Not been here for far too long, don't know why I keep saying this as I rate this fishery highly as it usually guarantees bites. I was going to meet up with Jack Jones, Mike Nicholls and Geoff Francis . However, Mike text me early to say he and Geoff were not going as it was too windy. I did question my sanity as I loaded up the car.
The drive up on the morning was all good and the further North I drove the less windy it seemed to get. Arriving at the fishery the wind was certainly not to bad at all, but it was forecast to get better. I said hello to the owner Keith and had one of his breakfasts which would keep me going all day. There was a fair bit of debate about what to peg to avoid the wind, but I didn't think that was possible. With only 12 brave (or foolish) anglers turned up Keith decided to put 6 anglers on each lake. I was last but one to draw and pulled out 22 on Heron, this was on the car park bank and meant the wind was off my back, yay. That said none of the locals gave me any rave reviews about it, most saying its shallow and a good simmer peg, hmmm. Aaron Britnell had fished here yesterday, and he had 47lb off the same peg, he gave me a few pointers over facebook messenger.
The wind was much worse as you went down the lake, and I was happy to get the pole out. I plumbed up to find the contours / depth, and went for a line at 10m and another at 11.5. The depth was the same on these two lines and a 4x16 F1 pellet wire stem was used, with a 16 PR412 to 0.11 powerline. Another rig was set up same float but in a 4x12, this was to be fished about 3m out from my bank as I felt right in the margin was too shallow. I did also set up a maggot feeder.
The match began at 10:30 and I shipped out to 10m and toss potted in some fishery micro pellets. I fed some maggots on the closer line and would leave the 11.5m line for a while. I slipped a 4mm Sonubait expander pellet on the hook and didn't have to wait long for a bite, first fish was a fantail. Next drop an F1, then a 3lb carp. I took another few fish but after 30 mins this line was dead and my early lead was gone when a couple of lads caught a few carp on the maggot feeder. I had to give it a go but three casts on the hour and no indications, and at the same time the others seemed to dry up too. I could see carp rolling virtually all day further up the lake, and I feared that they had followed the wind.
I went back to the 10m line and managed to get the odd bite again, F1's and the odd hand size skimmer. I was lucky as the wind was worsening and one guy had his spare keepnet blown in, and another had his trolley blown along the bank and nearly went in! My 10m line all of a sudden was consistent and I was getting regular bites and was lining up a few F1's including a couple of 4lbers. It was all going well but when it did slow I tried the 11.5m line where I had fed some corn, but all I caught here were two roach all match. The middle of match was really enjoyable and I thought if kept this up I'd do a really good weight. Probably with about 1 hr and 45 mins to go the 10m line went weird, I struggled to get bites and when I did I could not hit a bite! I also lost a big F1 which managed to get in between my keepnets. I tried the maggot line but it was full of roach and rudd, so I dumped a big pot of maggots in and left it for a bit.
Whilst I was now struggling the lad up from me on the left hand bank was now bagging in his margin catching carp and F1, and the guy behind him on Moorhen was catching well too. I was frustrated by my slow catch rate, but finally with about 25 mins to go I had a decent fish on maggot in close, a bream of about 3 1/2lb. That was followed by a F1, a carp and another F1 landed after the whistle.
I was sure I would be an also ran but never the less I had caught plenty of fish and more than I thought I was going to if I'm honest. I weighed in just under 88lb which I was well chuffed with, this put me fourth. I don't know the exact weights / names of framers as everyone was paid on the bank and we all shot off when a storm arrived. 110lb won from peg 5 on Moorhen, corn in margin. The lad on my lake had 101lb on pellet in the margin (he told me he lost 7 carp too). There was a 90lb on Moorhen and then it was me. Considering I don't do F1 fishing I was pleased with the day, for sure there was probably more to be caught, I think I was to negative with the margin and should have put some corn in at least one side. Still happy enough and I just need more practice!
The drive back home was interesting to say the least. The rain began falling as sleet and the temperature dropped rapidly. The motorway traffic became very slow and I assumed the storm was causing this, but what it turned out to be was snow! Just before Cheltenham the temperature was down to 0.5C on my car and it was snowing and the road was thick with it and some of the fields were all white. It was an amazing change, and I was glad when I got through it and got home.