A run down to Hilltops cafe in the Bailey mobile today and a nice clean breakfast with good company. Glenn hadn't fished this lake before but I have twice and had not done very well! As the venue had been fishing well I was hoping for third time lucky. Tony Rixon had set this pole only match up and called the draw a little early as all were present, I pulled out peg 14 on the far bank and was told it was a good area for carp. Glenn drew peg 8 and had peg 7 empty which I felt would be beneficial to him. Unfortunately I had anglers either side of me, Phil (Fabio) Harding on 15 and Joe (I'm doing my blog again) McMahon on 13, and that would make the margin less likely to work I thought.
Like most people today I set up a shallow rig for banded pellet with 0.16 to 16 PR36. I set up a 4x16 Preston Yellow with 0.16 to 16 PR36 for meat at 5mtrs, a 6x10 float for the margin with 0.16 to 14 PR478. I also quickly set up a paste rig which I could use out long in case the fish were not up in the water. To start the match I fed some meat at 5mtr and a pot of meat in the margin to my left and then potted in some pellets at 14mtrs and started deep on this line whilst loose feeding over the top. After 10 mins I was on the shallow rig as no bites came deep, and within 5 mins I netted a carp of 4lb on a 8mm pellet. About 5 mins later I hooked a nice common but I pulled out of it, and then I had 2 more carp in the first hour. Joe was doing better than me on a shallow meat approach, but Phil like me was struggling. The 2nd hour produced just 2 carp shallow,and it was real slow going with no liners and just the odd bite from roach in between, that said nobody was bagging at this stage from what I could tell other than Mike Nicholls.
I had a look on my 5mtr line on the meat and was just about to give up when the float buried and a 3lb carp obliged, that was it though and no more indications. The long line was really hard going, I would get a fish shallow and maybe one in the next 5 mins but then nothing for 25 mins. Joe had forged ahead of me by now and I could see Glenn and Tom Magnall catching well, as was Tony Rixon. Fabio and myself were really struggling compared to most it seemed, we just couldn't catch regular, Fabio though was chuffed to bits when he caught his first goldfish! I took a tench and a small carp down my margin on meat but no more. I tried the paste rig a few times out long but it was hard to fish as there was a very strong tow going against the wind, in fact the shallow rig would belt through too! I took one fish on paste, it was only 4lb but I had a job landing it as I had no puller bung in and was waving 5mtrs of pole around, across the far bank they shouted "look out for those pylons" cheeky gits! I kept getting the odd carp shallow and by now Joe was now struggling.
With a bit less than 90 mins to go I had a look down the edge again and I added 3 carp and a tench and then all I could get was motherless minnows! Martin McMahon suggested I put another net in, I didn't think I was anywhere near the 80lb limit but I took his advice with 50 mins to go. I caught another carp at 5mtr just as I was eating a pasty (it went everywhere lol) and the dreaded extra net jinx struck as I never had another bite!
Fabio had already packed up and chucked back, though on the other side of him on 17 Kev Moulton had caught well on, well, just about everything he tried! I thought I had 16 carp and knew I was off the pace but I weighed in and my silvers went 6lb+ and the carp 61lb for 66lb 15oz for nowhere. Joe had 19 carp for a great 93lb which won our section by default, and Kev had 98lb for 2nd overall. Tony Rixon won the match with 130lb (I'm sure his blog will reveal all) and Trig came 3rd with 97lb (he said he had 17 fish so they were decent size). Seems my fish were on the small side today, but I was still 4 or 5 fish behind most people. Glenn had 95lb for 4th taking most of his fish in the margin toward peg 7 on meat. I think there were about 7 90lb weights today, so a very good match! John Bradford won the silvers with 17lb of skimmers and tench.
Isn't it nice when a bank holiday weekend comes along and the weather is good, and isn't nice when you get home from fishing and know you don't have to go to work on Monday. It is not nice though when you forget any form of sun screen and end up as red as a lobster as I did today, OUCH!