This match was at Landsend, and many people were thinking the fishing would be hard with some of the lakes 2 foot down due to the long dry spell. I had not been able to get my no6 pole section repaired or replaced, and as 5mtrs would not give me much hope I was thankful that Warren Bates lent me his old 16mtr Diawa Connesior Ultra and some top sets. I was desperate not to draw lakes 3 and 4 today as I feel these are currently very patchy and you cannot frame from them. I was therefore not best pleased when I drew peg 75 on lake 4! Last time I was on this lake I was on peg 71 and I easily won the section with the rest of this side of the lake fishing very badly. I could only fish for the section money now, but when Josh Garrett rolled up on peg 71 I thought that was my chance gone. With Vince Brown, Brian Shanks and Jason Radford in the section it was going to be hard graft today!
I have to say I was feeling a bit more positive about things today due to the fact there were carp boshing up and down the lake, and I reckon I saw more before the start than I did in the whole of the last match. I mentioned this to Glenn who was on laske 3 behind me on peg 62, but he was still not keen on the outlook! As I set up Warren's pole I got out his cupping kit only to find it was a Drennan fixing, when all I had were Preston pots, but luckily the guy behind me had a spare Drennan pot and passed it to me. (You wouldn't get such sportsmanship in football would you!) I set up rigs fairly light as I knew the carp were on the small side, a 4x12 rig for 5 mtrs and 14mtrs at 10'o'clock and 2 o'clock with 0.12 to a 16 PR28 was for soft pellet, a 4x12 PB4 for down the margins with 0.14 to 16 PR28, and 2 dibbers one at 10 inches and one at 4 inches deep for banded pellet on 0.16 to 16 PR36.
I started by cupping some micros and dampened 4mms at 5mtr, corn and caster and pellets on the 14 mtr swims. At this stage I did not feed the margins, waiting to see how it fished, I fed some 4mms by catty across to the islands. In on the 5mtr swim and a couple of tiny skimmers came on the soft pellet before my first carp I took another 3 carp here and a few bits in 30 mins before I tried the o'clock swims and never had a bite on them at all! After this I went across and took 1 carp on banded 6mm pellet but the fish were not there in numbers, in fact I could see carp swirling in the empty peg to my left so there were some nearby!
After an hour and a half I was off the pace, Josh had caught well, and so had Brian and Vince and I changed to feeding 6mms across as I felt the noise might attract the carp in the empty peg. I also fed some pellet and corn to my left margin and had started loose feeding decent amounts of casters to my right margin. The 5 mtr line was now shot and I was just catching the odd carp across by trying both dibber rigs, but it is very frustrating when you can see carp on the mud line but they wont take your bait readily. Lifting and dropping didn't work for me, and I felt the pole movement was spooking the fish, so I just waited for a bite or the elastic to come out.
Mid match the left hand margin produced 3 carp on corn in as many chucks, but then nothing. I then tried this rig across, I pushed the rig out across until the float bristle was showing (about 1.5 mtr off the far bank) and this was on the edge of my short loose fed 6mms. This was a smart move and I took odd fish on this line during the rest of the match. Basically I would always seem to get a carp first drop in, and might get one 2nd drop, then it was dead and you had to go back in tight on the dibber. By switching between the two lines I kept fish coming slowly (plus I took another 3 in the margin) during the 4th and 5th hour. The last hour was very hard, but I could see the whole lake had switched off, and I managed 6 carp when most had nothing.
I estimated I had 45 to 50lb, but I thought that would be beaten by Vince Brown who seemed to catch steady for the first 5 hours, although he had virtually nothing the last hour. Josh had 39lb off peg 71, and I weighed exactly 50lb, Brian Shanks had 32lb and then Vince weighed 45lb so I had won the section, and as it turned out I had won the lake. Those last few fish had been crucial for me when most could not catch. Of course I knew I could not frame with such a low weight but I was chuffed to top the lake from the peg I had. Lake 4 had fished much better than last time I was here, but I had learnt from my previous visit when Rod Wootton had caught well on corn. I fed about 3 pint of 6mm, 2 pint of 4mm, 2pints of caster and 1 tin of corn over the whole match.
Tony of course won the match from peg 29 on specimen, his peg was drawn by Trigger, and Trigger won the silvers from peg 13 on match, his peg was drawn by Tony. Pair of draw bag merchants! To be fair you've got to catch them, and they both did very well and made no mistakes. See Tony's blog for the full results of course.
The lakes really are desperate for water, I heard tell that Mike Duckett has some water coming to fill them up this week, I shan't see the effect as I won't be at landsend again now for a long time due to the leagues I will fish.