I can not remember being this excited about a match before, and I've fished with some the countries best anglers, at venues all over the country.
I think we may see some very good weights from some of our juniors, and we could see our first 100lb+ bag of fish from a Shrimp or two. Much will depend on the weather, which is getting increasingly unpredictable as the year goes on. But, Todber Manor is one of those venues that throws up some great fishing, even in the coldest of conditions. The one thing that anglers fear the most on Ash lake is the wind.
Perched a top a hill as Todber is, even the slightest of breezes can feel like a hurricane.
Writing this on Monday, as I am, the forecast looks fairly stable during the week which is a good sign for Saturday. If correct, the forecast says that the temps will be slightly on the up by a degree or two. But it does look like it may be a breezy/windy day.
But, at the moment, no rain.
Pole Rigs: Pole rigs need to very robust. 'Dibber' style Drennan float (Right) of around 0.3g or 0.4g with silicone tubing cut to the same length as the stem of the float. This type of set up ensures that the float, which will take a proper beating,
stays intact and in place on the line when netting angry carp. Line needs to be strong. I used 0.22mm or 9lb Guru N-Gauge main line to a very short 10cm (4") method feeder hook link and a size 14 Guru QM1 with a bait band. I fished with the bait 1cm over depth.
For those that do not know, The length of the pole is determined by the length of the pole in metres for long range fishing, or the Top Kit plus 'X' number of sections. The Top Kit is usually the top two sections of the pole that internally contain the elastic to which the line is connected.
You will need to fish three lines.
One at Top Kit plus two. Possibly Top Kit plus one and just the Top Kit.
That is basically at 2, 3 & 4 metres straight out in front of you.
You can use 4 or 6mm pellets on any of these lines, as well as Sweetcorn and/or Luncheon meat. The fish may still want to come into the shallow margin to feed, particularly in the last two hours of the match. So a second margin rig for fishing tight against the reeds at your feet, should be required.
If it is windy there will be undertow. (See the booklet) You may need heavier floats to compensate. It has not been unknown to use pole floats up to 1 gram in weight just to keep the bait still. Fishing 4 to 10cm over depth to lay more line on the bottom will help.
The feeder will work across to the far side against the reeds. It is a shallow slope, so you won't/shouldn't need anything heavier than 30g, unless it's proper windy. Try to be accurate. The smaller area that you can keep your feed in, the less you will spread out your fish. Don't dismiss using a feeder at your feet if you do not have a pole. A feeder plopped in at 3 or 4 metres will work, particularly if holding a pole or rod is difficult in the wind. Ash lake is a Carp venue. My recommendation is NOT to use ground bait. It will attract too many smaller fish. Of course, if you can't get any bites from Carp, with an hour to go, then ground bait could be a life saver. Take some with you, but only use it if you are desperate.
Waggler floats will work. But they will not be as effective as a pole. I doubt that you will need to cast much further than your rod tip. Fish it the same the pole with the bait about 1cm over depth.
On to bait... Pellets, pellets, pellets, pellets.... Use the fisheries own 'Black' pellets from the shop. They use the same pellets to feed the fish, so the fish are used to them. You can buy 4 bags for £10. I'd go for 2x 4mm, 1x 6mm & 1x 8mm. 4mm's for feeding and the 6's & 8's for the hook. That's far more than you'll need, but pellets last so you can use them at other venues. You will need micros for the feeder. Soaked as usual for just 30 seconds, then left to drain.
I'm not sure I'm even going to take maggots. Knowing me I will, just to cover my options. But I'll bet they don't even come out of the bag. Sweetcorn is good alternative bait option, as is Luncheon meat. If you do not have a cutter, just ask. Some one will be able to lend you one. I will take 2 or 3 tins of corn and probably the same of meat (ready cubed).
The draw will be done as usual in the order in which they were booked. The teams are as follows:
Team Quietly Confident - Faith Stone & Graham Howard
Team Call the Copps - Jack & Dave Copp
The Puddletown Massive - Oliver Smith & Jerry Bracey
Team Mud Monster - Jake Taylor & Simon Wagner The Colombian Hit Squad - Joseph & Carlos Altuzarra
Team Lightning Strike - Thomas Millard & Tim Broughton
Team Cow Shed Delivery - Max Faulkner & Chris Ward *Teams names are optional and purely for comedy value to amuse the Lead Coach.
A quick word for all participants, particularly the Juniors.
This is a fun event.
You will not let anyone down if you do your best.
Your best is all anyone can ask for.
If anything changes, I will update you on Thursday.