Match Diary Part One

Sun 26 October 14


Match – Decoy Lakes open

Lake – Beastie

Peg No.8

Conditions – 13 degrees/wind southerly 20 MPH – 35 MPH gusts

Choppy conditions

The Swim

Peg No.8 on the Beastie is a corner swim that is best suited to a marginal approach. The standard method n this swim is to fish at 14.5m tight to the rushes adn in the margins either side at roughly 4m. With the conditions not being perfect for along pole approach, I also set up my method feeder rod, just in case presenting a rig on the long line in the strong winds became too much of a problem.


Pole rigs

Knowing that every bite would count in these severe conditions, I opted for strength and durability over sensitivity. My rigs were built on the Guru N-Gauge 0.19 mainline with 0.17 N-Gauge hooklengths. My chosen float pattern for this match were the Mick Wilkinson MW Margins in 0.2 size and as I was going to be using maggot as my primary hookbait I opted to used the Guru X-Strong spade hook pattern in size 18 as they’re very strong and exceptionally sharp.

The Match

After struggling for a static presentation on the long pole for nearly an hour, knowing that this line would normally be my best area to target for steady sport. I was left with no alternative but to try and catch on the method feeder on this line. Fortunately the venue allows you to feed with the pole whilst you have a baited rig in the water. so rather than battle the wind and cast accurately at 14.5m (which is no mean feet, even in perfect conditions) so I shipped my pole out with the feeder in the cupping for assured accuracy.

Tip going round

After a brief wait my tip responded to a positive take and after a short tussle a small F1 slid into my waiting landing net. After repeating this awkward process of shipping my rig out to my long margin line with very little reward. The alarm bells started ringing and I realised that I would never catch quick enough to frame if I continued with this cumbersome approach, I need to make a change of tactics and very quickly!

With 3.5 hours of the match to go and with conditions not improving, I made the decision to fish the pole down the near shelf at 5m to see if the fish would respond positively to a new approach. I fed a cup full of maggot and pellet on this line and fished maggot on the hook. After taking a few skimmers from this line before it dried up, I estimated that I’d only landed 14lbs and was well off the pace, it was time to hit the margin swims as I had no other options available.

All my eggs in one basket

I fed my right hand margin at 4m in 4 feet of water and fed maggot and pellet to hopefully attract the large number of F1’s and a few lumps close in. To keep the feed going regularly, I opted to hand feed as I could comfortably and accurately feed at this range.

when you can clear marginal debris to get as close to the margin as possible

On my left hand line I decided to get a close in as possible so I cleared away all debris and loose vegetation, to present my rig in dead on 2 feet of water. On this line I fed using a large pole cup and feed large quantities of dead red maggot and pellet. The idea behind this was to keep the bigger more cautious fish feeding confidently, as well as ensuring there was enough food to keep them in the swim for as long as possible.

I fished the right hand line and continued to hand feed the swim, this produced a few F1’s but nothing really worth shouting about. T stand any chance of catching a match winning weight, i had to put all my eggs in one basket and hope and pray that my shallow left hand margin would produce a more constant run of bites and hopefully bigger fish, my eggs were ow all in one basket and I needed a miracle to stand any chance of getting in the frame, let alone a section win!

Robust gear is need to ensure all fish hooked are landed

Then a small miracle happened

With no confidence whatsoever, I called my partner to see if she fancied going out for a meal as I’d already decided that enough was enough! I had a look in on my last option the shallow left hand margin swim, and instantly my float buried a nd after a good scrap, an 8lbs mirror slid into the net. I immediately cupped in again and placed my rig back over the spot, bang!! another, then another lump fell to my heavy feeding tactics, with triple maggot on the hook the lumps just kept coming.

I continued feeding a large cup full of pellet and dead maggot after landing each fish and I was amazed to keep catching in these far from warm water conditions on a horrendous day. I tried to reduce my feeding by cupping in every other fish but this made the time between bite long, so I stuck to my feed every fish tactic and it totally paid off!


On the day, my heavy feeding campaign clearly illustrated that even in cooler conditions, if the fish are in the right mood you can still get away with filling it in. The constant flow of feed going into this shallow margin swim, this kept the fish coming and in particular the bigger lumps, with my biggest of the day being an 18lbs mirror, need I say any more!
Get your rigs and elastics perfectly balanced and you can land even the biggest of fish with the minimal of fuss, if you get it right every bite hit will end up in the net!

After the final whistle, I weighed in 143lbs to take top spot, now considering after 2.5 hours I could here a carvery calling my name and I was getting ready to pack up and call it a day. This match ended up being one of the most rewarding matches I have fished in years and arguably one of the most bizarre!

Tight Lines

Barry Mason