2nd placed, Tunnel Farm Barn, Friday Flyer open
Having to use up the last few days holiday from work before the end of the year meant I took a trip up to Tunnel Barn Farm for their Friday Flyer open this week held on the House pool.
Winter had really set in, being the last week in November so I planned a maggot approach with soft expander pellets as back up over a few micro's. I drew well (for a change) House 6 which has reachable islands to the left and right at about 14 metres and luckily I'd pleasure fished this peg several weeks ago and had a good day catching all the time. Today was a lot colder but I still expected a few bites.
I planned to fish two long pole lines towards each island but 13 metres in the deeper water at 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock and two short lines for later in the match. I started at 2 o'clock with a 4mm Sonubaits Pro Expander over cad potted fishery mirco's first. I had 4 foot of water here and set up a 0.3g Nick Gilbert XT Wire Jordan pole float on 0.15mm Guru N-Gauge mainline with a bulk of no.9 stotz with a size 20 Guru F1 pellet 0.11mm Ready rig as hook length. This produced nil bites in the first half of the match so I very soon made the change to maggots!
As I now expected a tough match and I hadn't seen anybody catch anything, it was all maggots for me now. My maggot rig was an 0.3g Nick Gilbert XT Finesse Carbon HD pole float. This has a 1.2m tip for sensitively with a tapered shotting pattern of no.10 and no.11 shot above a size 20, 0.11mm F1 Pellet Guru Ready Rig. Why tie your own? Set up on a Short stop kit with 4-8 F1 Orange Hydro
I switched to the 10 o'clock line and cad potted in just 6 red maggots. I waited around 10 minutes for my first bite which was only a small Roach. So I cad potted in another 6 red maggots and waited again for a response. 10 minutes later, another tiny Roach but this was then followed by the small F1 which I pulled out of at the net! This was really annoying as it was looking like it was going to be a low winning weight match. But loosing this F1 gave me the confidence to cad pot in another 6 red maggots, hoping for another F1. I began catching small Perch but then I finally caught an F1. So in went some more red maggots via the cad pot but I couldn't catch any more F1's just tiny Roach and Perch. So at least the feed maggots where getting eaten by something. I needed to do something different now nothing was really happening for me but at least it wasn't just me, everybody else was struggling.
So I picked up the catapult and began to feed very small pouches of maggots over a wider area every 5 minutes and began rotating between my long and short lines so my pole wasn't over their heads in one area for too long. After 30 minutes I had a purple patch short to my left and began catching some small F1's before this died on me after 40 minutes.
Going into the last hour now and looking around at the other anglers, not a lot was being caught I felt I was on for framing with what I had already caught. This last hour really just saw me picking off the odd fish on my long and short maggot lines. I did try soft 4mm expanders again over a cad pot of micro but had no results. It was definitely a maggot day.
There are some very good anglers that fish this venue regularly and going into this last hour one of these anglers made a change from what he was doing and began to dob bread and he came from nowhere in the match to catching a few F1's during this last hour to win the match with 27lb. I was happy though as my 18lb was enough to frame coming in 2nd place.