Tony Rixon had kindly organised this match and I was very pleased to hitch a lift with Matty Toomes, thanks indeed. I hadn't fished this venue for well over a year, I think it might be two years, and so I was quite shocked to see how pleasant it now looked with all the grasses and reeds. An open match the day before had produced a couple of tons and so the outlook was for a good match.
I drew a very good peg, 34 which is next to a bridge, and I was told to expect to catch a lot of small carp and that I would get lots of bites all day. To be honest I thought the winner of the match would be either Des Shipp on 6 or Tom Thick on 5 but with 5 being paid out there was plenty to go for. I set up a 0.4grm PB inter 4 for caster at top set plus 1 with 0.12 to 18, a 4x12 PB Carp 4 for on the first shelf in 3.5ft of water next to the bridge, a 4x8 for across (both on 0.14 to 16 PR36) and one for the margin with 0.16 to 16 PR478 for meat.
I started the match potting 4mm pellets over to the bridge and feeding the same by catty to the far bank grasses, during the match I threw meat into the left hand margin. Starting against the bridge I had 3 quick carp then fouled a couple (on banded 6mm) and it went really quiet, so I fed some more 4mms and came onto the caster line. First chuck and I hooked a carp which snapped me, it was either big or fouled, or both! Then I started catching 6oz roach and skimmers until this died a death. Going back to the bridge it was dead, not a liner, and so I went across to the grass and managed to pull out of 2 carp and not land anything!
After 3 hours I was not doing well and reckoned I had about 20lb, then the bridge swim came to life and despite some fouler trouble I started to catch 1.5lb to 2.5lb carp, I had not seen any small ones! It was still hard work with 3 or 4 fish on the trot then followed by it going quiet or getting foulers, they seemed to be about a foot off bottom, and so I kept lifting and dropping all the time. With 2 hours to go the margin produced and a couple of the fish were nearly 5lb. I spent the last two hours swapping between the bridge and the margin and caught fairly well. On the bridge line I had some on 8mm pellet, but most on 6mm pellet. I don't know if it helped but I threw a lot of casters into the margin and carried on feeding them with the meat, it didn't do any harm anyway.
I rushed off to the toilet as soon as the all out was called, and on the way back Des said he had caught 150 small carp!!!! I reckoned I had about 70lb which wouldn't be good enough for a frame place. As the scales went round the other side I joined them and I found out there was a net limit of 70lb, I hadn't realised this and thought it was 80lb (nothing said at the draw, but no excuse I should have read the fishery rules). When the scales got to Roger Andonio next door and he weighed 36lb I was worried about the weight I had in one net as I knew I had caught a lot more than Roger. My silvers net went 10lb 8oz, and then my carp net went......87lb, oh shit 17lb over the limit! So in total 80lb was my legal weight and not the 97lb! What this meant in the end was that I did not take 5th place and instead Tony Rixon took the money with 94lb. Do I have an excuse? Well I can always try, it's been a long time since I got that many small carp and I was a clueless eejit! Never mind I enjoyed the day, but the peg was worth a lot more than what I caught and I should have fished shallow to the bridge.
Tom Thick won from peg 6 with a new venue record of 196lb, Des was 2nd with 170lb+ and Scotty Puddy had 124lb. My driver Matty sneaked 4th with 111lb from peg 9 and shared the money with me. Nigel Bartlett had a lovely day's caster fishing with 46lb of silvers, a long way ahead of Eddie Wynne with 22lb 8oz. Full result will be on Tony's blog, I doubt he will take the piss out of me!!!!
This venue is awesome, and whilst there appear to be some poorer areas the majority of pegs are solid. By the wasy, I wasn't the only one to go over 70lb in one net, Des did so, and Chris Davis net was so heavy Tony never bothered to weigh the fish!