Rockells Farm -SWAC Winter League Round 7

Stewie74

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Penultimate round of my maiden Winter League campaign, and a return to Rockells Farm. 15 anglers, I was drawn peg 5, with a light breeze blowing into me. Apologies, no pics, I was rushing and left the phone in the car. the venue is well stocked with carp, mostly small stockies of 8oz- 1lb, with a smaller number of 1-3lbers and a few up to 10lb.

Set up a margin rig in 2 foot of water, a 5ft deck rig at 8m which could be fished left right or straight ahead, and 2 shallow rigs at 18 inches and 24 inches. Also set up a method/banjo line at 20 metres.

Bat tray was, by design, very simple. I’ve been guilty of over complicating things recently, so knowing the venue was good for pellets I restricted it to micros for the method, 4mm 6mm and 8mm for the pole lines and some green betaine Swimstim Groundbait for the margins.

Started on the method after feeding 4mms at 8m, had a couple of 5 minute chucks without a sign of a bite, by which time both sides and both anglers opposite had caught on the pole. I made the decision to switch to the deck rig straight away, and quickly had a couple of small carp in the net.

I kept feeding a few 4mm on each put in, and the bites kept coming, although I was losing a few more than normal. I was connecting properly, but losing them either whilst shipping back, or whilst playing them to the net.

I changed my hooklength (I was using a 10-12 Slik elastic, 0.15 reflo power mainline and 0.13 hooklength to a banded size 16 LWG) I think this is a fairly well balanced rig, really not sure what the issue was, but it kept happening sporadically throughout the match.

The deck rig produced lots of bites, and despite the many lost fish, I had 25lb in the net at the half way point. Other than 2 anglers (both very competent open match regulars) I was pretty sure I was at least competing with those that I could see.

I started to feed the margin with Groundbait and micros, planning to prime it for the last hour, and kept banging away at the deck lines. They slowed in the 4th hour, so I picked up a shallow rig and had a couple of quick fish before another lull in proceedings.

As we entered the last hour, I dropped onto the margin line, with a 6mm on the band. Loose feeding 6mms over the top, I had 10 minutes of little dinks and tiny indications before the float slid under and I connected with……… an 8oz mirror. Not exactly the margin monster I was hoping for, but a bite was very welcome.

I switched the hookbait to an 8mm pellet, and toss potted a few of the same into the swim. Again, lots of indications and a few line bites, before another unmissable bite, and a fish on the hook that was clearly one of the larger denizens of the lake.

Just how large is still a mystery, as after 5 mins of it running me all over the peg, with 14-16 Slik streaming out everywhere, I again proceeded to fail in my efforts to land it, the hook pulled before it made an appearance anywhere near the surface.

2 more carp of 2-3lb each did manage to do me the courtesy of not ejecting the hook mid-fight, and the all-out was called at 4pm.

I had 43lb on the clicker, with at least 20 fish of varying sizes lost (4 or 5 were definitely foul hooked, the rest appeared to be fine, until they weren’t.

I felt ok about my days work, but had a nagging feeling that the lost fish would come back to haunt me for the second Sunday in a row ( missed a default section win by 4lb with 5 lost fish)

The weigh in came around, my nets weighed 46lb 3oz (closest estimate to date), and I was leading at that point. By the time the scales got to the last two anglers I was in 3rd place, miles behind the leading weights of 123lb and 108lb.

Penultimate angler weighed 32lb 4oz, and my first ever frame was almost within reach. Last anglers first net weighed 24lb, the suspense was killing me. His second (and last) net came out, and it looked pretty close.

After what seemed like an eternity the weight of 28lb 4oz was announced, and I was duly demoted to 4th place by 6lb or thereabouts.

Gutted doesn’t even come close, the amount of fish I’d hooked and lost, etc etc etc. However, If my auntie had b*****ks she’d be my uncle, so it’s got to be onwards and upwards to the next one.

I know it’s coming, today was my 2nd 4th place finish in the 7 winter league matches to date, and I’m learning every match I fish.
Thanks for reading👍

Stewie
 

Peter

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WEll done Stewie, it's good to hear that Rockells is starting to return as a worthwhile venue after declining for a few years, however it's obviously still someway short of what it was in it's heyday in the early 2000's when 100lb wouldn't guarantee a top 10 place and you would normally need 300lbs+ for a top 3 finish.
 

Stewie74

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WEll done Stewie, it's good to hear that Rockells is starting to return as a worthwhile venue after declining for a few years, however it's obviously still someway short of what it was in it's heyday in the early 2000's when 100lb wouldn't guarantee a top 10 place and you would normally need 300lbs+ for a top 3 finish.
I’m led to believe that a lot of the bigger fish were removed and it’s been heavily stocked with baby carp.
I’m not mad keen on it to be honest, it’s not particularly well looked after, there’s lot of rubbish in the lake, and the fish don’t look particularly healthy in a lot of cases.
 

Peter

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I last fished there in July 2012 which as it transpired was just after the fish were removed. Despite our club having a regular booking there, the owner didn't inform the club that the fish had been removed and when approached after our match lied to our faces, telling us than no fish had been removed despite obvious evidence to the contrary. He flatly refused a refund and as far as I'm aware no member of the club has returned since.
 

Stewie74

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Sounds about right. Our last match there we had the whole lake booked, then on the day it turned out that 4 pegs had been reserved for day tickets. Then 10 minutes before the all in he announced that he needed one of the pegs that we were using for another day ticket that he had ‘forgotten about.’

We’re not going back next year…
 

smiffy

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Nice one👍Rockells farm is a name from the past. One of the very earliest multi ton venues I heard about. Went to fish it one morning, got there early and couldn’t get on. It was packed. Got back in the motor and went to Fennes fishery in Braintree which had just opened which would make it 93 or 94 ish. Never did go back.
 
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