This was fished Thursday and Friday, no bloodworm and joker, carp don't count and the winner would be decided on total weight over the two days, everyone was pegged on Gold Lake.
The weather was similar to what it has been all week, cold, cold and very cold, with winds usually north easterlies, Gold lake was partially frozen with a large area frozen in the middle. This lake is fed by underground springs and the water is a bit warmer than the surface water, many a time I have seen wholes in the ice where the underground springs enter this lake, these areas are always the last to freeze and the first to thaw, you would think that the fish would shoal up around them, but they don't seem to, perhaps they don't like the water movement at a time when they are semi dormant.
My draw for the day was peg 54, thats 3 out of the corner, next to the clubhouse, this has always been a reasonable area for silvers, so I was quite happy with it, the way the weather was I thought 10lb would be a good weight, so my plan was to fish for skimmers at 14.5m and try for a perch with lobworms on the 5m line, but fished long towards my right, a feeder was set up as a line to start on while waiting for my pole line to come to life.
At the whistle I fed 3 balls of Thatchers on my 14.5m line with maggots and pinkies in the cup, my perch line I fed a whole big pot full of chopped lobworms. I then started on the feeder, cast 45 turns towards the rope. The match started off slowly, which was to be expected with the cold weather, during the first 2 hours I caught 3 skimmers for about 2lb, I then picked up my long pole for the first time and never had a bite, then I tried my lobworm line and caught a small perch straight away then it went quiet, I was just starting to think that I was going to struggle here when I had a bite on the long pole, it was a roach and not the expected skimmer, followed by a couple more, luckily I had a roach rig set up, a light rig with strung out shot that was set at dead depth, so I swapped to this rig.
I caught roach steadily on this rig until the end of the match, every time it went a bit quiet I would pick up the perch rig and nick an odd stripy, before going back on the long pole. I didn't feed anything else for the match and caught all my roach over the Thatchers groundbait, Thatchers is different to most other fishmeal's in that it has a low fishmeal content and is ideal for cold water on commercials, even the roach seem to like it.
At the end of the match I weighed in 20lb, which was approximately 15lb of roach, a great days fishing, years ago Gold lake was one of the best roach venues in the country, I remember 3 matches on the trot catching 40lb+ weights of roach, but these things go in cycles and there aren't so many roach as then, but the skimmer fishing has improved tremendously.
My 20lb was good enough for second on the day, beaten by the 'gaffer' Steve sanders who caught 26lb of skimmers on peg 43. Thursday night I stopped at Wills house and we went out for the 'customary' blow out at the local Indian.
Friday morning, I couldn't wait to get started, despite the cold, and when I drew the same peg as the day before I was 'buzzing'. The weather was similar, but the wind had got up stronger and I was glad it was off my back and not in my face like the anglers opposite on the canal bank. Steve sanders had drawn 1 peg away from where he was yesterday and it was going to be a good 'scrap'.
I set up all the same rigs as the day before and was expecting to have a similar match as the day before, how 'wrong' can you get. To cut a long story short, I caught 1 skimmer on the feeder and 3 perch on the lobworm line and never had a bite from the roach, nobody caught any roach. My 3 perch and 1 skimmer went 2lb 12oz. Steve sanders caught 1 skimmer for 2lb. The match was won with 18lb of small skimmers on the feeder and the overall position from the first day never changed, Steve sanders won the festival and I was a happy second.
I would never have believed how a peg can change so much in two days, overall it was typical winter fishing when its very cold, the fish were tightly shoaled and moved around from day to day.
The picture above was taken on another cold day at Gold.