Onto the draw and pulled peg 29 which meant nothing to me, but I was told it was the peg Tony Rixon had on the previous Wednesday on Ruby lake. I took a look at Tony's blog for some tips, but he didn't mention any rigs and I really didn't glean much from it other than the pellets he used. Mat Toomes who had won on Weds was on peg 28 and wanted a £1 with me, and I knew I'd have to be lucky to win that. Mat told me how he fished on Weds and that was going to be good enough for me, though I did think the weights would be lower with 5 more anglers and and a lot colder weather. I set 3 rigs up, a 0.4g corby diamond with 0.14 to 14 PR478 for meat at top set plus one at one o'clock. A 0.2 corby slim with 0.14 to 18 PR36 for the same line but at 11 o'clock for pellet. A 4x10 margin rig with 0.14 to 16 PR36 which would also do as a shallow rig if needed. At this stage Mat had already broke a number 4 section, and Les Williams had a top set, no4 and no5 section broke when his holdall blew over.
I had only open water in front of me, but Mat had an island but said there would be no need to fish to it, view of my peg the aerator was at least 16m away I think.
This is the island that was in front of Mat...
On the whistle I potted some 6mm pellets in and some meat, but to my dismay my pellets were floating. I gave them a quick rinse and before I could put one in the band Mat had a carp. I started on the pellet and had a carp myself first put in, and spent the first hour mostly over the pellet line catching small carp and a couple of tiny tench. I'd tried an 8mm pellet but I waited a long time for a bite and as I wasn't getting bothered by silvers the 6mm was best. I wasn't catching fast enough to do a ton as the fish were in and out. of the feed, the meat swim was tried but a carp first chuck was a false dawn. I was throwing 6mm pellets by hand to feed and also the meat onto the other line, and during the second hour kept the catch rate going. I thought I was there or thereabouts at this stage with other anglers who were doing well.
The third hour was getting a bit harder, but I'd catch 3 fish in 3 chucks then it would go quiet, but the fish were a bit bigger and I hit a few up in the water but didn't catch any shallow. I fed a bit heavier to try to get them down but it didn't really change things. Mat was chopping and changing trying to keep fish coming and working hard and had now got off his box and got more sections out of his holdall to go to the island. After 3 hours I tried meat again and took 3 carp in 3 chucks but those proved to be the last on meat. I had been feeding meat in the margin but as I felt it wasn't working I changed to feeding pellet over this, but during the day I only took 3 small carp from the margin.
With 2 1/2 hours to go I decided to put another net in, I didn't have anywhere near the 70lb limit but thought it would be nice to see how much I caught in that amount of time. My lines were now dead and I had now gotten some sections out of my holdall and went out to 11.5m at 10 o'clock which was as far as I could go and was about 3m away from an island which was not mine. A quick run of 4 small carp made me think I had sorted it, but the fish went from here too. I spent the rest of the match working hard for just a handful of small carp whilst Mat plundered his island (though he had some bad snags) steadily till the end. When the match finished I handed over my £1!
On the opposite bank Paul Elmes had 67lb, Trig next to him had 76lb and then Dom Sullivan put 78lb on the scales but he did go 3lb over in his carp net. On my bank Mat won the lake with 80lb thanks to Dom going over, and Kev Moulton won the section with 65lb a couple to Mat's right. I weighed 57lb 8oz, with my last 2 1/2 hours only giving me 10lb 8oz, at least I know I was on the pace until the point of the match!
The talk was after if we'd all have fished longer we would have caught more, but I am not convinced of that. The fish seemed to shut up shop in front of me and other anglers, and certainly those with a feature continued to get bites, I think if I had fed a long line by catty from the start maybe that would have helped. Dom did have some small fish trouble and he just fed 8mm pellet to keep them at bay and the carp on the deck, that sounds a good shout. On the other lake came the best weights with Gordon Cannings having 87lb, Bela 86lb and Tom Thick 85lb, all rather close!
You cannot knock this venue, it is stuffed with small carp and I had some pretty fish including some fantail and gold fish looking things, as well as a few big rudd and roach by accident. Well complete change of gear, rigs and baits for me for the ATWL semi this Saturday. I think it will be very tough trying to compete against so many top canal teams but we will give it our best shot.