My first ever club match arrived on 1st April 2012 with the venue being Coppull Mill Lodge (http://www.coppullanglers.co.uk/info/coppull-mill-lodge.shtml).
As with the majority of waters I will be fishing this season, this was a venue I had never seen before.
I managed to get a bit of info from a few people, mainly that it was very deep and full of silvers with bonus tench, especially if you drew the first and last pegs. Now I don't like deep water one bit and I haven't really sussed skimmer fishing yet so I was immediately worried that this may not be a good venue to start my match fishing career with Horwich Old Anglers.
In the week or so before I could not stop thinking about how I planned to fish on the day. At one point I woke up at four in the morning and immediately my brain turned on and I couldn't sleep for an hour thinking about plans of attack!!
From the two matches I have now fished I have noticed just how much thought and research I now put into fishing before hand and not just turning up and seeing how I feel on the day.
Eventually I decided on two main attack plans. One would be a groundbait attack with maggots or pellets as the hook bait targeting skimmers and tench. I also decided on a short shallow line fishing casters for roach.
The day of match arrived and after a week of summer like weather, conditions had completely changed. An overnight frost and clear bright skies greeted my arrival at the lodge. Immediately I suspected a much more difficult match than I originally thought.
Time for the draw and I drew peg 12. Asking where I would find it I was told it was was in the far corner in the shade, the coldest part of the lake! Great!!
Plumbing up the first problem I came across was the massive reflection of the mill opposite in my peg. No matter what colour float I used I could barely see it.
I plumbed two lines at 11 metres, one at 10 o clock and one at 2 o clock. Both lines were around 10ft. The rigs for these lines were a 1g Drennan Tipo with 0.12 main line and 0.10 hook length with 18 Drennan silver fish maggot hook. I was using Middy Hi Viz yellow shock core matched to a pulla bung in my top kit. I planned on rotating between these two lines if catching well.
I also set a two plus two line for my shallow rig setting it at 4ft to start. Same rig as the deep rigs except a Drennan Caster dibber type float. Elastic was Middy Hi Viz number six solid.
At the all in I cupped in a large tennis ball sized amount of groundbait laced with maggots, pinkies and a few 4mm pellets into both swims and then left them to rest.
I then threw in 6-10 casters on my shallow line and immediately caught a 4oz roach. Happy days, not blanking!! After that I couldn't get another bite on this line.
After about 40 mins I shipped out to the 10 o clock swim with a 4mm expander pellet on the hook. After about ten mins I caught a small roach, not what I was after. Another long wait and I caught a tiny roach who's mouth was smaller than the pellet!! I was struggling badly with the reflection of the mill and missed a couple more shy bites.
I tried swapping to the 2 o clock line but got no bites there either. I swapped hook baits and lines regularly eventually snaffling another two very small roach on double pinkie.
After two and half hours or so I re-fed both lines with a golf ball sized amount of groundbait and left them to rest.
I went back to the shallow line chucking in 6-10 casters every 30 second and began to catch roach up to 10oz regularly. Looking around I could see most people around me were fishing long for bigger fish and not really catching so bar one more short look on the long line I decided to stay short and catch as many roach as I could hoping that I could amass a half decent weight of red fins.
It was interesting fishing as I was constantly chasing the fish, they didn't seem to want to settle at one level. I caught up to about a foot and then back down to over four foot. But I did manage to keep a steady stream of fishing coming to the net.
The all out was called and I reckoned I had around 5lb of red fins. I was really surprised and chuffed to see the scales go round to 6lb 5oz which was enough for 7th place out of 15. I was really chuffed with that. The top two weights came from peg 1 and 15, the two fliers, with weights of 11lb and 12lb of skimmers and tench.
I have to say I was pretty satisfied with my match performance. Looking back the only thing I may have changed was in the first half hour fishing shallow I stayed at four foot. Maybe if I had altered my depths and tried to find the roach I may have bagged a couple more. I also took way too much bait and mixed way too much groundbait. Something else I need to consider before matches to save myself some money!
Looking forward to the next match at Lathom fisheries on 22nd April now and I will hopefully get a practice or two in before then.