Andy Bennett's Blog - Partridge Lakes Part 2

My next outing saw me back at Partridge Lakes for the midweek open. Twenty seven anglers turned out, so with three lakes in the match, we all had a bit of space and I was looking forward to a good match. Peg 1 was my home for the day and I was lucky enough to be on the bonus peg for an extra £200, if I was to win the match that is! This always gives you a bit more enthusiasm though, making you try even harder.

After having had 92lb for 4th on the Tuesday and just 106lb enough to win the match due to a lot of rain, I was going to start the match cautiously and play it by ear. I set up four rigs to cover my options. The first one would be to fish across in around 18 inches of water. I would fish pellet on this line and this rig would also cover my edge line where I found the same depth on a top kit, plus one section to my left. This was tied up on 0.15mm N-Gauge line to four inches of 0.11mm for the hook length. A size-18 LWG would complete this setup. The main line would be my maggot line at 6m where I’d loose-feed maggots by hand. I planned to fish three rigs to cover all the depths, depending where the fish wanted to be on the day.

My deck rig for fishing in 7ft of water was a 4x14s carbon-stem float, which again was tied up on 0.15mm to 0.11mm N-Gauge again tied to a sixe-18 LWG. If you haven’t used these hooks yet you’re missing out because they’re the nuts. Shotting for this rig was a very positive bulk of number 10s and one number 11 dropper, set six inches from the hook. The second rig was a 4xno10 float of the same pattern with the same lines and hooks, set around 2ft deep for over the top in case they came up shallow. The third rig was identical, only this was set around half depth so I could cover my swim as they moved up and down. The shotting for these rigs was a simple strung bulk although I would play about with the shotting to see what was best on the day. Some days a strung-out pattern can work best and other days a tight bulk can be better. Bait was simple; a few 2mm pellets for feed, some 4mm expenders for the hook then some maggots for the middle line. With all that sorted I started the match across up the bank at 14m on pellet to see what would happen, as I didn’t know whether I was fishing for 80lb or 130lb to win the match. I had a really good first hour and 20 minutes fishing long and had 20 fish for around 30lb. Because I know these lakes well I knew it was fishing well with such a good start but I didn’t want to come off the feeding fish until it slowed.

After such a great start it was time to move after the peg started to fade. First drop in on my maggot line and I suffering liners on my bottom rig. After four or five missed bites I knew the fish were shallow. I picked my 2ft deep rig up and was rewarded with an F1 around the 1lb mark. I then had a brilliant two hours fishing shallow, catching around 70 fish on this method, taking my total to around 90 fish for an estimated 120lb to 130lb, so I was well on course for a big weight. I didn’t rest on my laurels though, as I knew that if this lake was fishing this well, the others could too, especially Pool Three. Mick Reed opposite on peg 20 was now starting to catch some really big fish down the side and he was also on for a big weight, although I thought I was still a good 30lb ahead of him, so it was a case of keeping things ticking over.

With around 90 minutes to go I had really slowed up and a change to the deeper rig brought a quick run of fish before the peg died again. Even though there was hardly any wind what tiny bit of skim there was, was now smack off my back and my peg was going iffy when it should be getting better. I’d been feeding my margin line all day though and in the last hour I decided to look for some carp down the side, while keeping the shallow line fed in case they turned back up. Alternating between the two lines for the last hour, I had six decent carp for around 30lb, plus a few more F1s and finished the match strongly when it looked to be fading away. I was first to weigh and after four weighs I had 188lb, which was enough to win the match and the £200 bonus, meaning I had a nice little payday for my efforts. Mick Reed on peg 20 had 143lb for second and Pool Three didn’t quite fish as I expected. Pool Four was better and 135lb for Ian Burley and 121lb for Kieron Rich took 3rd and 4th, so it had fished really well with around nine 100lb-plus weights.