Unfortunately I am going to begin this post with some very sad news. During the week Tom Bailey (father of my best mate Glenn and his brother Mark) sadly passed away. Tom was once well known for his river skills, and he won many matches on the Avon on the Boardmills stretch fishing his beloved stick float. In later years with failing health Tom moved on to the commercials and carried on catching primarily at Acorn fishery. Last year I bought a Normark Microlite 2000 from Tom, one he'd used on the river, and every time I thread the lines through the rings I will remember him. For those wishing to attend the funeral it is at Westerleigh Crematorium on Wednesday 17th May at 2pm, the wake will be held at the Royal British Legion in Keynsham.
Back to today then, I had already planned a day out with the wife on Sunday, so a match on Saturday it would have to be. I then realised I had to take my eldest daughter to Bristol Parkway railway station Saturday which would make me late for any draw. Thanks to Rod Wooten and Mike Duckett I got them to let me turn up late for the draw, which was good of them. Dropped my daughter off at 9:15am, and got to the fishery at 10:10am (the draw had taken place at 9:30). As I drove in I saw my name on the whiteboard on the cabin with "peg 19" next to it. Happy with that peg.
I got my gear on the trolley in record time and zoomed off to the peg not stopping to talk to anyone sorry! I had about 45 mins to get set up, and drawing this peg meant I was going to concentrate on fishing for carp. I put pellets, corn and meat on my bait tray, set up a 4x12 rig for the margin to my right where I would feed gbait and meat, had 0.18 to 14 PR478. A 0.25 rig for meat at 6m and same rig for 6" shallower in the bush to my left. For the far side I set up a slapper (no good) a rig for on top the shelf for banded pellet, and one for down the shelf again for pellet, 0.16 to 16 PR36 on both.
I put my nets in the water just as the all in was called, so I was only a minute or so late starting. I fed some pellets across to the reeds, and to the bare bank to the left. I started at 6m on meat. I had one bite here and it was a 3lb carp, after 30 mins I had to go across. I started across on a 6mm pellet on the deeper rig and within a few minutes I had a carp of about 3lb which was hooked just outside the house. I spooked one and had a 1lb 8oz F1 but that was my lot from the reeds. Trying the same rig short of the bare bank I didn't get any bites. There was a carp swimming right against the bare bank so I had to try over, it was probably an hour gone and whilst a slow start for me nobody was catching. As it turned out this far bank line was the only place I could catch. It was damn hard work holding nearly 16m of pole waiting for a carp to swim through, there were never loads over there, I didn't suffer with many liners or foulers, and at times it was a long wait between bites.
The angler to my right Mark Walsh was struggling trying to catch silvers, on my right on 21 Dave Sawyer was getting the odd carp short, not as many as me but they seemed bigger. Rod on 7 and Adrian Jeffery on 5 were both struggling. I plugged away and with 2 hours to go had a little purple patch with 4 carp in fairly quick succession. I hoped this was the start of the fish feeding confidently, but it was a flash in the pan. Rich Heatley on 24 started to catch on meat and he had a good last hour. Whilst I looked down at him I noticed a tail in the margin swim I had fed, I dropped in with a cube of meat and within 20 seconds I had the culprit a 7lb common. I was surprised when I never had another sign of a fish in the margin.
Despite feeding meat at 6m regularly I never had a bite there, and I'd not had a fish from the bush on my left, but 10 mins left and I saw some bubbles there. I dropped in and with 5 mins to go I hooked a carp, played it out easily and as it came up to the net the hook flew out and rig went up the tree and was trashed. There was no time left to get another rig out and that was the end.
I had 65lb on my clicker, but was sure I had been beaten by Dave on 21 and Rich, but with no idea how the rest of the lake had fished I would still weigh in as 3 were being payed out. The scales started at 1 and on that peg Jim Jenner had 71lb of carp, that was still the leading weight until it was my turn to weigh. Annoyingly my clicker was spot on and my weight was exactly 65lb and I sneaked in 3rd and last in the money with that.
1st Rich Heatley 78lb peg 24 all on meat
2nd Jim Jenner 71lb peg 1 pellet
3rd Me 65lb
4th Dave Sawyer 63lb
Silvers was won by Tom Magnall on peg 3 with 21lb. Tom had not been able to catch a carp, and caught on maggot over maggot, and maggot over micro.
It seemed the fish had followed the wind which Mike Duckett had suggested they might, and I was happy enough being next best after that end of the lake. I do feel there were more fish to be caught in my peg, I still struggle to catch on meat short and to be quite honest I'm sure I should have. Never the less it was a typical hard working day at Landsend where you have to keep working and trying to the end. Sorry there were no photos, I totally forgot to take any in my rush!