I had arranged to pick up Glenn Bailey at 7:20am Sunday morning and arrived with Military precision and we were on our way in good time. The run down down the motorway was over very soon (not due to me driving excessively fast) as Glenn told me of his previous weekends antics on the barge. Turns out he had a couple of very good catches, including masses of small skimmers from Semington. The best story though was the fact that a Yank on holiday nearly drained one section of the canal due to not understanding the lock system!
I'd told the wife the night before that I really hoped to draw a flyer and get amongst the carp, so I was gutted when out came peg 25, the same peg Paul Haines had drawn last time we travelled together when he only had 5 carp! To rub salt in the wound Glenn drew peg 46 one of the flyers. As I walked to my peg the majority of people told me it was not good, only Mike Nicholls said he thought it could be OK. I moaned a lot about this peg, I had read in a recent Match Fishing magazine article that they reckon Des Shipp moans the fish into his pegs, so I thought I might as well give it a go! As I set up the reeds were knocking about but this was normal and I'd rather see the carp crashing about out of the reeds. I picked 4 swims, one tight against the left hand island reeds, it was 3ft deep here, one to the right hand island reeds, it was 5ft here, straight out in front at 11mtrs, and down the edge to my left. I now use 0.16mm line as although the fish are mainly 2lb in Yarlington Mill they fight like mad and you need the insurance because of the reeds. I fed micro pellet and a few bits of corn to the left island, 4mm pellets were loosefed on the right island, out in front, and in the edge 4m pellet and corn. I started feeding all the lines lightly as I was thinking that my only hope of coin was to win my section. The island left was my starting point with corn on the hook, but it was slow with 3 fish in the first hour. Mark Radford (eventual winner) was opposite me on peg 41 and into fish on paste from the start, I had paste rigs made up so tried it, but for 20 mins it never went under in my peg! After 3 hours I had just 4 carp and decided to try the inside line as I had seen the reeds knock occasionally. Four in four put ins doubled my weight but then it stopped. At this stage the guy to my left had 10 carp, and Thyers angler Steve Priddle had just 2! Word was it was fishing really hard and I kept plodding on, in the last 3 hours I caught 11 carp nicking a few from all the lines except for in front in the open water. Corn had been best for me, although a couple on paste and a few on pellet helped.
I thought the 19 fish I'd caught were around 2lb average and I wasn't far off as they weighed 39lb 10oz. Either side Steve Priddle DNW, the lad to my left had 11lb and I had won the section. I then found out I had come 4th overall, (they only pay 3) but I was 13lb off 3rd place and as I had only lost one fish all day wasn't ever that close. Glenn had come 2nd with 57lb and had caught nearly all his carp in deep water next to the reeds.
A nice pint of Thatchers in the sun was again very pleasant! Glenn returned to Cider Farm the following day for another open, despite the conditions being the same the lake fished a whole lot better, with Glen catching 56lb for nowhere! Brian Slipper of Thyers drew my peg and had 88lb fishing shallow next to the reeds, apparently his deep float wouldn't settle! What a difference, both me and Glenn had commented on Sunday how we could not get any bites shallow!!!