My preparation for this match was zero, I was struck down with a heavy cold on Thursday and it was all I could do to collect some bait from Avon Angling on Saturday. I told my wife "I won't do any good tomorrow but I'm just going to try to enjoy myself". Glenn Bailey was giving me a lift and as I waited for him I heard and saw my first winter redwing of this year, it's a bird that migrates to the UK from Scandinavia for the winter. I was goinfg to be fishing A section by default (short walk) but then promptly drew A7 so no swapping was required! Incredibly Glenn drew A6 and so he was next to me, we were both at Darlington but going to be up against the bay etc.
I was glad of the shortish walk as my backside is now basically red raw from radiation burn, it will get worse so it's not something I'm looking forward to! As I reached my peg a moored boat next to it was just leaving, and as this left a lot of space I guessed a boat would try to moor up in there later, and one did during the match! I decided to fish positive (here we go again) and set up some skimmer traps! I had a 4x12 Drennan Roach with 20 B511 to 0.08 for 5 mtrs, this would be fished over gbait and squatt (I had decided against bread). I set up 2 rigs for across, both 4x14 as the canal was towing a lot, one was a Preston Magic (6 I think) slim bristle with 18 B611 to 0.10, and the other was a J range job with thicker bristle and 0.14 to 15 B711 (for any rogue carp or eels).
On the whistle I fed 3 balls of gbait at 5mtr, chopped worm and caster right across and some micro pellet across and down to my right. Onto the short line with big red maggot but it was slow and I was soon on a fluro pinkie. I took small roach, skimmers, perch and bleak here, but only about 1.5lb in the first hour and a half. Probably something to with being double boated before the match, and then 20 mins in being double boated again but this time the boats hit each other head on! Glenn and myself were not amused.... OK time for a look across, I went in on the heavy rig, just in case of a carp being around, with three dead red maggots. After about 5 mins over the worm line the float went under and I soon had a 1lb 8oz skimmer in the net. Next chuck and a 12oz fish, and then nothing and it was time to put on the sensible rig. I dropped it in with double red maggot and had an 8oz skimmer but then nothing else so I refed some more worm. I tried the pellet line with varying hookbaits but had no bites and as Paul Purchase above me had taken two 3lb fish over gbait I decided to try that myself. So in went 3 balls containing squatts, worm, caster and some red maggs right over up to my left towards to Paul.
It was then a very slow 30 mins for me, but when I went in over the gbait across I had three 8oz skimmers and lost one when a biker pushed my pole out the way. I kept trying all three swims across and topped them up but to no avail, that was until 3 mins to go when I had another skimmer. During the match it was reckoned about 25 boats had gone through, with Glenn and myself being double boated 4 times and the boat moored to my right also moved off during the match. I was wondering if I had over fed the peg and forced the skimmers out, but Pauls peg had died way before mine and Gary O'Shea further down had put far more bait in than me and had 14lb, so perhaps I should have fed more?
I weighed 7lb 1oz which beat 3 people, Glenn beat me by 1oz (he had lots of small fish and just a few skimmers) and got the section by default. Nigel Evans had a great day on peg A1 with nearly 20lb made up of about 40 skimmers, Nathan Hawke in the bay had 14lb 10oz to tie with Gary. Some sections of the canal fished hard but overall there were lots of fish and it needed 13lb to make the frame.
I have decided not to fish the next round of the W/L at Newbridge, I cannot deal with all the prep and lugging all the gear that is needed to do a proper job (be alright if it was flooded though!). Plus I am looking for a seat box that has a rubber ring built in to it but Preston don't do one!