I had spent most of the week trying to decide where to actually fish this Sunday. Hill View was back on my radar as it only takes me 50 mins to get there and the recent results were very good. I diced with the Avon at Melksham, but in the end went for Hill View, my thinking being I would get plenty of bites but most likely a battering by the locals.
So it was Sunday morning I found myself speeding up the M5 with Richard Lacey in his "white rocket" van, I tried not to look at the speedo. We arrived very quickly (!) and sampled the generous breakfast, I was surprised when fishery owner Keith remembered me as it had been 2 years since my last visit. He also asked where his other Bristol customers Mike and Steve Nicholls were, I suggested Mike was too tight to pay for the fuel these days.
Onto the draw, and with 20 fishing Neville Groves (he is the local legend) picked 5 pegs from each canal to go into the hat. I pulled 70 on the 3rd canal, which was an end peg on the day, and I was told I should have a good day. I was glad we were on the canals today because I thought this gave me the best chance of doing well, after all it was only 11 mtr wide and a bit like fishing Cider Farm Lakes again! I set up 2 rigs only, a 4x8 bristle job for across and the margin with 0.12 to 16 B911 for soft pellet in 2.5 ft of water, and 6x10 pencil float for down the middle on 0.12 to 18 PR412 for maggot or corn. The across rig did the margin as it was the same depth.
To start the match I fed some micros right across next to the reeds, and some at 5 mtrs, I fed micros and corn at 11mtr way to my left down the track and during the day fed maggot into the margins. I had a great start across catching an early couple of 1lb+ carp, but lost 3 others fouled. From this point on I caught mainly F1's and very small carp across, if I did hook a bigger carp it was fouled! I tried up in the water with pellet and bread but I couldn't get a response, so stuck with soft pellet hook bait on the deck, though with just 3 no10 stotz down the line I did get odd fish on the drop. I was aware from the banter that few carp were being caught, although the guy to my right had 2 good ones, so I got my head down working to get bites from F1's. However, after 2 hours it all went a bit quiet and so I looked on the other lines. The 5mtr line was dead, and was all day end of, the margin produced a rudd, and the 11mtr track line a tiny tench and a 1lb carp.
I went back across and worked on this line feeding varying amounts of micros trying to get a response, but if I did get a run of fish it never lasted and I had to change things like the shotting pattern and feed amount, corn across just didn't work for me on the day. With 2 hours to go I had a few carp as well as losing an 8lb fish that spat the hook out whilst wallowing in the middle! The problem was my margin line, I kept getting dead weed on the hook, so I grabbed the 6x10 rig and found the depth half a mtr away from the weed, this was a good move! Carrying on feeding maggot the right hand margin finally came alive and I took 5 carp and a couple of F1's in the last 35 mins, also pulling out of a good carp as the maggot went over the hook, grrr!
When Keith arrived with the scales Nev Groves was top with 55lb 8oz from canal 2, best weight on my canal was 44lb and I thought I would be close to that, but I weighed more than I thought, 55lb 1oz. Then the guy behind me on canal 2 weighed in 55lb 10oz!
I won my canal and was 3rd overall, beaten by just 9oz for the win and I must have lost 25lb off the hook, poo! Still, I got what I had wanted a good days fishing, and I had come very close to beating the yocals, just needed one of the lost fish to stick, still that's fishing! A great place is Hill View, stuffed full of fish.
Rich Lacey came 3rd on his canal with 26lb, he caught mainly on bread up in the water, but lost a few carp in a snag which would have won him the canal easily.
Next week I have agreed to stand in for Thatchers in the Viaduct winter league, I am either going to be on Lodge or the bottom of Carey apparently. I hope I don't regret this!