MATCH DAY 1
MY hand went into the bag of dreams and out came peg 15 on the dam wall, five pegs past the tower in what was a really hard area in practice.
My first thought was damage limitation. In a match decided on weight I didn’t want to sit it out for bream, come back with 2lb on day one and be out of the race.
My plan therefore was to fish for bream for the first hour. If I didn’t get any signs I’d try and catch double figures of small fish.
I’d decided on an out-and-out fishmeal groundbait approach. A lot of carp anglers fish Bough Beech so the bream would be tuned into that type of bait. It sorts out better stamp roach too.
I opted for a 50-50 mix of Ringers Natural and Original Bag Up and also had casters, corn, pellets, dead maggots and chopped worm.
WHERE TO FISH – MY SPOTS
My plan was to fish for bream at 55m and then roach at 23m. I knew I could catch roach shorter than at 23m but felt by fishing it a little bit further out that I might pick up a bonus skimmer, and the stamp of roach should be better.
The match started and I kicked off by putting in five big feeders full of particles, going straight over the top of it with two pieces of worm on the hook.
The fish in Bough Beech are wild, so it was a size 12 Guru Feeder Special for bream and a 14 for roach, both tied to 0.15mm N-Gauge line.
As expected the first hour went by biteless so I went on the short line to put some fish in the net.
This worked to a degree and I caught mainly 1oz-2oz roach with the odd better fish for around an hour before the swim began to die.
Once that happened I found that by casting to the left and right of the original spot I was able to
keep a few fish coming that were sitting off the feed.
A single maggot hooked through the middle seemed best, as double maggot led to too many missed bites.
TIME FOR A REST
Three hours in I knew the swim needed a rest. I’d been topping up the bream line every 45 minutes with two more feederfuls of bait so I felt it was worth a look.
The next hour went by biteless, though, and with no signs at all I just couldn’t see how I would catch a bream.
On the plus side, I dropped back on to the roach line and the rest had clearly done it good because I had my best spell of the match. These were a good stamp of fish.
This late flourish saw me put 11lb 10oz on the scales for a section win, which I was actually pleased with even though it left me 24lb off the pace set by early leader John O’Driscoll.
This might seem like a huge deficit and, to be fair, it was – but when you consider this weight actually put me 12th out of 60 anglers you’ll see that I felt I’d made the right decision and a top seven finish was still within my grasp.
I just needed a good draw on day two and I was right back in it…
Chopped worms went in every feeder...
My day one catch gave me a section win.
...and I preally acked in the particles too.