A sound breakfast in the Shipham cafe to start the day and I wondered if it would be the highlight of the day. I had read on the talk angling forum match results that a few fisheries had not fished so well on Saturday, strong winds and rain showers were sure to have cooled things down. As I was waiting for the draw I noticed Craig Edmunds, Shaun Townsend and Martin Reyatt wearing shiny new Bathampton T shirts with Maver on them. Seems Bathampton have also got a Maver sponsorship along with the Veals team, and after last weeks Superleague on the Huntspill Veals have the bragging rights as Bathampton came plumb last and Maver are scratching their heads "what have we done!"
Finally I pulled a peg on the Top lake and it was peg 10 which meant nothing to me, Tony explained it was a flyer with a tree and corner to fish in, then he said no it isn't that's peg 11! Still this peg had produced 50lb+ last float only series and so I was fairly buoyant, unlike Glenn who had pulled peg 25 where he struggled from before. When I got to my peg I found Brian Shanks on peg 11 and he was going to be hard to beat off this peg, Timmy Clarke was on peg 12 in the opposite corner to Brian, and I had both of these pegs in my section just to make things harder! I decided to set up one shallow pellet wag, and one deep wag, both with 0.20mm to 16 PR38. On the pole I just set up a paste rig to fish at 14.5 metres, with 0.18 to my usual size 10 Drennan Nu Hook.
On the whistle I potted in a mixture of 6 and 8mm pellets at 14.5 metres and loose fed 8mms to the island. As with last week I hoped for an early fish or two on the pole while letting the wag swim develop. This was the wrong thing today, as after 25 minutes I had not had one bubble or indication, whilst Brian had taken 2 carp on the wag and a couple of other carp on the wag had been caught. I changed to the wag and about 4th chuck I hit a carp for all of 3 seconds and then was left with nothing on the line. Strange one this, the hook length had parted, but the float and shot had also come off for some reason? Another 20 mins on the wag brought nothing, and then I noticed some fizzing on the pole and dropped back in on it with paste. First chuck back in and an 8oz skimmer and then the fizzing had subsided. After 10 mins I thought I might have to go back to the wag, but then a proper bite resulted in a 10lb common, off the mark! Next drop in and after a short wait I had a 3lb common, and then next chuck a 7lb common. Of course the fish then disappeared and in the next 3 hours all I did was loose one more carp on the wag which again snapped 0.20 immeadiately!
The middle of the match was dire for all except Timmy Clarke, I resorted to trying to hit the water boatman with the end of my pole, while Brian said he was trying to fire a pellet into his toss pot! Glenn had rang to tell me he was on one skimmer and that it was rock hard! Chris Fox 2 up from me was having a rant, justifiably, because he had yards of line in the water opposite him and he was losing loads of gear. I'll say it again, the middle of the match really was a bore, but we all did our best to keep a bit of banter up, Timmy Clarke helped most of all by losing more than he was landing, even Anton tried to help him but said it was like watching Benny Hill!
I had kept trying different feeding patterns on both pole and wag to no avail, but with an hour to go there was a bit of a fizz on the pole line again. I got a few liners on this but then had what looked like a proper bite, but when I struck I connected with the fish about a foot below the surface, fouler? Well it didn't charge off, it just plodded forcefully around and I soon realised I was attached a lump. After about 15 mins of me pulling as hard as I could (even Anton Page opposite thought I was gonna break my no 4 section) I landed what turned out to be a 16lb 4oz common, hooked just outside the mouth. As I pulled the lump out of the water my old faithful Drennan Team England landing net pole snapped at the ferrule, sad to see that pole go. Thankfully Adrian Bishop at the next peg kindly lent me a pole and next put in I was into another carp about 5lb. The pole line went dead then and for the last 10 mins I chucked the pellet wag, and last cast it went under and this time I landed a 7lb fish after the whistle.
Unfortunately I was not going to get any dosh as Brian had taken several carp in the last hour fishing to the bottom bank margin and he won the section (and framed) with 60lb, Timmy Clarke had 52lb (for section default) and my six carp weighed 48lb. We were the top 3 on the lake by some way and the rest of it was tripe. Hard to say I enjoyed today, and once again I was annoyingly just 1 fish away from picking up, still the 16lb fish was a highlight and the biggest fish I have landed on my Preston 2G10 pole. The other lake was also hard but it produced first and second overall in Dean Malin and Josh Garrett. See Tony's blog for the full result as I decided to leave before the results to get home before 8pm for a change!
That's my lot for Commercials this year, when I look back it's been the best set of results I've had in Spring and Summer on commercials. I've had some good draws and caught, but also messed some pegs up, so still plenty more to learn. I've caught more fish than ever before on paste, and whilst nowhere near an expert I would like to think I have added this tactic to my armoury and have some confidence in it. A few weeks R n R now I think, and time to get the gear ready for the river, so my next post will probably be in September, in the mean time I wish you tight lines.