After pondering on whether to go to Cider Farm, or to try and improve my dismal record at Avalon, I rang Tony Rixon and booked into Avalon, at least it was a later draw....
I met up with Tony and Martin at the Cafe in Shipham and a good breakfast removed the remnants of last nights Bass and red wine. We drove down to Avalon and I was hoping the rain would bugger off, it wasn't forecast and I hadn't brought a brolly, nor any proper water proof gear. No need to worry, it had gone by the time we arrived and a warm overcast and still day was in prospect.
At the draw Tony announced he'd be paying the top 4, with no silvers payout - the 2 pints of caster he sold me yesterday didn't get opened - I drew peg 16, an island chuck all to myself, I was pretty confident that the fish would come up in the water, it was still warm, I'd have liked just a small ripple to ruffle the mirror like surface.
After Sundays result, I had to set up a paste rig, whilst I was at it I set up a MW pellet to fish hair rigged pellet and another to fish expander , corn or meat. I also had two waggler rods in the hard case already to go, one with a dumpy pellet waggler to fish shallow, one with a loaded drennan, to fish from 3' to full depth. To complete my array of rods and topkits, I set up a straight lead. I toyed with setting up a margin rig, but decided against it, I'm sure half my problem on these carp dominated venues is flitting between lines, baits and methods.
On the whistle, I cupped 2 cupfuls of 4mm & micro pellet onto the 12.5m line and started feeding 8mm pellets to the island. First two put ins on the pole with the paste rig saw the float sit pretty stationary, 3rd put in vanished and a big, almost certainly foul hooker, sped off towards peg 15, the hook pulling out, as the purple hydro bottomed out. That was it, nothing else on that line, paste float sat there motionless, hard pellet rig the same, the expander rig was next, 4mm & 6mm and a piece of meat (no, not all at the same time) all meeting with the same response.
I'd carried on feeding the island and hadn't wanted to go out there too early, but after a half hour of motionless pole floats, the sight of a swirl after I fed a few more pellets made me chuck the pole up the bank and pick up the waggler rod. Again, the float remained pretty stationary, at least it did until the hour and a quarter mark, when I had 3 fish in 15 minutes. This was a false dawn, I had another ¾ of an hour without a fish, but they were there, something wasn't right.
I picked up the straight lead rod I had set up at the start and immediately started catching on it, the carp would not come away from the island and the lead was easier to get tight. I had nine more fish on the lead, with liners and indications that the peg had plenty of fish in it, at 3.30PM (with two hours to go) I had 13 carp. Then they disappeared, no more liners, no bites, nothing, I tried tight to the island, I tried dropping short, all to no avail. The fish had moved, I'm sure on some of these lakes with islands, that the fish feed a while and then patrol round.
After a fishless hour, I went back on the paste line, trying paste and expander again, nothing, that line had shown no signs of fish, no fizzing, no silt being stirred up, was it devoid of fish? At 5.15PM, with 15 minutes to go, I saw some signs that the carp were back by the island (and heard them, as they tried to slurp the pellets that were on the waterline of the island).
A cast with the pellet waggler landed perfectly, virtually touching the island, within about 3 seconds of landing, the float buried and another carp was on its way across the lake, trying to bully it a bit so I could get back out there for another before the 5.30PM whistle, saw the hook pull right at the net. Casting back out, it took two more casts to hit the right spot again and just as I knew it would, the float buried again, this fish being landed seconds before the whistle.
That bit of bullying cost me money, with four being paid out, my 60.01 was fifth, one out of the money by 01.05. If anyone can tell me how to get these bloody carp to feed further than 2" away from the island, please do, I'll buy the beer!!
I'm writing this eating a very nice take away Indian, trying to watch the football and enjoying a nice glass or two of an excellent Cotes du Rhône called Chemin des Papes that I brought back from my last visit to France.
It ended up:
1. Gary Wall peg 21. 79.12 (which included an 18lb fish)
2. Tony Rixon peg 12. 78.01
3. Martin Lengahan 77.09
4. Tony Whitcomb peg 5. 61.06 ( a bloody 10lber on the whistle)
5. Chris Fox peg 16. 60.01
Well.I'm off work for a few days now, so I reckon it'll be a practise session on Bullock Farm Friday (in preparation for Sunday), fish the open at Landsend on Saturday, then Bullock Farm on Sunday, for Charlie Barnes open....... Thats the plan, it's my birthday Sunday, so I'm sure the pub, Bass and curry will have some influence on the weekends success or failure.
I'm off to France for a couple of days on Monday, so plenty of red wine tasting to be done over there.