I finally managed to get back out on the bank this Sunday, it was a fairly last minute decision and truth be told I had done very little prep other than make sure I had barbless hooks and some sensible hollo elastics in my top sets. I met Glenn Bailey for breakfast in the Wetherspoons Kingswood and that was all good. Got to the fishery and there were twelve people who had turned up. I had little clue of pegs to draw and tactics other than what I had read on Mike Nicholls blog. However, when I drew my peg, 16, I got told by Mike that he had been on it recently and caught some carp at 13m.
Got to my peg and Dave Wilmot was to my left on peg 18, whilst nobody was sure how the lake would fish Dave was convinced that Keith Bilder on peg 22 would be the winner. Between Keith and Dave was Geoff Francis. to my right was Norman Ferris.
My peg has an island opposite, and then a gap to my left, the venue was certainly full of water, and much higher than when I had last seen it. Opposite on the gap peg was Glenn.
I set up a lead rod to which I attached one of the miniature Preston pellet feeders with a 4 inch hooklength of 0.15 powerline to a 16 KKM-B hook. A pole rig for 13m was a 4x16 F1 Pellet float with an 18 to 0.13. A very similar rig for fishing at 5m, and rig for right across.
We started at 10:15 and I began cautiously feeding a small amount of micro and some maggots on the 13m line. I dropped straight over it to see if there was anything there but after 15 mins I had not had a bite but Dave had caught a couple straight away. I tried going across, just dobbing around to start, I never had an indication across. Back on the 13m line and still nothing, Dave was feeding maggots by catty, but I was toss potting as the wind was forecast to get up and it was in my face. I fed a bit heavier to try to make something happen, and finally after 45 mins I had my first bite and a carp about 2lb. The next two drop in's both produced small carp quite quickly and all of a sudden things were looking up. Of course the bites stopped but 15 mins later and another little carp. Over the next hour and 15 mins I had some fish in the peg, and whilst it was hard work by lifting and dropping I got the odd small carp and then had two better fish around 5lb. Those two larger fish though were the end of bites for a long time. I hadn't lost any fish and had only missed one bite, but the fish went and my double maggot hookbait was ignored.
Over the next 90 mins I never had a bite or indication anywhere, the lead never produced a bite or a liner, the far bank similarly never produced even a dink on the float. Geoff Francis came round for a walk and said Keith was catching regularly, he and Dave were top two at this stage. As I was moaning to Geoff about lack of bites the float went under. I struck and a fish came to the surface mouth open and just floated there for a couple of seconds, Geoff even said is it dead. It came to the surface twice more before I netted it, each time it sorted floated up and then swam down, I thought it was fouled. The fish though was hooked in the mouth, perhaps it was so cold it had no energy. That was a one off and not long after Shaun Townsend came for a walk round and I told him I was going nowhere now after a decent spell. Shaun didn't hang around long, and not long after I had another 1lb carp. With 15 minutes to go I had a bite and another carp, and then lost one, then had another two before the all out. Probably the time of day,but too little too late.
The far bank had been poor for carp and Glenn had packed up leaving his lead rod out but it never went round he only caught 8lb+ about 3 carp. Peg 1 was leading with 35lb when the scales got to me, I had 31lb on my clicker and was spot on as the scalesman gave me 31lb 7oz.
Dave Willmot managed to keep the carp going on and off for 4 hours, he ended with 45lb 3oz which got him 2nd. Geoff had 13lb, and then Keith had 67lb 10oz which made him an easy winner, he had all of his fish on the long pole going up the shelf on corn. Silvers winner today was Mike Nicholls who had 7lb 12oz, see his blog for details.
No coin for me today, but I was just happy to be back out on the bank, and with last week all the venues being frozen I am more than happy to have the float go under and a bit of elastic come out. I dotted the float right down today and put a bit of bristle grease on the tip, the bites were all very positive, and at least half were caught as the bait fell through the water in the last foot. I would like to have a go on the river again, but presently it is really high and you cannot see the weir at Keynsham. However, if the weather goes mild towards the end of the season it could be good fishing, fingers crossed!