This Sunday I fished the Nic Collier and Anton Du Beke organised open at Goodiford Mill Lakes. Thanks must go to Tony Rixon for calling Glenn and myself to ask if we wanted to fish as in the end there was a waiting list. I was up for this match as it was a venue I had never seen before and that always gives me a buzz. However, Glenn, having fished here before, was concerned that 40 anglers on the lake was going to be detrimental on the fishing.
Glenn started my day in excellent form by surprising me with two freshly made bacon rolls which I had engulfed before we got to the M32. Arriving at the venue Glenn showed me the way around and we surveyed what looked like good pegs. There was plenty of evidence of carp spawning, but it was by no means madness and so I hoped some should be feeding. I drew peg 13, actually permanent peg 8, which I was told was where a bar went through the lake and was a good draw for the pellet wag. For company I had young Ryan Summerhayes on my left and Bathampton ace Leon Hubbard to my right. I set up a 3 swan pellet corby and set about finding the bar, but when I got to 5ft deep and could still not hit bottom anywhere I gave up! A little later a local walked around and told me there was no bar in my peg, but it was either side, well at least it would make playing the carp easier (if I could hook some).
I was very positive in my set up, the one pellet wag, and a top set with a 4x10 PB2 for caster. Leon was in much the same mindset going with two pellet wags! On the whistle I started firing out 8mm pellets to just past the middle, and threw some casters to my left. I was expecting some action fairly soon and I got it, but not how I was expecting it! Whilst feeding my swim I had the wag just past the end of the rod and a carp took the pellet, unfortunately I was too slow in reacting and the carp snapped the 0.18 hook length! After this it took about 30 mins to get a carp, and with only 2 other bites the first hour was poor, Leon had managed 3 carp and a rudd. After an hour and a half I had just 2 carp and nothing was happening for me, I could see rudd feeding on my loose fed caster so decided to have a look. I took 4lb of rudd and roach in 30 mins before they had enough and disappeared. I had been contiually feeding 8mm pellet and was hoping the carp would be lined up, but they weren't there!
I was getting a bit worried now, I could see a few anglers catching the odd carp and had I had the pole set up I would have been on it for sure. So with about 2.5 hours gone I started to fish further over and also upped the feed a little. My reasoning was that Leon was getting bites on the bar, but as I wasn't getting anything I needed to try to draw fish to me from either the island or Leon's peg. Leon gave me a lifeline by striking his waggler into the trees behind him, and as he stopped feeding while he sorted it out I suddenly started to get some bites. I was now getting somewhere, and eating into Leon's lead over me, in fact he soon started telling me how close he thought things were. For the last two hours the fish seemed to go between me and Leon, I had a bad spell pulling out of 5 fish in a row (when Glenn was behind me) and then a bit later the same thing happened to Leon! The carp were in my peg now, but they were right up on the surface and frustratingly were taking most baits except my hook bait!
By the end of the match Leon was convinced I had 15 to 20lb more than him which I simply did not believe, I thought we had about the same as we both had around 21 carp. In the end Leon said let's have a £1 on it, so I agreed to give him £1 if I weighed 15lb more than him. When the scales arrived I was not to pleased as they were horrible 110lb scales with a weigh net full of holes that a 1lb carp could and did fall out of. Leon weighed 84lb, and I weighed 102lb (4lb of silvers got me the ton) and promptly gave Leon his £1!
I knew Dean Malin had won the match because of the bank side banter, but I soon realised that the only other angler who could still beat me was Tony Rixon, no surprise then when he did beat me weighing 109lb. I nearly managed to split the Malin / Rixon partnership, lost fish cost me though.
Dean weighed 214lb, all caught down the edge on pellet, Dean said to me after it was boring, but that he lost loads and had his elastic snapped twice as fish went through a bush.
1st Dean Malin (love child of Paul Lombard?) 214lb
2nd Tony Rixon 109lb
3rd Tim Ford 103lb
4th Gary Bedford 85lb
5th Leon Hubbard 84lb (Let that be a lesson)
Ron Stark won the silvers with 27lb
So I managed 3rd on my first visit here, a decent draw and self belief in the right method certainly helped. I had some good banter with Leon, and it's obvious he's much better at estimating weights than I am. Glenn was looking for anti depressants after drawing up in the leg with lots of anglers and few fish, most people packed up in this area. I must admit the venue is very nice looking, set in lovely countryside, it needs less anglers on it though to make it a better match in future.