This was my first trip back to Gold after a two week break and how things have changed in that time, the first thing I noticed was how much more colour there was in the water and there was a lot more surface activity. For me March is a month of change, at the start you are fishing in winter conditions but by the end of the month it can be like like summer, so I treat every match different from the last one, as you never quite know what to expect. This is the time of the year I swap from my winter ground baits to the summer ones and use a lot more pellets than during the winter. Thatchers ground bait is what I use for most my winter fishing on commercials but I find that through the summer something with a higher fishmeal content works better, for the last year or so I have been using Old Ghost Green Alga, it is basically a fishmeal ground bait with other ingredients added, some of which are unique to Old Ghost, I don't know why but skimmers and bream love it and when mixed with pellets is a great method mix for carp.
Todays match I drew peg 5 on the canal bank, there was a strong northerly wind blowing into my face which was quite gusty at times. At the start of the match I fed 8 balls of Green Alga mixed with softened 2mm micros and added 150ml of dead red maggots to the mix, this all went in at 14.5m and then I started on the method feeder cast to the rope.
During the first hour and half I caught 2 carp and 2 bream on the method for about 20lb, then when it went quiet I picked up the pole and straight away started to catch skimmers on double dead red maggot. When I'm sat on the tip I am normally looking for signs of fish activating my ground bait, but with the wind putting a ripple on the surface I couldn't see any signs, otherwise i might of picked up the pole a bit earlier.
The skimmers I started to catch were all about 1lb each and I then had a lovely days fishing, getting a bite or a sign of a fish very cast until the end of the match. I probably caught about 40 skimmers in total and 2 small carp in the last hour. The last hour I swapped from the red maggot hook bait to a 4mm expander and it seemed even better, perhaps i should have done this earlier, but at this time of the year with everything on the change and when no two days are the same it is very easy to get things not quite right and very easy to be wise after the event.
At the weigh in I had 67lb, a lovely days fishing, thats why I make the 2 hour journey each way so often. My weight was enough to win and 50lb+ was second. My travelling companion for the day was Lewis Walker, he drew end peg on the canal bank, no 29, in the winter he wouldn't get a bite on the pole from this peg, but he weighed nearly 30lb of skimmers and lost a double figure carp at the net which cost him winning his section. I love this of year, its great to out on the bank after the long hard winter, the fish are feeding and some days you can even fish without a coat on.