Is it part of getting old, this last week I have been sleeping badly (4 to 6 hours a night) but have stopped feeling tired? Saturday night I was awake till 1am and then awoke at 5:30am but didn't feel to bad, weird. Unsurprisingly then Sunday morning I was waiting outside Glenn Bailey's house instead of his gear waiting for me!
We were off to Cider Farm Lakes and on the journey down Glenn and I talked about the previous days Fish'O'Mania and what a great advert for our form of angling it was. I have fished against Neil McKinnon before mainly at Hillview lakes, and know first hand how good an angler he is, well done Neil.
Glenn thought the fishing could be hard today as his brother Mark had fished a lake the day before and his winning weight was half of what is the norm. Cider Farm had produced 6 tons the week before so we were still expecting a decent day. The current anglers to beat at this venue are four welsh musketeers, and of them Howard Green drew plum peg 14, and Rob Jones drew the same peg he had taken 120lb from the week before! Still I was happy to pull out flyer peg 41 a regular framer and I was really looking forward to fishing it. As I sat surveying my peg I heard "Don't ever, ever, ever tell me you don't draw flyers Clucker!", it was none other than Pete Sivell. Now I've know Pete for a very long time, and for a long time we were team mates when we dominated the river matches with Avon Angling, so I knew what to expect from him, lots of winding up and mind games and a lot of laughs. Behind me on peg 40 was his travelling partner Ray Cooper and Chris Davies was opposite Ray on peg 32. This meant we could all keep tabs on each other with a bit of verbal, Glenn was inthe distance on peg 11.
AS I set up fish were showing themselves, but it was noticeable how the activity reduced as we got nearer to the 10am start. Pete asked if I wanted a £1 bet and I agreed even though I had already won a match this year off the peg he was on. I set up 4 rigs today, two dibbers one at 9" for right against the far island and one at 18" on the shelf (both for banded pellet on 0.16 to 16 PR36), a paste rig for the left hand margin and at 7mtr with a 12 Drennan Nu hook to 0.18 and big H float, and a deep pellet rig which was a waste of time!
On the whistle I potted in half a pot of 6mms onto the island shelf, and a full pot down the margin at 3mtrs (it was 6ft deep here). I did not feed the 7mtr line to start with as I hoped the island would be prolific. Three fish in 20 mins on the shelf was not a bad start but then it went dead, and after another 20 mins despite feeding with a catty I had not had a single indication. Pete had started off by fishing shallow in the open water but had also struggled, so I decided to start up the 7mtr line. Feeding with half a pot of 6mms it took all of about 30 seconds for it to start to fizzing! Dropping in with the paste rig I was into a fish within a few minutes, but then it got silly with lots of indications but no proper bites. I tried feeding with a pole pot, and with just a big pot, but nothing made a difference. I though I was getting liners but coming off the bottom with the pellet rig and it just sat there motionless. Much earlier than I had planned I tried the inside (as the island was still dead) and took just one fish here.
Half way through and I was completely jarred off, I just couldn't catch and the odd time I hooked a fish on the paste it was foul hooked and came off. I said to Pete I felt like packing up, but then it's too easy to give up isn't it? I was temporarily cheered up by the sight of Ray Cooper swinging out an old tin of sweetcorn that he hooked fair and square in the lid, I reckon he must have had his hookbait in the tin for ages! AS I sat there trying to decide what to do next I could tell nobody was bagging and the venue was having an off day, I realised I was behind Pete despite him saying he only had 4 carp when he had more like 14, and the Welsh lad to my right had 10, so I had to sort things out. I made up my mind to concentrate on the inside line with paste, as this had produced a couple more fish for me, and I would have to try to get the feeding sorted out. Actually in the end I don't feel I changed to much, just threw in three handfuls of 6mm pellet for every fish, but all of a sudden I started to get sensible bites. The last hour to hour and half I caught steadily, with fish mostly 2lb but up to 4lb, this co-incided with Pete's peg drying up after he said he fed too much corn on the line he was catching. I also took one 2lb skimmer in the last hour which flew out of the lake, haven't seen that for a while! After the whistle blew I was feeling better about things but still just thinking of a section win at best. That was until Glenn arrived to tell me had chucked back seven carp and his section was won with 27lb and Howard had just 61lb off peg 14. I weighed 55lb 7oz and this turned out to be good enough for 2nd, just beating peg 46 which had 54lb.
This match had fished much harder than the previous week and Glenn's prediction was spot on. I was gutted not win, especially as I had pulled out of 8 fish, mostly foulers, but I think we were all caught out by how hard it fished.
Pete said he was not looking forward to reading my blog when he presented me with his nice shiny pound coin, but I assured him I would say he fished like a hero to win his section......... I'm not saying too much because we all know in this game, what goes around comes around!