My mate Andy phoned to ask if I'd fish in his place in the Sadborow league as he's had a rough time of it lately, as I didn't have anything on I jumped at the chance. Sadborow is mainly a carp water although there are some roach and skimmers but to do well you need carp. The pond hasn't been fishing well and the last match was won with only 10lb.
The format of the league is you fish each of the pegs over the nine matches, the match organiser, Les, pulled a ball out which meant I was fishing peg 6. My peg was on the roadside and one of four that can reach the pond's only island although Les said hardly anything had been coming off the island with most fish coming from the margins. I made my self comfortable and set up two rigs, one a 0.4 gram Drennan carp float for open water, with 0.14 mm bottom and size 18 Kamazan B911 with white hydro and an inline dibber rig for the margins with 0.15 mm straight through to another 18 B911, black hydro completed this set up.
For company I had Steve Bush to my left and Alan Dunn on the peg to my right. For bait I had corn, maggot, caster and meat, including some I had dyed red with Predator Plus. On the whistle I cupped in a mixture of the baits on my open water line and in the margin to my right, to my left I cupped in just six cubes of meat. This frugal feeding has worked for me in the past and also I read in a recent article that Steve Ringer often feeds swims like this (one with very little and the other with a lot) so he can gauge which type of feeding the fish respond to.
I started in the open water with double red maggot and missed a bite first put in but I think it was a roach. There was an awful lot of debris (leaves, twigs and bits of fluff) floating about making it very difficult to put the rig in. Butch Baker in peg 8 had a carpet of the stuff! but Les reckoned the carp follow it about and this looked to be the case as he flew away catching two carp early. Alan 'Picky' Gage also had a carp as had Steve Bishop on peg 9. Other than that not a lot was happening and it looked like being another grueller.
I had by now had a look in both margins without a hint of a bite and I wasn't alone. After a couple of hours rotating swims without response I thought I would fish my dibber rig in the open water as an up in the water rig as odd fish could be seen cruising around. Loosefeeding caster with caster on the hook saw me catch a couple of roach and a half decent hybrid but during this time Butch had added a good eel and Bushy next to me had landed a decent skimmer and a good carp. I was going nowhere fast, Les and Roy opposite were also still blanking so at least I was ahead of them.
Les said he could see a lot of carp cruising in front the island so out I went at 14.5 metres but the fairly strong wind made presentation hard work and I soon gave this up as a bad job. Besides as Les was fishing there I could always keep an eye on him and go back out if he started catching. Picky had added a couple more fish and Bishop was now on two but apart from that the pond was fishing really hard. Dunner caught a small carp off the island and when he had one from the margins to his right (towards me) I decided to concentrate there. With meat on the hook I was really suprised when the dibber shot away, and after a really hard scrap the black hydro did its job and I netted a carp around 4lb. Five minutes later a good bite saw me bump a fish, bugger!
I re fed and went in on my left, a bite nearly straight away and a slightly smaller carp was soon netted, I was back in the hunt! With a couple of hours left I needed a couple more but at least I was interested again. Butch had another to take his tally to three carp, a small one and that eel, Bishop had two and Picky had three or four. Dunner had another small carp, again on the inside. Apart from a couple of indications I hadn't had another proper bite. I fed another six cubes on my left and went back towards Dunner and missed a bite straight away! I then had my third and was hoping for a really good last hour.
Oz on peg 4, got one that got him off the mark but around the pond nobody was catching and that now included me as I couldn't get a bite. I fed again on my right and switched back to the other, lightly fed, swim. After five minutes the float went and I netted my fourth carp and I started to believe I could win it. Picky now had five and I felt I needed to get two more with half an hour to go, Butch hadn't added any more and I reckoned it might be close between us. A brief go with red meat was unsuccessfull, I switched back to normal meat and went back to the right.
Time was running out when the float shot away and I missed it, worse still my rig shot into an overhanging branch, after a short tug of war the branch won and my knuckle was throbbing. The stem of the float was also no longer attached to it. A quick root around in my drawers found an identical rig and I was back in action. With quarter of an hour to go I hooked another and after a fairly long battle I netted my best fish, a common around 5lb. I just had time for one last put in but no more bites and the whistle went. Had I done enough? I didn't think so as Picky had all his fish on catmeat and they tend to be bigger fish.
I didn't have long to wait to find out as Picky was first to weigh and his five fish weighed 20lb 14oz, Roy and Les ended fishless and Oz just had the one for 4lb odd. Dunner just had the three small carp for a couple of pound, my five carp (plus three silvers) went 18lb exactly and as I thought I needed a sixth fish. As the remaining pegs were weighed there were no suprises, Butch weighed 9lb 12oz and Bishop had 9lb 1oz. I was second on the day and picked up £45 so not a bad day really.
Next week is round four of the Spring League on Perry St and I really need a good result, tune in to find out if I get it.