I was afforded the luxury of a lift to Cider Farm by Warren Bates, for company we had his son Olly who spent the whole journey naming car models..... After a minor detour for a road closure we arrived in good time and I tucked into two breakfast rolls, little did I know this would be the best part of the day!
Fishery owner Mark asked me to hold the bag of pegs and then I was forced to draw first, out comes peg 7 oh dear. Tony had said the day before this was a peg not to draw, and when Glenn Bailey rang me to ask where I had drawn I asked him which peg would you not want to be on.... and yes he said peg 7! Anyway, you never know the fish could be there so I would go with a positive intent. Warren had drawn peg 25 (one I fancied) and I thought the anglers who could do well were; Callum Dicks on peg 4 (where it was won from on Wednesday), Des Shipp peg 32, Tony Rixon peg 51 (he won from it a week ago) and Chris Davis on peg 46. Rod Wootten on 56 was always going to be a threat.
The trouble with peg 7 is there is no area free of reeds, and the reeds opposite fall right out over the water meaning you can't get tight. I set up a paste rig (waste of time), a banded pellet rig for deep 4x14 0.16 to 16 and a shallow 4x10 rig same line and hook and a margin rig same again. On the whistle I fed some 6mm to point of the reeds at 11.5m and some at the same distance up the inside. I also fed a big potful at 16 mtrs which was near some bare bank but about 1/2 mtr short. It took me an hour to catch a 3lb carp on banded pellet on the deep rig on the point. I never had another fish on this rig all day but did have a couple of digs on the float during the day. I tried the shallow rig over this line for nothing, the margin was also dead!
Halfway through I caught 2 carp on the 16 mtr line in 15 mins and pulled out of 2 foul hookers, I managed one more bite from this spot for the rest of the day. My day was made a bit more interesting by watching Callum catching, and breaking a top set and 2 no4 sections.
I tried fishing shallow and the margin line but all to no avail and with an hour to go and I went for a walk as I just could not catch. I returned to my peg and was going to pack up but thought I'll just drop in shallow again on the point, I had a 3lb carp without feeding and then missed a bite, and that was that. 4 carp for 10lb 9oz (yes I did weigh to try to win a £1 but even that failed by 1lb!) is my worst weight at the venue in the 5 years I've fished the place, why did that have to hapen today!!!
After the match two things happened to cheer me up; 1) Callum dived into the lake to retrieve a lost top 4, nice shorts mate! 2) A few nameless anglers had an apple throwing fight and one of them manged to hit Mark on the head!
Des Shipp showed his world class by catching 90lb, 2nd was Rod Wootten, 3rd Mark Leader, 4th Callum Dicks and 5th Kev Moulton. These 5 will go to the final in search of £10K and I wish them the very best of luck and hope they win for our county!
I've just taken out all the carp gear, again, put all the river gear back in and mixed some gbait for the superleague tomorrow at Newbridge, will this turn into a nightmare weekend for me? I hope not!