With Gordon going to Holland straight after the match I had to make my own way to the venue for a change. I woke up with plenty of time to spare so after making my flask and packing the carryall I decided to make my top kits up and transport them to the venue ready to plumb up straight away. This would save me a bit of time before the match and I wanted to have a good plumb about on what ever peg I got and get a better feel for my swim. I’ve become a bit lazy and settling on fishing comfortable swims and not necessarily the right swims and so wanted to make a conscious effort of getting my rigs right for the day.
Come 9am and the draw was underway, ideally I wanted a peg between 30 and 45, we only had pegs 1-45 and I felt these latter few would throw up the better results. Needless to say I drew peg 4, I was still fairly confident but a difficult 7 man section would mean I’d have to pull out all the stops. Ian Farrington was on peg 1, Gordon was on peg 2, Owen was on peg 3, Leroy was on peg 5, Tel was on peg 6 and finally Nige was on peg 7. Owen is a new member to the club and told me it was from reading my blog that had encouraged him to join, I just hoped all my previous ramblings wouldn’t give him too much of an inkling into how to fish the venue!
Seeing as my top kits we’re already set up I set about preparing my expanders and then get on with the plumbing. I plumbed up from tree to tree on the far bank and found a fairly consistent depth of just over 2ft right across, although the right of my swim was perhaps 2 inches shallower. There was also a fair bit of crap in the water as the grass and the sedges had recently been cut, hopefully this wouldn’t hamper presentation.
I had 3 Malman Cedar 4x10 rigs set up, all on 0.14 to 0.12 Ultima Power match, one had a size 16 B911, one had a size 18 B911 and the other was set up for fishing to the mud again with a 16 hook. Elastics were 12 latex and 14 for the mud line. I also had a track rig set up.
Bait today I had everything for a change, the past few weeks I’ve limited myself so to not complicate things but when your baits aren’t working after the first few hours you’re left up poo creek without a paddle! So today I had half a pint of red maggots, some micros, some 4mm expanders, some 4mm meat, corn and even cat food in my bag as a back up!
At the all in I shipped out to the left sedge armed with a 4mm expander and tipped in a pinch of micros. After a lift and tap the float dibbed and I met this with a gentle lift, thus setting the hook and resulting in the first carp of the day, a mirror of about 3lb. After reading Clive Pritchard’s blog I decided to follow his rule of thumb in just gently lifting into bites rather than trying to yank the fishes head off, his reasoning was that if it’s a liner, that’s when you start foul hooking fishes in the upper depths, well, so far so good as this was hooked neatly in its top lip! I managed another 2 F1’s about 10 minutes apart which put me on about 7lb after the first half an hour. Then guess what happened? Correct, it went dead again, so many matches this year I’ve started off catching fairly well at the start of a match only to be kicked in the teeth and brought back down to earth! With our matches being 6 hours in duration it meant I went 5 hours without a fish before adding 3 further F1’s to the net by fishing as long in my peg as I could with corn and no feed. Meanwhile no one else was really catching either, most had a similar quantity to me and it was just a case of who had the bigger fish. However, Owen caught quite a few, he had at least double what I had and probably lost more than I had bites too, that’s the last time I tell him anything!
Come the weigh in, Gordon had to shoot off so I was left with weighing duty in his place. Ian on peg 1 weighed in 17lb odd, Gordon was next with 18lb odd and I thought to myself ‘’there’s another quid gone’’! Owen weighed in a very respectable 31lb which would easily take the section. I then weighed in, 14lb odd; ho hum…….another quid gone. Leroy weighed in 11 or 12lb, Tel had tipped back, as had Nige. There were then no real weights apart from those in the frame. T-Koz had 37lb, Stu Stott had 46lb odd, Chris Nattrass had 47lb to take the match win and Steve Hoddo made up the final placing with 41lb.
Even those who had weighed in over 40lb had said it fished crap, granted it did but try going 5 hours without a bite! Then you know its fished crap! Even the lads on the open had struggled to put any sort of weight together although Robbie managed a match win with nearly 70lb, I’m gonna have to take some lessons I think!