Myself and Steve Hackers recently visited Barston Lakes for the BCAC Semi-Final 1.
We arrived mid afternoon, once we signed in we walked around the lake. We were eager to get by the lake ASAP so we could gain any advantage by sighting fish in areas that perhaps would be less favourable, something that later came to our advantage in the draw.
Our philosophy of picking swims was a simple one. Baring in mind the lake was split into 7 sections, A-G, we simply picked our favourite sections 1-7 and then went through each section putting swims in order from 1-4. There is one more catch to choosing a swim come the draw, it was vital we noted down who went where in each section. We needed to have the best possible chance and in doing so avoided some areas, for example, the 2012 champions the O’Conners went into section ‘F’, we simply put a big line through this as we decided it wouldn’t be worth our time. It’s not because we don’t think our abilities are good enough we just simply think we have better options and choices and if they’re available it would be silly to avoid them at this stage. In other sections if our favourite swim went we would be a little more cautious about choosing a swim in that section as your chances were somewhat reduced.
We ended up coming 24th out of 28 in the draw, not the best outcome but somehow we got our 3rd choice of swim. Without hesitation we picked swim E2, the reason this swim came to our attention was because of the amount of fish we had seen the previous day. They were all located in the middle of the lake, E2 is positioned on a small point allowing you an easy chuck to the middle. To add to this you also had a large amount of water compared to the other swims. With it’s dominant positioning we were positive we could get on the fish, there was just one problem, we now had to wait 2 hours until we could cast out! With the restriction on markering/baiting we were left with little to do except watch the water and set up camp.
9am arrived, the horn sounded and we were underway. Initially we fired out two zigs and two bottom baits we a scattering of boilies and chops over the top. It was a slow start, as everyone does we contemplated our next move, chopping and changing isn’t my favoured tactic. I’d much rather stick to one idea and see where it takes us, it was however time to change tactics! We heard rumours people were catching on zigs, decision made, we had 4 zigs out.
Using DNA Baits trimmed down pop-ups we created small hookbaits that were sure to nick a bite. Luckily locating the fish was pretty easy for us, they were showing themselves in the middle of the lake so we simply cast on to them.
Continuing to fire out boilies over the top so we had a backup plan if needed, it wasn’t long before our first fish was in the net. We hit a shoal of larger fish, on Friday we soon filled our keepnet with several double figure carp bring our total to 100lb+.
Saturday 11:00 standings
A pretty much lifeless Friday night except one carp for Steve at around 02:30. We anticipated if we kept a small flow of carp coming in we have a good chance of staying ahead of the 3 other pairs. Although at Barston and as with anywhere, anything could and can happen.
Saturday 21:00 standings
By Saturday evening we kept ahead and were touching 170lbs. You can see by this point there were only a few fish in it, it was still anyone’s game.
It was a very tense night ahead, we weren’t sure where we would stand the following morning. Similar to the last two nights the marshalls had little to report on. This was all good news to our ears but there were still 3 hours to wait.
As soon as the sun appeared it was our alarm clock to switch all 4 rods back onto zigs. At this point we’d used roughly 40kg of boilies. We continued covering our spots with boilies, the fish seemed to react when we made a disturbance so we weren’t stopping. Sure enough we had a fish shortly after switching all our rods to zigs.
This granted us a little safety barrier in the last hour of the match. We found ourselves constantly looking to see if another team had a fish on. Time seemed to go on and on, with 5 minutes to go the marshalls came round to weigh any last minute fish. They had nothing to report so it was a matter of minutes until it was over.
We couldn’t believe we’d done it! All our hard work had paid off.
Celebrations would have to wait as we had to swiftly pack up before another match started. We packed up and headed back to the clubhouse for the presentation.
The final will be held at Broadlands Lakes on the 13th-15th September 2013. It will be filmed for Sky Sports and shown at a later date.
For more information please go to http://www.britishcarpchamps.co.uk/championship-venues/Broadlands-Final-22.html
Check out our practice session at Barston Lakes: