'Last weekend was British Carp Angling Championships time and a weekend myself and Bart had been looking forward to for some time. Our chosen qualifier venue was Willow Park in Hampshire. I had fished it a couple of times a number of years ago but Bart had never seen the place. We knew it was going to be a learning curve knowing relatively little about the venue.'
The boys were back at the BCAC!
We arrived the night before the draw to watch the water and gain valuable information about where the fish were showing. It was worth getting there early as we saw loads showing, mainly in front of match Peg 4. When it came to the draw peg 4 was our 1st choice, it was a watercraft draw so when your name comes out the hat you get to pick the peg you want to fish. All of the competitors are usually desperate for an early draw and a good choice of pegs. The draw is always the part of the match that I am most nervous about because ultimately it determines where you are going to fish for the next 48 hours and whether or not you have a chance of competing!
The draw can ultimately decide everything about the session.
The barrows were loaded and the draw was about to commence when the organiser reminded us that the rules were boilie and pellet only. At this point it was like Tyson Fury had just punched me in the stomach. I had read all the BCAC rules and fishery rules and no where did it state that it was boilie and pellet only. My barrow was fully loaded with buckets of particles and tins of sweetcorn.
I had a quiet word with the organiser as to where these rules were and she said “I emailed the rules to Bart last week”. Two clicks of Bart’s phone and there in big bold writing in his emails was “BOILIE AND PELLET ONLY”. Obviously Bart had not read his emails.
Onto the draw and the first pair out the hat chose peg 4, they had obviously seen the fish lumping out in front too. We were buzzing when our name came third out the draw and we chose peg 9, it was directly opposite peg 4 so we felt if the pressure in peg 4 pushed the fish out they would move over in front of us. Well that was our thinking anyway.
A 'Rule' email you don't want to miss!
With the draw done I had to unload the barrow, put all my particles back in the van and luckily I had a bucket of pellet left over from fishing my syndicate a few weeks prior as it’s boilie and pellet only on there too.
At 11am we had an hour for feature finding and baiting. We wanted to cause minimum disturbance so we just had 2 casts with a marker to check the depths only to find the whole swim between 3-4ft deep... a lot shallower than we had though but we later found the water level was well down.
The match started and peg 4 was off the mark within an hour. We had the odd fish in front of us and felt confident for a bite. Fast forward 26 hours and we were still biteless. We had tried plan A through to Z and although the fish had turned up infront of us, there had been 15 carp caught and we were yet to trouble the marshals.
Fortunately at 4pm on the Saturday a zig fished just 5 rod lengths out signalled a bite and I was straight on it. I got the fish in close and then much to our utter disbelief the long rod ripped off. Bart was on it and we were both playing a fish, a double take bizarrely from total different areas of the swim.
After a frustrating wait, the fish eventually started to come!
We landed both fish, a couple of lovely 20Lb+ commons and that shot us straight up it to 3rd place by 2Lb. With the top 3 in the match qualifying to the semi finals it was finally game on and the first piece of the puzzle sorted.
We had a couple more fish during the evening and as the evening drew on the fish moved out towards the middle of the lake. We decided to fish a little further out on darkness as the fish were now showing at about 16 wraps. We ticked over with a bite every few hours through the night ensuring the marshals had next to no sleep, sorry guys!
We had a little flurry of fish in the morning before the bites dried up about 7am. We never had another bite for the remaining 5 hours of the match but our 11 fish for 228Lb was enough to win the match and seal our place in the semi finals on Brasenose 1 in July.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable week, lots of scaly bangers to uppper 20’s, a couple of BBQs, lots of banter and generally a nice weekend away from the real world at a lovely venue.
Tight lines, Kev Hewitt
The boys made sure the marshals had no rest!
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