfast. Our full range is on the website. To order contact Glenn Taylor on tel:01305263444 or email to

As I mentioned at the start, we could well end up with 16 Juniors on Saturday. Unfortunately we are well down on coaches and helpers. The event is not a serious one and just for fun really. So if I could ask us all to muck in where we can and help anyone that may need it around you.

I can't wait. It will all be over too quick, but I'm going to enjoy it while I can.

Be at the venue for around 10 o'clock so you can browse the wonderful tackle shop at the Manor. The draw will be at 10.30 and we will fish from 11.30 to 2.30. Prizes etc. will take place after...

See you Saturday!

Juniors Sec...

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