Well after the JJL Match at Alders Farm yesterday my old club (Marsh AC) had had a match booked on Ash Lake for today. Well it would have been rude not to stay over and fish it as a guest so that I could catch up with some of the lads especially as Keith had kindly offered to put me up overnight. So after a good nights sleep it was good to wake up to a fresh cup of coffee before we set off in Keith's car for the quick 15 minute trip back to Alders.
There the old faces were assembling along with a few new faces who have joined since I left along with another couple of guests, Barry and Dave Pontin who had been at Alders yesterday as well.
All I had to do was put my waterproofs on and pick up another couple of bags of pellet along with a breakfast ticket from Trevor in the shop as I'd left all my gear at the Pumphouse Café overnight.
So a leisurely stroll down the hill to the Café and I have to say that Ash Lake looked spot on, but it had fished hard yesterday and with all the rain and a forcast of more to come I felt it would be trickier today than a lot believed. Anyway into the Pumphouse where we were greeted by Charlotte, Sophie and Debbie who sorted us out with one of their excellent breakfasts as per usual.
Of course Mr Chairman aka Dave the fish was soon after collecting the monies while Keith sorted the pegs for the draw. Now on my many visits to Alders fishing Ash lake it's very rare that I draw one of the so called dolly pegs on the Café bank, normally I end up walking halfway round the lake before finding my peg, so I was more than happy to pull peg 5 out of the bag today. Ideally I would have liked either 1 or 2 which really looked bob on but Simon had 1 and Mick peg 2. Tony was back home on peg 3 ( if I drew pegs 3 and 4 with the regularity that Tony does I'd be embarrassed) Mr Chairman was to my left on 6 and Keith on 7.
Set up was going to be nice and simple today as there was nothing really on the outcome. The Marsh matches are really little more than a social with a weigh-in at the end with the only 'winnings' being £10 if you win your section, it's more about the bragging rights within the club. So 3 top kits containing NG red amber core all rigged up with 0·4g floats on 0·17 n-gauge to a 0·15 hooklength ending in a size 16 B911x to cover the margin and 5mtr line and as an afterthought I pulled out my Mach 3 feeder rod as it was still set up in its ready sleeve from yesterday. Bait was going to be banded 6mm pellets + some red maggots left over from yesterday while feed was just dampened 4mm fishery pellets.
So All-In and a good handful of pellet down the left edge and a pot out to the 5mtr line followed by a banded 6mm at dead depth out to 5mtrs. Normally I would expect an almost instant response but it wasn't to be today. After around 10 minutes of working the rig the float finally buried, this was followed by a brief scrap before the rig came flying back with a scale embedded on the hook, was this the start of having to build a jigsaw fish on my sidetray? 5 minutes later and a more positive sign as I connected with a feisty little 2 pounder that was soon in the net to get me up and running.
The problem was that things never kicked on for me from there. I set up another spot at 5mtrs but despite rotating between the two 5mtr lines and the edge I just couldn't put a run of fish together. Keith had had a decent start but after an hour he'd had to go long to stay in touch but unfortunately for him it seemed to result in an increased number of foul hooked fish that he wasn't able to get out. The man in the pound seats however was Mick on peg 2, ticking along nicely and steadily adding fish to his nets.......
For me it seemed that everything was happening at half pace and in all honesty I feel with hindsight that I tried to force it and overfed on the day. I had one look on the feeder to the island which produced an instant 3 pounder but another 10 casts didn't produce as much as a tap so that was sacked off.
By about 2pm it was time for a stroll with the camera. Simon was beating himself up on peg 1 with fish in front of him but apparently reluctant to feed........
Mick was sailing along and reckoned he'd lost count of how many he'd caught, talk about rubbing it in, while tucked away on Peg 3 Tony reckoned he was struggling but that grin on his face said otherwise..........
Dave to my left had swopped over to maggot on the hook and had taken a run of skimmers, not quite what he was after but better than watching a stationary float, while Keith had moved out onto a longer line and was still putting a few together........
and it seemed that John over on peg 19 was finally found a few fish..........
but the man to watch was Gino on end peg 21 who appeared to be building momentum as the match progressed........
Well the stroll was soon curtailed as the rain set in for the rest of the day. To be honest it was the last thing most needed at that stage and I think it drained the motivation from a few.
I continued to put a few together in one's and two's but still couldn't get a run going and that was it for the rest of the match apart from poor Chris on peg 4 having a top 3 ripped from his hand by a hungry carp. Fortunately I was on hand with my feeder rod and managed to retrieve it on just my second cast, though the fish had come off.
Anyway the All-out was called followed by a clap of thunder as the rain intensified. The weigh in was a little quicker than usual at Alders due to the lower weights than expected and yielded the following results.
Looking back on it now I think I approached it in too positive a fashion given the amount of cold water and pressure the venue had over the previous few days and that maybe I should have kindered micro's and fished expanders, all ifs and buts I know, but every day is a learning day.
Anyway Thank You to the club for allowing me to join them on the day, Apologies to Dave C (Mr Chairman) for beating him off the next peg. A big Thank You to Keith for putting me up overnight and to all the staff at Alders Farm who make every visit to their superb fishery a pleasure.