After a couple of good draws and results I was hoping for a good day at Cider Farm, well they say things come in threes! The match was sold out on Yarlington Mill and this was mainly due to the Kev Perry league at Bullocks ending last week. I picked up Ade Crawley who was going to pleasure fish (as he couldn't get in the match) and quickly arrived at the venue. Ade made his way to the pleasure lake (and he bagged up on carp and skimmers) whilst I stood in the draw queue, unfortunately I pulled peg bloody 15. I've had this peg a few times (once already this year) and it is, along with peg 7 in the section, without a gap and so your up against it.
Once I got to my peg my concerns about peg 15 were to worsen as the water was on the verge of going a grey colour. In my opinion this is always a bad sign, for example when the water goes grey at Avalon the fishing is diabolical! Also the talk before the match had been how hard Viaduct had fished on Saturday for the Super League, and all the signs told me today would be tough.
The little gap in the far bank reeds on peg 15 had gotten smaller than last time I was here as the reeds had rapidly grown, bad news as this is the only place you can get to shallow water. Steve Howells was on peg 14 and I doubted I would beat him, nor Mr Lock on peg 17 unless things seriously went my way! I set up a 4x10 PB4 at 18 inches for the gap, and another 4x8 for 9 inches deep. Two deep rigs, one for pellet and one for paste were all I needed. On the whistle I cupped in some micros and 4mms in the gap, some 4mm at 11m to my left in the deep water 1 metre off the reeds and threw some 6mms into the near side deep water (no shallow water margin is accessible due to the reeds). I went straight across with the 4x10 rig but kept an eye on the deep water line, if I saw any fizz I would go straight on it. The first 30 mins was a complete disaster as only 1 carp graced the net from across, the wind was very nasty and I quickly stuck on a Preston pot and tried cupping in some 4mm pellet, result 1 skimmer! I fed another decent pot of pellet across and decided to try the deep line. I had been feeding the odd pouch of 4mm to this line, but in truth it was hard to keep the bait in a small area due to the gusty wind. First drop and after 5 mins of lifting and dropping I had a small carp, and 10 mins later another and then the activity on this line stopped.
Back across in the gap and it was not happening, and despite the wind I decided to get the catty going. It was rather tricky trying to fire 4mm pellets into a gap that was just 10 mtrs away in such a very bad wind, but it did seem to induce a few liners and the odd rare bite which was more than before! It was not good though and I decided to try the 9 inch rig tight to the bank, the float buried and the carp was behind the reeds before I could do anything. New hook length attached and next chuck same result! Well it was obvious where the fish felt happiest but it was impossible to get them out fishing next to the bank with so many reeds present. I must admit I did try here again later and the result was a lost rig, frigging reeds!
Halfway through the match Shawn Kitteridge wandered round (he was just watching) and when I told him I had 6 small carp and the skimmer I was shocked when he told me this was par for the course and it was fishing rock hard. Well at least I was not alone then! For the second half of the match things went tits up really, I took another 2 fish from the far bank deep swim before one did me in the reeds, whilst the inside line never produced one bite. By now the wind was so bad I could not feed with the catty and keeping the pole tip from hitting the reeds was a major task, a Thyers angler who had packed up suggested from what he had seen the wind was at its worst in my peg, great! I spent a frustrating time foul hooking and losing fish or getting done in the reeds, and I was doing a bit of swearing, cursing and moaning if I'm honest, alright I was doing an effing lot, bastard wind, bastard reeds!
When the whistle went to end the match I was actually watching Steve Howells landing another carp as I had lost another hook. I decided to weigh in even though I reckoned I only had 20lb which would be nowhere near enough. Guess what, I weighed 20lb! Why is it I can I guess my weight correctly when I catch f**K all? Steve Howells had 48lb, fishing shallow at 16 metres in the open water, to come 2nd. Peg 11 won it (do not know the name as I monked off) fishing paste down the edge. The lake had fished badly, with ace angler Dave Roper on peg 54 packing up, Brian Slipper only managing 30lb off peg 25 (where I won from last time) and Mark Bromsgrove fished for silvers on peg 41 as he could not catch any carp, and there is no silvers pool!
What wrangles me is that I lost more than I caught and so framing was a possibility. I honestly believe that had I drawn a reasonable peg on the day I could have done OK, I don't mean that to sound big headed or like sour grapes, it's just I seem to do well here when it's hard, and today the lack of options on this shitty peg hindered me, mind you I wasn't the only one! Oh well, I suppose it might be a bit of a "taster" of what is to come next week, float only at Avalon. If the water is grey and the wind is just like today then it will be very, very difficult, but I remain positive and hope that this will not be the case. Hmmm maybe that is the cider talking, oh yeah I forgot to say, I decided to drown the memory of today and bought a few litres of Cider Farm Lakes finest rough. I will blame any spellings, poor grammar on this post, and the head ache tomorrow on it, hic! It is absolutely blood lovely stuff to drink, perhaps I should try getting pissed before the next match again, it might work! Actually, I'm feeling very merry now as I write this, and that is after 4 pints, feck me I reckin I cud be in trouble later, dont fink I cun right much more now as getin bollixed...............