Finally back out on the bank, yay! However, in all the excitement I forgot to take any photos, so apologies for that.
Three amigos were booked in for fishing this match, Mark Jefferies, Glenn Bailey and Moi. We had met up the day before with a few others for a couple of beers and fishing chat, Glenn had fished Viaduct on Thursday and advised the carp were still shoaled up in the bottom part of Campbell so a decent draw would be required. I was not confident of drawing on the carp so was taking bait for silvers too and would be happy to fish for them.
We met up at Cannards Well for breakfast, but we were a man down as Glenn had been up most of the night with bad guts, maybe a bad pint? Get well soon mate. Breakfast today was very nice and the staff and chef were also very pleasant. Onto the fishery and found out that the match was on Campbell, but with just three pegs on Carey. Looking at the Golden Reel results the day before (well done Dan White on winning it) it seemed pegs 110 to 114 were the likeliest ones to produce the winner. Podge went in and drew 111, and I pulled out 129 on the spit on the opposite bank. I saw that Paddy Curry had 80lb on here yesterday, only good enough for 15th, but at least carp were in the area. As I hadn't drawn on carp for ages I decided I would fish for them even if I was going to be up against it to get in the top two.
A Welsh lad Scott Thomas was on peg 130 and he told me he was going all out for silvers, and that made me even more determined to fish for carp. I set a straight lead for banded pellet, a waggler for fishing the same. I did set up two pole rigs for banded pellet, one for against the end of the spit and one for 16m, but I never had a bite on either of these. I did also set up a 4x14 Silvers float with 18 PR412 to 0.10 in case I was bored and wanted to try to catch a few silvers. I was only just set up in time for the 11am start and decided to start on the lead to see if there were any fish about. Twenty odd minutes on it with a couple of small liners but no pull rounds, meanwhile Steve Trevett on 132, Adrian Jeffery on 131 were into carp straight away. I changed to the waggler, there was little wind but it was still a tricky light to see the float. I did get a couple of bites though and hooked one which was obviously a fouled carp. After much fun I amazed myself by landing a 7lb carp hooked in the tail. Not much else happened and I went back on the lead but indications were now non existent. I did manage a carp on the lead but it was a one off, and after about 90 minutes I had another on the waggler this time hooked in the mouth.
Two hours in and on three carp I was behind Steve, Chris Davis on 110, and Kev Dicks on 112, but nobody was bagging, Scott though was getting regular silvers action. My match went from hard to rock hard, and I could not get any indications anywhere what so ever. In desperation I decided to feed a pot of caster at 14m just to try to put something in the net. After letting the caster settle for 30 mins I went in with double caster and after 5 minutes of waiting a positive bite met with lots of elastic coming out, carp I thought. However, it turned out to be a nice of tench of nearly 3lb. Over the next 30 mins I had another 2 tench and a skimmer, that was good and I thought this might be a way forward, but this line died and was never to recover.
I think it was about 90 mins to go that I had a couple more carp on the straight lead, both came within 30 seconds of the lead landing, but again they were from different areas of the peg and nothing followed. Chris Davis and Steve Trevett had stopped catching, Podge was struggling and Kev Dicks was begining to catch on a waggler. I tried the waggler in front and had a skimmer on it, casting to the left I had bite quickly and lost a fouler. The next three casts I had indications but hooked nothing, so I cast the lead out, but the tip was motionless. I assumed the carp were up in the water and with Kev catching now regularly on the wag on the drop I went out on the wag about 18" off bottom. I had some indications and lost a couple of foulers, so shallowed up again. I finally had a carp in the mouth and it was a double figure common. I hooked another carp with 30 mins to go, and after playing it carefully I pulled a bit to hard when it took off and despite the clutch whirring the hook length snapped, damn.
It was obvious Kev was now going to be the winner, but I kept going I lost another fouler and then had 2 carp in the last 15 minutes one landed on the all out. I had 60lb on my clicker and thought the silvers would go 8lb. Steve Long started weighing from peg 132, and Steve Trevett had 71lb 8oz, he did not have a carp in the last two hours. Scott had 33lb of silvers and then my turn, carp went 58lb 10oz and my silvers 9lb exactly for 67lb 10oz in total. My only hope of winning any coin was if I beat Chris Davis to get the section by default, it would be a long wait till he weighed in.
Winner was Kev Dicks on peg 112 with 131lb 3oz, He must had had more than half of that in the last 2 hours.
Steve Trevett was 2nd and last in the money.
I was 3rd overall and did get the section money as Chris weighed 62lb 6oz for 4th place.
Silvers was won by Nigel Easton on peg 118 with a great 42lb 9oz, he really does know how to catch the silvers!
Carey had fished very poor, and Campbell by recent standards was also poor. I should have been second had I not lost the carp that snapped me, and just feel I didn't the waggler right, but then I also know that going for a few silvers mid match actually got me the section money, happy enough.
The water in the lakes was still very cold and it is going to take some sustained warmer weather to liven things up and make the carp move, I was surprised that in Shepton Mallet there was still snow in some fields, we don't want anymore of that thank you!