Sadly, due to Trudie’s condition at the moment, I will not get the chance to go and practice for this weekends event. This means that the juniors still have more experience than I do on the Top Lake at Whitemoor… It is just as well then that I can talk a good match, as well as knowing a few people that have more experience than I do.
The fees are just £5.00 this week (Coaching fees only). You don’t get a chance to fish at a venue like this for nothing often so make the most of it!
There may be extra prizes this week because the event is being run under the Angling Trust’s Get Fishing campaign, curtesy of Whitemoor and Tom may be offering some prizes of their own. So, thanks to them in advance.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Top Lake, or Donut Lake as it is more popularly known, it is positioned just to the left-hand side as you enter Whitemoor fishery. It is rectangular in shape with an island that makes most of the swims roughly 12 to 16 meters wide. This width makes it great for pole fishing, but it can be an awkward cast for those wishing to fish the feeder. No sooner have you let the line go, you must put the brakes on before it gets to the island trees. Fishing with a clip is vital.
The Top Lake has good depth in the middle, with some shallower margins both close in and across to the island. This makes it a productive fishery both in the summer and the winter.
Seeing as I am unable to gather information for you personally, I have enlisted the advice of Dave Chidzoy, a multiple match winning angler in both fresh and saltwater fishing. Only last Sunday, Dave managed a win on the Top Lake with 107lbs of small Carp, so he is the best guy to ask advice from at the moment.
We have already mentioned that the lake lends itself to pole fishing because of its width. But not only are the juniors unable to fish with a 16-meter pole to the island, some are still without a pole at all. So, we will look at the venue from a junior friendly viewpoint.
The usual methods of fishing will all work here and by far the most popular will be the Method Feeder. The narrow width makes casting tricky for newer anglers and the tree branches are a magnet for misguided feeders. It is important to set your clip so that you are as close to the island as you dare without snagging the trees. Whilst we are talking feeders, I would recommend 20g to 30g feeder. Either a regular method feeder or a Combi feeder (One with sides). The size is up to you, but I would start with a smaller sized feeder (Medium) and switch over to a larger size if I felt that the fish were hungry enough. Whitemoor is or was a good venue for Paste, which we will cover shortly. So, I would probably go for a ground bait Method Mix on the feeder and add some micros if I started catching too many silverfish. If they became a nuisance, I would increase the number of micros or even scrap the ground bait altogether. Only the fish will tell you what they want on the day. Hook baits are a personal choice, but I always prefer natural pellets over anything else. The Carp are generally small and fast. So, you will need to watch your tip carefully so as not to miss any bites.
There are lots of smaller species in the Top Lake which will be easily caught using a good old whip and maggots. Maggots will catch you anything and everything, including the Carp. It wouldn’t be my main line of attack, but it may get you out of jail if all other methods do not work for you. If you have a pole or an elasticated whip in case a Carp turns up, even better.
Waggler will catch but it is probably a less used method because of the popularity of poles. A correctly placed waggler will always score, but you must make sure that you cast accurately and that you are confident that you are set at the right depth. The sides of the Top Lake are steeply sloped in places. So, a cast just few centimetres off, can put your bait way off the ideal depth. If I were to fish a waggler, I would probably use it down the middle in the deeper water with the flatter bottom. It is a versatile method though and you can use lots of different baits like Corn, Meat, Maggots, and hard Pellets.
The pole is by far the most used method here and for good reason. The margins are much shallower than the middle, so the fish will seek these areas out if the weather is warm or the air pressure is high. 60cm (2ft) is a good depth to fish in any margin. So, set your rig to 60cm and carefully plumb around to find this depth to both your right and left nearside margins. Make a note of where these areas are and use markers like trees or bushes to line your pole up with so that you can find them again easily. You can fish a couple of centimetres over depth and lay the bait on the bottom with your rig and pole tip positioned towards the bank out of the way. There will be nothing to worry the fish as they approach your bait. Hard Pellets will work well in most areas of the lake, but I think I would concentrate those on a short line about 5-metres out in front of me. Use a 6mm pellet on the band and feed using the same. You will have to see what the day brings but, you might catch fish on the bottom using pellets, or they may be in the upper layers of the water. and you will be able to fish for them with a shallow rig. Either way, be mindful about how many pellets you feed each time. Count them if you must. But no more than 6 to 10 pellets each cast will be fine. Plumb your depth carefully and find those flatter areas on the bottom. Baits like Corn and Meat will work in the margins, but the best bait could be paste.
Paste is a magical bait that works superbly well in the warmer months. But it is also the most frustrating method to start with. Unless you cheat and buy ready mixed paste, you will have to mix it yourself. Add the powder to the water a little at a time, constantly stirring it with a fork until you get the right texture, then leave it to rest. It will stiffen up as the water is absorbed by the powder. I recommend that you start with a stiffer texture, a bit like play dough or putty. This can be easily moulded around you hook and swung into position without a cup or pot. Size of bait will vary but, one about the size of a small marble is good. By far the most important part of paste fishing is the use of your plummet. Use it to find a nice flatter area of your swim that you can fish comfortably. If you find a flat area on the bottom, mark it in your mind and even put tape on your pole so you hold it in the same spot every time. Paste floats should have a longer than usual bristle so you can see if your paste has come off. The float will lift due to the lack of weight pulling it down. You can buy 'Self-Cocking' floats that need no weights on the line. But, if you do shot your own floats, make sure that they sitting at the base of the bristle when you have finished. The weight of the paste will pull the float down to it's 'fishing position'. When setting up set your float so that, when the line is tight to the plummet, the float sits as you would want to see it when you are fishing. (About 6mm of bristle showing). You may have to re-plumb and adjust the depth as the day goes on because, if the fish really get their heads down, they will dig the bottom of the lake deeper than it was when you started! The part of paste fishing that is the most difficult is spotting the bites. Your float will hopefully dance, dip, and bob around as the fish move over your bait. If you strike at these movements, you will catch nothing and be pulling your hair out after an hour! You are looking for the fast, straight under bites that just keep going. Sometimes they will pull your elastic out before you have had time to move. Others they will pluck your pole tip and be gone before your brain has registered a bite! The more you do it, the easier the bites are to hit. But be prepared to miss A LOT OF BITES!
If you are cupping in your paste, the cup needs to be much further down your pole than usual so that your rig is much straighter. Drop your bait in over the target area and quickly bring the pole tip back it is also over the target area and wait. **Top Tip** Before putting your paste in the pot, sprinkle a few 4mm pellets in the bottom. This will allow your paste to release from the pot without getting stuck, particularly if you are using a wet paste mix.
It is a difficult method to master, but so rewarding when you get your head around it. That is why I have gone into depth about it here. If you do not use it this weekend, remember what you have read (If you’re still awake) and use it another time…
I will bring my meat cutters with me if anyone needs them.
There you are then. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask…
I hope we get some more interest because this really is a great venue and they need our support this week.
I hope to see you there!