Getting There

Tunnel Barn Individual League – Round 3

The third round of the Tunnel Barn Individual League and back to a random draw. My spirits lifted when Pete Caton in front of me pulled out New 21 as at least that was one really dire draw out of the way. My head then dropped when I found peg 19 stuck to my hand. I really didn’t want to be up that end of the lake! However, as I set up I actually half fancied catching a carp or two amongst the hoped-for F1s as I’d heard there are always  a few in the area.

There was apparently no ice on it the day before but as I climbed the hill with my gear that’s what greeted me. It was only really thin stuff which I could cut with a blade on the end of my pole. I actually wished it was thicker as melting ice is never a good thing.

This peg has lots of room, including two ‘pots’ to fish to – one at 10m and the other at 14.5m – although my experience of the lake there aren’t as many fish around them as you’d expect in winter. My banker area was angled to my right, which is also the deepest water and, as it happened, that’s pretty much the only place I caught.

I made four thin strips in the ice and proceeded to dob a bit of bread in all of them. Firstly with a shallow rig 2-3ft deep and then with a deeper 3.5-4ft rig. Two roach was all I mustered on this. I then spent five minutes on pellets for one 2oz skimmer before deciding it was going to be a maggot day for me. Lots of people aren’t even bothering with pellets at Tunnel at the moment while it’s fishing so patchy.

By 12 o’clock the forecasted rain had arrived and that melted most of the ice away. We then had a lovely chilly drizzle for the rest of the match, turning my maggots into a lovely froth! Incidentally, I’ve been bringing 50/50 whites and reds up to now but as my confidence was a bit shot I just brought reds this time. It just felt like one less thing to be worrying about.

Frugally dripping in maggots I eventually found a carp at 13 metres. It lead me a merry dance, but at around 6lb it was most welcome (and nice fun on 0.09mm to a 20 Silverfish Maggot!). I then managed a scraggy looking F1 and then sat biteless for a bit. Moving out another section out I thought I’d try dobbing again in the open water and had an F1 and a 2lb common on that, but then nothing else. Back to maggots and another F1, a small carp and a couple of skimmers.

I tried shifting right out to 16 metres but this only produced one or two F1s and as it was shallowing up here I actually felt the fish were nearer to me. I therefore shifted even further round to my right with 13 metres of pole and found the same depth here as my short pole throwing line. This was by far the best spot and I managed another carp around 5lb and a late run of F1s here, plus a good perch, skimmer and two f1s short for an enjoyable last hour.

At the scales I was pleasantly surprised to have 32lb for 4th on the lake, 7th in the match and a section envelope. It was definitely more than I’d hoped for, especially as there were some very good anglers on much better pegs in my opinion. There were three stand-out 40lb weights on New (pegs 4, 7 and 26) and a 40lb and a 60lb on Extension (pegs 26 and 38) but the actual back-up weights behind them all were very low with most in the 10lb to 20lb bracket. I’m pleased to see Nathan Matthews on Extension 26 storm the match with 60lb as that’s the same peg that battered me last week – so I don’t feel quite so bad about it now!

The venue is definitely fishing patchy but dare I say there are signs of things warming up a bit and that ‘should’ bring some better sport over the next month. It would be nice to be able to feed some bait rather than counting maggots into a pot for fear of overfilling them!

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