This was the second time I participated in the annual Anglers Paradise Lure weekend. My first being in 2017. Here is my blow by blow account.
What is the Anglers Paradise Lure weekend?
It is a team lure fishing competition. The winning team being the one that catches the most species over two days of fishing. There is also prizes for individuals with the most species as well as biggest.
Working on a team rotation over two lakes a day for two days for a set two-hour period. All catches have to be witnessed and recorded by the lake adjudicator to count.
The Spirit of the Anglers Paradise Lure weekend
Ultimately whilst there are the competitions the emphasis from Joe and Zenia is on the weekend being fun. Anglers of all skill levels can come together and share knowledge in a friendly unique environment. It is unique because over the years Zyg has really created something quite special in Anglers Paradise.
A small part of why the weekend has been a success is brands such as Quantum support with prizes. Each of the supporting tackle companies has the opportunity to provide one of their team anglers to be a captain. This is how I became involved as a Quantum Team angler. The purpose of the team captains is to help the teams enjoy the fishing and weekend.
Preparation for the Anglers Paradise Lure weekend
When I first participated in 2017, I learnt a lot about the style and the tactics used to catch the most species. Generally, it is all about downsizing to the most finesse presentation you can. It is also a good idea to pack your tackle in a modular way. As when you rotate through the lakes, they each have specific target species. For example, I would not lug my pike rods and lures with me to the trout lake. This is what I packed for the four different lakes.
The trout lake – Silver Rose
This year I packed some very specific gear for targeting the trout lake because I know that there is a very distinct possibility that you can catch 2-4 species of trout. Fortunately, with in the Zebco brands they have Magic Trout. It is from this tackle brand that I selected a number of spoons, soft plastics and even a very cool new invention. This new tackle system allows you to easily transport multiple rods and tackle when you need to be mobile.
The Pike Lake – Valhalla
What I packed differently this year was the size of lures. In 2017 I really went to big so I packed only a couple large lures and mostly small to medium ones.
The Species lakes – Anglers Eldorado
This is where I really scaled down to as light as I could manage. Where I would be free lining tiny maggot replicas on a single size 14 hook in the hope to lure Rudd or similar.
The Cat Lake – The Specimen Lake
This year I took my specialist black cat rod a few twinnlers and a lot of determination to stick with the heavier lures.
Arrival – Friday
Arriving in the evening we meet in the famous bar. It’s always a fun evening and this year it was no different. Over a curry lots of drinks and plenty of banter we had the blind team selection and the team captain selection. I was drawn as the team captain for team one, a great mixture of first timers and veterans of the Anglers Paradise lure weekend.
Our team had the great fortune of starting on the trout lake where over 100 rainbow had been stocked a few weeks earlier. Historically it had always worked better for the first team fishing the trout lake because they shut down really quickly. My spoons and soft plastic Magic trout lures came into their own. Mike kicked things off for team one with a beauty of a perch in the first five minutes. I had started casting trout spoons and had two trout follows to the bank. I had a trout finally commit to the spoon about twenty minutes into the session. By this time most of the team had caught on soft plastic shads and were catching multiple fish. This indicated that I needed to change up.
Making a change
I swapped to a Magic Trout Curly B- Bobbles in Orange on a 2g jig head. Working this along lily pads I managed to get a couple more rainbow trout over the next hour. Whilst I had these fish on the jig, I was struggling to fish the jig slow enough which lead to my next change.
Using the same lure, I switched the presentation to a drop shot and what a difference it made. With the slower presentation I was able to land three fish in three casts. At that point my attention shifted to what the team were doing as one of the anglers walked past and explained how they had not yet caught a fish. We needed to change that, so I gave the angler a couple of my B-Bobbles and showed them how to work it on a jig head. At the end of the first two-hour session our whole team managed to get on the board with multiple fish. My rough tally put us at about twenty-five trout and one perch.
During the lunch break we heard news that some great fish had been caught on the cat lake. Two catfish and a carp had been landed on lures. What a result for that team as I don’t think a catfish had ever been landed during the lure weekend in the past.
For the second session we were on the pike lake. We had heard that the first sessions team had landed 8 pike. In the back of my mind I knew we would have enough time to land a pike as a team but did not think that we would get quite the result we had.
The team spread themselves across the pike lake and waited for the shotgun start. Fifteen minutes in and again Mike got us off to a start landing a pike on a spinner bait. Then, in the same spot he landed a second. Caught along the margin. Reluctantly I switched to a spinner bait myself and within five minutes I had my first pike. It was not the biggest, but it gave a good account for itself. Smashing my spinnerbait as I came through a patch of lilies.
Making A Move
I moved to the opposite bank where here was another patch of lilies and switched to one of the new Quantum 4Street Chatters with a Wag Worm trailer. I had another pike on again as the lure was coming though the middle of the lily pads.
After having taken the measurements and photos my next thought was the team. At this point Mike had caught another pike and we were the only two to have landed fish. Fortunately, I had several spinner baits to share with the rest of the team and after advising the team of the tactics that were working the pike started to get caught with regularity. I was particularly impressed with the youngest angler in our squad. Who after losing a pike at the net persisted for at least 30 minutes in the same area and finally got his reward, the pike was in the net.
At the end of session two on day one of the Anglers Paradise Lure weekend our team had taken nine pike. I did try for a good twenty minutes to target other species that I could see surfacing to increase out species count with no luck. Our species total for day one was there Perch, Trout and Pike.
At the bar over bangers and mash it was great to hear all the fishing tales from the day. Probably none better than the tale of Tom catching his PB catfish on a curly tale lure. We stayed up late exchanging more stories like this and the catches that were most memorable whilst drinking some of Zyg’s finest homemade wine.
Of the Anglers Paradise lure weekend had us up earlier than the Saturday to ensure we could fish both sessions and have prize giving at a reasonable hour. Allowing those travelling to get on the road at a decent time.
For session one on day two of the Anglers Paradise lure weekend our team started on the species lakes. This formed three lakes that had a bit of everything in them. This is where we would need to focus our efforts on catching new species. The team got off to a heck of a start catching perch within the first couple of minutes. Whilst the team were all catching perch on the top lake I walked down to the bottom lake. My plan was to target catfish for thirty minutes and then move to the middle lake to target species such as Rudd.
I completely failed with the catfish attempt and very nearly landed a Rudd on the middle lake. Unfortunately, when I went to lift the Rudd from the water it came off the hook. I was using the smallest of hooks at size fourteen and a replica maggot when I lost this fish.
Lost A Rudd
As I lost the Rudd our teams star angler Mike was hooking into a carp which would have taken our species total to four. Alas it was not to be as the carp managed to role the hook right at the net. As disappointed as he was for losing the fish Mike cracked on with the fishing. Changing tactics, he targeted Rudd and Koi and was rewarded for the change up when he landed a Rudd in the last 30 minutes of the session. Consequently this session had proven the hardest for me so far having lost the only fish I had on the line. Our species total stood at four at the end of the third session. Perch, Trout, Pike and Rudd.
After a short lunch we were back out for the fourth and final session of the Anglers Paradise lure weekend. The catfish lake. I was out and out fishing for a catfish. Never allowing myself to take anything light with me to this lake. I had three rods all geared to catching catfish. Before we started as a team, we knew that we needed to catch other species to keep up with the winning team with that in mind Mike agreed to target the smaller species and the team would focus on trying to catch the catfish and larger pike.
Despite my best efforts at a catfish and believe me I was methodical in taking that water apart. The cats were not interested. Whilst I was making my way around the lake, I spotted a lot of movement at the top of a reed line with small fish surfacing occasionally. I called Mike over as he was geared for catching the smaller species and asked him to give that area a go. I am really pleased that I called him over as he landed a golden Orf and then a golden Rudd to bring the teams species total up to six.
The End Of The Fishing
As the weekends fishing had started so it finished with a shot gun round being fired. Sitting here thinking about the weekends fishing and our team performance. I am immensely proud of what they were able to accomplish. The whole team did not give up once during the Anglers Paradise lure weekend. Due to not one of the team sitting down for a rest. We all fished every minute that we could, and the results would show.
Prize Giving For Team One
During the prize giving whilst we did not pick up first place as a team due to missed opportunities. As a result we did pick up a number of individual awards. Mike picked up second place individual for his six species and could have won had he landed that carp. Dom picked up biggest trout and Mark picked up biggest perch. As the Quantum team angler, I was able to present a number of sponsored awards including the blind team award and Third place and best catfish awards.
Another fantastic Anglers Paradise lure weekend was wrapped up because It lived up to my 2017 memories and more. A big shout out must go to Zenia and her team for making it such a memorable event where all anglers no matter the skill are welcomed. If you are looking at your 2020 fishing calendar. I would whole heartedly recommend you looking at this one. It is worth every penny.
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