Matt Godfrey's Weston Wonderland Diary!

I absolutely love going to Weston Pools near Oswestry. I’ll hold my hands up and admit it’s not just the fishing…there’s a stunning clubhouse and bar onsite, some wicked cabins to stay in, and the lakes are all stunningly groomed with loads of features and a real variety of fish! Here’s a day-to-day diary of the Tri-Cast May Festival I’ve just returned from!

Day One – Belvedere, Peg 11

I really fancied this peg, as it’s down an arm of the lake with plenty of room, and last year I had a big weight from the peg next to it. My attack was super simple and I planned to fish hard pellets on the hard bottom of this lake. All the lakes here are quite silty in the middle, so you can have problems with foul hooked fish if you fish on the silt. I used a heavy 30g plummet to find where the silt ended and the hard bottom started, by dropping it down hard onto the bottom before slowly lifting it up. If it was in silt it would stick for a second or two. The hard bottom was anywhere up to a top kit plus one section out, so I fished just back a little bit onto this with a top kit plus one at angles to my left and right. This way I had two swims to alternate between!

My other swim was down the margins to my right, where it was around three and a half feet deep. Due to the depth, I decided to fish hard pellets here too, hoping to keep the fish on the bottom. Starting using a medium Pole Pot and feeding 4mm fishery pellets with a 6mm on the hook, I was into carp straight away. I soon realised however, that my 0.11mm hooklengths weren’t heavy enough and I was up the bank re-tackling with heavier 0.15mm lines and stronger elastics. Mistake’s made!

Sport was steady, and I did loose a few fish. I felt that the 4mm pellets were too small, and changing to feeding 6mms and even 8mms at times helped. These sank faster and kept the fish pinned down so not to foul hook them. Both rigs I used featured 4x16 Mick Wilkinson Carbon Slim floats, on 0.17mm N-Gauge to 0.15mm hooklengths and size 16 Super LWG hooks.

A switch to the margins with an hour to go where I’d been feeding 6mms by hand brought me a good run, before I suffered a really slow final 30 minutes which ended up costing me dearly! At the all out, my 119lb was enough for second in the section behind team mate and sharing partner, James Dent, who tipped 130lb on the scales from the other end of the section. Nevertheless, a steady start to the festival!

Belvedere - the lake Matt drew on Day One.

Using a heavy plummet to find hard ground was vital.

Day Two – Stretton, Peg 10

I didn’t fancy this swim to be honest, as my peg was in with the narrows where Chris Jones had won the match the previous day with 166lb, and Richie O’Connor drew right there! Still, I was in for a good day and I felt my edge would be catching some silverfish early and exploiting carp later in the day. The plan was simple – a margin line with 6mm and 8mm hard pellets after what I’d learned the day before, a shallow swim with casters at 10m, and a swim at 16m as far up the far bank shelf as possible on that hard bottom, again with hard pellets.

By feeding just a few 6mm pellets, fishing the same on the hook nice and accurately down the edge I got off to a good start, catching a few carp and half a dozen big F1s. After around half an hour sport slowed, but I’d been feeding casters at 10m and was hoping that I’d be able to spend some time catching silvers there while the lakes sport slowed.

Using a tiny 4x8 float with light 0.11mm N-Gauge line and a size 18 Super LWG with a banded caster, I was soon in touch with ide, crucians and an odd bonus F1. Changing depths worked well after runs of fish and although I wasn’t bagging, I spent an hour and a half putting fish in the net before things died.

After this, I decided to venture across to 16m, hoping to save my margin for another late run of carp. On this far line, I simply fed the same – a medium Pole Pot of 6mm pellets, helped by the lid with a single hole to stop the clumsy ginger spilling them on the way out! This helped me catch another few fish including two bigger 8lb carp, welcome to say the least. Being patient and feeding just small amounts of bait to catch one fish at a time was vital.

In the last 40 minutes, a switch back to the edge line where I started brought me another run of fish – several carp and F1s for a strong finish! A total of 127lb was enough to win the section, lake and whole match outright – bonus! It’s worth saying how important my silvers were too, as that net weighed 34lb. Very valuable fish during the quiet spells indeed!

Day Three – Clay Pit, Peg 6

This is a lake I’ve never fished before, and is mind blowing! It’s over 60 feet deep in places, absolutely beautiful, with gin clear water and loads of fish! Due to the depths, I settled on a margin and shallow attack. I was pegged in a bit of a corner and feared that the fish may not come into the corner edge until late-on, so shallow would be my main ploy.

For my shallow attack, feeding aggressively with 4mm pellets and fishing at different depths was the plan. Due to the lake been deep, the fish move up and down a lot, and I set up four rigs ranging between 12-inches and five feet deep. There were times when I caught on all of them which was interesting too – the deeper one resulted in several carp mid-match, which dragged me to the bottom of the lake! It was awesome! Darren Frost did give me a tip-off that fishing deeper would work the night before in the bar - thanks mate.

After three and a half hours catching steadily shallow, I decided to feed my margins, starting next to the boards to my right with pellets. This brought an instant run of fish, including several carp. With 35 minutes left, I felt I could snare a few in the shallower water to my left too, where I’d fed corn and a small amount of groundbait. Leaving this swim until late worked well, as I caught six carp in the final bit of the match here for 30lb plus! My 152lb total was enough to win the whole match yet again!

After a second place on day one however, I wasn’t expecting to win, especially with Robbie Griffiths and Chris Jones both on two points going into the final day. Local expert Kieran Marsden was also on three points and dangerous. On returning to the results though, I found out they had finished second and third, leaving me with equal points to Robbie and also Kieran, but with a higher weight of 399lb over three days – enough to pleasingly win the event!

A massive well done to all the framers, especially Kieran Marsden on second place, Robbie Griffiths on third, with Chris Jones fourth and Frankie Gianoncelli fifth! Also huge thanks to Richie Parry and the team at Weston Pools for putting on a great event as always – a BBQ and drinks after the match was all part of it! Also thanks to Tri-Cast for some great prizes, including the Trilogy Margin pole I won! It was an incredibly enjoyable weekend, with awesome fishing, plenty to learn, and I was lucky enough to draw some good pegs! Cheers guys!

Pole Potted pellets - 6mms and 8mms seemed best!

The new Super LWG Ready Rigs got a workout!