I decided not to fish this weekend but to have a go at selling some junk at a car boot sale and free up some space in my house. Bad idea, it rained for most of the time and I only made about a fiver and gave everything else to St Peters Hospice (which is a very good cause).
I remember the lead up to this match on the Nene, we'd got some information from I think Chris Cooper and had decided to just turn up and fish. I managed to get hold of some very long wagglers that had been designed for the Nene some time ago, and the info told us to start on these, but look to change to a normal waggler later on in the match when the roach should come on the feed. I borrowed a work colleagues company car that made the journey to Peterborough much more pleasurable than it would have been in my Marina Estate! Andy Britt was the "manager" and had got all the info and pulled everything together, we had some good anglers fishing, like Mark Holbrook and Clayton Hudson, and thought we had half a chance as it was river fishing. I was given peg 212 on the North Bank, and this meant I could park my car behind my peg. When I arrived at my peg I found the anglers either side already talking. One was from Barnsley Blacks, the other from Starlets, great no pressure then!
I was not to happy that these two lads were ignoring me, by talking to each other from their pegs, but I just got on with setting up. I set up the long waggler with a 4 no6 bulk and 3 no8 spread below, this was set at 13ft deep. The normal wag was set at half depth with a few no8s spread out. I also set a pole rig up but was hoping not to have to use it. Whilst setting up I caught my hook in my jumper and this brought a chuckle from the Barnsley lad, after translation I realised he'd said "that's what I like to see". I ignored the comment, but as it seemed he had set up he came down to my peg and asked where I was from as he looked at what gear I had set up. "I been here 7 times practising, ow many times you been up?" he said, when I replied it was the first time I'd seen the venue he was staggered. He even shouted down to the Starlets lad to tell him that "this farmer here hadn't practiced". They both said how could I hope to do any good, and were rubbing their hands in anticipation of giving me a hiding. Now I will admit that I was a tad worried, they both had bloodworm and had practiced a lot, but I was cheered up by a an older guy stewarding who must have over heard some of their comments. "Just get on and fish it how you've been told and don't let them wind you up."
On the whistle out I went with the big wag, and feeding bronze maggot and hemp and it wasn't long before I got the odd roach. I reckon I had 2 hours of catching the odd small roach before bites were non existent. This was where you still had to feed but leave the wag alone for a while, on the pole I think I had an eel and a roach but it was very slow. The steward advised it was fishing hard and that the guy on the end peg was doing the best, but that I was not to far behind. With 40 minutes to go the waggler line came alive again, and a bite on the drop was the signal to change to the half depth wag. I was now catching better roach, and they were stuffed with bait! The whistle went and I was happy, I knew I'd stuffed the guys out of sight either side of me and that in itself was satisfying!
As the scales came down 5lb was winning the section, I weighed 5lb 7oz which 2lb more than the Barnsley lad and 3lb more than the Starlets lad. To be fair to them they both came up to me and congratulated me and I thanked them for leaving the waggler line free for me (they'd been on the pole most of the day). I didn't know what else was weighed in further down but the steward said he would let me know back at the HQ.
Back at the results the team hadn't done any good, we'd even had Clayton Hudson blank, though I recall a car accident happened right behind his peg and the commotion probably pushed the fish away. I was chuffed to find out that I'd come 2nd in the section, only beaten by the end peg, and I was 7th overall in the whole match giving me £64 and a medal for my troubles, that made the journey back home a lot sweeter.
The following day I was on the opening round of the ATWL South West division (Avoncliffe to Warleigh I think), the team was really up for this and we were hoping to start well. Things got off to a great start when Andy Floyd came back from the draw shaking, he had drawn end peg 1. The end peg draw on this round was always a flyer! I found myself pegged at Warleigh bang opposite the boat house which I did not fancy at all, the pegs below me held chub but I couldn't see any chub being in this peg with the boaters in and out all day. I set up a stick float and fished down a third of the way out into 5ft of water. I approached this peg in the same way I had the one at Avoncliffe a few weeks before feeding very little amounts of maggot and hemp. I had the odd dace, roach and perch, but caught mainly gudgeon and so had a busy day for my 5lb 9oz. I was really chuffed when I realised the chub hadn't shown (or were lost) and I won the 13 peg section for the team. It was a great start for me and the team as we won the day and the mighty Silstar Bathampton had only come 5th! For once the start to the ATWL was a good one, and although there was a long way to go we were in front and on a high! Before the next round of the ATWL there was a Commercial House and on the Saturday Team Amalgamation had entered a few teams in the Upper Thames Championship, a match I will talk about next time as I really enjoyed it!
Keep up the blogging Mr Rixon, it has already given me a great laugh even if it is just for the bad grammar!