The long journey to Peterborough was to be made with Andy Power, so that would be quiet then lol. Andy arrived Sat morning with his Fiesta overflowing with tackle, even with my large estate car we only just got everything in! We arrived in Peterborough in good time and along with Tucks, Gary O'Shea, Mark Harper, Guy Manton and Mark Brennan walked some of the sections. The river was like tap water and on some pegs you could see the bottom in the middle. Much groundbait mixing later and finally at 5:30pm I was sat having my first beer. Goodness knows how many beers I had but after a fantastic Chinese meal and great night on the town I went to bed at 2:30pm, room mate Andy getting in at 3:30pm though I never heard him!
Sunday morning 7am alarm, and it took me a little while to get the brain engaged and remember what was happening! Surprisingly I didn't feel ill, just tired, and after a quick brekkie and plenty of water I was sorted. Arriving at the tacklefest car park the bloodworm and joker was sorted as was the mixing of leam. Then Mark Harper gave us our draw and I was pegged on 563 at Railworld, the peg below me was a flyer and had produced 20lb of roach already this year and had framed last year. I hoped the roach would be happier in my peg today!
When I arrived at my peg I was disappointed to see that I was in a bit of bay, which meant I had to wade in and get the box in the water which was not easy as there was about a foot of silt. My section wasn't going to be to hard for me to win, what with Sean Ashby (on a flyer), Joe Carass, Callum Dicks oh and Stuart Conroy on the flyer below me! Shit I hope the roach eat hemp today! I managed to get sorted and set up 4 pole rigs on top 4's. A 2 grm rig for bloodworm with a 20 PR334 (I think) to 0.07. A 0.8 grm (bulk and droppers) for hemp with a 18 B511 to 0.07, a 0.4gm (spread shot) for hemp same hook and line, and finally a 1.5 grm for chopped worm with a 11 B711 to 0.18. Setting up anything else seemed pointless as basically your fishing in a weed free area of the peg. Ten minutes before the start a very friendly local angler told me I was on a flyer for bream... when the river has a foot on! He said not one bream had been caught off the peg all season and that they were probably sat in the weed only coming out at night.
On the whistle in went the best part of 4 kilos of groundbait and 3 balls of leam stuffed with joker to 13 metres. Chopped worm was bait droppered in at 10 metres at an angle downstream. On with a pinkie and the 2grm float and first chuck the float buried, a nice "ten to the ounce" size roach had obliged! Fifteen mins in and the writing was on the wall, the pinkie wouldn't attract anymore bites and bloodworm only attracted these tiny fish. I was feeding hemp all the time and remained positive that an hour or two catching roach later on this would see me bag up!
An hour in and I had one 4oz roach and 12 fry, so onto the lobworm. I missed a bite, but redeemed myself by hitting the next bite and a 6oz perch was netted. No more bites from here, so I put another bait dropper in. By now more and more weed was floating down the river and it was no fun with many attempts at dropping the rig in resulting in weed on the line or bait. When I did get the bait in all I got was a ragged out bloodworm from a fry! Half way through and I tried the heavy hemp rig (the downstream wind was now awful and the light rig would be useless) and bugger me I had a bite! In 15 mins I managed 3 roach between 2oz and 4oz, missed 3 bites and I thought here we go, but then it just died! I was now being hammered in the section and decided to put in a good dump of joker in leam for those bream! I then had a 6oz eel on the lobby but again no more bites so I fed two more bait droppers of worm!
With an hour to go I was fu$ked, the joker line was still full of fry and the hemp line was dead. I sat on the chop for ages hoping for a lump, I did manage another eel about 10oz but that was it and so with 20 mins to go went on the hemp, 3 more roach obliged straight away then nothing and then the whistle went. I weighed 2lb 12oz, to only beat 3 people in the section (although one of them was Callum and Joe Carrass only did me by 2oz). I was embarrassed to see Stu Conroy weigh 11lb of roach on bloodworm below me and the next 5 or 6 anglers below him all had between 6lb and 13lb. Had I been just off the roach, or had I got it totally wrong? I'd like to think both because I know I can catch roach on hemp (and there were plenty caught below Stu on it) Stu showed me his bloodworm rig and it was the same as mine so it must be the feeding, I think I fed it all wrong with the amount of groundbait. It was soon clear that I had not been alone in letting the team down (made me feel a bit better!) and many others had done as bad, but Gary O'Shea did well with 2nd in section. The team finished 13th out of 15, perhaps what we expected as we had not practiced and the team plan was to have a great night out Saturday and fill the river in Sunday! Kamasan Starlets won the match and the guy who won my section with 13lb of roach on hemp was 1st overall.
Andy and myself went straight to the nearest MacDonald's where we found Nigel Evans, Nick Ewers and Chedz consoling themselves with food! Nick Ewers nearly made me choke on my food as he recalled his day and I pissed myself laughing. His match was basically just like mine except he did chuck the feeder out, but only twice because each chuck saw it stuck in unseen cabbages! I know you'll probably be reading this thinking what a load of shite, but I actually enjoyed the weekend and the experience of rubbing shoulders with anglers who are in tune with bloodworm. We don't do enough of that sort of fishing and once the river fished hard the team we were out of it. I wish they would put this final on a decent venue and stop practising the week before, because the fish are hammered until Weds before and it doesn't help. Oh well there's always next year!