Biggest Learning – You Can’t Trust Memory
This year I decided to try fishing a few matches having completed my first match last December (I didn’t blank, and we’ll leave it there!). I liked the idea of being focussed on my tactics up front, but adapting them under pressure based on the peg I drew and the conditions on the evening. I entered Tackle Up’s 4-part evening series at my local fishery Watmore, which I kind of know having fished it over the past year. But, I’ve had some big learnings through the series. Namely, I can’t just rely on my memory, I have to trust the facts to get it right.
Practice Makes Perfect
Now I know Watmore is a good pellet waggler lake and there are lots of hungry roach, but my best success there over the past year has been in the margins on prawn. So, I pop down on Sunday evening before the first match for a practice and Nigel, one of my fishing buddies and a great match anger, turns up and I get my first fish. Nigel gives me a few tips and over 4 hours I bag 10 carp having figured out the timing of feeding to casting. I feel ok about Tuesday’s match.
Don’t Count Your Carp Before They Land
First night of the evening series and I arrive eager and nervous. Everyone has their barrows and boxes – I have my trolley and chair – and several backup tactics. I draw peg 40 which I’ve fished a couple of times – and blanked! Now I’m not so confident and wish I had my old faithful bait, prawn. It was hard. I tried the pellet waggler, but nothing. I tried a pellet feeder, I tried the margin – still nothing. The guy next to me was catching on the waggler so I revert back and thankfully land a six pounder. The evening isn’t a disaster as I didn’t blank. But something isn’t working.
Prepare to Try Again – Match 2
Looking back, what didn’t work? First off, I was feeding too much, the carp were quiet and I shouldn’t have given them so much food. Second, I didn’t adjust the float height to find the fish. There was bound to be more but as I’m trusting my memory and not talking to someone experienced, that is what I’m relying on. I arrive and have several bait / feed combos to make sure I can adapt – drew Peg 10 and off I go. Kick off with the pellet waggler and I get one carp, then nothing. It rains, and I waste 10 minutes setting up the umbrella next to my chair and get back on it. Nothing. Switch to the margins, nothing, bagging waggler – nothing. Back to the pellet waggler and I catch another for a total of 2 carp and 10 lb 8 oz total in the three hours – not great but, for someone who’s only been fishing two years, I can’t beat myself up.
Third Time Lucky – and a New Carp PB!
I’m losing faith in the pellet waggler, simply because I’m not getting consistent results. I decide I should flavour the pellet to draw them in with some Nutrabaits Trigga. Ok, I’m setup, rods are ready and so am I, armed with all my bait, flavours and feed. I get peg 40 again, great…. I kick off with the pellet waggler and my flavoured pellet – nothing. I lose two but no other bites. Two hours in I decide to go into the margin with some stinky krill and plain 8 mm pellet on a slack line with a Pallatrax Stonze. Nothing. With only 40 minutes to go I decide to de-rig my feeder rod when my other rod goes off, I grab the butt before it goes swimming. I spend the next 10 minutes (which feel more like 30) playing the fish and eventually get it in my net – just. Nothing else but frankly I was happy. At the weigh in I’ve got my new carp PB – 15 lb 12 oz of beautiful Common Carp!! On top of that, I’ve beaten my previous two trips and learnt something. I need to study my tactics more.
Analyse What’s Going Wrong, and What’s Working
The night before I refer to the Analysis section in the Finygo fishing app and it predicts that for the match tomorrow, pellet waggler with an 8mm pellet will work on key pegs. Ok, when I investigate further, Peg 40 isn’t a great peg for pellet waggler – ok that helps. So why isn’t it working for me? When I think back I figure out I’ve been feeding too many pellets on the chuck. My timing is off because I’m losing confidence and patience, my aim isn’t great with the catapult and I’m trying too many different types of pellets, rather than just shop bought pellet. Oh, and I’m not still not varying my float height to find the fish.
I Won’t Fail to Prepare this Time
Analysis done, rods setup, car loaded and off I go. I draw peg 7, a good peg and great for pellet waggler – I feel confident. Four casts in I hook my first fish, and lose it. Second fish hooked shortly after and I lose that too. About 5 mins later a stonker grabs my pellet and I’m off!! It heads into the swim on my right, then it goes into the swim on my left, and I tell the angler at the time he casts. Now his line is wrapped round mine. Thankfully the angler, Clive, was a true gent and let me play the fish without giving me grief, just lots of teasing. In comes the fish and I’m so excited, until it snags me in the bush and I lose it! Callum helps me untangle the lines, he calms me down and off I go again, and lose another. Seriously!!! Is it my hooks? No Alex, you’re being too aggressive! What I can’t dispute is that the pellet waggler is working with an 8 mm shop bought pellet, at the height I’ve found the fish – I just need to calm the chuff down!! My confidence is waning so I try a pellet on a Stonze under my spot – nothing’s feeding on the bottom. I go back to the waggler and focus on my casting and timing, hook and land my first having taken my time to play the fish! Land my second but then it dries up again. I try the margins, nothing. I go back to the waggler and get my third – a lovely one!! I keep going and land a baby common just after the whistle blows
I’ve learnt lots about my fishing the past 8 weeks:
- Don’t just trust memory, research in advance what actually works based on facts. Using Analysis in the Finygo fishing app is a great way to figure out for a specific lake or fishing spot what works for you and what works for others. Now I’m also making sure I enter what hasn’t worked because that’s just as important to help me choose what tactics to use in the future. Who wouldn’t pay less than £2/$2 per month to have that insight with a Premium Subscription?
- Practice does make perfect, but only if you practice enough. One or two trips before a match, especially for someone of my little experience just isn’t enough! It’s not enough to get the tactic right, and it’s not enough to try out multiple tactics to be able to analyse what what works, when, and where.
- Don’t get distracted. Easier said than done. I realised while I was playing the first carp I landed that I wasn’t just being too aggressive with the other fish I was also distracted by my competitiveness and everyone around me. When I focussed on the fish and paid attention to what the fish was doing, through the rod and line, I landed it.
See my last fishing trip of the series in the app here: https://bfvz.app.link/a2khS4MG4N and follow me to keep up on my latest fishing adventures. Why not give the Analysis function a try before your next fishing trip and let me know how it works for you!