I was booked in for this match ran by Tony Rixon, and tried the breakfast on offer at the fishery. It wasn't that great, I wouldn't have it again personally.
This match will have blog overload since Mike Nicholls, Chris Fox, and obviously Tony were all fishing it. When I drew peg 5 I was really happy, this was the peg that John Dursley had won from last time I was here. I felt really confident about having a good day, even with Shawn Kitteridge on peg 9 (has won most matches here) and no one on peg 8! However, I had a very, very trying day!
As I began setting up the rain was fairly light, but the wind was nigh on gale force and causing me problems just to set up! Even before the match my pole blew off the two rollers I had assembled, and it was difficult to keep anything in its place. With the wind being so strong I set up 0.75 grm floats for the deep water, one with 0.12 to an 18 Drennan red hook thingy (for caster), and one with 0.14 to a 16 B911 (for pellet). I set up two shallow rigs, one for 2.5 ft on the shelf, and one at 10" for right up to the far bank. Both were on 0.14 to 16 B911 for either pellet or maggot hook baits.
To start the match I fed a full small Preston pot of 4mm pellets at 4mtrs and to my left, the same of caster in front at 4mtrs, and some pellet and caster across on the shelf, although the wind would have to drop for me to fish here. I began on soft pellet to my left at 4mtrs, and straight away it was hard work to present the bait. I went a float length over depth which produced a couple of bites but no connections, so took a couple of inches off. This produced two small carp and then an eight pounder. As I unshipped to my top set I couldn't find the pulla bung, this was because I had brought the top set without it, so let's just say I had some fun landing that 8lber and some others during the day.... After a couple of bumped fish and another small carp this line died, but with the wind so bad I kept trying this line. The caster line was a complete waste for me, it only produced 1 perch all day. but to my right Paul Faires was bagging perch (though he had fed some chopped worm) after taking a few fish on the method feeder.
I tried across because Shawn had started to catch over, but one carp and two other bites was all I could muster off either shallow lines. The pole had blown off the roller twice more and so I was shipping it along the ground now to prevent major damage. Carp seemed to be topping all over the place in the left part of my peg, including close in, but for the next 3 hours I reckon I might have caught just two fish. To be honest the wind was doing my head in, and I think it blew my brains out because I felt like packing up, Shawn was emptying it and Paul next to me had now caught 3 tench and 2 bream to go with his perch. I felt deflated and for the first time in a long, long time just didn't know what I was doing wrong, the fish were there I'm sure but I couldn't sort it. With 2 hours to go the wind dropped slightly, and going right across at 14 mtrs I had a run of carp that were all below 1lb, I took these mostly on maggot over caster. This line slowed and so I rested it, but it never really happened again.
It seemed to me that other than Shawn the bigger carp had been caught in the deepest water, so with an hour to go I concentrated on the 4mtr pellet line, and a line at 13 mtr to the left with the same depth and rig also feeding pellet. I should say that I tried the inside line on and off all day, and despite seeing at least 8 fish jump here I never had a bite! I took a lump from the 4mtr line, but then pulled out of two more and missed a bite. I tried the 13mtr line and I hooked 6 carp in as many casts landing only 3 (all over 5lb). Why I lost the carp I don't know, but it just added to my general frustration and I started to let it get the better of me. I managed to land a couple more decent carp before the whistle went.
Tony Rixon on peg 2 struggled for 25lb, Paul on peg 4 won the silvers with 25lb and in total weighed 49lb 6oz. I weighed 49lb 14oz which was enough to get the section (9 pegs) by double default. However, this gave me no satisfaction at all as I know I should have come 2nd off this peg today and I blew it, pissed off all day and still am.
Shawn weighed 135lb for an easy win, but he did well battling the wind, Mr consistent Rod Wootten was 2nd with 62lb (including 19lb of silvers), Gary Wall 3rd with 60lb and Martin Rich 4th with 51lb. So I guess I was first out the frame, which is another reason why I'm pissed off as I must have lost 25lb off the hook.
Hopefully I can put this behind me and hope it was "just one of those days" as I need to clear my mind ready for Tony's float only series, next week is the first round at Viaduct and me not having been there for a year means I will have to be on top form to try to compete! Here's hoping you had a better day than I did today!