I did manage to squeeze one match in before the end of 2008; I fished the open at Woodlands and had 4 carp for 15lb 6oz, which was only good enough for second in section and 3rd on my lake.
The first club match of the year was on Alders up at the Oaks, I tend to fish either terrible or really well on here, no real in between. Gordon and I arrived nice and early at just after eight and had a good hearty breakfast, they don’t half fill you up but at least you don’t feel hungry for the rest of the day!
There were 14 booked on today, as Stu took the remaining money Robbie and I pegged out the match as fair as we thought possible, though I expected there to be a few complaints. We can’t all fish the same peg though can we?!
I was almost last to draw and all that was left in the bag was 13, 15 and 33, ideally I fancied one of the two earlier pegs so I was relatively pleased when I drew peg 15, leaving Gordon on 33 and Stu on 13.
I got round to my peg and ‘got dressed’, I had some new thermal under trousers on today that I’d bought from Matalan for a quid, and as it turns out, their brilliant, what a bargain!
I got the box levelled and all the pole out, I found that to be on the slope I needed to fish 15m to just get onto it. I’d tied up two rigs the night before as when I looked in my box I didn’t really have anything adequate. I shipped out with one of them, a wire stem 4x14 with a nice thin bristle and the rig was miles too short, I tried the other rig but this was also too short. Buggar, I ended up using a pretty crude rig that I had left over from months ago, it was a 0.7g body down roach float which incorporated an olivette and a few droppers.
I also set up a rig for half depth (3ft) as a gesture but didn’t think I’d need it.
With the match starting in five minutes I realised I’d forgotten to get my bait so quickly ran to the shop for half a pint of red maggots. This was all I would use today although I did have some corn to use on the bomb if the ice thawed out on the island.
At the sound of the hooter I went out straight in front to 15m and cupped in half a dozen maggots and dropped the rig in on top. I had no indications for the first 10-15 minutes where as Stu had managed 2 small carp by big cupping liquidised bread in after every fish. The ducks then landed in my swim and pushed a mass of ice right where I was fishing so I decided to move to 15m at 1 o’ clock and set up a new line on the mark of half an hour. I tipped in another half a dozen maggots and waited. Stu managed another 2 small carp before his bites dried up. I think he’d now fed 4 cups of liquidised bread and as I watched him cup in the 5th my float disappeared but I missed the bite. I then foul hooked 2 fish and lost them both. I then managed to foul hook a Barbel of about 3lb in its pectoral fin but graciously tipped it into the keepnet.
I kept foul hooking fish throughout the day and tried up to a foot over depth and foot off bottom and everywhere in between but could only foul hook fish! Over the course of the match I lost 12 foul hookers, it doesn’t help sitting near Acko in times like these, although I probably provided his best bites of the day by snapping back at him!
By the end of the match I had 2 proper carp, 2 Barbel, 4 F1’s and an Ide but was still disgruntled at the thought of what weight I could have had. I felt pretty confident in the knowledge that I’d won the match mainly due to so many people walking round during the match as they weren’t catching so I was getting a pretty regular update that no one was really catching.
At the weigh in I was glad to be packing away as I was so frustrated at the amount of fish I’d lost and more so why I couldn’t locate them properly. I think through the match I only hooked two in the mouth, all the rest were in their fins, their backs, chins, foreheads, anywhere but the mouth! I managed to weigh in 20lb 8oz which seemingly was good enough to win the match, Gordon came 2nd with 9lb 15oz so I’d won pretty comfortably and it would also make for a pleasant trip home as we’d both picked up.
So in one sense a good start to the year in terms of reward but its still annoying me as I’m writing this that I should have weighed in at least double what I did!