My original plans for this weekend were no fishing, but a couple of weeks ago I saw a plea on facebook from old school mate Paul Staite for some raffle prizes for this match. I offered him a rod I hadn't used for many a year (an original 13ft Normark Avenger) and found out there were some tickets left so I got in. Dead handy fishing local as I had to play taxi driver at midnight the night before for wifey.
I haven't fished Bitterwell for a while now, though I do try to pop over and watch the odd week day match for 30 mins when I can. This was made a float only match so pole and waggler would be all that would be required. Getting to the venue was easy (lol) and parking up I saw many unfamiliar faces and a few young ones which is good to see. A croissant was given to me and later a breakfast in a bun which I mostly ended up wearing in my beard. The pegging was sorted by Des Shipp and as I surveyed the lake I fancied being on the top bank as the carp park bank had the wind blowing into it and wouldn't be pleasant. Sadly I drew the car park bank, but I did have a bit of room. Des drew where I wanted to be but moaned it was shit and wanted to be where I was???? Panoramic piccy of the lake if you haven't seen it before
You'll note the lake looks quite calm in the photo, it stayed like that until just before the match started and then the wind just got worse and worse. For this reason I did not set up a waggler as I could not see how I could feed it properly, and a big scud waggler would not be much use with such a strong wind I thought. So it was pole only for me and rigs assembled were a wire stemmed 0.3g PB Inter with 0.10 to 20 PR412, same float but with .12 to 18 PR412, these would do for 13m swims, a 4x12 chianti for 5m on caster, and later a 0.75g PB Silvers was put up to cope with the wind.
TO start the match I cupped 3 balls of groundbait with some casters in at 13m in front, some micros at 13m 10'o'clock, and some casters and maggots at 13m but about 7m out from the bank. I started over the micro with a soft pellet but nothing happened and so single red maggot was tried and after 15 mins I had a small roach in the net. It was very hard to get a bite, I thought I might have been plagued by roach and had bulked the shot down, but I wasn't getting any bites and even with the bulk pushed up I only had the very odd roach, the gbait line was dead. About an hour in with the wind worsening another bite and this time plenty of elastic comes out and a skimmer of about 1.5lb was landed from the micro line. Skimmers are shoal fish aren't they??? Hmmm, back to very rare bites again from small roach.
It looked pretty obvious from what I could see that the venue was fishing poor, so I persevered and 45 mins after his mate another skimmer showed, though this one was hooked in the wing and pulled a bit even though it was just a 1lb fish. After this the wind got so bad that for a while I needed to use the 0.75g rig, nearly all my fish came from over the micro line during the day no matter what rig I tried. I always thought a few carp would show late so was quite happy to keep catching the odd silvers and feeding my lines even if things were very slow. As if on cue with 30 mins to go carp started to show and the three anglers to my right hooked two or three (but lost more than landed) the guy to my left who had 8oz then had a 7lb carp and alnded it just before the all, and John Andres round on the other bank landed one after the whistle. Me, I hooked no carp at all! I was quite pleased when the whistle went as we had just had a terrible storm for 30 mins with heavy rain blowing straight into the bank, and I wasn't the only one who could hardly see the float (even at 5m) it was that dark.
My silvers went 5lb 10oz, which I think was the 3rd best silver weight on the day beaten by two anglers in the match. Winner was a young lad called Keith over on the "calm" bank with 16lb+ of carp and skimmers, Des Shipp was 2nd with 15lb, and 3rd was Dan Shipp from the calm peg on the road bank with 13lb. Unfortunately for me organiser Terry Smith didn't do default payout, so Des got 2nd and the silvers, well they say money goes to money lol. We had a lovely bar-b-q after the match and that warmed me up a bit (except for my hands) and then the raffle was done and there were loads of prizes but my luck was not in today. I was though chuffed to see my avenger rod go to a junior angler, just where I hoped it would go, hope the lad gets a bend into it.
Not sure about Tuesday on the Stour, hope the rain does not feck things up for me, will be gutted if it does. I'm not fishing next Sunday so my next match will be on the 29th Dec.