Wednesday the 10th of June saw the first round of the Drennan Knockout at Heronbrook fishery near Stoke on Trent. I made a few visits before just to get the feel for what baits and methods would be best, with a section win and third in the match I felt I had a good idea of what I needed to do, although I had drawn the same lake (Meadow) both times
Day of the match arrived and I was picked up nice and early by Cameron Hughes, a good chat about fishing on route and before we new it we had arrived, with 160 anglers fishing we were met with what can only be described as a car and van dumping ground! Van safely parked as close to the lakes as we could we made or way into the draw, by the time we got to the draw bag most of the fancied new canal pegs had gone but some good pegs still remained in the bag. Garbolino angler Jason Lebosquet had drawn peg 9 on new canal a good draw but he would have to do well to beat end pag 10, then Garbolino angler Lee and wards drew peg 27 on bridge another good area, Cam drew before me peg 1 on bridge a good peg in the section but a peg that can be strange at times. Next was my turn and out came bridge 26 next to Lee, I new I had a great chance to qualify for the next round and would have to fish well to beat Lee.
When I got to my peg I got the normal abuse from Lee (which I could understand anyway), we had a quick chat about the pegs then started setting up.
Looking at the peg I had a freshly cleared mud line and then a thick bed of reeds across, so I set up a DCX4 0.1g for the mud line and DCX4 0.3g to fish deeper against the reeds, both were set up on 0.16mm Garbo Line with 0.12mm of the same as hook length to a size16 B911. Elastic was new 2.1 Bazookarp COEX. Plumbing the mud line I found from 2 inches to 2 foot! This was far from ideal so I decided against the reeds in 3ft would be better to start the match (my first mistake). Across would be fed with a mix of casters worms micro pellets and soil, The next rig set up was at top kit + 2 sections , the new Garbolino Hardcore no1 in 0.4g was perfect. Mainline again was 0.16mm Garbo Line and a 0.12mm hook length with a 16 B911 hook and the same elastic as across. This would be fed with 4-6 cubes of 6mm meat regularly. Next was the margins left and right, new Hardcore no2 0.20g were set up on 0.18mm mainline and 0.16mm bottom to a 14 B911 elastic was slightly stronger 2.3 Bazookarp loose feeding casters on my right and groundbait and dead maggots on my left.
At the all in I started against the reeds and caught an f1 first chuck then nothing for 20 minutes, Lee next to me had started across on the mud line although his was as uneven as my peg and was catching well, a quick change to the mud line and I started catching steady, cupping in the mix of casters micro pellets chopped worm and soil with a small worm head on the hook. All the time feeding meat at 2+2. The mud line was steady for 2 hours then started tailing off so I started feeding the left margin with maggots and ground bait. I had been feeding the right margin by hand with casters. A look on meat at 2+2 brought nothing at all not a bite, despite trying this several times to the end of the match this line didn't produce a single fish. The margins were also tried on and off to the end of the match without a single fish. I caught odd fish from the mud line and against the reeds in the last hour, I new I had messed about in the last 2 1/2 hours trying to make my margins and meat lines work for no reward. Lee had caught fish steady most of the day and ended up with 113lb, I weighed in 93lb and knew that I should of just carried on fishing across rotating the mud line and reed line catching what I could, but 2nd in section to Lee and I was through to the next round. Back at the results and Jason had fished a blinder and walked the match with 181lb, Lee had come 4th so I picked up the section money, Cam had also come second in section so was through to the next round. Chatting to Cam on the way back we both thought we could of done better, but that's fishing, the saying every day is a school day could never be more true with angling. Tight lines Kian Wardle