Club Angler of the Year 2008 Northern Fish-Off Preview
The three pools used for the Club Angler Of The Year Fish-Off - Bonsai, Laurels and Oasis - should be very fair and I wouldn't like to pick where the winner will come from. They are predominantly full of F1s, bigger mirrors and commons, plus lots of new 'stockies' from 8oz to 2lb. I would think you'll definitely need over 50lb to qualify and there should be a winning weight of at least 70lb. The basic tactics can be equally applied to all three lakes, but they also have their own little idiosyncrasies, too.
All baits work here, but my own personal favourites are pellets, casters and luncheon meat. Meat works really well close in and seems to pick out a good stamp of fish. It can also be thrown easily by hand to keep a short-pole swim
margin swim topped up. I take three or four tines with me and cube them with a 1/4in meat-cutter. I personally like to
add a squirt of Dynamite Baits The Source liquid to my cubed meat. For pellets I use the fishery's natural feed pellets in 3mm and 4mm sizes, usually combined with a 4.5mm Ringers Cool Water expander on the hook.
The other baits I've had good success with are casters for fishing shallow, and or double red maggot, caster or a bit of worm on the hook. You can also catch well on pellets shallow with a banded 6mm pellet on the hook, so it all boils down to personal preference. Shallow fishing works well in the open water on Laurels and Bonsai but isn't so effective on Oasis. With this method I'd probably start feeding about 13 metres out and hopefully try and draw them in a section closer if possible. If you are using pellets, sometimes feeding half a dozen 6mms can be better than a dozen 4mms, so it can pay to experiment.
I like to feed a short-pole swim around four to seven metres out, preferably at the base of a shelf. A dozen cubes of meat fed regularly by hand are all that's needed here. For the margins, I feed quite heavily at the start, left and right, with one or two full 250mI pots of pellets and meat. This is usually around five or six metres away from me in two and a half feet of water, so I can comfortably loose feed here by hand during the match. You can really sack up with bigger carp down the edges in the last hour, so never give up - even if you've been struggling.
Laurels, in particular, is home to some bigger lumps to double figures, which are regularly caught down the edges. The way this pool is shaped means you can catch really close in on the deeper 'points', plus there are about 18 corner swims with long edges to target. Don't be tempted into fishing too long down the edges at the start on these pegs, though, or you'll have nowhere to chase them later on.
On Bonsai, there are quite a few pegs where a small feeder works well. You only have a short 20 to 30-yard cast so I'd use either a small Method, pellet or coil feeder. Hook bait would be either dead maggots, hair-rigged meat or SPellets. This is a great starting method while you let your other swims build. You don't always have to cast tight to the islands, either - although the commons and mirrors can feed in inches of water at times, the big F1s are often found a metre or so off the far bank in slightly deeper water.
I tend to just target across and down the edges on Oasis. Pellets fished tight across in 18 inches to two feet of water work well.
Top Tip: Don't be afraid to "give 'em some grub"! I like to drip in bait from the off against the islands but feed one or two full 250ml pots down the margins for later on.
Trickling slightly dampened pellets via a sprinkle pot would be my starting ploy, but if liners become a problem I'd switch to feeding balls of dampened pellets squeezed together. These balls must break up as soon as they hit the deck rather than stay in one clump, so I sometimes use a bit of groundbait to help. Introducing a bit of meat with the pellets can also work at times. One useful tip is to fit both a sprinkle pot and a normal pot on your pole tip, so you quickly switch between sprinking bait and introducing balls of bait.
Adding a bit of riddled meat to the pellets can sometimes work and gives you the option of trying meat on the hook, too.
For open water I like to use a Preston Classic 10, between 0.2g and 0.5g, in depths up to six or seven feet. For fishing down the edge or across to islands I switch to a stubbier 4x10 or 4x12 Drennan Choppa, and replace the cane bristle with a plastic one for better visibility.
For shallow fishing I prefer an all-balsa Drennan Caster in 0.2 g and 0.3g sizes. My elastic is usually yellow Drennan 10-12 with 0.16mm main lines and 0.14mm hooklengths. I like small hooks most of the time and a size 18 B911 is perfect.
When it comes to working out the depth I like to plumb up until the body of my pole float is just out of the water. I then work up or down from there while I fish.
As you can see, there are plenty of options and methods that can be made to work at Lindholme - I just wish I was
Name: Garbolino Lindholme Fishery
Address: Don Farm, Epworth, Doncaster, DN9 I LF
Contact: 01427 872905
Already one of the very best match venues in the country, Garbolino Lindholme is still expanding thanks to the hard work put in by fishery boss Neil Grantham.
There are currently 503 pegs spread over eight pools. As expected, carp dominate but there are plenty of other species swimming around to keep you on your toes. A new stocking of over five tons of fish has been added since last November, so some seriously big weights are expected to come out this year.
You can park behind the majority of pegs on Bonsai, Laurels and the new 70-peg Oasis Canal - the three pools scheduled for the event. The latter pool has only been open for 12 months but has already thrown up a best weight of 198lb! Laurels averages about seven feet while the other two are between five and six feet deep down the middle, shelving up towards any margins or islands.
The fishery currently has a 50-seater cafe, toilets and a pellet shop. A brand new 150-seat, licensed cafe should be finished by July, complete with a male, female and disabled toilets.
o No cat or dog food
o Fishery feed pellets only
o No surface baits
o Groundbait via cup or feeder only
o 16m pole limit
o Barbless hooks only
o Two keepnets with fish evenly split
(Please check with fishery for the definitive list of rules)
This article and photographs from Match Fishing May 2008 are reproduced with the kind permission of David Hall Publishing.