First time up and about early for a while, but I was looking forward to getting out on the bank. I ate my brekkie at Shipham quickly to avoid being late for the draw, and it was very nice.
When I arrived at Avalon carp park I could see a fair bit of ice on the left hand side of the lake, and as this was being broken up by a boat I hoped to avoid this side. I was therefore quite content when I drew peg 37 on the right hand side in a ice free peg. My neighbours for the day were commercial regulars Paul Elms (peg 38) and Alan Oram (peg 35). I have never fished Avalon in the winter, come to think of it I've only ever fished the place in late spring / summer so I based my attack around what I had gleaned from Tony Rixon and Vic Bush. I set up a feeder rod with a small gbait feeder with 0.16 to an 18 B911, I intended to put gbait and micros in the feeder and use either red maggot or corn on the hook. I also set up a 3.5 AAA wag with 0.12 to an 18 Drennan silverfish pellet hook to use with maggot / caster. I opted for just one rig on the pole, a 0.6 grm Preston float with wire stem and fine fibre bristle, with 0.1 to 18 silverfish.
I wasn't quite ready for the start, so chucked out the tip but with a straight lead on. After 10 mins I was ready to go and the tip hadn't moved but then I hadn't really expected it to! I fed two lines on the pole at 14.5 mtrs left and right, one with micros and red maggs and the other gbait with a few casters. I then fished the feeder for the first hour but only managed 2 very small roach on this. Onto the pole, and first drop in over the micros with dead red maggot on the hook I got a 10oz perch (!). Now I will admit to a dumb ass moment, I hadn't set up my landing net, I forgot! So I was very thankful to a sporting Paul Elms who lent me his net for this perch. I took a couple of very small roach over the micro line but couldn't get a bite over the gbait. I decided to loose fed a very small amount of caster at about 16 mtr+, I thought that maybe I could get a few roach on caster here later.
In the middle of the match the micro line died but I started to get bites over the gbait. A perch of 6oz, a 10oz roach and a small skimmer were all nice fish, but I pulled out of 1lb skimmer as I unshipped the top set. Double dead red maggot was best for me on the day. I had tried the wag but had no bites, and as the odd small carp had been caught I tried the feeder again. I did have what I thought were a couple of line bites (perhaps real bites, should I have struck?) but it wasn't my idea of fun. Even though Paul Elms took his one and only carp on the feeder during this time I went back on the pole and took a roach first bung and then nothing. I picked up the wag more in hope than expectation and slipped on a single caster, I managed 3 small roach and a 6oz skimmer before it died. With about 40 mins to go I thought I'd cast the wag over to the island with double red maggot, it was a good move as the float buried on the drop and I was attached to a carp! I played it very carefully to the net when it woke up, eventually I landed it, which was nice! I took a few more roach here and that was that.
The scales were round promptly as Vic and Leigh did the weigh in, I had 7lb 7oz in total, and the carp had weighed 3lb 15oz. I was aware that Martin McMahon had caught lots of small carp (and he won with 21lb) and with Alan Healey weighing in 9lb+ I was hoping for section by default, but when I got back to the results I arrived just as Tony announced I was third and a pick up!
Poor Paul Elms, he lost a lovely waggler first cast (before the match started) and did hook the reeds a few times. The reeds in his peg started to move at the end of the match and he fished on a bit until he lost another waggler, he he! Alan next to me had some skimmers and small carp for 5lb 5oz. Tony won the silvers with 4lb 12oz, you can see the full result on his blog. I enjoyed the day, it was hard work and a day to keep trying, other then the lost skimmer I think things went well for me.
There was a match on the canal today in Bath, Andy Powers won (again) from Richardsons with 14lb, and a big 6lb was only 6th so it fished OK. Gonna take a while for the water temperature to rise and wake the fish out of their slumber.