Back To Winning Ways - Pemb Wrighting

Last Thursday was the first round of this year’s UK Champs, at Viaduct fishery in Somerset. It's one of my favourite events on the calendar, it's really like a who's who of match fishing, so to do well brings a real sense of achievement. After finishing in third place overall last year, I was hoping for a good start to the 2014 league.

My peg for the first round was to be peg 50 on the match lake. This lake hasn't got the big-weight potential of the other lakes on site, so a match win was straight out of the question. But this event all comes down to section points, so it wasn't the end of the world. With this lake probably the fairest section in the match, I was more than happy to be in it.

The match lake stock revolves around F1s, skimmers, and the odd proper carp. My plan was to fish a feeder to the island, long pole on the bottom and possibly shallow, and an edge line. With my peg being one with anglers either side, I didn't hold out a lot of hope for the margin swim.

When the match started I opted for the feeder, cast to the island. After two or three casts I started to catch small F1s on a regular basis. It was going well, and all the while I was loose-feeding pellets on my long-pole line. Then I encountered a problem. After every third or fourth cast that really annoying white fluff that settles on top of the water would jam in my rod rings and make a cast impossible. I was wasting too much time cleaning it off, and with fellow Guru, Steve Ringer, starting to catch well in my section, a change was needed.

It was time for the long pole. With the swim only being three foot deep, I thought fishing on the bottom would be good. After a few quick fish on the bottom, I started to get some funny indications. A couple of spooked fish confirmed my suspicions; the fish were happier nearer the surface. I shipped out my shallow rig, fully expecting to catch well on it, but it didn't happen. It was just an odd F1 here and there, with no steady flow of fish. I tried all sorts of rigs, a very short rig for slapping, a longer line-swinging rig… all sorts. After fining down my hook length, to 0.11mm N-Gauge and a 18 LWG hook. I began to catch at a much better rate. The best rig turned out to be a short slapping rig with a 4xNo10 cut down Malman champ float, set six inches deep. As the match wore on I had to keep resting the shallow swim. Even though I couldn't catch much elsewhere, the shallow swim was definitely getting stronger after each time it was left alone and fed for 10 minutes without a rig in the water.

At the end of the match I weighed in with 108lb, mostly F1s, caught shallow. It was enough to just pip Steve to the section win. I was made up to get off to a section-winning start in this event. Hopefully it's the start of a good series!