I travelled to Avalon on Sunday with Warren Bates, the finest carpenter in Keynsham, and as I arrived in my new Ford Mondeo estate I expected the gear to fly in. It was a tad more difficult than I thought, as Warren seems to possess the biggest net bag and holdalls ever made! We were soon on our way though and looking forward to a very warm sunny day, as we walked into the Shipham cafe ( always a great brekkie) I was greeted by many familiar faces. Bob Sheppard was fishing, and it was the first time I'd seen him since last summer and he hadn't changed too much, well once you're bold you're bold!
Avalon is a very picturesque fishery, the surroundings being mainly wildlife reserves and managed peat bogs. If you like wildlife this is the place, Cettis Warblers burst out in song, as do the parasitic cuckoos. Still I'm sure most of the anglers are completely oblivious to most of this, and the air was turned blue before the draw with a raft a jokes from Dave Haines, Les Williams, Martin Reyat and others. Unfortunately none of the jokes can be repeated here for they would probably result in my blog being shut down! I drew peg 30 which is a peg Dave "Dodgy" Downton has won off this year, he told me it needed a left to right wind to do well. Warren had drawn next door on peg 32 and we decided to have a pound on it, on my right was Bela Bakos with his better half out for the sun bathing. I remembered that I had drawn Belas peg last year, and that day came 3rd with 50lbish on the feeder, Leon Hubbard had been on my peg that day and caught nowt. Fish were showing very well in Belas peg before the match, and I thought he'd do well from it.
The wind was doing nothing at the start, and as a few fish were showing on the island but nowhere else I fed the pole line but started on the pellet wag shallow. I hit a fish 3rd chuck, it was on for all of 3 seconds until the 0.18 hooklength gave in.... It took a long time to get another bite, but I managed a carp of 5lb. On the opposite bank Tony (Mr) Rixon had started on the pole and at one stage had lost 7 landed 0 (he tried to claim it was only 5 he'd lost, but I know better!). I had been looking for signs on my pole line all this time but the first drop in yielded no bites, but on the hour mark I had a bite but this fish came off within seconds. I never had another bite on the pole all match! The wind had now started to blow ever so slightly and the lake was soon covered in willow blossom, this stuff snags your line in the rod rings making casting nigh on impossible. The amount of people (myself included) who removed the stuff and then forgot not to try to cast so hard and put the float in the far bank were to many mention! Commenting on the various mutterings around the lake Bela Bakos said the fishery should be renamed as "Fu&k it! lake".
The majority of my match passed off with no bites, the wind was the wrong way (right to left) and it created a strong drift which pulled my wag away from the island in seconds. The island was also bathed in sunshine and there were no signs of carp there for hours, meanwhile Warren and Bela had islands in shade and with 2 hours to go had 5 and 7 carp respectively. I said to Bela that during the match the only part of my peg that was in the shade was where I was sat, so I couldn't even catch a bloody suntan! Thankfully A few carp turned up in my peg in the last hour and I had 3 nice fish to 9lb on the wag and pulled out very quickly of 2 foul hookers. Warren only managed 1 more carp and Bela never had another fish, never the less I chucked back approx 28lb had been beat both sides and lost another £1. Warren weighed 38lb Bela 40lb. The elements on the day meant the peg I had was not the best, but I can imagine it being very good on its day.
Paul Elms won this match with 80lb, Martin Reyat was 2nd with 74lb from peg 27. I didn't rate Martins peg at the start as he was in the middle of the long last island, but it turned out the carp were there and he said they were showing all day. Martin had 10 decent fish, one was pushing 15lb, all caught on the pellet wag. There were a few fifties and a number of forty pounds weighed in so most people had a few fish. Back in the car park Dave Haines was sporting a nice sun burnt head, but then he lifted his T shirt to show even more red skin, although this time it looked nicely patterned with white, I guess the rolls of fat kept some skin sun free!
I just heard from Glen Bailey, he has won his section at Cider Farm from peg 17 on Yarlington ( by double default) with 80lb+ seems this venue has fished well all weekend, even on Sunday in the bright sunshine.
I guess if it remains warm the carp will soon spawn and hopefully most venues will then be more consistent!