As I placed my gear on the pavement waiting for Glenn to pick me up I noticed the wind was picking up but nothing serious. We soon had the car loaded (well Glenn did) and arrived at Viaduct Fishery with plenty of time to spare, but the car park was already very busy! I was in with a chance of making the top six overall, although I had to get a good result whereas others at the top already had most of their points in the bag, and as I have said in previous posts felt I would need a bit of luck today.
Into the drawbag and out comes a ticket with one stuck in it, which one to take? I decided to take the one I had my fingers on, and it revealed 116 a good peg on Campbell. Actually the other ticket I put back was corner peg 53, I know because Mat Dark took it! Glenn was not so happy when he drew peg 57 on Lodge (the disabled peg in the corner) although I have won off that peg before it can be hit or miss. I was interested to see where the other top anglers in the league had drawn, and with Tony getting 59, and Fred Roberts 94 I couldn't see them messing up.
When I arrived at 116 it soon became evident how strong the wind was, and it was to get worse during the day. Although this gave me cause for concern it would make life hard for nearly all in my section which went from 110 to 118. I had to win my section today to keep my chance of coming at least 3rd overall, and whilst not meaning to dis anyone, I thought Alan Oram 114 and Clint Wojtyla 110 would be my biggest rivals to this. Having done so well on paste recently I was keen to start on this method, but with the wind being so strong I couldn't see a float with no shot working, so instead I had a 0.5 grm Preston Tyson set up shotted to just below the top of the body, 0.18 to size 12 Drennan Nu hook. I set up a 4x14 Preston PB4 for fishing meat at 5 metres, 0.16 to a 14 PR28 and a margin rig for meat / corn (but only had one tiny carp on this). I was in two minds whether or not to set up a wag, but I decided to set up a Drake bodied wag, with 4 no8 down the line and a 16B960 to 0.185. The reason I set this up was just in case the wind dropped, or if the fish would not come in close.
On the whistle in went half a big pot of 6mm pellets at 12mtrs, some 30 pcs of meat at 5 mtrs and a big potful down the margin. Out went the paste and the float went under and never came up, but this was not a bite it was the force of the wind / tow not allowing the float to come back up! I lifted the float gently and the paste came off! I added a bit more depth and went out again this time with a stiffer paste, same result float would not come up, so I struck in disgust and hooked a carp just outside the mouth! Next chuck in and I had one proper, but then I couldn't get a bite and the wind was making it all wrong so at this early stage I abandoned the paste line. Onto the meat at 5 mtrs and it was very slow, I did manage 2 carp here in 30 mins but no signs in between bites. I was in trouble in I though, and reluctantly I started to feed 8mm pellets onto a wag line, it was a big wag line though as it was impossible to feed in the same place!
An hour and a half in and I had 5 carp in total, to my right had 2 and my left 1, but opposite on pegs 126 and 127 Andy Lloyd and Chris Davies were bagging. I was now feeling very cold and I took a walk down the bank to warm up, Alan on peg 114 had 4 carp on meat and so had Steve Evans on 111. Clint was struggling and was kind enough to leave his peg and go to his van and provide me with a fleece, thanks mate. As I returned to the peg it started to rain, straight into my face, lovely! It was now becoming me against the elements rather than the fish, and it reminded of a match earlier this year at Acorn. At one stage three top kits were blown behind me, my hat took off and my catapult and towel blew in the lake. Thankfully I started to get some bites on the deep wag, and whilst most were liners I at least knew there were fish so just got to work out how to catch them. I went more over depth to try to keep the bait still for as long as possible (about 2 minutes at best) and it helped.
After the first 4 hours I reckon I had 50lb, and I caught the odd carp on meat, I'd get one first chuck and then nothing, so I had just tried it now and then in between the wag. One thing that worked on the wag a few times today was to cast out and then try to bring the hook bait back to where the wag landed, this caught me a few on the drop, probably carp that investigated the splash and only found my pellet! The last 2 hours were much better (although the wind wasn't and it even brought down a 80ft tree behind Gary Etheridge on 121) and I spent the last 40 mins on the meat taking some skimmers, tench and carp.
I knew I had not won the section as Alan Oram had emptied it on meat at 4 mtrs, he ended with 183lb to be the clear top performer on my bank, an excellent match for Alan. Thankfully for me I was not beat by anyone else and I weighed 112lb which included 13lb of silvers. 2nd in the section was good enough to keep me in 3rd overall in the league behind overall winner Tony Rixon and Fred Roberts in second. With a section win by default I pocketed £285, a big pick up for me these days! I'm very happy to come 3rd behind 2 commercial experts.
Full result can be see on Tony's blog. Congratulations to Tony for winning and also for running a great competition along with Steve Evans.