My week leading up to Easter continued with the hacking cough and some disturbed sleep making me very tired and so I was really looking forward to the long weekend. I was also considering where to fish the weekend, Windmill, Hillview and Landsend all appealed, but the forecasted weather would affect them all, in the end Ken Raynor got me a place on his league so I took that. After a Good Friday spent in the sunshine with Cider and watching BRFC I had a little time on Saturday to prepare my gear, but there is a lot to do.
Travelled down to the fishery with Martin Reyat who got a very late entry into the match and he kindly accepted my offer to have a lift with him, lol, well I bought his brekkie in the on site cafe. I was going to be on lake 3 today which can be affected by the wind, and Martin was on match lake. After we finished our brekkie we went to the hut for the draw to find all pegs had been drawn bar ours, Martin was on peg 13 and was very happy with that, I was on peg 70 and was also happy. I got given a lot of advice and was told many differing approaches, and that I would win the silvers on the lake. Well as I spent 30 years living on a chicken farm I have learned never to count them....
Got to the peg to find opposite bank Russ Peck on 41 and Mat Toomes on 42, on 68 was Steve Seagar and on 66 was Craig Edmunds, the banter ensued. Setting up my gear I was not going to fish to far out due to the wind being in my face, so a line straight out in front at 6m for soft pellet using a 0.3g wire stem PB Inter 4 with 0.10 to a 18 PR434, another soft pellet line for 10m up towards the end bank 4x12 with 0.12 to a 18 B911, a top set rig for ronnies and finally a 0.4g for fishing meat towards to weed bed to my right with 0.14 to a 16 PR478 if I needed to fish for carp.
When the match started I fed a small amount of micro on my two lines, and some meat by the weed bed. Starting on a 4mm expander at 6m it was a very slow start, and by the time I had taken 2 plippy roach and a 2oz skimmer Steve had had a couple of F1's and carp right across. I did snare an F1 on the 6m line and pulled out of what I think was one, but then it was just plippy roach. Out to the end back and thought the rig would bury here, but after 15 mins of lifting and dropping all I had was another tiny roach and missed bites which I thought was roach. Finally a decent bite and a F1, but it was a loner and the roach were doing my head on.
With 90 mins gone and a lone crucian to go with my two F1's I decided to go to 14.5 m across to the far bank. Feeding micros again and with soft pellet I had a bite first drop which turned out to be a 5lb carp, I lost a fouler next chuck and then back to bloody plippy roach. I was now kicking myself for next having any bait bands / hair rigs with me as 6mm hard pellet would have helped (I had none of them either) I'm sure. I put a piece of 6mm meat on the hook to avoid the roach and it seemed a good move when I nailed an F1, but then no more bites. As this was hard I tried dropping the rig in different spots against the far bank looking for fish, I found 2 F1's like this but then it was all dead. About now Mike Duckett came along and told me I was fishing in the wrong place for F1's, I told him I was getting plagued by little roach, but he assured me fishing about 6m to my left was the spot. Out I went and Mike even gave me some of his own choice of soft pellets to use. He watched me for about 20 mins catch 4 plippy roach and then the rain came down and he departed. Sadly Mike's info never yielded an F1.
As the rain cleared I went onto my topset with caster, catching the tiny roach here was easier and I even had a couple of 4oz roach and a perch close to 1lb. After about 40 mins of doing this I was not setting the world on fire, and with 2 hours to go Steve Segar said he had about 20lb of silvers and Russ Peck was thinking he had 15lb. I thought I was nowhere near those weights and couldn't see me doing any good staying on caster (wrong) so I went back out searching my previously fed lines, I took 1 carp from the weed bed first drop and then it was all roach, meanwhile on the other side of the weed bed Steve had a run of carp.
I nicked a few more carp and a couple of F1's on meat by going right into the far corner, and also going in closer to the bank at 10m, but I lost 3 or 4 hook lengths in snags too. I bumped off a couple of F1's due to the stronger elastic, but without it the carp would have done me. When the match finished I knew I'd done no good and honestly felt like I never had a handle on the peg all day and I fished a poor match making some wrong choices, but that happens when you're not in tune with a place. Steve Seagar and Trig were having a lot of banter about who'd beat who, with Trig lifting out Steve's silver net saying he had 20lb in there.
Just as another storm arrived the weigh in started, the scales weighed from Russ round, and on the opposite bank Matty had the top silvers weight with 10lb so Russ has over estimated. Gary O'Shea on 62 had 15lb of silvers, and then Trig had 78lb of carp which beat Steve has his silvers only went 13lb, A lot of winding up going on today me thinks! When it came to my turn to weigh I had 7 carp for 27lb+ and my silvers went 12lb 15oz. I never though I had doubles of silvers, and with me thinking 20lb was winning with 2 hours to go I had dropped a bollock by not keeping the caster line going as I am sure I could have caught 3lb off it. Such is life.
Paul Elmes won the match with 100lb+ from peg 27 on Speci Lake I think, and Ken Rayner won the silvers off peg 7 on match lake with an excellent 41lb. Top weight on my lake 3 was Nick Chedzoy with 80lb+ of carp from about peg 51..
Martin had fared similar to me, with 40lb+ and not being able to catch more than 2 fish from one line, he was still happy though and we both had some bites. I'd like to go back again and adjust my rigs and baits and see what happens, always going to be difficult but a good challenge never the less. Martin dropped me off home as the first storm to hit home that day arrived, I was bloody soaked by it lol!
One last point, just like to add my condolences for the loss of Don Sutherland, it's already been said what a very nice bloke he was and I think like me he did enjoy fishing different venues when possible. RIP mate.