Decided mid week to not go fishing this weekend for a couple of reasons; 1) I need to get my gear up together as much as possible for the annual holiday at Viaduct, as 6 matches in 6 days needs some prep. 2) It was my eldest daughters birthday and a nice family Sunday lunch was planned.
Going back to June 2000 I went pleasure fishing on Saturday 3rd, I fished a venue which I really liked, though it took some getting to and getting used to, Witham Friary. There were two lakes here as I recall, crucians and carp with some roach were the main targets. I fished the the top lake which basically was full of little lilies and you generally fished up to them to get bites. I fished maggot for a while trying to catch the wily crucians, but I ended up fishing meat catching small carp. 35lb was my lot on the day.
The following weekend it was back on an open match and I went back to Fishponds House. I drew a good peg down the arm towards the bowl, in the left hand margin there were lots of brambles creating an inviting margin. I fished solely with meat as the last time I was here I had seen its effectiveness. I started by fishing at 11m and had a few but was priming the margin with meat. When I went down here it was good fishing, but I was losing a few as the line was getting cut on a particularly troublesome piece of bramble. One fish I hooked got tethered to this piece of bramble and somehow my line was still attached. I climbed up the bank with my pole and landing net to try and scoop the carp out, but I couldn't see it over the brambles. Thankfully Martin Alexander, who was fishing opposite me, was kind enough to tell me where to put the net and I managed to get the carp in the net. Then I had to pull hard to get the net and fish back as the bramble was still attached. I got everything out and the bramble was now out of the water too. Of course all of this commotion took its toll and the carp took some time to come back to feed. I finished with 67lb and that was good enough for 2nd overall.
The following weekend and back on the river at Swineford for a Bristol & West open hoping to draw a bream peg. I didn't manage that and drew a decent winter chub peg lol. It was 32C on the day and suffice to say all I had was a handful of bits. Bream were caught on the outfall and just below in the shallow water. Tried the river again on the 25th June on a King Billy open, I was drawn one below the sugar hole at Jack Whites. I had one bite and one bream about 4lb, the pegs that produced that day were just above permanent peg 123, I don't think they are fishable today.
July 1st and I was fishing the FishOMania qualifier on the K&A canal around Devises. I was pegged up at the Willows section which at the time could produce carp, as only the top two anglers went through I had to go for it. I fed, caster and corn across and fished with 0.18 to a 12 with double corn. I had a tench and two small carp but the bites just dried up and bankside talk was it was fishing tough. With two hours to go I decided to put some groundbait in, I threw 5 balls towards the far bank, and this got me one more small carp. I weighed in 11lb 12oz, which I was disappointed with as I was hoping for 20lb+. However, I ended in 8th place and picked up over £100 so some consolation. I remember that Warren Bates was gutted to come third and miss out on qualifying, he lost a tench that day when a boat came down wouldn't stop and it went over his line. Bad luck.
I was practising for a superleague the following week, I fished a match at Woodlands view and caught very little, but then I stayed on and watched another match (they used to run two matches in one day). Most anglers were feeding huge amounts of baits taking 1 kilo of worm, 6 pints of caster and 2 pints of corn! It brought lots of carp in but foul hooking was an issue. I really wasn't struck on this at all. Luckily I managed to find Grant Albutt, a young angler whom I had fished against in the winter leagues here and at Moorlands. Grant was fishing with meat, corn and caster and I was lucky to watch him fish and he told me he was confident in his approach. That was good enough for me. On the Superleague I drew peg 14 on Arles pool, as I was setting up I noticed that most anglers had two keepnets in, I only had one. Gary O'Shea was fishing next to me (for my old team Thatchers) and he said you needed a second net for any fish that were not carp. Shite! I asked my Avon Angling team if anyone had a spare net, of course nobody did, so I went and saw the owner of the fishery and told him my predicament. He had no spare net, and then asked if I was fishing with worms, I said no just meat and corn. He laughed and said oh well you won't catch a lot so don't worry. OK that's sorted then! I fed everything via a big pot, I had 3 pints of caster, 2 of meat and 2 of corn, and by the end of the match it was nearly all gone. I fed after every carp, or after 15 mins. I didn't have a great deal, but nobody appeared to be catching much in my section. When the owner weighed me in he joked again about me having no worm, when I weighed 36lb 7oz to come third in the 11 peg section he was genuinely shocked and said I thought you'd come last boy. I beat Gary O'Shea off the next peg, don't expect to do that on a carp lake these days lol.
My last match in July 2000 was on the River Huntspill in the then famous "Teams of Four". I drew peg 218 and had just under 3 kilos which was made up of 3 skimmers and a bream. It was tough with blanks in places and very few bites. I won my section of 10 so a bit of coin back on the day.
There will be no blog next weekend as I'll be in a lodge at Viaduct with little or no signal. As mentioned I will have 6 matches to write up on after the holiday. I'll need to draw a few bungholes to compete with the aces, but whatever I will enjoy it and am really looking forward to the craic.