I stayed up late Saturday to watch the boxing so was a tad tired when the alarm went of at 6:30. Shame really as I completely forgot it was April 1st and probably for the first time ever did not wind the wife up. Anyway, onto the draw venue at the Crown pub Keynsham, with the sun in my eyes I did not spot all the anglers outside the pub, and they said it was not open. Hmmm, not an April Fools it was real, no breakfast! Nic and Mike got on with the draw and I pulled out peg 11 which was first peg just into the bay at Darlington. Happy with that and skimmers were on my mind. However first stop was McDonalds in Twerton to get some grub.
I got to the canal and couldn't believe my luck, the peg to my left on the reeds (which I would have preferred) was not in and so I was end peg, and the next peg was on the duck ramp down by the tunnel, Will Gibson was on this peg. Mat Challenger had caught 20lb of skimmers and perch last week past the bay, an area I really like, but this had not been pegged today. I've drawn this peg before and have never really done great off it, but I was confident enough today.
My peg at the start with the sun in my face.
Simple rigs, a 4x14 for punch bread at 5m with 18 PR311 to 0.07, another same rig for 16m at 11 o'clock where I would feed gbait, and another 4x14 at 13m straight in front for worm and caster with a 16 PR333 to 0.10, and a 4x10 caster rig for right across by the moored boat with 20 PR333 to 0.09.
As I was setting up a number of people walking asked the usual questions.. that's a big rod, what fish are in here, etc. However, one lady was jogging past and she was in awe of my pole, and she stopped and asked "Why have you got such a big rod?" I realised it was Ali Vowles who works for BBC news, TV and Radio. I had a bit of laugh with her and her fellow jogger and told her why a long pole was important, nice lady.
The weather was lovely to start, very light wind if any, and sunny, it was a pleasure to be out. At 10am the match began, and I fed liquidized bread at 5m, as well as my gbait and worm and caster lines. I stuck a 6mm piece of punch bread on the hook and shipped it out, the float settled and fairly zoomed under, a good fish was hooked and I played it carefully. I thought it might be a bream, but it turned out to be a 1lb hybrid, as you know them hybrids fight like demons lol. Lovely start, and hoped there would be a few more of them, but it was a small roach every chuck after this,can't complain. Fifteen minutes in and the boat to my right was going to move off, but after they told me they were going to Bathampton I convinced them it was quicker to walk, and they took my advice, result! To be fair the first hour was a bite a chuck on the bread with these little roach and I did have a 4-6oz skimmer. Team mate Andrew Cranston had turned up for a bit and I think he enjoyed seeing my float going under as he hasn't seen much of that lately on the shit holes he has been on. He went off to see how the lads lower down were getting on.
After about 60 minutes of steady fishing on the punch it slowed and the topping up (which had worked earlier) wasn't as good. Then Andrew came back and I had a few small roach and a 12oz skimmer which took the punch on the drop. Then bites were iffy and it was time to try the other lines, sadly it was no good and just 1 small roach over the gbait was all I had. I then spent the next hour going nowhere at all, I couldn't get a bite and the punch was dead. I was wishing I had some bloodworm and joker!
The boat owners returned and then drove off, not really an issue as we had already had about 15 boats go through by now. Twenty minutes later a boat moored up in the space, but it was a small boat and left a big gap. With two hours to go I started to get bites on the punch line again, only small roach but very regular bites on a small piece of punch. By now I had I hoped encouraged at least 20 kids to try fishing, as they had stopped with their family to watch me, I even let some of them touch the fish I caught. I never got stressed about it, it was bound to be busy on the canal, and better to let the kids enjoy than be a grumpy old so and so. That said dogs off leads, a horse being ridden and bikers in a rush do try your patience at times. Plus numerous boats including this advert for Tango...
One thing that was evident today was that the fish never worried about the noise, bank walkers or boats or noisy people on boats never made a blind bit of difference. In fact another boat moored up by me, and it was just in front of me and I had to move 1 metre to my left. There was a lot of banging etc, and honestly it made no difference to the punch line. You can see how close it was to me now (plus another boat going past) and I could not go further left due to another moored boat.
I did manage to catch a 6oz and 2oz perch on my worm line, but no skimmers, I never had bite across by the boat on the caster line. Basically it was just bites on the punch and I kept small roach coming whilst trying the other lines up until the all out.
I was happy enough as I had only bumped a couple of small roach, but was disappointed that I did not get into skimmers. It was a day of bites other than a poor middle spell. The scales arrived and I registered 8lb 6oz which was a lot of fish and although less than I had hoped for it was a nice bag.
My weight was top of the four of us, with Darren Gillman next with 6lb 10oz in the tunnel. Back at the results I knew I would not be winning as Glenn Bailey had estimated 9lb, and as it turned out he won the day with over 10lb, thanks to a late 2lb+ skimmer. Glenn was on the white post turning bay up past the George.
2nd Rich Whitmarsh 8lb 10oz Malthouse bay
3rd Andy Britt 8lb 8 1/2oz Malthouse
4th Me 8lb 6oz.
As you will guess they paid out the top 3, lol, so I won my section. Generally I would be gutted and analyse where I lost those few ounces, but today I hardly lost of a fish and never lost a bonus and was not worried about it at all and I even won a few raffle prizes. We had a right laugh in the pub, and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole day. Well done to the lads that fished as more than £300 was raised for charity, Bob's sons Lee and Leighton were delighted and even posed with the winner. Well done Glenn (he's the old one in the middle, lol)