The first round of this year’s UK Championship was at The Glebe, one of the prettiest, well-kept fisheries in the country. With 80 Anglers stretched out across the entire nine lakes, 129 peg complex we were due some room. But there were also going to be 18 end pegs in the match, and they can really dominate!
A bit of prep was required, particularly to get the feeder rods compliant with the 20” Hooklength rule, and tickle up the old hooklength boxes with some strong hooks on fat line! The fish in these lakes pull a bit, so gear needs to be stepped up a bit to compensate. The Frenzee 1420 hooks are perfect for fishing the pole with baits like pellet and corn, and plenty strong enough to handle the rigours of commercial carp fishing.
It’s always good to fish these matches and meet up with the lads that travel from all over the country that you don’t see week in week out.
After drawing peg 122 on Pool 9, a quick chat with Andy Kinder and Roy Marlow to pick their brains and I was on my way. Basically, I needed an end peg, and 122 wasn’t one!
With two hours to get ready, it’s always tempting to get loads of gear out. I wanted to cover all eventualities, but it’s impossible to do everything and easy to over-complicate things. I knew that to do well, I had to concentrate on 2 or 3 methods, but set up kit to cover the options.
- Feeder and Pellet Waggler, clipped up at 36m, tight to the far bank rushes.
- Bomb and Pellet Waggler, to fish at 20m ish, just past halfway.
- Deck Rig, 2 x Shallow 14.5m
- Mugger Rig
- 2 x Margin Rig, one for either side.
The sun was out, and there were loads of fish cruising, so I suspected that the Shallow Rigs and/or the Wag would be the way, with the Margins coming into play later on. These matches are fished 1-6pm, so the later finish would also favour the edges later on, and with a bit of luck, a few units would move in!
At the all-in, just about everyone on the Lake picked off a few fish shallow in the first 20 minutes, then as if flicking a switch, just stopped. Both end pegs were catching, a steady procession of smaller fish. Peg 129 was catching on the pole up the side, peg 120 was catching on a feeder across.
I’d managed a few more, by mugging a few cruisers, but frustration was starting to kick in, as, despite the fact I felt I was nosing in front of the middle of the lake pegs, I was falling behind the two ends. I feared that we were fishing for third before we’d started, but I wanted to make a go of it!
Picking up the Waggler rod for tight over, the first cast was met with a dip, a strike and a miss! The wind was diagonally over my shoulder, but constantly changing, so presentation on the waggler was awkward. I put on a slightly heavier 8g float, cast out again and was into the first fish within two seconds! This was the start of a really good run, and for around an hour and a half, I caught decent fish regularly, just feeding the odd 8mm pellet.
As it started to quieten down, and the fish go a little bit iffy, I had a look down the left margin. The lake had plumbed up awkward, the sloping bottom was really uneven. I’d been feeding groundbait on this line, with a bit of corn. The rig was fished with bulked shot 6” away from the hook, with double corn on the hook. That way, fishing on a slope, if the float sits right in the water, I know that the bait is on the deck. Another aspect of fishing on a slope that I think is of vital importance is the feed; If ground bait is to be fed, a wet, heavy mix is needed so it can be fed loose, so the balls don’t roll down the hill! Also, never feed the bait higher up the slope than where you are fishing – if the fish end up in shallower water then you’re going to end up with big foul-hooking problems!
A steady procession of Margin fish, interrupted by a few looks on the waggler line for the odd extra fish whilst I rested the Margins saw me through to the end of the match. The action wasn’t fast, but the fish was a better stamp than on the wag.
My 120lb was enough to beat one of the end pegs, but not the other, and all the middle pegs for second on the Lake, second in the section.
2pts is a steady enough start, game on!