As I mentioned last week there was no fishing for me this weekend, and after another cold week (although the sun put in an appearance Saturday) I can't say I was going to miss wetting a line too much. I have had a busy week and my house move went frantic as someone at the top of the chain wanted to change the completion date! It now means I move the end of this week and right on top of the first Acorn pole only series, the furniture is being moved in on the Saturday but the wife has told me to fish on the Sunday, she's a gem! If I turn up with rods and reels though don't be surprised as I have no idea where my gear will be.
I thought I ought to mention what I have heard has happened to the two local teams in the ATWL semis. Firstly my lot Thatchers fished on Saturday at Gold Valley Lakes, and like most big waters with big carp the fish were lethargic and shoaled tightly meaning you needed a good draw. The top three teams on the day would qualify for the final on the Trent embankment and I guess you will not be surprised to hear that Dorking won the match, and you have to take your hat off to them. Thatchers had some up and down results and came 4th, Gary O'Shea I believe came 3rd overall, but at the other extreme Andy Ottoway blanked (along with 5 others in his corner of the lake). However, it transpired that an angler in the team that had come second was signed on for another team (fishing in the other semi) and he really should not have been fishing. I heard there was quite a "heated debate" about this with some people saying you didn't have to fish for the team you'd signed on for. Not sure about that though, as why are we asked to submit team sheets with names and addresses on to the AT before the local league starts, and have done for years? Anyway, the upshot was that Thatchers were told they will be in the final, but what happens to the other team is I believe not yet decided. I remember when I changed my name from Tim Gay to Tim Ford (Ford was my birth name) and my Avon Angling captain at the time sent the team sheet into Ken Wade with me as Gay (lol) on. When I got to the semi itself (K&A at Malborough) I went over with the captain to explain to Ken Wade, but he just gave me a stare as if to say "too hard!". I ended up winning the match and being called out as Tim Gay, but I got the press to put Ford in the results, even Billy Knott Jnr wound me up saying Tim Ford hadn't had a bet!
On Sunday Bathampton went up to the Grand Union Canal, and I asked Darren Gillman to let me know how they got on, surely there would be no such aggravation as the day before? Darren told me that Bathampton's team plan was to have a curry and get pissed the night before, well it has worked for them before on this canal! Unfortunately they had a few blowouts and ended up 6th overall. A bit like Thatchers they had some ups and downs though. Andy Britt had 6lb+ to win his section and frame, and Darren also won his section with over 200 fish for 5lb, good results in good angling company. At the other end of the stick (the bit with shit on) was Richard Lacey, an angler who has improved tremendously in the last few years. Rich was fishing in his first semi and didn't deserve to be pegged next to a real "Dick Head" of a boat owner. Apparently this boat owner kept moving his boat about and revving the engine up all to prevent Rich from fishing his peg. All this got very heated and in the end the boat owner called the police, but the police saw the boat owner for what he was and arrested him, shows what a dick he was. Poor Rich had 90 mins left of fishing time and scraped 15oz for last in section. Bad luck Rich, you really didn't deserve that mate.
It's funny really, I am in the middle of reading the Frank Barlow book (excerpts of his Anglers Mail columns) and I must admit it has me in fits of laughter. Some of things that happened to Frank over the years were similar to the above, and whilst he may have blown the odd gasket he always went home to a few beers a nice tea and forgot about the bad day. I never met Frank, but enjoyed his column when I was younger, and I liked the way, despite being a top angler in a top team, he enjoyed a good laugh and a good booze. If you get the chance read the book and see how many cesspits and parrot cages Frank drew with a hangover, caught next to nowt but still went again and again, cos he loved everything about fishing, more than just catching fish.