I start my blog with some sad news of two anglers who have passed away this week; John Baker and Bob Tilley. I always liked John and remember him once winning a commercial match on the canal at Limpley Stoke catching a rare carp. Bob may not be known to a wider group of anglers, but he was a friend of my dad in their school years, despite Bob having a walking disability he never let it stop him go fishing until very late in life. He liked a drink, liked a laugh and I once spent a week on holiday with him and Kev Boltz fishing the river Teme. Bob nearly fell in the river laughing at me as a large Barbel nearly pulled me in and eventually snapped 8lb maxima. RIP gents.
Earlier in the week Mark Harper put out a message looking for an angler to fish for the Thatchers PI team in the final round of the Viaduct Winter league. I put myself forward, and said your taking Des Shipp's place and the team is winning the league... no pressure then lol. I then remembered I was going to a school reunion the night before, and that would entail a fair bit of cider (and it did) but I would have to be sensible.
Sunday morning up bright and early at 6:30am, I think i was functioning OK but there was a definite hint of umm jadedness. A bit of brekky and then I loaded the car in heavy sleet and it was really cold. When I arrived at the fishery parking was a challenge, in fact I had to block several people in, I had no choice. The team today was Tony Gilbert, Rob Jones, Luke Sorokin and Andy Power. These guys along with Des have down really well and avoided some of the worst pegs which helps. I was to be on the Lodge / Carey section, and I had prepared rigs for silvers, rods for wagglers, and rigs for carp. Andy did the draw and put me on peg 74 on Carey, I hadn't realised this peg was in the section.
At the peg I took a look at the cut down tree and placed my box on angle so I could fish the edge better without getting to stiff a neck.
The match started at 10:30 and the sun was shining and the wind was light, I shipped out with a piece of bread and went to about 14.5m, the light was tricky and and after 10 mins I thought I had a bite and struck. Nothing, so had to ship in and put another piece of bread on, dropped in on the same spot but due to the light I moved the rig a bit further down. No signs, so I went to nearly 16m and after about 20 mins I hooked a carp and pulled hard to the left. Everything held firm and I was soon netting a mirror of about 8lb. All was quiet after this until another dink on the float missed, then another bite and fish on. This one about 7lb I thought. I hadn't been getting any liners or indications so assumed there were not many carp in the peg, and then I started to get dinks, but it was roach. I tried a bigger punch and double punch but the roach nailed it. On with 6 dead red maggots and this stopped the roach, and I got another carp of about 6lb. I guess about 90 mins had passed now and I was well happy. Opposite me Gary O'Shea was struggling and lost one fouler on the waggler.
We got hit by a nasty shower, but luckily we only had one more during the day, it chilled my hands though. Unfortunately for me things went very quiet for me down the edge, and fishing 16m with no bites was starting to hurt. With Gary getting a few skimmers I decided to get a rig out and feed some bait at 14.5m straight out in front by the edge of the tree. Being halfway through the match I thought putting in gbait was a waste, so I potted some casters in. Gary had taken a carp on the waggler fishing across to my bank further down, at about 17lb it was a beast.
I weighed in my 3 small carp for Carey at 21lb 2oz , and the silvers 4lb 7oz. My 25lb 9oz was worth 11 points from 17, which was OK. Gary did well his 3 carp going 43lb and he had 15lb of skimmers too, a great angler as the peg he was on has been awful all series I belive.
Team wise we had struggled a bit, Andy Power had come second overall on Campbell 111, Rob Jones had 20lb of silvers from peg 1 on Spring, Luke had 10lb of tiny fish on Spring, and Tony had 8lb of silvers. So only two of us caught carp. Luckily we had done enough and won the league by 33 points yay. Nice to be part of a winning team even if I was only fishing today ;-)
Have to say well done to Andy Power who won the league individually. Des was leading the league before today, but him missing meant my points did not count for him.
The match was won today by Gary Cotton on peg 131 with 99lb 7oz all on the lead. Vince Brown who was behind me on 112 won the silvers with 22lb 9oz. The fish are still shoaled and still lethargic, but hopefully if we get some milder weather and with the days getting longer they may start to move about a bit.