Rookery Waters - Winter League Round 2

Stewie74

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Yesterday saw my second foray into match fishing with Round 2 of the SAWC Winter League. This was originally scheduled to be fished on the river Cam, but the venue was changed a week ago. We would be fishing Rook Lake at Rookery Waters, which is not normally used for matches, and it would be a silvers only match, carp to be released and not counted.

I was, in equal measure, really nervous and really excited for this match. Really excited because I’ve caught the bug, nervous because I still don’t really know what I’m doing, because I’ve never fished there before, and mainly because in my first match I didn’t have vs a bite, let alone a fish. So I had set myself two objectives for the day, 1) to catch a fish, and 2) to not finish last.

I’d made contact with the venue manager in the week, he’d given me some venue advice and tips on bait and tactics, and I’d got some advice from forum members who have fished the venue before.

early start, up at 545, in the car at 630 to arrive at 730 ( cheeky McDonalds breakfast in the car en route)

Purchased of a couple of feeders, a Groundbait bucket, some maggots and casters, and ready for the draw at 0800.

We could park directly behind the pegs, which was an absolute bonus. Not sure exactly how but each time I go fishing I seem to have more stuff, and I think behind the peg parking is definitely the way forward.

there were 14 of us fishing today, a couple of last minute dropouts due to the Tier 4 restrictions put in place on Saturday night. The lake has 32 pegs, so we were on alternate pegs most of the way round the lake.

Peg 4 was to be my home for the day, drawn by the organiser. I drove my way round and parked up, it was in the corner of the lake with overhanging trees, but plenty of space. A sunken peg with astroturf, and steps leading down to it.

Mixed up 1.5kg of Groundbait, Swimstim SilverFish dark mixed with Sonu Betaine Green. I had mixed maggots, dead reds, casters and some micros to mix in with the Groundbait and to put on the hook.

Got my box and side tray sorted, set up the pole and pole roller. This proved a bit more testing than normal due to the banking behind, something I’d never faced before. After about 10 minutes of fiddling around with the height I came up with a solution that meant I could ship the full length back and (just) clear the top of the bank, breaking down the pole at 5 sections. I’d planned to fish at 6m and 12m, so this worked quite well in the end.

Plumbing up at my two chosen distances fortunately identified clear(ish) spots at both, with identical depths both straight and to my right at 6m, howver the depths at 12m were different wherever I plumbed. The wind was forecasted to get up to 15-20 mph during the day, so I settled for 1 swim on the long line, and 2 on the short line.

Learning from my last windy session, I had gone with heavier floats, 0.6g, and aimed to feed over depth by an inch or two to counter the tow

The planned feeder option was kiboshed by over hanging trees, I could have underarmed but I’m not very proficient at this yet, in terms of both distance and accuracy, so I didn’t even set this up, deciding to stick with the pole instead.

Whilst setting up I got a visit from Maggot Drowner Gozzer2, who I’d contacted for some tips, and who was fishing an Open match on one of the other lakes on the complex. Gozzer, if you read this, thanks for stopping by, hope your match went well, and thanks for not laughing at me at least until you’d walked away😂😂😂

So bait tray was sorted, Groundbait balled up ready to go, and with 25 minutes to go I was pretty much ready.

The all- in was called, and I fed a ball of Groundbait on one of the short lines, and two balls on the other, with some caster and maggot.

Started on the straight line, single red on the hook. Having spent a good while plumbing up I was quite surprised to see the float tip disappear as I laid the rig in (and not in a good way). Hmm, maybe the float has too much shot? Quite possible as it was one of my home made rigs, a .6g AS something or other.

I removed a shot, shipped it back out to see the same thing happen. It was just under the surface still. It wasn’t until I’d removed another shot that it dawned on me that the two back shots I’d placed above the float were sinking it, so when I’d re-attached my shot and wasted 10 minutes, we were ready to finally start fishing.
Immediately I noticed that my float was a lot more stable in the increasing wind, so thanks to everyone who pointed me in the right direction last week 👍

I didn’t have to wait to long, after a couple of minutes or so I lifted into a bite, and my first ever fish in a match environment was netted, unhooked and became the debut inhabitant of my keepnet. A roach of some 8oz or so. I’ve never been so pleased to catch such a small fish. Objective 1, check.....✅

The action continued throughout the first couple of hours, roach and skimmers came in spurts, 2 or three in quick succession followed by a lull. I rotated the two short swims, both produced fish but the one to the right was a bit slower.

I balled in some more Groundbait after 2 hours, and continued to feed maggot and tiny balls of Groundbait every couple of fish on both lines.

The next hour was a bit hit and miss, I bumped quite a few fish, and caught a few more. The anglers I could see were also not catching so regularly. Fred in the next peg hadn’t caught yet. I had no idea how much I’d caught.

with 2 hours to go I decided to feed the long line, so in went a couple of large balls of Groundbait with caster and maggot.

Over the top of this with double maggot (red/white), and literally within seconds I was into a fish, turned out to be a decent skimmer of about 12oz, closely followed by a run of 2 roach and 2 Rudd.

it was getting windier, but I’d gone 6 inches over depth, and the float seemed to be sitting nicely and moving about too much.

With an hour to go I came back into the short lines, feeding again long, with a view to going back long for the last 30 minutes if the short lines were quiet.

15 minutes and 1 small skimmer later I tweaked the plan and went long for the last 45 minutes, feeding small balls of Groundbait and a few maggots every time I shipped out.

The roach kept coming, but only little ones. With 15 minutes to go I remembered reading somewhere that it’s sometimes worth fishing a bit beyond your feed, to catch fish that are sitting back a bit, so I tried that, and was soon netting my fish of the day, a skimmer of about a pound (I think). Another couple of smaller skimmers followed, and all too soon the all out was called.

I just sat there for a few minutes, enjoyed a coffee and a bite to eat that I’d completely forgotten about for the last 5 hours, then started to pack away.

I was second last to weigh in, so I was pretty much done by the time the scales arrived. Leading weight was 18lb odd, with a 16lb and a couple of 11lb weights already recorded.

I knew I didn’t have anywhere near these weights, so dreams of my first match win soon disappeared. To be honest, I had very little idea what weight I had, I had lots of small roach, Rudd, a few small skimmers and a couple of larger ones. I predicted 5lb, although this was a complete guess.

Emptied my keep net into the weigh scale, and waited for the verdict.

The results of my efforts for the day was 7lb 14oz. I was pretty happy with this to be honest, I’d had a cracking days sport and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I think that if I’d landed all the fish that has been bumped I might have got close to 10lb. I also learned that due to social distancing requirements the full result would be posted online later.

So i sat at home last night, watching the NFL, with a bottle of red, and when the result was posted it turned out I finished in 8th place. Objective 2.....check. ✅

Well chuffed, to put it mildly. I also found out that after two rounds I’m sitting in 7th place in the Winter League.

So no more matches planned until 17th January at Rockells Farm, assuming match fishing is permitted in January. I’ll be having a couple of practice sessions at the venue over the Christmas break, I think Santa might be bringing me a pair of Skee-Tex boots so I’ll be out regardless of the weather.

Rockells is very well stocked with small carp to about 6lb, so it’ll be a fun day regardless, and by then I’ll have spent all my Christmas fishing vouchers on more stuff to lug about, shame it’s a walk from the car park!!!

As ever, thanks for reading 👍

Stewie
 

Jimpanzee

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Excellent read Stewie, really enjoyed your report and an excellent result too. Well done pal!! I look forward to the report following your match on the 17th Jan.
 

gingert76

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Great report and well done! and this "Not sure exactly how but each time I go fishing I seem to have more stuff" is exactly what happens once you start match fishing lol
 

Maesknoll

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Well done, but I think that’s the first time I’ve ever heard an 8oz roach described as a small fish in a silvers match 😀

Next step is to review your match, look at what you feel you could have done better - you say you bumped several fish? That could be several things, elastic too heavy, maggots going over hook point, hook blunt, even the hook type (I have found I bump fish on Guru F1 maggot hooks, but not with the F1 pellets hooks). Striking too late, striking too soon, not striking hard enough - in the winter these fish aren’t bolting off like carp do in the summer, they may hardly be moving and a firmer strike may be required than with carp - firmer in relation to the line, hook and elastic size, that is.
 

Silverfisher

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Well done mate, if you got enough bites to get 10lb if not for the bumped fish I'd say that's a pretty good effort 👍🏻
 

Stewie74

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Well done, but I think that’s the first time I’ve ever heard an 8oz roach described as a small fish in a silvers match 😀

Next step is to review your match, look at what you feel you could have done better - you say you bumped several fish? That could be several things, elastic too heavy, maggots going over hook point, hook blunt, even the hook type (I have found I bump fish on Guru F1 maggot hooks, but not with the F1 pellets hooks). Striking too late, striking too soon, not striking hard enough - in the winter these fish aren’t bolting off like carp do in the summer, they may hardly be moving and a firmer strike may be required than with carp - firmer in relation to the line, hook and elastic size, that is.
Thanks, that’s good advice.

I think my elastics were probably a bit heavy, I’ve only got one match kit with 10-12 Slik, then I’ve got 3 power kits. Two have 14-16 Slik, and I’ve read-elasticated the other one with 8-10 Slik.

Ive just ordered 2 more match kits, which I was going to set up with 8-10 Slik but I might rethink that’s and use 6-8 instead.

with regards to hooks, I use pre-tied hooks to nylon, Drennan Carp Maggot size 18 or 20. Ive just ordered a hook tyer as well, to have a play around with tying my own.

I think the strength of strike might have been an issue, I was lifting and moving the pole sideways, rather than a firm upward strike as such. When I changed this towards the end of the match I bumped less fish, and none in the last hour.

Lots to think about.
 

The Landlord

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Very well done, Stew, that's a great result in only your second match. Keep the reports coming mate. Been looking forward to this all day.

Out of interest, regarding the high bank/pole roller thing. My mate has been using a tiny roller....only about 2 foot wide but drops down to a height of about 12 inches. Great for fishing the short pole or to position on a high bank behind.
 

Maesknoll

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Thanks, that’s good advice.

I think my elastics were probably a bit heavy, I’ve only got one match kit with 10-12 Slik, then I’ve got 3 power kits. Two have 14-16 Slik, and I’ve read-elasticated the other one with 8-10 Slik.

Ive just ordered 2 more match kits, which I was going to set up with 8-10 Slik but I might rethink that’s and use 6-8 instead.

with regards to hooks, I use pre-tied hooks to nylon, Drennan Carp Maggot size 18 or 20. Ive just ordered a hook tyer as well, to have a play around with tying my own.

I think the strength of strike might have been an issue, I was lifting and moving the pole sideways, rather than a firm upward strike as such. When I changed this towards the end of the match I bumped less fish, and none in the last hour.

Lots to think about.
Personally I’d go lighter than a 6-8 for silvers at this time of year, a No5 slip or my preference for skimmers is Middy Hi Viz 1-5 hollow, I have been trying the Preston Duralsip in a 5 as well, that’s OK for skimmers.
 

Stewie74

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Very well done, Stew, that's a great result in only your second match. Keep the reports coming mate. Been looking forward to this all day.

Out of interest, regarding the high bank/pole roller thing. My mate has been using a tiny roller....only about 2 foot wide but drops down to a height of about 12 inches. Great for fishing the short pole or to position on a high bank behind.
Thanks mate, it was a lot of fun.

The roller is a MAP dual, it’s got a spare set of short legs that are about 6 inches long, so I guess that could have worked by placing them at the top of the bank.

I was trying to get everything ready and just couldn’t work it out, I’ll know for next time👍
 

SeanB

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Nice report mate, sounds like you had a good time and worked hard through the match. Well done 👍
 

Silverfisher

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with regards to hooks, I use pre-tied hooks to nylon, Drennan Carp Maggot size 18 or 20. Ive just ordered a hook tyer as well, to have a play around with tying my own.
If you like pre-tied drennans try the 18 to 2.5lb silverfish pellet or 18 to 2lb silverfish maggot for your silvers matches. They are my go to silvers hooks to nylon and I very rarely bump fish on them unless I've done something wrong to hamper the strike in the first place. The 2.5lb pellet one is surprisingly big fish proof as well.

That said if it was as windy there as it was here yesterday that alone can make hitting and seeing bites properly pretty hard work.
 

JLK

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Well done mate. Good result. 👍

When fishing for skimmers you should always put those long lines in from the start and leave it for an hour.

Preston solid Slip 5 (light blue) for me for skimmers using a pulla. Will land anything within reason in winter.

ATB on the next one👍
 

The Landlord

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I'd say 5 or 6 elastic too if it's mainly silvers. How long was your lash Stew? (pole tip to float)
 

Stewie74

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I'd say 5 or 6 elastic too if it's mainly silvers. How long was your lash Stew? (pole tip to float)
Yep, having a rethink, although most of the matches are on carpy venues. Might fit one of the new match kits I’ve ordered with a 4-6 Slik instead of 8-10

lash was about the width of my footplate, so maybe 2 foot, I had 2 no.8 back shorts about 6-8 inches above the float. Certainly helped with float stability in the wind/tow, not sure if a shorter lash above the backshot would have improved the strike and reduced the bumps?

so much to think about!!!!!
 

G0zzer2

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Well done. Stewie. You'd gone by the time I got back to HQ, but I had a word with the young man who had won, and Fred, who had the tench. You did much better than I did!
 

Stewie74

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Well done. Stewie. You'd gone by the time I got back to HQ, but I had a word with the young man who had won, and Fred, who had the tench. You did much better than I did!
Cheers Mac, I had a god day.

Need to get more efficient in a few things, and need to be able read situations and make changes when things slow up.

Fred weighed in 4lb 4oz, of which the tench was 4lb 1oz!!
 
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