This match was fished at Landsend, and after my debacle there the previous week, and the fact I cannot do any good in the series, I was hoping to avoid lake 3 and 4 to have a chance of framing. The conversation on the drive down to the venue with Glenn mainly centered around the England game against Algeria, nuff said, but also the lack of people and carp on his trip to Whiteacres.
I had toyed with the idea of somebody else drawing for me today, but in the end I decided to pull my own, peg that is. Peg 71 came out which put me on the first peg on lake 4, all chances of framing were out I was told, but I should win the section as long as I beat peg 72 next to me. Glenn also drew on lake 4 in the far end opposite corner to me. I have never fished this lake before so was pleased to be on a good peg!
When I arrived at the peg I was greeted by the master builder Fabio opposite me, Viaduct carp slayer Fred Roberts on peg 72 and then Tony Rixon turned up on the peg next to Fabio. I was impressed by Tony's ability to push his gear up and down the hill, but when he then sat on his box for a long time (he said surveying the peg) I realised he was actually knackered. Peg 71 is in a corner, and the wind usually blows down towards this end of the lake, and I was given lots of useful advice from many anglers. It seemed the carp are small in this lake and silvers are not plentiful. I had the corner to fish into and then the point where it came out of the corner, as well as open water. I set up a 4x12 PB1 inter float, with 0.14 to a 16 B911 (for the open water with soft pellet), 4x10 PB4 for into the corner, a dibber for across to the point and a Maver bristle job for just off the point. All of these three rigs were for banded pellet, oh there was also a paste rig for the inside but I didn't catch on that.
On the whistle I potted in some 6mms with casters at 9 mtrs, not a lot of bait as I wasn't expecting a bagging session. I cupped some more pellets into two spots in the corner and then loose fed some sixes to the point. Onto the open water swim with a 4mm expander and fingers crossed! Well the good news for me was that there were some fish about, I was getting odd bites from carp of less than a pound. I was topping up with about a dozen 6mms and 30 casters via a pole pot although I did vary the amounts as I tried to keep bites coming. I did try caster and maggot hook baits when things slowed, but they made no difference and soft pellet was best. After an hour I could see the four of us at this end of the lake had caught a few, but the other anglers were really struggling. This was typified by Clayton Hudson taking an early walk up the section and telling me I was pissing it! I continued on this line for as long as I could, and I had my best catching spell after an hour and a half with 4 fish in 4 casts really quickly, but then the swim died!
I was hoping to have seen a few fish move around the corners or the point but it took 2 hours for that. Going over to the point on the 1ft deep rig with banded 8mm I had a carp within 10 mins, but then the fun started! I lost 2 rigs to unseen snags (2 metres apart) and then as I was losing my third rig over I saw what it was, the old netting of a bale of straw! Tony suggested I should pull it out, the netting that is, so I walked around carefully on the slope (got moaned out by Fabio) and pulled the netting out, it was attached to a rope at both ends and was covering at least 2.5 metres of the bank. I decided to leave this line alone until I could see any signs of fish, and tried in the corner. One of the corner swims was a waste of time as I kept snagging up on roots or underwater branches, but at 5 metres right down the inside it was clear, but also devoid of fish!
Going back to the 9 mtr swim I managed to sneak a couple more fish out but it was very slow. I decided to start a new swim at 13 mtrs out into the open water, and I fed again with 6mms and caster in a pot. It took a time but I did get signs of odd small carp here, and as all my section were struggling and Fred Roberts next to me had also struggled after a few fish early on I decided to stick with it. A few fish came from the point on the dibber, but it was so shallow they wouldn't stay, and in the last 30 mins I took 2 small carp from the 5 mtr corner swim. The match finished and there were quite a few in my section who signalled their approval of this, including Matt Toomes whose simple comment made me laugh! As I packed up the mirth continued as I watched Tony throw his unused paste at Fabio, several times!
Myself and Freddo had to do the weigh in and it was no surprise that we ended up 1st and 2nd in the section (joke) I weighed 32lb 9oz and Freddo 17lb, Matt was next best with 15lb. The other side of the lake was better, with a 50lb, 35lb and two 20s. I was of course happy to win the section, but there was more to come from this peg and I just don't have enough experience on this lake and didn't realise just how small the carp were. I should have gone out to 13 mtrs much earlier on and probably would have been better feeding 4mms instead of 6mm.
Full result is on Tony's and Mike Nicholl's blogs, but Craig Edmunds did well to win the match, I don't mean cos of the peg, I mean cos of the state he was in at the start, he looked awful! Trig told me he had an empty peg either side of him and caught on banded pellet in the second half of the match. When he first went across he caught 15 chub on pellet, having never caught one on caster! Speci lake was certainly the place to be today, even match lake didn't play ball in the overall frame, and do you know what? I have never ever drawn on Speci lake yet!