Having seen the weather forecast on Friday suggesting Sunday would be very wet and windy I was thinking that Gary O'Shea had pulled a fast one asking me to take his place in the team. This was the last round of the league and my team had no Chance of doing any good overall so I could fish as I liked.
I knew I was going to be on either Lodge or Carey and a draw in one of the corners would very useful. Of course this being a team match I would be at the mercy of the team draw and Chris Higgins dipped his hand in today. I got peg 70 on Lodge, in the middle of the lake and was told it was fancied for skimmers. Chris was virtually behind me on peg 100 on Carey and he would be sitting facing the wind and rain, on the lead. I had the wind off my right shoulder which was good as my section is float only. The corner pegs seemed to have been drawn by Viaduct regulars, such as Andy Lloyd, Andy Power and Steve Jackson, and this just vindicated my decision to go all out for silvers. About an hour before the start there were skimmers and carp boshing right out in the middle of the lake in front of the peg to my right and in line with 55/56. A long chuck for a float only, and only the lad on the end bank cast that far during the day.
I set up two pole rigs, both Preston PB Inters one was 0.3grm and one .5grm just in case the wind and tow required it, an 18 to 0.10 was the business end. A 3.5 AAA waggler would get me far enough out due to the wind, and keep a bit of sensitivity. I shotted this with 1 no8 and 3 no10 down the line, with an 18 to 0.1.
The match started and I cupped a couple of balls of gbait at out eleven o'clock 14mtrs , and some casters to 1 o'clock. By the time I had done this my hands were freezing and I had to keep blowing on them to give me the ability to bait my waggler rig! I fed casters out on the wag line and in the first hour I didn't have that many small fish pester me and landed 4 skimmers. The next hour was poor and I only had 1 skimmer (which leapt out of the water) and so after 2 hours I tried the pole. A variety of hookbaits produced 2 tiny roach and much sooner than expected the wag was out again. By now the rain had stopped but the wind just got stronger and I had to add some depth to the wag and move the shot around a bit to keep it still.
I took the odd skimmer in the next 2.5 hours mainly on single red maggot on the wag, but the small fish really became a pain and despite upping the caster feed the last 30 mins were very frustrating. The pole line never produced for me and this was something I could not work out. I never hooked a carp all match and other than the skimmers the only other decent fish was a 8oz perch.
Dean Malin 2 pegs up from me on 68 had like me set his stall out for skimmers, but Dean had caught them on the pole and he landed 3 in the last 15 mins. He weighed 20lb and that beat my 18lb 2oz for the section, for some reason the anglers either side of me really struggled weighing 4lb to my left and 2lb to my right. I went back to the results for a beer and a cheese roll and was told I might sneak into the silvers frame. As it turned out I did frame in the silvers coming 5th, getting beaten by 8oz for 4th and then Dean was 3rd. 26lb topped the silvers today. I did bump 2 skimmers on the wag, but Dean told me he lost 4 so I won't lose any sleep!
Some anglers managed to sneak a few skimmers in on meat today, and I could have done with some of that I think as a change bait as I never had a bite on corn. Meat, but on the lead, also worked well for the winner Dave Roper who had 135lb off Carey I think on peg 97, and Des Shipp had 134lb on the same tactics from Campbell 113.
Thatchers youth won on the day and won the league (though the choice of name was questioned as Mark Harper was in the team lol!), so well done the young uns!
More results I'm sure on Tony's and Mike's blogs.