As previously mentioned I was fishing this match in place of Mike Nicholls, and that meant I would be drawn on Speci Lake. In keeping with taking Mike's place I travelled to the venue with Bela Bakos and as is the custom bought him a breakfast at Shipham. However, my luck was in as Bela decided he didn't want his usual big brekkie and went for the medium one, bet Mike will be gutted when he reads this as it would have saved him a couple of pounds, lol!
All the way down to the venue it was raining, and some of the roads were already flooded and the weather forecast said it was going to be wet all day...and they were right. Getting into the hut for the draw I got to the bucket and Tony Rixon said there were some good pegs left in there, I drew peg 28 and he then said "That ain't one of them!" Nobody could give me any hope but I gathered as much advice as I could and went off hoping the fish would not be in there usual holes. On my right today was Alan Oram, in my opinion an exceptionally good angler (and he had won on match lake the day before) and on my left on peg 26 (as 27 is left out) was Nick Duckett who knows a bit about the place! The wind today was blowing from peg 32 up to 25, and that meant I had some gusts to put up with, but down on 31 and 32 it was flat calm, Nick said the fish of late had been staying out of the wind.
Setting up rigs was easy today, a 0.3grm PB Inter 4 would do for most areas of the lake as the depth was fairly similar, a 4x12 Chianti for on top the shelf across and down to the pallet on 27 finished it off! I used 0.11 Exceed to a 18 PR412 (a hook I am really impressed with) for the Inter rig, and a 18 B911 to 0.14 Exceed for the Chianti. To start the match I fed a decent pot of caster down by the pallet (no more of this!) and the same on top the shelf, I considered this to be a shit or bust line. I then fed a few micros at 13m at angle toward peg 27, and the same at 14.5m at 11o'clock. That was all for now as I wanted to see how the place would fish. I then had to go to the toilet as I had forgotten to, but by the time I got back to my peg only Trigger on 39 had caught a small carp. I tried soft pellet on both my lines but after 20 mins was biteless so tried single red maggot, I had 1 bite at 13mtrs and missed it and I never had another bite on this line! Moving across to the 14.5m line I took 3 small roach and a rudd on the drop, not what I wanted but it was something. This then went dead and after 10 mins I hooked a carp, but after 10 seconds it was off, a fouler. At this stage Alan had lost 1 and Nick had a 15lb fish! Sticking it out on the same line I hooked another carp just after the hour mark, it was hooked in the pectoral fin and the double no5 elastic did its job and I landed a 7lb+ carp. Down on peg 31 Kev Moulton was getting a few and Jamie Parkhouse on 32 was getting even more!
No more bites came on the 14.5m micro line and so I now decided to put in a toss pot of casters at 14.5 mtrs straight in front of me and began loose feeding casters at 6mtr. Around another 40 minutes later I had my next bite over the micros, again on red maggot, and this was a ghost common of nearly 10lb. This micro line didn't produce again all match although I kept on trying it. The 14.5m caster line produced a bite an hour after I fed it, a lovely 2lb perch, 15 mins later I had its twin brother before a quiet spell. Getting bites was now proving a real problem, but my 2 carp and 2 perch halfway through was doing me well. I tried on top the shelf and hooked 2 carp in two drops, the first came off quickly, and the second one bust me so I guess they were both foulers. I never had another bite across bar 1 roach! About this time I potted in some casters at 16m at 10 o'clock.
The next hour was a struggle but I did manage another 2lb perch from across on caster, then first drop in at the 16m 10 o'clock produced a 5lb carp but nothing else. I dropped in at 6mtr on and off for not so much as a sniff but with about 90 mins to go it buried as the bait settled and another 2lb perch was landed. I then had a poor hour with no bites. Shaun Townsend on peg 25 packed up and went home and with an hour to go so did Alan as he had only 3 roach, it really was hard up our end. With 25 mins to go I had a skimmer on caster and then with 10 mins to go Jason Radford on 34, who'd gone for a walk, had his box with brolly blown in the lake, obviously some people shouted out to him. What I did not realise was that Trigger and Anton Page on peg 40 thought the shouting was the "all out" and they started packing up (Trigger had just landed a carp before this) and Nick Duckett struck to end the match and fouled a carp which he landed. I only found all this out after the match. With 5 mins to go I caught a skimmer and shipped back out when Nick said to Trig people were still fishing, and they realised the match hadn't ended, 2 more minutes and it did end PMSL! If Trig had carried on fishing and landed another carp he would have been 2nd on the lake, but we'll never know!
I thought I would have about 30lb but reckoned my best bet of winning any coin was with my silvers, they weighed 11lb 12oz (for 2nd on lake) and with my 3 carp I had a total of 33lb 9oz. Jamie won the lake easily with 84lb including 14lb of silvers, but I then found out that I had sneaked 2nd overall beating Nicks 3 carp by 2oz. There were three other 30lbs on the lake so it was tight! I was pleased to finally get some coin at my third attempt on a commercial and had given Mike good points in both overall and silvers so he might buy me a pint next time I see him.
Bela had drawn peg 45 on lake 3 and had 29lb which was a good result from that peg, but his carp were smaller than those people with top weights. Tom Thick had 31lb of hand sized skimmers on peg 68 and was probably the busiest angler on the day. Oh did I mention it rained all day, that's the main reason I didn't take a photo of the perch, camera would have been soaked. It did stop raining for a bit towards the end when the wind stopped and then came back in a gust and then blew in the complete opposite direction! I am not fishing next weekend due to a combination of work and family commitments, bet the weather will be better!