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Senior/Junior Pairs match - Very excited Pre Match Report/endurance session...

I normally publish this in the week, but I couldn't wait that long!

Because your coaches are such good eggs and are willing to sacrifice their precious spare time in order to get you juniors some valuable information, myself, Sgt Bracey, and SI Wag (Master of corrections), endured a gruelling practice session at Todber Manor yesterday (Thursday).

The weather was painfully moderate and there were fish everywhere to spoil our peace and quiet. Exhaustion set in for at least two of us as we negotiated the sickeningly short walk from the car to the swim, placed our seat boxes down on firm and comfortable platforms. We didn’t even have to trim any of the undergrowth down in order to fish.

What made it unbearable was that the fish would eat absolutely anything and everything that was thrown at them and could be caught on every method that we tried. It was most frustrating as we tried to find something that didn’t work. We even had to stop for a lunch break because there was no let up in the bite rate. Fish after fish after fish, oh it was horrible!!!

We’re going to need months of therapy after that…

There is a short film clip at the end to show you just how many fish were in my swim after throwing in just TWO handfuls of bait in at the end!!!

All joking aside, it was epic and, if the rain this week doesn’t slow it down too much, I fully expect at least one or two of the juniors to break the 100lb barrier.

Feeder: You will catch well on the feeder, although it is slower than the pole. You will catch wherever the feeder lands but, if you try to be as accurate as you can, you will catch more. We thought that the fish would be sitting further off the far side because of the lack of depth. But this was not the case. Far bank was constant, but you could get bites faster close in (Because you don’t have to cast). Pellets only in the feeder as ground bait will attract too many silverfish.

Pellet Waggler: I did catch one on the pellet wag, but it was too slow. Ducks were a problem and, although I didn’t catch one, there’s a danger that one could grab the bait. By all means set one up but, if it fishes like yesterday, you will not need it unless you do not own a pole. If you don’t have a pole yet, then the pellet wag is going to be useful to catch the fish shallow at the end of your rod tip.

Long Pole: I only fished with the top four sections of my margin pole. I know Si tried further out but it is just too slow when you can catch faster closer in. I ended up fishing with the top three sections in the end.

Short Pole: This is where the action is at! Even though it is really shallow at the moment (Rain is coming but I don’t think there will be enough to make much of a difference to the water level), You can catch fish right under your feet. Of course, you will have keepnets in front of you which means you will need to fish a bit further out to get past them. Even so, you should be able to catch fish on just a top kit. How shallow is shallow? Well, from the elastic connector I had 10cm. then the float. All the shot bulked underneath the float, and a 10cm hooklink. The whole rig was less than 30cm long!! Hooks were strong. Lightweight pellet patterns have no place here, and neither do small hooks. Size 14, 12, or even 10 will do the job. I went for 14’s and 12’s… Quickstops or just a hook for Luncheon meat or Corn. Banded hooks for Pellets. I used something a ‘Lasso’ hooklink where the bait is tied to the line. Using a Lasso means that you can catch many more fish with one pellet than you would with a bait band. I caught 37 fish on one pellet… Elastics need to be strong. I used a 16 Hybrid elastic. It was ok but ended up super tight because I kept trimming bits off. An 18 may have been better, or even a 20. Jerry used some luminous boat rope (Very Heavy Elastic!) that lit the lake up every time he hooked a Carp!

Bait: Everything worked. I fed three tins of meat (2x 6mm & 1x 8mm), two pints of 6mm pellets during the day. Meat is great for shallow fishing because it sinks so slowly. Whatever you feed, keep the feeding light. Only 3 or 4 pellets each time. It sounds insane but if you feed too many pellets, you will end up with TOO MANY FISH IN YOUR SWIM!!!! (see film clip). There will be so many that you can not get your hook bait between them and therefore won’t catch them… Little and often and you will have the fish competing with each other for the food… I caught on pellets and meat. Jerry caught mostly on pellets. Si caught mainly with corn. They all work…

(Below, Jerry's 100th Carp!)

So, what did we catch? Jerry and I started at about 10am, Si started a little later, and we all fished until about 4pm. Si had an estimated 200lbs + on his clicker. Jerry counted and estimated (usually very accurately) himself to have, for the first time ever, 100 Carp for over 320lbs. I caught 200 Carp for an estimated 600lbs … (I had my catching face and trousers on that day!) We all stopped for lunch and a chat. We tried different methods. Between the three of us we had around 1000lbs of fish!

This place is incredible…

The one thing that we were concerned about was landing net handles. We see a lot of juniors lifting fish out of the water using the handle to lift the fish out of the water before shipping it back. This will not work at Todber. You WILL break your handle.

  • Get the fish in the net, but only lift the net enough so the fish cannot get out. pull the handle back so the fish is as close as you can get it.

  • Grab the handle as close to the net as you can (Don’t fall in!)

  • Lift the fish from the water as vertically as you can.

This is how to properly land a Carp with match equipment and how you will save your handles.

Always transfer your Carp to the keepnet using the landing net. Do NOT drop them in from your hand.

Talking of Keepnets, there is a strict net limit at Todber Manor which happens to be the same as our own net limits. There must not be more than 66lbs of fish in one keepnet. It is difficult to accurately guess the weight of fish in your nets, but the coach’s advice is to put no more than 15 fish in one net. This way, even if you have a couple of bigger fish, you should still come in under the 66lb limit. When I am loading my nets, I start on the left and put on fish in each net until I reach the one on the far right. I then start from the left again and repeat, on and on until I get to 15 in the far-right net. If I have any, then is the time to put more nets in. All the coaches will bring as many nets as they can, and I will bring as many from the store as we have too… Even with 200lbs, you’re going to need four keepnets! I caught 117lbs in the first hour during our session…. Lots of keepnets…

So, there you have it.

You WILL catch lots. You will catch on any bait. It will be busy. You WILL have a great time…. (Hopefully)

I’m so excited, I can’t wait!

Juniors Sec…

Lots of fish!!!

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