The second Horwich Old Anglers club match of the season was at Cunneries Fishery (www.thecunneries.co.uk), Eccelston on the S Canal on Sunday28th April.
We had the two right hand canals for the match and with only ten anglers able to fish there was to be plenty of room for everyone.
On arriving the weather was overcast and calm with a bit of moisture in the air and seemed good for fishing but there had been frosts over the two previous nights. That however was to change to driving rain and gale force winds through the match.
Come the draw i picked out what was peg 6. This was the far end peg of the left hand canal. I was chuffed to bits to get an end peg as I knew all the end pegs were the form pegs, but I also felt a bit of pressure knowing I would be expected to catch well.
The Cunneries S Canal is stuffed with F1s and a few skimmers (which rarely show). Plan wise was pretty simple. One line was at around 4 metres at the bottom of the slope, one line tight across to the island and a couple of lines across to the end of peg.
All rigs were made up with 0.13 to 0.11 line, Preston Chianti floats in 4x12 for island swims and with it being cold overnight I started on 20s Drennan Silver fish hooks.
Elastic wise was doubled up 6 for the short line and 11h for the lines up to islands.
At the all in I decided to go the opposite to everyone else who shipped straight across to the island. I decided to fish the short line and try and catch a few quick fish and give them chance to back off towards the island.
I shipped out and fed a full large Frenzee soft pot of micros with a few pieces of corn to kick off and a piece of corn on the hook After a few minutes of lifting and dropping I started to get knocks and it wasn’t long before the first fish of the day was on. That was quickly landed and I went straight back out feeding with half a pot of micros. Again a few knocks before the next bite. I struck and fish on but it came off pretty quickly. This happened on my next two bites resulting in me changing hooks to an 18 Drennan Wide Gape Pellet.
I was getting plenty of knocks but no proper bites. I then tried a corn skin on the hook which immediately resulted in a F1. In the next half hour or so I managed to take four more fish before the swim completely died. I topped it up with another full pot of micros and few grains of corn before moving tight across.
Feeding was exactly the same, a full pot of micros and few grains of corn with corn on the hook. Straight away I was getting indications and no long later float went under and I landed probably what was the biggest F1 of the day, around 2lb. I went back out and refed half a pot of micros. I got plenty of indications but no bites. I tried corn skins and a 4mm expander on the hook as well but it made no difference.
By this time the wind had got up and it started to rain which was making things really difficult with the float being pushed into the island a couple of times as I was lifting and dropping. I felt I wasn’t getting the presentation right so decided to leave this swim and come short again.
Feeding half a pot of micros with a skin on the hook I took a couple more F1s but it was very slow.
Eventually I decided to battle the elements and try the swims to the end of the peg which meant putting my pole directly in the path of the gale force wind. Same feeding method with corn on hook resulted in a bite straight away, however the fish dove straight into a snagged plant just under the water and got me in a right tangle. I couldn’t get my line to break and the fish couldn’t free itself! After ten minutes and using my pole to drag the plant I managed to free the fish and land it.
I decided to move further up the edge to avoid the snag but it was slightly deeper. I was hoping to use the same rig here and just adjust the depth but after five minutes of not being able to control my float and decided to quickly tie another foot of line to the top.
This immediately did the trick as I got a bite straight away but disaster struck, I had not closed the cap on my connecter properly and the whole rig came free.
A new rig was applied and going back to the same spot I had my most successful period of the match catching another eight or nine F1s in about a half hour spell before the swim died.
I then started rotating swims but could only take one or two fish from each line before bites would die and I would have to rotate again.
I even set up a new line on my top two in the corner margin of the bend which resulted in three fish but a hell of a lot of liners (I guess these were gudgeon as everyone else in the match was plagued by them, I think I was the only one not to catch one). But these fish took a long time in coming so I continued to rotate and pick of one or two fish.
At the all out I reckoned I had a total of 27 F1s for 18-20lb. I suspected it wouldn’t be good enough as there was two very good anglers on the opposite two end pegs and Tony Rawly a few pegs down had been catching steadily most of the match on his top two.
I was last to weigh and with 22lb 10oz was enough for third was I was happyish with but I was a bit disappointed I didn’t make more of the end peg I had got and yet again errors cost me fish. But on the positive I finished in the top 5 which is where I am trying to target finishing in more of our matches this season to be more consistent and I felt this was probably the best I had ever fished for F1s.Dave Dermott won with nearly 36lb on the other end peg on my bank catching with pellet fihing into the end of the peg I think. Tony Rawly was second with 27lb