It was a bit strange waking up on a Saturday morning to go fishing, and my body clock took a little adjusting! I was travelling on my own today since my normal partner Glenn Bailey did not want to fish this match, and as it turned out so did quite few others. So in the end only 10 people were fishing for 5 places. I am surprised that so many people didn't want to fish (don't want to go to the final?), but I guess some people don't like going out of their comfort zone, and I can understand that but I have never minded travelling.
Anyway back to today and as I put my hand in the bucket a ticket flew up and I grabbed it, peg 19 was looking back at me. This was the peg that Mike Nicholls had lost 25 carp from on Monday, and venue expert Rod Wootton said to me "it's foul hook city". Oh well at least plenty of interest for the day then. The pegging was generous and on 21 was Martin Pettifer, and on 17 was Eddie Wynne, for some it was even more generous, Sean Townsend on 11 had his next anglers on 7 and 15! A quick call to Tony Rixon confirmed the peg should be approached shallow at 13 mtr to avoid foulers for as long as possible. So I set up a 4x10 Durafoat with 0.16 to 16 PR36 for this line (it cocks with 1 no8 stotz and either a 6mm or 8mm pellet). A similar float for down the edge to my right, a dibber for 6" deep if they came right up or I needed to go in tight. Finally a 0.3 gm Inter float with 0.16 to 16B911 for the deck at 7 mtrs and 13 mtrs.
On the whistle a pot 6mms went in at 13 mtr, a pot at 2'o'clock at 7mtrs, casters and corn down the edge and at 10 o'clock 7 mtr (but nothing on this at all). I started on 7 mtrs with soft pellet and lost a fouler (here we go I thought) first dob but no more carp activity, I took a near 3lb bream and a F1 here and the first hour was gone! I had been feeding 6mm pellets by catty to 13 mtrs and decided to take a look over on the shallow rig first to avoid foulers..... um it never it went under and after 15 mins I was on the deck. This was slow, no liners or foulers, another flying skimmer and a couple of babies obliged but it was tough going. I kept going on this line and started to toss pot a bit of bait in as well as the catty, it seem to help as I took another 2 F1s, a chub and 4 carp by the halfway mark. This wasn't great but no one was really bagging, although Martin and Rod had a lot of carp in their pegs they were fouling a few and landing some. Martin then went and took 5 carp next to some marginal lillies in 5 chucks to storm ahead, he hadn't even fed it they were just there! My margin line was dead, the carp seemed to be the other side of the pallet today!
My next 2 hours were rock hard with just a decent ide and a few roach and I knew I was out of it. I tried in tight to the far bank, but never had anything other than the occasional liner. I decided to up the feed in the catty significantly and blow me the peg started blowing and I caught a carp on the deck then fouled one, so out with the shallow rig. I then caught 4 more carp and lost one fouler all up in the water before the whistle. I was left wondering if I should have fed heavier earlier, or was it just the usual last hour improvement? I knew I had been beaten by Martin (who lost 20 odd carp) and by Rod and by Steve Mayo on peg 1, so chances of being in the top were slim. As the scales went round I wandered up to see Eddie (who had chucked back) and my team mate Leigh Trivett. Leigh had gone round to watch Sean Townsend weigh in and had left his nets unattached on the pallet with the fish in. I couldn't resist it! I grabbed his carp keepnet and hid with it in peg 16. When they came round to weigh Leigh he was a tad upset that his tough day had now gotten worse as he proclaimed the carp had dragged in his net (lol). I then appeared in Leigh's peg with his net just as he was up to his armpit in the lake looking for the net. Yes I nearly did PMSL !!!!!
I weighed 51lb 11oz, which included 13lb 11oz of silvers, this was enough to take the consolation prize of the top silvers weight. I was 6 overall but in the final as Rod Wootton announced he did not want to go. I asked Rod what had I done wrong on this flyer, in his opinion the fish were not there as there was not enough pressure on the lake to push them into the gap, but I also feel I could have done better fishing longer to the point, hey ho.
1st Sean Townsend 86lb (19 carp) peg 11
2nd Rod Wotton 72lb+ peg 22
3rd Steve Mayo (3 ounces less than Rod) peg 1
4th Martin Pettifer 62lb
5th Leighton Palmer 53lb
6th Tim Ford 51lb 11oz
So it is off to Barston and Packing Summers on Oct 1st.
Came home tonight and spent over an hour mixing gbait and changing the gear around for the river tomorrow, hope it is worth it!