Unfortunately this year I could not commit to Tony's float only league as I knew I would miss two of them. So when he asked if I wanted to be a guest at Landsend I was up for it as it meant I could travel with Glenn. When we arrived at the venue the weather was nice, the talk though was of how hard match lake had fished the day before. We've had a lot of rain and I think Mike Duckett had also put some water in the lakes so that extra water probably unsettled the fish. I pushed my way to the front of the draw so I could at least have a bit of time to get to my peg, it's a bit of a trek if you draw lake 4! As luck would have it I drew the nearest peg to the hut, peg 33 on Speci for only my second draw on this lake. I got plenty of encouragement from other anglers that it was a good peg, and Matty Toomes passed on some good advice.
As I started to set up it looked like Blogger alley, with Chris Fox on peg 34, and Mike Nicholls on 36. Opposite me on peg 32 was Chris Davis (who kept us amused with jokes and the odd outburst due to foulers) and Paul Elmes was on 31. As I began to get my rigs out a bloody wasp stung me on the neck, it then stung me again on my back before I managed to find it and kill it. I did wonder whether this would be an omen for the day. Onto the rigs and I set up a paste float (nothing on this) a 4x12 Durafloat 10 for hard pellet deep, and a 4x10 Durafloat 10 for 9" deep with about 2.5 ft of line above it. All rigs were on 0.18 Exceed to 16 PR38 for banded 8mm pellet.
I knew there were a few fish about as I had seen some swirls, but even with my sunglasses I could not see fish to have a go at mugging. So on the whistle I shipped out to 14.5 mtr on the shallow rig in front of the aerator and started feeding 6mm pellets here and also down to the end bank. It was a good start and a carp first chuck was followed by another next drop in. I then had a couple of rudd and an F1, so the carp had moved out and I upped the feed. I took another couple of carp and reckoned to have 20lb at the end of the first hour. I was swinging the rig out past the pole or left/right and most bites came on the drop, but the carp were not giving themselves up easily. I had an early look down the edge long on the same rig and had a carp here.
The pattern was set for the rest of the match and I would catch one or two carp at most off one line and then have to switch. I did have some very quiet periods in the middle of the match and especially in the fifth hour when I nowt! I did try the depth rig and caught 3 carp on it but also fouled a few. On the shallow rig I tried going a bit deeper but again all that would do was get a fouler, so I persevered with 9" even though it was a long wait between bites. I fed about 7 pints of 6mm pellets during the match, not big pouchfulls just regular feeding. The end bank was the best line for the last half of the match, but as the willow trees have grown out a lot I was not fishing near the bank, I tried to gently swing the rig under the branches to get as close as I could in, and I caught the branches a few times but never lost a rig (lucky day!). I really wanted to push the rig further up the bank the last 2 hours as the fish had backed off I'm sure,(co-inciding with Chris Davis having his best spell) but the branches were to long to go any further.
By the end of the match I was aching from holding 16 metres of pole all day, something I have not done for a long time. Still it was worth it, and to my 6lb of silvers I added 120lb of carp for a total of 126lb 12oz. I had heard that Dean Malin and Tony Rixon were on for tons, so wasn't sure if I had them beat, but it turned out I had and so I had the match win I've wanted for so long at Landsend! Speci Lake had fished well mostly, with Mike Nicholls winning the silvers with 32lb and in total he had 90lb, Chris Davis and Paul Elmes had a good battle with Paul edging it by 12oz!
The full result will be on both Tony's and Mike Nicholl's blogs, and as I am knackered and have to get up at 4:30am tomorrow I'm going to stop typing now and hit the pillow.
Just one more thing though, there is a big match on the Avon at Newbridge on 31st July with big money prizes being put up by the EA. I can't fish it (gutted!) but it has attracted a lot of interest, and don't faint but Tony Rixon has bought a ticket!!!!!!