For the first time for well over ten years I had a lift to a match from Dave Haines. Dave has certainly changed his habits, back in the 90's you always knew that Dave would be very late, but this Sunday morning he was outside my house early!
We were virtually the first people to arrive in the car park at Cider Farm, and as Dave hadn't seen the venue before I showed him where the lakes were. Nearly 50 people were booked in for this match, a good turnout for any open these days, and so Yarlington, Dabinett and Sheppards lake were all in today. I didn't want to draw Dabinett lake unless I could draw one of the 4 pegs in the gap, and I avoided Dabinett and drew peg 11 on Yarlington. I was fairly happy with this peg, it's rare this peg frames but I thought it would give me a good chance at the section which was worth £50 today.
Walking to the peg I saw that Rod Wotton was on his way to one of the gap pegs (21) on Dabinett, and so was Brian Slipper and Martin Barrett. As usual with Yarlington there were signs of carp knocking the reeds, trouble is the carp can be difficult to tempt away from the reeds especially when, like today, the sun shines. I set up 3 rigs today, one 4x14 for the deep water about 6ft with 0.14 to a 18 PR28 (in fact I used this hook on all my rigs), but let me say now I never had a bite on this rig! A 4x12 Mosella jobby set 3ft deep with same line and hook, and a 4x10 Preston Chianti set 1ft deep, with 0.16 direct.
At the start of the match I fed some micros, 4mm pellet and a bit of corn on a deep swim at 14mtrs which was down the side of the left hand island, the same bait in front of the island about 11.5 mtrs where it was 3ft, and to the right hand island again where it was 3ft deep. After feeding I remembered I hadn't put my keep nets in the lake yet! Starting on deep rig for 10 mins I never had a bite so on to the the right hand swim on corn and I had a small carp after about 10 mins. I took another 3 carp here before it went dead, across to the left 3ft deep swim and it was a long wait for bites but I took another 2 carp. As the hour ended I reckoned the 6 carp would have gone 10lb. I caught a couple more off this left hand swim but then I had 2 hours with hardly a bite anywhere. I could see it was fishing hard around me so I kept plodding on and eventually I started to get the odd bite on the 3ft swim to the left, but with a coupler of foulers it seemed to me to be liners so I tried shallow over the top with a pellet and nailed one first chuck. I took odd fish on this but it was never hectic, bites were well spaced out and out of the blue.
John Dursley to my right on peg 13 had been struggling but by going right into a gap in the reeds where it was 1ft deep he started to hit some carp. The sun then went behind some cloud and my bites came a bit quicker, I even took a few shallow across to the right. I should say I had dispensed with feeding by a kinder pot after 2 hours of the match and was catapulting out some 4mm pellets to both swims. A margin swim I had been nurturing never produced a single indication, but right next to my bank and inside the chopped down reeds I could see carp moving. It was probably suicide but I dropped my shallow rig down there with a bit of corn on, I did hook and lose one as the hook went into a reed but later I took two fish from here by dragging them straight up to the surface and scooping!
Towards the end of the match I was fishing much closer to the reeds to get bites but as the sun had come out again it was tough. By the end of the match I had fed around 1 pint of 4mm pellets, but I really think it was the noise the pellet made rather than the amount that was important. I had fished a very strong elastic to prevent the carp getting in the reeds, some yellow stuff that Tony Rixon put in for me a while ago. It worked in that I only lost one carp across to the reeds and used the same rigs all day, you pull out of a coupler of foulers cos it's so strong but I'd rather that than lose rigs and fish in the reeds. I weighed in 48lb 9oz which was enough to win me the section, John Dursley was next with 38lb, he had a lot less fish than me but a much better stamp. I ended up being 3rd on this lake which I was pleased with.
Sheppards lake had fished really well, with paste star Dave Roper winning with 146lb from peg 10, Rod Wotten came in 2nd with 125lb from Dabinett. Craig Tucker (son of Lance)had 98lb on Sheppards on pellet shallow before he rushed off as he has to do 7 month stint in Afghanistan, GOOD LUCK CRAIG! A 96lb on paste next to the winner, plus a couple of 80lbs also came from Sheppards. With an 80lb and a couple of 50lbs on Dabinett, Yarlington had fished the hardest today.
Dave Haines struggled for just 4 carp, but allegedly he did fish as far as 13 mtrs today! I'm going to Cider Farm for the next couple of weeks now, I think the numbers will be down a tad this Sunday as there are a couple of league matches on, but with most of the Thyers lads away it might give me a chance to draw a flyer!