A week after having a sore throat the damn hacking cough won't leave me. Even a gallon of Guinness at Cheltenham Festival midweek didn't cure it. With the weather forecast to be cold and grey and lots of jobs to do at home I decided to stay off the bank this weekend (although I did wander up to watch an hour of fishing at Windmill Lakes, see Mike Nicholl's blog for that match). I sincerely hope spring arrives soon and some improving temperatures, this Easterly wind can also do one, by the looks of the weather forecast south westerlies may return by Weds/Thurs.
On Sunday 7th February I fished the final round of the Superleague and it was back on the Huntspill, having won the last match I was feeling confident. However, a hard day on peg 90 ensued and I only managed 5lb 9oz of small skimmers on the feeder and pole for 8 points out of 12, but I recorded in my diary that I lost enough fish of the hook to easily get 10 points. No bream were caught in my section on that day, but 34lb won up by the clapper. The team ended the league in 4th place.
Saturday 20th saw me pleasure fishing the Crane 1 above the bay in the little ashtip field. I fished a waggler with 1 no6 and 1 no 10 down the line with an 18 B611 to 1.7lb Bayer. I fished for 3 hours feeding hemp and maggot and caught a few roach up to 12oz and a 2lb+ chub. This was also the first time I tried elderberry on the hook, I had a bite every single cast on it, but could only hit 1 in 10 bites. I ended up with about 8lb. The following day was an open match at Newbridge, I drew peg 71 which I was not happy with as it's very rarely a good area (and that still applies today) but undaunted I went with a waggler approach to catch what I could. A 3 1/2 AAA waggler with 4 n06 3 no8 and 1 no9 down the line to a 22 to 0.09 was my preferred set up to pick up the flow and get down to the fish. I fed maggot and hemp and bites came fairly quickly and steadily for 3 hours, sadly the swim died completely in the last 2 hours and my 7lb 7oz was not enough to gain any coin.
Saturday 27th September I had managed to wangle myself onto an open match at Newton Park which was back then an awesome carp lake. I took 12 pints of maggots to this match but was wondering if I has gone over the top as there had been a light frost. I drew a peg on the monk which didn't seem favoured, and after 5 hours and 10 pints of maggots fed I hadn't had a single carp! The match was won if I remember correctly by Kev Dicks with 140lb on the method feeder. Still Sunday had to be better surely on the Avon at Frys for the first round of the Commercial House. Team draw put me in an area between the carp hole and barge, and below me was the late great Bill Milton. For us it was a real struggle, Bill as ever gave the groundbait feeder a real good go but had no bream, me I tried the waggler and just had a few ounces of dace. My get out of jail method was to fish a maggot feeder about 3/4 the way over hoping for a chub or eel. I was fishing with 0.12 hook length (plonker) and hooked two good fish which both did me in snags about 8 to 10 seconds after hooking them. I was raging, either fish would have done me proud. I changed to 2lb maxima hook length and with 20 mins to go had a cracking bite struck and was hooked up again to a lump. I gave no quarter and wound down hard to keep the fish out of the snags. Then all of a sudden bang the mainline snapped by the reel, oh for fecks sake..... The line had got caught in the back of the line roller as the screw holding it in had come lose, so as I reeled in the line just got tighter and snapped. Well that was that and I ended up with 9oz for 2 points, beating just Bill in the section, luckily the rest of the team did really well and we won the first round.
I'm looking forward to getting out on the bank once next weekend, but I really need to get my gear sorted for a few months of commercial fisheries. Everywhere seems very peggy still, so need to keep the lucky dip going!