Kayleigh Smith achieved one of the best results by a lady angler with her runner-up spot in the 2015 Sensas Challenge on the River Soar, just before the end of the running water season. Here’s how the Leeds-based 24-year-old England international did it. Plus there's Bag 'em Matchbaits-sponsored Kayleigh's top tips for springtime fishing.
THE Sensas Challenge is a team match, fished over two days to international rules, and attracting teams from all over the country including the French international side.
During practice on the River Soar, this year’s venue, it was apparent it was going to be difficult and if everyone in the team could catch a fish we would be doing well!
My Matrix Dynamite Baits Trentmen team worked out that in certain sections there were some big perch to be caught, and we reckoned if we could catch one of these it would be mega team points.
One perch leads to another for section win
I drew B section (Sutton) and peg 31. This is one of the sections that we thought that those vital odd perch would get caught.
I fished a roach mix at 13m with bloodworm where I was just trying to catch a fish, and a perch line short where I fed worms in soil. About 40 minutes into the match John to my right caught a kilo perch at 13. But I knew I had to leave my perch line for at least an hour before having a go.
After fishing for a any kind of fish on bloodworm long for an hour and half without even an indication, I decided to have a go for a perch. After about ten minutes on the perch line float disappeared and I was into my first perch. It was roughly a kilo, maybe a bit smaller than John’s.
That was it; I decided it was pointless fishing long in hope of hooking a little roach as I have a fish in the net, which was more than what most of the section could say. I re-fed with worms in soil and sat back over it and waited.
The guy to my left hooked a perch but unfortunately lost it right at the net, then a guy a few pegs to my right landed one, they were all roughly the same size.
With 45 minutes left of the match my float went again and I landed my second perch which was definitely bigger than my first.
Time was called and as far as I was aware only a few roach had been caught at the bottom of the section. I was the first to weigh in my section as I was the first to have caught a fish, and I weighed 2.350kg. That proved just enough for the section win as Hadrian Whittle had 2.300kg of roach and skimmers from the last peg in my section.
Another prickly pair brings a perfect score
I drew the same section but seven pegs downstream (B 38) toward an area where a few tiny roach had been caught the day before. I was confident for a few bites and maybe another big perch.
I set up the exact same as day 1, I was fortunate enough to catch a gudgeon second run down on the running rig at 13m which I knew would get me some team points as there were going to be some blanks in the section.
I fished this line for the first hour catching six tiny fish, as soon as an hour had passed I dropped on my perch line, the float was not even in five minutes before it disappeared and my first perch was in the net.
I dropped a ball of soil and worms in and went back out and caught four more small fish. After about half an hour I had another drop on the perch line and only had to wait ten-15 minutes before the float went again; I was into the biggest perch of the two days which was quickly landed.
With two perch safely in the net I thought I might as well drop a ball in and leave it half hour and try it again – but no more turned up.
The last two people in my section (Calum Dicks and Darran Bickerton) had been catching small roach most of the day and were admitting to just short of two kilos. I was pretty sure my perch were at least a kilo each but thought it might be quite close.
In the end my two perch weighed 2.630kg, Darren had 1.500kg and Calum had 1.700kg giving me another section win and a perfect 2 points over the two days.
The only other person to have a perfect two point score was Matt Godfrey. He ended up beating me on weight by 500gr, so I finished second individually.
My team (Trentmen B) also did very well ending up fourth overall qualifying for final in France in October!
All in all, an excellent two days which proves just how important practicing is in team events like this.
Kayleigh’s top 3 spring tips
- Now the weather is starting to warm up the fish will be looking to feed, it is always worth feeding a positive line just in case.
- Natural baits such as worms accompanied by casters are very good this time of year.
- It is worth setting a line up in the margin as this is where the water will warm up the fastest.
MATCH FISHING RESULTS GALORE and much more are now exclusively in Angler’s Mail magazine.
The new-look magazine is out every Tuesday. This week’s issue (March 17-23) includes:
- Action Replay feature with Matchman of the Year legend Dave Vincent.
- Insight from our latest Matchman of the Month selected by Tom Pickering.
- Lee Kerry’s must-read new column.
- Results from every region, collected by our unbeatable regional team.
- Major England news.
- Jon Arthur’s latest crazy catch!