Saturday 7th June brings me to familiar surroundings the Lake John car park Waltham Abbey, only today Im fishing an open on Beruit

Thats the name it was given by Colin Sucker Tasker due to his dislike for snakey type lakes and there general appearence prior to the lake maturing.

I have never fished this lake before its a square lake with an island 26 pegs, and the island can be reached from every peg, maximum 14 metres.

We have the normal brekkie in the on site cafe the banter is running strong, Kenny Farrel is doing knot lessons on the top table and people are just genrally taking the , this is what open matches are all about.

The Draw

In the bag goes my hand, peg 3, I look at everyone and there is no comment the kind of silence you expect when you have drawn real bad, and no one wants to upset you by telling you,

It doesnt really matter to me as I have never fished the place I ask a few questions of what to do and where to fish I get some mixed responses, does anyone actually know ?
Colin the owner is always on the money I ask him the crack he gives me enough pointers to get working with and I know he is never far off.

My peg

My peg looks nice, im in the middle of a far side bay with two points that stick back towards me from the far bank, both points can be reached with 14m its comfortable, My inside line has nice reed growth especialy to the left leading up to peg 2 and to my right I have a gap in the reeds I can poke a pole through and keep myself well hidden.

The tactics for the day

Im expecting to make a few mistakes today, new venues take some sorting out but I have had a reasonable amount of info to work on

I set up a small dibber for the tight over features .19 to .15
two rigs for down the middle which incedently is the main line on this place in the summer, they are two preston Chianti's 4x12 and 4x14 both .13 to a .10 hook lenght with an 18 808 hook, both with middy yellow hig vis laccy I think its 10

my inside line is a .3 preston red bulked at half depth no droppers, I use some silicone on the bristle as Im fed up with pulling eyse out, and use my old faithful middy blue solid that super smooth elastic that people really need to jump on as its very good.

I plumb up the inside and have 2ft 6 inches tight up against the reeds, thats nice im sure I will catch there with minimal; spooking

the far side is a bit shallower I have to cut down the rigs a little

I plumb the middle and im quite shocked its 3 ft max all over, I was told it was a shallow peg but wasnt expecting that, I have to doctor my two fav rigs, I like to fish 18 inch of line between float and tip when im down the middle I like to be able to search a bit rather than drop off the end of the pole, it seems now days people insist on fishing 3 inches of line your missing out on too much doing this.

The whistle goes I cup some chopped corn and caster tight over on each feature and leave the bay free of bait incase it all goes wrong, two big pots of hemp with a little corn go down the inside both left and right
I put 1 large pot of 4mm polar ice pellet down the middle again with a few bits of corn.

out we go long

first cast produces a fly away bite I miss it and wait for another, I wait and wait nothing I feed again this is followed by another bit and I hook a carp only small but it comes off, I wait for another, "nothing" 45 minutes has gone and no fish the guys around me are catching and they seem to be doing the same as me, I put in another small cup the float buries and I catch an 8oz skimmer, at last I have a fish, I sit and wait and nothing,

This match is typically won with 40 to 50 lb im wasting time, I switch to the middle, I can see some fizzing over my pellet I drop in just off the bait, im getting silly little digs on what is a super sensitive float, then it disapears I lift into a fish, I feel like I have hooked the bottom only for the bottom to start swimming, it just swims and swims and swims, I have hooked forest gump. on middy yellow I have more chance of being prime minister than getting this in my elastic bottomed out and "BANG" back comes my rig it hits the pole and smashes into small fragments, at this point iam like WTF I was told .10 and 10 laccy

I put on the lighter Chianti it has a longer line as well, the float goes I get a skimmer I feed again and nick a few more.

Im 2 and a half hours into this match and have put nothing together maybe 4 pound others have 20 plus im getting a tanning from each side and starting to doubt my ability.

I sit back have a cigerette and think about this for a bit

I needed a new approach fishing out a pot of pellet isnt working so I damp down some micro and put on a large toss pot I fill it 3/4 with micro (polar ice) add a few 4mm and half a dozen grains of corn, drop the float in and pour

im going to do this religiously now regardless 10 minutes later im getting a bite a chuck switching to corn gets me a nice run of crucians and skimmers, Im catching up, now the noddy in peg 3 is turning some heads, its always good when the guys each side start paying attention to you, it usually means they are concerned, this went on untill 90 minutes to go I now have about 10 to 12lb I have started to suss things out feed every fish and have a long line keep the tip away from the feed area.

All this time I have kept feeding the inside bulking with hemp and a small amount of corn if the carp show it will take them ages to mop up all that hemp and I may just get a few off it.

I look round and the guy to my right has a good sized carp maybe 5lb I look at my inside line and its time to give it a shot.

First drop in results in a missed bite but im now on the edge of my box, amazing what a bite on a big bait can do

in again another bite, which results in about 6 meters of blue 20 shooting across the pond

I lose it

Is today gonna get any worse ?, in again within seconds I have another on I land a 2 pounder this is followed by 2 more in two casts but slightly bigger.

I have now been joined by the lake owner Colin, he sits down behind me, away goes the float I have a better one, only this time Im ready a few minutes later I have one about 5lb in the net, the problem Im having with these carp is Iam undoubtably in the shallowest peg on the lake you hit a fish and its immediately on the top it then goes off like a train in an attempt to gain freedom. I get a few more in and lose a very good fish about 6 or 7 pound it should have been in the office sadly even on this forgiving laccy the hook pulled.

I finish with 8 carp on the inside line and the whistle goes

I estimate 30lb after nearly 3 hrs wasted time I got my act together, next week I will get it right from the off unless conditions change

John Young won on the day with 37lb kenny Farrel 2nd with 36lb Martin Amos third with 34lb
I weighed 31 LB.12 oz I was one out of the money

I cant be too disapointed first time there, and I wasted a lot of time, any one of 3 lost fish would have won the match if I had got the middle line right like the others from the start maybe I could have had 6lb more
Who knows, and I guess thats why we do this sport. As for the doubts, local knowledge was the key on this one, roll on next Saturday Im going back foir more