MATCH DAY 1

Angling Times (UK) - - SOUTH -

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.

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