As mentioned in the previous posting the next outings I went on were part of the club’s Golden Maggot competition. Based on Matt Hayes’ ‘Rod Race’ TV series whereby time restricted challenges were set, our version consisted of 34 hours of fishing starting at 0800 on Saturday 8th and finishing at 1800 on Sunday 9th with the target of capturing as many different species of fish from the club’s waters – one pool being excepted as it was deemed too easy with many species resident and also all being very easy biting… How you fished was up to you (other than it was to be ‘fair angling’ eg no prodding under stones with a kiddies net for bullheads, etc) and when and where you fished (could fish a few hours on one day or stay out all 34 hours, just fish one water or move about fishing all the available waters or any combination of everything in between). In the event 11 of us took part in the competition and we were rewarded with a good warm and dry weekend.
So… as to my fishing…
Saturday 8th July
I met up with the others on the car park of the pub that was to be the starting and ending point of the weekend’s efforts where we received our ‘plaques’ that had to appear in all photos of the fish we wished to claim towards our species count to ensure they were caught during the period of the competition and also there was also a draw to determine order of setting off to our various chosen starting waters…
I set off for my intended pool – a destination I thought a fair few would make for as it contains a good range of species but in the end there were only 4 or 5 of of us to start although others arrived later and some of the originals left after an hour or so to head to other waters, etc. Anyway, as 3rd to arrive I was pleased to see the other two eyeing up swims other than the one I wanted and so I quickly moved my gear into place. I originally tackled up 2 ledger rods – one with maggotfeeder baited with maggots/worm on a size 12 hook, the other rod with a piece of pig’s liver on a size 6 in the hope of connecting with one of the eels that the water contains. And so I fished until around midday catching perch, perch and perch on the maggot/worm rod, some of a good size but still perch all the same – and the liver rod remained perfectly untouched. At this point, I took the maggot/worm rod out of play and replaced it with a float rod with size 16 hook. The ‘liver’ rod also had a bait change and over the rest of the session I tried meat and bread … occasional nudges/knocks but nothing was hooked. The float rod did account for a rudd however when fished shallow to take my species count up to two….but it seemed that up-in-the-water there were rudd, on-the-bottom there were perch and in between rudd and perch… but no other species, at least taking maggot/worm. For the last 90 minutes of my session I did change from maggot/worm to sweetcorn on the hook and did get takes I was unable to connect and so when I packed up for the day at 1530 (felt time would be better spent getting home, sorting tackle ready for the next day’s planned river trip than flogging a dead donkey as it felt…) I had only clocked two species of the six or so species that I’d been reasonably expectant of…
Sunday 9th July
Leaving the house at a little before 0700 I headed off to a member’s only stretch on the River Severn – I’d not been there before (well, not to fish but had been there in Dec of last year when helping a recovering-from-illness member to their swim in a Fur’n’Feather competition and at that time it was still twilight hours and so couldn’t discern much) so had to rely on the Sat Nav to get there – and it did a grand job. So walked I the tackle up the river from the car park and the first swim I came to I ended fishing for the day.
Although out of sight on the photo to the right (upstream) was a large bush sticking out about 10’ into the river and just downstream a large tree was collapsed into the water – and so these features created a slow, almost stationary, eddy on the nearside where I thought I may possibly contact some of the smaller species (minnow, bullhead, etc) and possibly roach, bleak and dace along the outer edge where it met the main flow. So initial starting set up was a 12’ feeder rod (used with an open ended feeder loaded with coarsely ground bread, particles and dead maggots) baited with maggot on a size 16 hook in the inner slow area and a 2lb TC 12’ barbel rod with 3/4oz lead which was used to ledger meat and bread on a size 6 hook out in the main flow. I had knocks on both rods for the first 30-45 minutes but nothing that I could connect and then for about 2 hours both rods just went completely without any form of action at all. But then I started getting knocks again on both rods and managed to pull out a small chub on the feeder rod. However, around midday I had a mishap – the feeder rod, when cast out, the line caught on the reel and the feeder sailed out with the line broken… so, at this point, I decided not to re-tackle it but to devote my attention completely to the barbel rod. Bait was changed to 3 large dendro worms and bites ensued but, despite touch ledgering even, nothing that resulted in a fish – and that was how it remained until 1515 when I decided I needed to get to the check-in (a pub remember! At this point I was hot and thirsty… LOL) more than catch another fish.. and boy, did that pint of Enville Old Porter (a fine ale at any time!) taste like liquid nectar!
And so the outcome …. well, I was best supporting angler with my 3 species … holding the rest of the competitors up from the bottom of the list! First place was taken with 13 species, two tied for second place with 12, and 4th was 11. Others clocked in with 10, 6 and 5 … and a couple failed to finish having had to withdraw due to illness … so I wasn’t technically last but very morally so.. :)
Anyway, it was an enjoyable weekend spent out in the countryside in good weather so can’t complain – and already decided where I went wrong big time and already determining what I’ll look at to be doing in next year’s outing.
Might have a new experience due soon too – a floatfishing only match on the River Severn – and I don’t recall ever float fishing a river at all in my 60 years as an angler so I may need to get some practice in!
In the mean time I’m going to be out again on Friday per usual although undecided pool or river, never mind where … and on Monday its a trip out to the Warks Avon with Liz in order to try to push our bream PBs – Liz’s is currently 2lb 0oz and mine is 5lb 4oz and that has stood since the 1978/79 season! Time to move on up!!