Ringing The Changes - Andy Pell

Having recently returned from a week’s festival at Stafford Moor, I can say that I have learned one or two valuable lessons during what was a tough week.

I can sometimes be quite stubborn in my approach, especially during a match. I often return home thinking maybe I should have tried this or that to get a few extra fish. A couple of the days on the festival brought that home to me and outlined the importance of ringing the changes.

The first day was my rotation onto Tanners Lake. Most of the fish were up the top end of the lake and I drew as far away from them as was possible, on peg 20, which put me on the end peg, so it really was feast or famine. The fish follow the wind on this shallow lake and I knew I was in trouble at the draw. After 90 minutes of the match and with only one carp in the net, I decided to fish for silvers at six metres, feeding chopped worm and caster. My rig consisted of 0.15mm N-Gauge to a 0.11mm hook length and a light silver fish hook.

I managed a perch in almost 10 minutes on this line, before a carp took off and broke my hook length. I felt I was going nowhere trying to catch silvers, as they just weren’t feeding. I did however feel odd carp were around, so I stepped up to a 0.15mm hook length and a size 18 LWG hook. This is what I call a 'compromise rig' as I stand a decent chance of landing carp, but it's not too heavy to put off silvers.

I fed a full pot of casters on the six-metre line and went out on a whole worm, which I know carp can't resist. I fished a White Hydro elastic on a pulla kit and during the next hour I landed four good carp and a few good silvers, to really boost my weight. I fed a big pot of casters after each carp and although I was still well down my section, this change got me two extra points, which I really wouldn't have got otherwise.

The very next day I found myself on another average peg on Woodpecker Lake and was up against it. Three hours into the match I had caught a few fish on the bomb but things had gone quiet for me and those around me.

I had caught a few fish down the edge on worm already, and with the fish seemingly not willing to feed confidently on the double 8mm pellets I was using, I thought I should just try worm on the bomb. So, I decided to hair rig two big worms, using a Speed Stop with a small size-18 QM1 hook on a long hair.

The change produced instant results and got me three quick fish, including a couple of doubles, which helped me secure a higher section position than I otherwise would have got.

This really brought home to me the importance of thinking outside the box at times when it's hard, as these small changes can bring instant results, which can make all the difference at the end of the match or festival.