This post starts with the practice I put in a week before the national, I drove up on the Wednesday and met up with the lads, who had fished an open, in a pub in Newark for the results. None of the guys did amazingly well but ideas and sharing of information began, what was clear already was that end pegs were a major advantage. We were in two different hotels as a team and I shared a room with Andy Ottaway Great hotel, lovely bar but it didn't stay open late. We had a few beers and a very good Chinese meal.
I felt good the next morning despite a shortish sleep, we had a 30 minute to drive to Southwell for the draw of today's open which was at Fiskerton and Rolleston. I drew a peg at Rolleston and was waiting for a local to tell me to fish for bream or barbel..... err no, the best they could say was fish for silvers. It was another drive to get to my section, along the way we drove down a track and I could not see the car in front due to the dust, suffice to say the car was covered.
I got to the peg and first job was to get a platform in (borrowed from Glenn Bailey) as this river is very rocky in close. Peg looked like this, shame the trees were out of distance as I forgot my big feeder rod.
Another good night out in Newark, the pubs up there have a big variety of ale, but not much cider.
Think I must have had a few more beers as was a little slower Friday morning... We were just fishing in a line today, the only place we could go was Fiskerton which was OK with me. I fished next to Jack Jones, we set about fishing a little differently to see how things went. I wanted to fish the pole and blockend feeder today. I balled it in on the pole, but I began on the feeder and it took a few casts before I started to get some bites. I had some dace, a couple of a roach and a perch, and then hit what I thought might be a big skimmer. Halfway back the fish tore off, I shouted out to Jack that I had a barbel on, but 30 seconds later I didn't and with one head shake or kick it snapped me up, damn. Not long after this a thunderstorm hit and I sat in the car waiting for it to pass. Once we got back fishing we hear Andy Ottoway had lost a barbel, so Jack and I kept going for one. Jack then thought he had one on, but as it came in he realised it was a decent eel, unbelievably just had Jack landed the eel I hooked one, a good pound eel. Bites died and I went on the pole and caught some nice roach but they came in fits and starts, the river is so clear I think they spook. My net below when the sun decided to come out and dry everything out, happy with that.
I spent the following week buying feeders, tying rigs etc, and dreaming of drawing the flyer at East Stoke or the first 20 pegs at Fiskerton on the private stretch.
I drove up Friday afternoon before the national, it was a tortuous journey but got to the hotel at 6pm. We had a night out in Nottingham, with a very good curry and plenty of beer. great team bonding, but when the alarm went off at 6pm I was slightly regretting the late night. Fast forward to the draw done as ever by Mark Harper. Mark came back with the barbel flyer E1 at East Stoke on the list, but it was not for me, it had Ian Paulley's name against it, good luck mate! I was drawn in A section, Clifton, and as it turned out I was two above the flyover.
My peg was down a steep bank with steps, home from home you could say, but I had to get into the water as far as I could as there were trees right above me. I was told the main species here were dace and some roach, but I did set up a feeder rod though it never got used. A 4AAA waggler with 18 to 0.12 was put up as was 3 pole rigs for 11.5m and a rig for chopped worm at 6m. I've not mentioned the pole rigs in detail as basically I only caught on one as I'll explain later. The river was very shallow here, about 4 1/2 foot and that was a bit of a surprise to me and the shallowest peg I've had up here.
The match started at 11am and I threw in 12 balls of gbait on the pole line, I didn't intend to start on the pole but thought I would have a cheeky look. One fry was all I had in 10 runs through, but not to worry as I hoped it would draw fish in later. Out went the waggler, I had to cast it a long way downstream to try to combat the awful downstream wind. It was hard work, and presentation was only good for a short distance, but I got the odd bite on it but was going nowhere at this stage. Another look on the pole and no bites, hmmm. I tried my worm line and bumped a perch, then lost one (not big) and finally had two out, then this died.
An hour gone and maybe I have got a pound, the wind just got worse, the conditions were really a battle and it was seriously tough match. Gradually I got more bites, especially on the waggler, but I was lucky if I could hit 1 in ten bites from these dace. The pole was even worse, the only rig I could get a bite on was a 4x16 strung out rig, but once the fish were there it was hard to hit the bites. The float would want to go with the wind, and trying to get any presentation was hardly possible, most bites came if i lifted the rig a bit and dropped it in.
With about 90 mins left I had only taken 2 more perch on worm, but by switching between wag and pole I tried to find a rythmn. I did snap up on the strike on the wag once, but I doubt it was a big fish, I just hit the bite hard with no slack line. Then disaster, I caught the top of the rod in the tree on the cast, after being so careful all day. It was a right off, no way was the waggler coming out or the rod, so I left it there. It was pole all the way now, I battled the wind and tried all the permutations of hookbaits. A single bronze maggot was the best it seemed, on hemp I had one roach, on a tare two tiny dace. I had been feeding hemp all day, but with 45 mins to go the bites dried up, maybe because I hadn't rested it. I fed some casters in with the hemp and managed to get a few bites again.
When the match finished I was a tad frustrated, I had lost a few fish shipping back for some reason and dropped two off. I also believe a better angler would have hit more bites on the waggler and had a couple more pounds. That said I had a right legend behind me watching for a bit Pete Warren and he said he thought I had done OK. I couldn't believe my luck meeting Pete, I used to have a load of his stick floats, he still fishes the river and still uses the stick, but said he gets hammered by the pole anglers.
The stewards got to me to weigh in and said the river had fished hard for many, when I was weighed in I had 3 kilos 140g, about 7lb. Best shot I could get of my fish is here.
Kevin Green of Preston Black Horse above me weighed 2 kilo 160g and Paul Robinson of Wigan had 1kilo 720g. Just below Paul, Ed Warren of Starlets had 3kilo 60g, so I guess I had done well enough, but sill think I could have had 4 kilo. In the first 15 pegs I was 5th, and out of the 47 anglers in my section I was 15th so 32 points. My section was split with about a dozen pegs put in a new section, Des Shipp drew the end peg and did well to blitz the section with 9 kilo.
Back at the results and our team had not done especially well so no medals today. However, Ian Paulley on the flier had done the business, 14 barbel and 7 chub for a whopping 45 kilo 800g, which must be 100lb in old money. Ian had caught on a block end feeder fishing across to the far side of the river next to a bramble bush. Ian was not a runaway winner though, as in the 20 private pegs at Fiskerton the bream had fed and a 44kilo 300g was second to Ian. Well done Ian a great champion you are.
The team finished 19th overall, with Barnsley Blacks winning from Diawa Dorking. I love the Trent, it is hard work at times but it has lots of fish in it but its mood changes and this week the roach and dace were tough to catch compared to last week.
Today the team competed in the last round of the Superleague, I had asked not to fish as I needed a rest, the team had two bad draws and came last off those. They drew on the day with DGL and that meant DGL won the league by 1/2 point, so congratulations to them. Sadly for some reason the venues for next season have changed slightly, with Staverton on the river being dropped, and a second round being put in on the Gloucester canal. I struggle to understand that decision, but each to their own, and my own choice is I will not fish the Gloucester canal.
Time for a rest, recharge and get a few jobs done around the house and spend some time with my wife, so no fishing on the bank holiday weekend, and then September gets really busy with lots of stuff.