I was really tired upon waking up this morning and was very slow getting myself ready. In fact I didn't get to the Shipham cafe until 8:45am when the draw was at 9am! I made a quick call to Tony Rixon to inform him of my late arrival and asked that he let me know what peg I was going to be on. He duly rang me back to advise I was on peg 35 on Speci lake, the very first time I have drawn on this lake!
As I rolled into the car park Tony and Dean Malin were still unloading the van, and I quickly picked their brains as they both do very well here. Dean won the silvers from peg 35 in a recent match and so I was heartened by that. When I saw Chris Davis on peg 31, Adrian Clarke on peg 32 and carp rolling in Alvin Jones's peg 33 I couldn't see me beating them on carp and so silvers it was! I set up a 0.4 grm Preston Magic 6 with 0.12 to 18 B911 (for 5m and 11m), a 4x12 slim mosella job with 0.12 to 18 B911 (for bottom of the far shelf next to bushes) and a 4x10 Preston job with 0.14 to 18 B911 for up the shelf. It took me a time to get set up, mainly due to the wind and rain hampering me (feet stuck in the clay lol) and I started 10 mins after the all in.
I have to say now that I was unsure how much to feed, after a few frosts I imagined the fish would be lethargic, so I fed about 30 casters as initial feed at 5m, two 11m lines and two 14m lines, and fed by hand to the brambles to my right all day. Dropping in at 5m I had an 8oz chub straight away, but never had another bite here. Onto the 11m lines, the one at 2 o'clock was biteless (all day) but at 10'oclock I took 4 chub and a perch fairly quickly. This died so I cupped 10 casters in here and went across. I'll say now that I never had another bite at 11m again!
The rest of the day was spent fishing the bottom of the far shelf at about 14m to 14.5m, to begin with straight in front and to a big bush to my left. In front of me was by far the best spot, and after a couple of early chub on red maggot I was onto a caster hook bait. A few more chub were taken before they seem to back off and I caught the occasional perch. Two and half hours in and I hooked a carp, fouled for sure and it soon snapped the hook length in about peg 38! This seem to set me back and the fishing became very hard for the next hour with just one perch and another fouled carp. I continued to kinder pot in the odd small amount of caster but I couldn't get any pattern going, I did take a couple of fish up the shelf but for the most part it was a waste of time up shallow.
With about an hour and a half left I was catching just the odd perch, bites were very few but the fish were all 12oz and upwards so worth waiting for. The wind and rain started to ease off and I started to loose feed a few casters next to a bush at 16mtrs towards peg 36, I was going to try this swim after 30 mins. When I dropped in here I didn't get a bite first and thought I had fed too much, but in the last 30 mins I had 1 chub and 2 perch here. As well as those fish I did hook a carp here, and it might have been hooked properly, but I just shipped back to the top set and hung on until the line parted. I thought I was better off trying to catch the silvers, and as it turned out it wasn't a bad idea as I won the silvers with 25lb 12oz (despite thinking I had about 16lb!!!!) beating a certain Mr Rixon into 2nd place.
The venue had fished hard and Chris Davis and Adrian Clarke were 1st and 2nd respectively, although as I was only 10lb behind Adrian had I landed a couple of carp....Nah I really enjoyed my day and had a cracking net of fish. See Tony's blog for full detailed result.
When leaving the car park I did a very bad thing, I interrupted Mike Duckett who was talking to Tony Rixon. I wound my window down and said "Sorry Tony I forgot to say, LET THAT BE A LESSON TO YOU!" Naughty but nice, cos it doesn't happen very often lol!