Sunday and off to Avalon for Tony Rixon's float only series. I was in a fit state when Glenn picked me up (I had done my drinking Friday night at the Bitton Beer festival) but I wound him up by appearing to be hungover and slouched over my box! I didn't fancy fishing with a hangover at Avalon though as you need your head screwed on usually. I sampled the Stockman breakfast at Shipham and it was absolutely brilliant and kept me going all day.
I have never drawn the specimen lake at Avalon but quite fancied getting it today, but once again I missed it. I found myself on peg 29 which I have drawn twice before, and as last year I had a bad day on peg 30, I felt I knew the area fairly well! My company for the day was Dave "Dodgy" Downton (to my right) and Clayton Hudson. I was in a tough section too, with Tony Rixon, Leon Hubbard, Martyn Reyatt, Vic Bush oh and team mate Nick Ewers. My peg has an island opposite which is in the form of bay before straightening up, it is a very long chuck though.
Getting set up was fairly straight forward, two 4.5 swan pellet wags (one 1ft deep, the other 2ft deep) with 16 PR36 to 0.18 Exceed line. A shallow pole rig (that doubled up for the margin) deep rig for banded pellet and another for paste completed things. I had not expected the day to be to windy (based on weather forecast) but this turned out to be wrong, big time! To start with the wind was blowing gently down and across the lake to me, so I decided to start on the pole at 15mtrs with the deep rig on 8mm banded pellet. I fed half a big cup of 6mms here and fed 8mms over to the island by catty (all day). Within a few minutes my pole line showed signs of activity with bubbles and small fizzes, but it took 15 mins to get a bite which I converted into a 6lb carp. About another 15 mins later and carp no2 was landed, and then Clayton landed a 10lb carp on the pole shallow to cancel out my lead. Things were looking good at this stage Clayton commented, but not for much longer!
An hour and 30 mins in and I had not added to my tally, but I had pulled out of 3 carp on the pellet (pretty sure foulers) and bumped what I think was a big skimmer on paste. The fizzes and indications on the pole line had now stopped and so I picked up the pellet wag. Now despite Clayton and Dave not having anything yet on the wag I was fairly confident of it burying first chuck, but it didn't, and it took me about half an hour to get a bite which was from a fouler and I lost it. Twenty minutes later and the same result, aaarrggh! There were no indications of fish in the peg just literally a bite every twenty minutes or so. It was around this time that there was a large bang and I looked round to see Dodgy had snapped the number 6 section of his Maver pole on the strike. I said that would go in the blog, and I tried not laugh. (Hence the title, smashing time, read on for more smashing!)
Halfway through and the wind was dreadful and getting worse and I was struggling to get the 8mm pellets to reach the island and it was impossible to get the feed to land in the same place. I had 3 carp by now, Clayton was still stuck on one carp and Dave was blanking so I felt I was doing sort of OK. The wind put me off trying to feed a long pole line as I could not see how I would be able to present the rig properly, so I soldiered on with the wag. My perseverance was rewarded and I managed to hook a few more carp on the wag, all in the mouth and no more losses, well there was one when I looked away and looked back to see the float had gone under so I struck and managed to snap the hook length (twat). The last 30 mins were dead for me, a try down the margin resulted in one dropped perch that liked my 8mm pellet, and I finished the match with 8 carp. I reckon I fed 3 pints of 8mms over the match and 2 pints of 6mms, not a lot but I don't think it was a day for heaving it in.
Waiting for the scales I chatted to a few people around me, poor old Clayton had got stuck on one carp, bad luck mate but thanks for keeping me up to date with the England cricket score all day! Dave Downton managed 3 late carp on paste, Tony Rixon only had 4 carp and Martin Reyatt had 5. Glenn was in the same mess as Dodgy, just 3 carp and a snapped number 6 section on his Maver pole, I'll say no more! I weighed 43lb 10oz which won me the section, Martin was 2nd with 37lb and Leon Hubbard 3rd beating Tony off the next peg with a couple of nice lumps! The match had been a very tough affair, the venue fished hard but the wind made some pegs very hard indeed. The match was won by Chris Fox with 62lb on the Speci lake, see his blog for full run down, and Kev Moulton was a close 2nd on form corner peg 24. The silvers were won by skimmer king Mike West. O yes, nearly forgot, I also heard that Josh Garrett had a smashing time, snapping his waggler rod in half!
So my £30 section paid for the family kebab, and luckily despite catching the island foliage a number of times I never lost any gear, a cheaper day out than normal at Avalon! As we drove back home Glenn told me that the area of the lake he was pegged in was alive with fizzing fish when he got to his peg (he was the first person there after the draw), but as more people turned up to their pegs all the fizzing stopped. Seems the fish are unhappy with the amount of bankside disturbance, and in fact smaller matches here do seem to give better weights. Glenn also reminded me that what I had said on my last post was proving true, that each time he travels with me lately he catches nowt. Well he's fishing on his own next week at Viaduct, if he can get another number 6 section that is, kerching!