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 Match 1 - Sunday, 21st November 

The first match of the series today and I thought it was going to be a horrible wet and windy day. Nothing like it - Sun and light winds, and often not even a ripple on the water. The conditions for fishing today are near perfect.

I was about 10 pegs to the left of the path leading to the river from the car park

Thirteen anglers have signed up for the series and we all met up in the car park for the draw at 8 o'clock. Conforming to the Corona rules, we were called forward one at a time to do the draw. Peg 10 landed in my hand and off I went with my trolley the 200 m to my peg. The match is from 10:00 until 14:00 - a 4 hour match. I must admit, as I was fishing and they called the all-out after 4 hours I felt cheated as I was expecting to fish for 5 hours and never had the chance to try for a big fish. My fault for not checking the details.

My peg for the day - nice and comfortable with a small concrete platform for the box - just managed to get the back legs on it

I set up 2 rigs on top 4's and 1 rig on a top 3. Plumbing up I had 4.6 m at 13 m and coming back to the bank it got deeper by 20 cm at 11.5 m, so that's were I set up. At 6.5 m I had 3.5 m and set up the short rig to fish here. With my back problems, if I can fish shorter and still catch well I will. 

I set up a 2 g DH13 a 2 g DH21 and a 1.25 g Inter Carbon. Later I notice I'd set up a 2.5 g DH 21 by mistake. Of all the rigs, I used the 2.5 g DH21 rig nearly all day. 0.14 mm Accu Power main line, 0.10 mm Accu Power bottom to a Preston Natural N10 size 16 hook. The N10 hooks are sharp and I used the same hook all day - very impressive hook in the Natural hook range.

A few balls for the start - mainly joker.

I only use carbon stemmed floats, and a 2.5 g carbon float is about the same physical size (and weight) as a 2 g wire-stemmed float - so is wasn't too big, especially in almost 15 feet of water. I caught a few fish on the drop and should have set up a rig to fish well off bottom. I will be prepared for next time - the Roach masses caught me by surprise!

Floats today were all black tipped as I was looking directly into white water. Just a black permanent marker pen to black out a red or yellow tip. I usually always have 3 identical rigs in by box of each size and length - 1 red, 1 yellow and 1 black float. Then I can choose which colour is best on the day - I also always have back-up rigs if a get into a severe tangle and have to bin the rig. 

Cupped in at the start.

I used a Preston Slip Original 8 (black) elastic in the monoblock number 1 section of my pole. I was expecting Perch and Bream, but all I caught was Roach. Next time a 6 (yellow) elastic would be better - although I didn't lose and fish. I might even try the number 5 Dura Slip again as well.

Groundbait today was one bag of VDE Black Earth, a bag of Sonubaits So Natural Black River and a bag of Black Roach. This was more than enough and I will use just half a bag each of the Sonubaits next time. I added some binder to make it a bit stickier. 

Dave Harrell makes very good floats.

I put some chopped worm, joker and caster into the groundbait and cupped-in these 4 feed-rich balls at 11 m. Then I threw in 7 hard balls over the top with a few joker mixed in. I don't separate the joker with dry leam first, I just mix it straight into the groundbait. I also cupped-in half a cup of hemp.

I started short but it was soon apparent that this wasn't going to work. I had a few bites but no fish. A change to the 11.5 m line and I had a Roach first put in. 

I moved the olivette and shotting (stotz) up and down the line, but found I got the best bites with a short string of Stotz and the olivette about 75 cm from the hook.

I topped-up with some groundbait twice - once after about 90 minutes and again after 3 hours. The bites never slowed down at all - even after feeding. I also fed hemp over the top with my throwing stick to keep some noise on the water surface - this usually keeps the fish in the area.

104 fish for 2520 g - it was a very pleasant days fishing.

I caught small Roach for the whole 4 hours and ended up with 104 fish - 1 Tommy Ruffe, 2 Perch and 101 Roach. 25 fish an hour is Ok, but it should have been more like 40 with the bites I was getting. I was a little rusty. 

Good pole sock and V-roller for the landing net - didn't use the latter that much.

One important thing I learnt was the right hook bait. The Roach were full of joker and I could catch one every put in with double bloodworm on the hook, but pinkies on the hook got me a few of the larger Roach. Definitely dead pinkies and dead maggots for the next match. Caster only brought the same size Roach, and when I put worm on I never got a bite. 

My 2520 g was just not enough though, and I missed out on 4th place by just over 100 g. So, after the first match I have 7 points - so I guess this will have to be the one I have to drop!

The next match is on the 19th December - I hope the Roach are still there. If they are, we could be in for another good match - and getting bites all day is a good match! I will definitely go for a practice session before the next match. I need to sort out my rigs.

I missed out on 4th place by just over 100 g - I should have done that today, needed just one practice session to find out it was full of Roach.

Well done to Roy Vanholt on the win. He fished a good match from the middle of the match length on peg 7. I think all the anglers had an enjoyable day on the Oude Ijssel. 

If you get the chance I recommend giving this stretch of the Oude Ijssel a go.