MATCH BLOG (Tues): what really affects the fish – and pulling off a masterstroke!
WELCOME TO the Tuesday blog. Tuesdays mean Steve Collett, focussing mainly on match fishing but also delving into his styles of pleasure fishing and specialist angling.
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UNDER PRESSURE TRYING TO SUSS WHAT WILL HAPPEN
WHAT a difference a day makes eh? This weekend I walked the banks of the River Soar in Leicestershire in preparation for a forthcoming Winter League campaign with my new team Matrix Dynamite Trentmen.
Whilst delighted to fish for the mighty Trent men it comes with added pressures as they have already a very knowledgeable, experienced team. So I wanted to learn my new local river, and I have been slowly getting around the sections, studying who catches what, when, and how, sometimes a few weeks on the bank watching, is better than a whole year fishing.
On Saturday the river had a bit of pace on but was very clear, so it looked like it would be a good match with roach and skimmers making up most of the weights, and hemp tactics could be the order of the day.
That night, the rigs were done, the hemp done, everything ready, or so we thought, as come the morning of the match sections had to be taken out of the river, as it had started to come up overnight in a flash, and was now a raging muddy torrent.
What a nightmare for the Angling Trust organiser Brian, who had to walk the sections at 6.30am and cram more pegs in one section, and take some out of others… a logistical nightmare.
If you would have seen the river on Saturday you would not believe it had become so coloured in a few hours especially since we had no rain? So with new sections in, the “greens” section near Barrow would be my home for the day.
As I am still learning the river the captain Rob Perkins rightly decided that I should have a walkabout for the first few rounds and do a bit of bankrunning. It’s something I actually enjoy. It meant I could keep an eye on Samantha Perkins who has fished the river from a very young age, Joff Woodget from Leicester Sensas, and watch “Higgy” the hemp master for Trentmen, and in the process learn from the guys who had served their apprenticeships on the Soar.
Looking at the Soar you could see things might be interesting, and looking at the weather it could be famine or feast. I am not saying I know the Soar at all, but I have kept enough match weights with the temperature and air pressure notes to know that a sharp 1019mb could see the first round of the winter league a tough task for many.
No one knows for sure the effects that air pressures have on fishing but I had a look at some notes I have from as far back as 1989 to see that it does something. I decided to look into it in detail, and it makes for very interesting reading.
A lot of different types of fish are affected by the levels of oxygen available to them. Many fish, including carp, seem to become very reluctant to feed during slight alterations in oxygen, and so do bream. The oxygen levels drop when the air pressure rises, or sudden changes in pressure. And judging by some of my notes, this combined with a rising river it spells disaster.
I have no idea where the fish go in these situations, but I know that in my own lake, high pressure causes the fish including roach and bream to swim in the upper levels, areas we rarely fish in the winter. Could this be where they are, or do they just switch off ? Whatever they do it’s very frustrating, and maybe I don’t want to know, but it makes you think.
I have jotted down a few results I have kept including a “guesstimate” based on the air pressure see what you think.
23 pegs, 1019mb sharp rise, air temp 15.5c, water 14c, bright – guess 33lb… actual 49lb 8oz
27 pegs, 990mb steady, air temp 17c, water 14c, overcast – guess 70-80lb… actual 103lb 1oz
27 pegs, 990mb change, air temp 15c, water 13.5, rain – guess 50lb…. actual 96lb 12oz
20 pegs, 1003mb change, air temp 16c, water 14c. sun – guess 100lb…. actual 29lb 4oz
25 pegs, 1012mb change, air temp 12c, water 11c, clear – guess 30-50lb… actual 22lb 9oz
As you can see the high pressure seemed to affect the results all of these taken Sept-Oct and with anglers that fished the venue regularly?
Back to the match in progress…
Anyway I digress, but the above does have a little bearing, Samantha drew peg 15 on the greens right outside the pub in Barrow right next to a bridge. And with 16 being the end peg with loads of room, I feared the worst, unless a few bream had settled in the bay opposite where the canoes are launched.
Joff had drawn a fancied peg, and the river above Samantha looked pretty good for a few bream. So it was a tough ask but she seemed more optimistic than I did, and even Joff had a wry smile on his face on 14 on the junction.
An hour into the match and you could already tell this was going to be very hard. Peg 16 who had a steady glide had soon put 20 or so roach in the net, and “Higgy” on a unfancied peg had already switched tactics and began to target bleak at 8 metres. Sam didn’t seem to concerned and started at 11m over 5 or 6 balls of groundbait on a horrible looking “washing machine” boily peg.
The second hour of the match saw nothing change other than Higgy had put nearly 200 bleak in the net, and peg 16 had another 20 or so dumpy roach. Joff’s tip hadn’t gone round like he had hoped and I unfortunately wasn’t learning a lot, the fish were not playing ball.
Masterstroke as Sam switches tactics
SOMETHING I see a lot doing features with big name anglers is the ability to “do” something to a swim, they seem to instinctively know what is going on.
Myself and Angler’s Mail photographers have mused over this many times, we don’t know what it is, but some anglers seem to have it.
And watching Samantha switch tactics with two hours gone was one of those moments. The feeder was ditched, the lobworm and flatfloat was ditched, and she decided to target the small roach and bleak with a steady feeding pattern on an inside line at 4 metres and 11.5, and three hours later 149 roach had given her 4 kilos 700g and a very very well deserved section win.
Further upstream Higgy had also put in a sterling performance catching over 350 bleak at 8 metres for 4 kilos 200g and another section win for Matrix Dynamite Trentmen.
Things were looking good, and during the match I popped back to the car to have a look at the weather on my iPad, and thought that 4kilo would be a great weight for the day, and it was. Four section wins later and Trentmen had secured a superb first round win.
Poor Joff who knows the river very well, had one of those days, nothing could be done, they just were not there, and coupled with unusual boat activity (first time boat users grounding) he needed a bonus fish. They didn’t arrive. Was it the weather and the sudden rise? It just goes to show you, you never can tell.
This week sees the Tackle and Guns show arrive at Stoneleigh, and the who’s who of the trade will be revealing their new goodies to the country’s retailers.
I shall hopefully be teaming up with the Angler’s Mail guys to give you the first looks and honest appraisals of the gear you will want to get your hands on, along with a few exclusive scoops.
Don’t forget that the Angler’s Mail brings you exclusive match results first on all the matches that matter and that usually includes Kamasan qualifiers, so keep logging in on Monday at www.anglersmail.co.uk and get first-hand results from the number one league for big matches.
A tough one this week as I witnessed a superb section win from Samantha Perkins of Matrix Dynamite Trentmen, as well as the rest of the team… but I can hear the groans already!
So I have gone for a previous winner, a guy who has had some superb results on the canal circuit this year, and has concentrated on winter league stillwater venues, the past few weeks and is doing the same, Mr Dave Brown of Maver Midlands.
He made the trip to Cudmore and drew an unfancied peg 35 on the Suez canal to record a solid 99 lb 4 oz to put some more pennies in his pocket.
A really adaptable angler who can cut it on any type of water, well done Dave – take a bow.
STEVE COLLETT’S NEXT BLOG WILL BE HERE NEXT TUESDAY, OCTOBER 16.
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