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My Latest Match
by Mick Lansdown

My last match was on the 10th March at Ivy House Lakes.
There are not many matches around now because of the foot and mouth. It is about 4 miles from Wotton Bassett near Swindon. If you look in the forum you will see that I fish it quite a bit. I should do well on it but that is not always the case! There are some very good anglers that get down here - Des Shipp, Lee Nutland, Gary Ethridge all good at their thing! You should hear the moans when they turn up - and I am one of them! They are in a class of their own.
Being that I work nights I find it quite difficult to adjust myself at the weekends to being up during the day so therefore I am normally shattered on a Saturday morning which makes it hard for me to try and think what I need to do before I go.
I had decided to cook my hemp in the early hours of the morning which aggravates my wife no end as she hates the smell and of course, at night all the windows are closed so it makes it worse! As I couldnít sleep, I decided to take the dogs out for a walk. It was still dark and the street was quiet, the weather was not that bright - there was a cold wind and it was raining really good fishing weather. NOT!

Thirty-five anglers had put their names down to fish this particular match, and we thought it would be quite a good turnout. You can never tell until you get there - some choose not to fish the match after all maybe because of the weather others turn up without booking in - it is swings and roundabouts. I had already booked in on the Wednesday because I had a feeling that it would be well fished because the majority of the waters in the area were closed. The lakes have been told that they can stay open for the time being, they have put straw down with disinfectant on it at the main gate so hopefully it will help the surrounding area.
It had stopped raining as I put my tackle in the car so at least now there was only one element to cope with - the wind!
It was 9.30 and the majority of the anglers had turned up. We were just waiting to do the draw all hoping of course to have a decent peg and maybe even the bonus peg! Some of us were getting just a little bit concerned as to the pegs that had been selected. The lake has got 50 pegs, 24 on the outside and 26 on the Causeway and Island. None of them fish particularly well this time of year if you happen to have somebody opposite you. Itís ok in the summer when everybody is using their poles but at the moment all anglers are using what they are happiest with, the feeder waggler, or straight lead. If you get somebody opposite that is going to fish the same method as you, say the feeder, you both meet in the middle and take each other out! There is a rule at the lakes that you fish no more than half-way but as in all sports there is always a few that think they can get away with it. Donít ask me why thatís just the way they are always after the extra metre or so.
All the pegs were in the bag and everyone stood in a nice orderly queue (I donít think!) to try and get the peg we know could maybe win I was about half way hoping the bonus peg would go. It was peg 33 - I did not want that pressure again! I put my hand in the bag and picked out peg 31. Phew! That was close. It is not a bad peg, and is on the Island opposite peg 3 on the outside - no one had drawn Peg 3 yet - thatís good. Baz was next to me on 32 (heís a West Ham nut) and not a bad angler he told me that he had won the last time he had drawn it.
Up until a few weeks ago, peg 32 framed more than 8 times on the trot that was definitely one of the pegs to get. A few others are 12, 13, 23, 24, 37, 38, 45 and 47 but in the summer it could be won from anywhere.
The Waggler Kid Gary Ethridge was fancied to do well and he had the wind in his back> I was not so lucky it was straight in my face. Alan Smith was on the bonus peg - if it fished hard he could do it. I had it a few weeks ago and was 3rd. Ellick Pain had just got to his peg and which one? Three of course, and he likes fishing the feeder! Not to worry though, the wind was so bad all I could really do was fish the feeder as with a lot of lakes a bit of wind gets it towing like mad and today was no exception!
My feeder rod is a 13í Superteam Quatio, a few years old but still does the biz! My tried and trusted Daiwa reel loaded with 4lb Maxima line, a small Drennan maggot feeder of a quarter oz (the old type not the new carp ones) which I adapt.
I first remove the nylon centre line, leaving just the feeder case. I then thread my main line through the centre of the feeder, attaching a small bead. Then I tie a small swivel onto the main line. I then tie the bottom line to the swivel. I normally have this bottom about six inches long tied to a Kamasan B611 hook, although the size of hook is up to you. I started off on a 20 as I was going to use maggots on the hook.
I did set my waggler up, but I knew I would not be able to use it as the wind was too bad but if it died down later I would be prepared.
The whistle went, so I loaded my feeder with small pellets 3mm ones which just come out of the feeder. Two red maggots on the hook and then I cast to where I would fish later if I used the waggler. I kept the feeder well away from anybody else I would rather fish short than have somebody else in my swim. As long as peg 3 does the same we would both be happy!

Second cast and I was into a small carp of maybe one and a half pounds. A good start. Two more maggots and out again. Peg 33 and 34 both had carp on and both were 3 or 4 pound fish. No signs for Baz yet, although peg 4 was getting a few roach. In these matches roach will not frame unless the carp donít feed and they were! Just coming up to the first hour and I had another carp - but small again. Baz is getting worried. No bites. The bloke to my left on peg 30 has not had any either. Peg 34 lost a good fish, although I donít know what is happening on pegs 45 or 47 as I cannot see them. It seems to be a waiting game for the carp today, I cast out and wait a while for the tip to go round. Baz was in, eventually. Well done, you West Ham *****!
Later I thought I would try a banded pellet on the hook. I turned round to get my bands out to see Baz had caught another. Things were now getting interesting!
I cast out again still with pellet in the feeder, with a larger one on the hook.
After about thirty seconds, the tip walked. Thatís a good fish I thought. I had to take it a bit steady as I only had a 20 hook on and 0.10 bottom. I got the fish in and changed up to 0.12 bottom and to a B611 size 16 hook, and cast out again. The wind was still blowing and I was starting to get cold, but I soon warmed up a bit when the tip went round again. I got it in and back out again as soon as I could.
Peg 4 was still getting roach - peg 3 had packed up. Peg 24 started getting a few small carp and 33 was not getting any bites at all - 34 had 3 carp. I had four, but it was slow. Peg 30 still hadnít had a bite. As a few started to pack up. It was clear there was only a few who had carp. In the last hour and a half I had three more. Baz was not happy, bless him. I had 7 carp but Ray on peg 45 had 8. As I waited for the scales to come round I was just happy to have caught - but it would be nice to frame again.
As the scales got to me I asked what the top weights were 22lb 11oz, 14lb 2oz, 13lb 8oz they were the highest so far. As I put my fish in the weighing in bag Dean who was doing the scales told me to take one out because the scales only go up to 20lb - this sounds promising, I thought! I took the biggest one out leaving the rest to weigh in at 17lb dead. With only one fish left to weigh which I thought was about 3 or 4lb it actually weighed in at 5lb 12oz! I had won by 1oz!
I picked up £70 winnings - not too bad seeing as they paid five anglers, and the bonus peg still hadnít been won.
All in all not a bad day, as it was cold and windy.
My added bonus was my two football teams, Arsenal and poor old Swindon won too!

1. Alan Scully practising on Peg 47 on the Causeway - another flyer.
2. Robert Keeping nicknamed 'Kipper.' Practising on Peg 32.
3. Tom Wright on his 13th birthday fishing peg 43, here with a 2lb ghost carp.
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