I’d decided to book myself onto the Christmas Cheer match up at the Oaks on the 21st December, with a top prize of £500 and an evening do with a buffet and a raffle I thought why not?! To qualify for the match however, you need to fish 6 matches between the 1st November and the date of the match itself. With a free weekend just gone I decided to fish both Saturday and Sunday to get a couple out of the way. I arrived at the fishery at around 8am on the Saturday morning, ready for a bite to eat, get some bait and book on. The draw was to be at 9 and fish 10-3, just like our club matches we started 15 minutes late ;o)
Dave was holding the draw bag, my hand went in and out came peg 58, I asked him if it was a good peg and he paused before saying, yeah, yeah its alright, the pause told me everything! Today however I would have been glad to be in a peg out of the wind and actually fish my match how I wanted rather than the wind dictating how I approached it.
Thankfully when I pulled up at my peg I was 2nd peg into the point and therefore would have the wind on my back all day but would hopefully be able to fish my own match. I had Ian Bowman (Maver Barnsley) round the corner on peg 56, someone on 60 and Bob ‘The Builder’ Sinclair on 62 so I’d have to fish my heart out to get anything from the day.
Rigs for the day, I had two sedge rigs, a 4x10 and a 4x12 Malman Cedar on 0.12 Ultima, the lighter float had a hooklength of 0.10 Powerline to a Fox Carp Match 20 and the heavier float had a size 18 B611. Both sedge rigs were on 8 latex elastic. I also set up a track rig at 12m.
My main sedge line for the day was to be 14.5m to my right, tight to the sedges in front of the tree. I was able to use the same rig right across the swim as the depth was consistent. For bait I had a pint of whites and a few reds.
Time was called at 9:15 and I shipped out with the 4x10 rig out with a single red maggot and spent the first 45 minutes searching the swim, not feeding anything and simply fishing different lines for five minutes. If I didn’t get any indication I would simply drop it in a metre further down the bank. My efforts were finally rewarded when I slipped the net under a little ghostie of about a pound. The bloke on my left had also had 1 and peg 56 had nothing. I then decided to introduce a bit of feed to my main sedge line. I tipped in 4 maggots and swung my rig over the top. Within a few minutes the float dipped and a brief tussle entailed and soon I had an F1 of about a pound in the net. I managed a further 2 F1’s of a similar size before it went quiet again. I started to search around again but no look. Ian on peg 56 had started to put a few together and I think with 2 hours to go he 2 Ide, a Chub and 4 F1’s so I was 3 fish behind. The bloke on 60 had also had 4 fish by now.
By the last hour I had caught Ian up and on the final I had another fish on to mark the end of the match, I finished with 9 carp and one Ide. At the end of the match I was getting regular dips on the float but couldn’t connect. Ian finished with 9 fish in total and the bloke on 60 still only had the 4. It had fished hard but hopefully I could take away the knowledge of beating some of the regulars. Ghandi came round for the weigh in and Ian on peg 56 put 12lb 6oz on the scale so it was to be close. I managed 13lb dead so had beaten him and also the bloke on 60. Bob ‘The Builder’ weighed in 5lb so I felt I’d done ok. Mark Calvert weighed 16lb odd off 64, peg 66 had 20lb and 68 16lb odd.
Although I’d not won the section I was happy to beat the anglers immediately around me. I spoke to John Chapman after the match and he weighed 9lb 11oz so overall I’d not done too badly. James Dent won the match fishing corn and managed about 30lb I think.
Sunday came and with it winds of up to 40mph! Not gusts of 40mph, just constant all day! I drew peg 15, this time around Dave said that there were a few fish to be had there, again it was just a case of being able to fish!
For company I had Dave Pimlott on peg 17, Steve Sharples on 13 and Tony Koz on 11. The wind was to prove to be a problem with the gust coming from left to right through my swim. Due to me being on the end of the point it meant I couldn’t see how everyone else was doing so I’d have to guess they were doing well and try to do better myself.
Rigs were the same as yesterday and I had my remaining maggots from the day before as I’d probably only used a dozen from the pint! Today I also brought the bomb rod with me, I was glad I did as the wind was terrible!
To cut a long story short, the first two hours came and went and all I had were a few skimmers and gudgeon, the wind was as predicted and felt more like 100mph. the second two hours the winds remained but with it came a driving icy rain, I didn’t put the brolly up as I thought it would be more hassle than its worth so got cold and wet! I also remembered I’d torn the crotch on my waterproof trousers and so after a few hours had a little scare when I thought I was wetting myself, gladly to realise the rain was running off my jacket into tear! Phew!
I couldn’t feel my hands for the most of the match due them being so cold and seeing as I couldn’t fish further out than my top four I decided to chuck the bomb out and sit and wait until the tip went round. After 45 minutes of it being in the water the tip finally arced around and my first F1 was in the net. After that the wind and rain both subsided to I put the pole out to the same hole I’d got my bite from and nothing else, not even a liner. I managed a few more silvers before the final whistle but was more than relieved when time was called.
I tipped back to save embarrassment, Steve Sharples had ‘10’ for 17lb odd and Dave Pimlott had 13lb I think? Chappy managed 3rd with 25lb odd I think. Robbie managed to double default his section with 13lb 14oz. Stu tipped back 5 carp and for most it was a day to forget! I don’t think I’ve ever wanted a cuppa so much!
Anyway I’ll be back again next week; hopefully the weather will behave itself!