This match was originally booked to be a Talk Angling Pairs match with the Omnibus lads, but it was cancelled and so Tony ran an open here instead. I'd booked in as I prefer to fish just Yarlington, rather than be split over Dabinett and Sheppards where the Cider Farm open was. As I travelled down with Glenn we we hoped it would fish well, the weather was very heavy when we left Bristol, good conditions normally. However, when we arrived at the lakes the sun was out and there was no breeze which spelt a tough time. Tony had 25 turn up, including John Bradford who finally found the lakes after somehow finding his way to Congesbury instead!
Peg 15 stuck to my mit, not good in my opinion as in my section pegs 4, 11,13,14 and 17 have gaps to fish to and mine does not. A quick word with Brian Slipper and he suggested I get back in my car and go home! When I got to the peg though I was pleased to find a gap in the far bank reeds which was my main hope to catch carp from, apart from that I was struggling to find another sensible line. Martin McMahon was on peg 14, first time he's been for a while as normally he takes his son, Bela Bakos was on 17, and with Glenn on peg 7 it would be a hard job to get the section I thought let alone frame. Setting up rigs it was pretty standard stuff for me, two rigs for the far bank, one with band one without, 0.16 to 16 hooks. A margin rig, though this was on my top set as beyond that I could not get to the margins! A deep rig was put up but again waste of time for me! It was an absolute pleasure setting up, with the sun shining, a cuckoo calling and reed buntings singing, but neither I could see.
All in and some micros and 4mms were fed into the far bank gap in 1ft of water, same plus corn on the margin, and a dump in the deep water. I started across on banded 8mm pellet and within minutes I had a couple of liners, after 15 minutes I was 2 nil down and changed one hook length. Despite being in a gap (about 2.5 ft wide) and on heavy elastic these little blighters can still get to the reeds before you can blink! I managed to land one, before another loss and I felt the need to change the hookbait. Trying the other rig on corn was no good, but onto a sonubaits 6mm F1 hooker pellet and I got a bit more action. I think after 2 hours I had 7 carp and had lost about 5, mainly pulling out of what I expect were foulers. At this stage I could see that Phil Harding had caught well on peg 46, but those around me were struggling.
It all went a bit pair shaped for me for the next two hours (plus it tipped down with rain a couple of times), I couldn't get bites across and only had one margin fish first drop. Out of desperation, and knowing that Tony was running a silver pool, I got out another top set and a 4x12 rig set at 18" with a 18 B911, and a pint of caster. flicking a few out on top set range I soon had rudd boiling and went in with the rig, I had some nice 3oz to 6oz fish for a while and thought I was going to empty it when they disappeared, and I hooked a carp! I played it on the top set for about 20 secs before it charged across and into the reeds and left me hook there! I then caught a few more rudd, roach and hybrids for before they went completely which surprised me. I had a look for the carp again, I'd been firing over some 4mms with the catty to keep some bait going in but it was dead, and the reeds weren't moving. After 20 mins of this I tried the caster line again, a rudd first drop then nothing, so I fed some caster across to the reeds and shipped the rig across. I was soon into small rudd of a few ounces, but at least it was bites, after about 30 minutes this line did the same as the first and the rudd disappeared.
With an hour and a half remaining I knew I had to catch some carp, so I went back over to the gap and tried my luck again. This time I potted in the same amount of 4mms that I had been feeding by catty earlier, but I fed them on the left hand side of the gap, next to the reeds. Within minutes I had a carp, and the next 3 drop ins, all fed the same, produced a carp. Got it sussed I thought, but then the bites slowed up went iffy and I lost a couple of foulers. To try something different I fed a toss pot full of micros to the right of the gap, and right next to the reeds. For the rest of the match I managed to nick just the odd fish from both lines, but had just as many either do me in the reeds or come off as I shipped back, very frustrating! I was not alone in the frustration stakes, I was in stitches over Martin McMahon breaking first his number 5 section shipping out, and then a number 6 section playing a fish, Maver pole wouldn't you know. Martin was a bit rusty (he himself said this) and he was grumbling at himself and the fish, and to be honest I was trying my best not fall off my box from laughing so much. When the scales arrived Glenn was winning the section with 39lb+, that was until I weighed 42lb 6oz, crucially my silvers weighed 8lb and made all the difference. Bela weighed 38lb of all carp and so I had managed to edge the section. First time ever I have fished for silvers on this lake, glad I did! Toss potting was best for me today, but I should have gone closer to the reeds earlier, trouble is you know your going to lose a fair few.
The match was won by Chris Davis with 77lb, Chris got a bit stressed at one point and decided to play football with his holdall, obviously taking out his frustration on the holdall worked! Well done indeed to young Ryan Summerhayes who came 2nd with 69lb from peg 19, he caught well the last 3 hours on paste in the margin. Phil Harding managed 3rd from flyer peg 46 with 49lb, he struggled the last two hours. Dean Malin won the silvers with 13lb from peg 28, beating the gimp by a pound.
Weights were not too bad, but the fishing was generally hard today, fish are in the reeds and when they do come into your swim they are hard to hook in the gob. Going shallow doesn't seem to work either! Glenn suffered with many foul hookers, and this did his head right in he said, me beating him for the section probably didn't help either!
The open on Sheppards and Dabinett was dominated by Sheppards, with at leaset one ton weight. So where to fish next Sunday...hmmm, not decided yet maybe a bit of waggler fishing somewhere, I need the practice!