The UKMA 3 hour challenge with Lee Marlow

Thu 27 August 15


UKMA invited Bag’em Matchbaits back Lee Marlow to spend a day out on the bank to have a go at the UKMA 3 hour challenge. What this basically entails is we turn up at a lake and give the angler a specific set of rules to fish by, and they have just 3 hours to catch 100lbs of fish. To make things slightly more difficult, we also select the peg for the angler.

Magpie Lake Rookery Waters

So we headed off to Rookery Waters, near Pidley, Cambdidgeshire, to put Lee on peg 25 of the impressive Magpie Lake to see if he had what it takes to catch 100lbs by fishing the pole at a maximum length of 6m. Did he do it? read on as Lee talks you through his rigs, baits and approach he used to match our challenge.

The Swim

Lee arrived at his designated peg (No.25) and was more than happy with what we’d chosen for him. The swim featured two good margin options, with a well groomed, vegetation free left hand margin, just short of a large reed bed at 4m and to his right, there was a over-hanging bush at roughly 2m, with a minimal marginal vegetation. With no open water features closer than 14m from the bank, Lee was going to have to fish a line at his maximum allowed length of 6m, which he was quite concerned about, as he knew this line would be hit or miss.

Rig Selection

Lee's rig selection for the session

To offer presentation options on his 6m open water line, Lee set up two rigs.

Rig 1 – Featured a .4g LM diamond, .19 Preston Reflo mainline, 6” hooklength of .19 with a Guru MWG 16 hook with a bait band. His chosen shotting pattern was a bulk of number 9 Stotz that would sit directly above the hooklength connection loop.

Lee's open water rig

Rig 2 – Featured a .3g Garblino DC paste float, .19 Preston Reflo mainline, tied straight through to a size 12 Kamazan animal eyed hook. The shotting pattern for this rig was a bulk of number 9 stotz 18” from hook.

Lee opted to use one simple but very strong rig that he used on both of his margin lines. This rig featured .3g LM margin float, with a thick 3mm tip. This was mounted on .19 Preston Reflo line, tied straight though to a size 12 kamazan animal eyed hook. His chosen shotting pattern was a small bulk of number 9 Stotz. left margin was 4m down the bank, right margin 2m, as both margins were of similair depth the same rig was used for both sides..

Bait Selection

Lee's bait table

To get the swims as productive as possible, my feed and hookbait selection needed to be positive. My baits included 6mm Bag’em Matchbaits Super Natural Carp Pellets, I also had a tub with a mixture of different sizes and colours pellets, for use as my hookbait. I backed the pellets up with a few tins of corn and 2 tins of Coshida cat meat. As an alternative hookbait, I also mixed up a bag of the Bag’em Commercial Carp Green groundbait, which I mixed in to a paste.

How to mix paste

The Challenge

At dead on 11.00 hrs the all in was called and lee started to feed 15/20 6mm carp pellets every 3/4mins on the 6m open water line. which only resulted in 4 carp and lots of foul hooked fish. After 45 minutes of sail way bites and only 4 fish in the net. Lee tried to force the issue by dumping a big cup of corn on the open water line and he fish catmeat over the top. This produced a few more carp but was still having problems with foul hookers.

Although Lee was catching fish on this line, he soon realised that the high pressure was making the fish erratic. They were at all levels and simply wouldn’t settle down and start feeding confidently on the deck. So after an hour and with only roughly 20lbs in the net, Lee decided to put all of his time into his two margin swims, if he stood any chance of breaking the 100lbs barrier.

Lee fishing the margins

To get the margin swims producing regularly, Lee fed corn and a few lumps of catmeat by hand to create a bit of noise, to attract fish to his spots. This yet again produced several foul hooked fish and lee soon realised that another feeding approach was need if he want to get the fish proper having it.

Feeding paste in the margins

With less than 70 minutes to go, Lee knew he had to ring the changes to stand any chance of completing the challenge. So he totally changed his feeding regime and found out that by feeding paste down the edge and using sweetcorn as his hookbait, his catch rate greatly increased, whilst also reducing the number of line bites.

Single corn hookbait

This change of feeding and by alternating between the left and right hand margin swims, over the last hour Lee put together a very good run of fish averaging 3.5lbs with a few proper monsters thrown in for good measure, with his left hand margin producing the majority of his fish.

Lee in action

Dead on 14.00hrs, the all out was called but had Lee done enough to beat the UKMA 3 hour challenge? So after he’d packed his gear away, the keepnets were lifted out and with the first net holding roughly 40lbs, it was going to be very close call.

Part of Lee's impressive haul

Lee then lifted out his second net and as soon as we looked inside, we instantly knew that he’s comfortably caught well over the 100lbs target weight. By paying attention and making the right decisions when it really counted, Lee had turned a very awkward session around and achieved his target with fish to spare.

Are you up to the challenge

Over the coming weeks, the UKMA team will be offering other member of the match angling fraternity the opportunity to take on one of many 3 hour challenges we have planned, so if you think you’re up to the challenge, get in touch!

Foot Note – UKMA would like to thank Alex Bates at Rookery Waters for allowing the use of keepnets for this feature.


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