Making the most of my 12 days off work, I had booked into Landsend for todays open. Its not a venue I know well, having only fished it half a dozen or so times, with very limited success.
I wasn't sure how well it would fish, as I had a few hours at Bullock Farm yesterday, in preparation for Sundays open (another of the Charlie & Tom opens). It fished hard, I decided to fish peg 17, as I'm never likely to draw it in a match, I had a common which was nudging 10lb within 5 minutes, then a tatty looking mirror and that was it for over two hours. The fish were there, they were blowing, I was getting liners and losing foul hookers, gawd knows what they were feeding on, as they wouldn't take any bait I offered. About 4PM, the carp buggered off and I at last, had a reasonable couple of hours catching fantails, skimmers and crucians, although all I learnt was the fish will feed after the all out!!
Anyway, back to Landsend, a nice civilised draw time of 11AM, gave me time to clean the foul smelling black gunge from the bottom of my bait holdall and actually have breakfast at home with 'er indoors. I had taken casters and ¾ kilo of worm, intending to fish for skimmers and perch, upon arrival I found out that the match was split between the Match Lake and the Specimen lake, the general consensus of opinion in the pre draw chat and banter seemed to be that drawing the Specimen lake wouldn't go down well with the majority.
I drew and surprise, surprise, opening the ticket revealed the Speci lake, peg 26, 17m to the island and I hadn't brought a rod or reel of any description. Rod Wootten walked past me on his way to peg 28, he didn't feel we had much chance and he knows the venue well.
No time to feel sorry for my self, I am on holiday and determined to enjoy the day, it must be better than being at work. As the fish in the lake are gurt big lumps, I set up a paste rig with 0.19 powerline on a topkit with red hydro, a rig for hair rigged pellet and another identical rig for corn and soft pellet, all set up to fish the deepest part of the peg, which was about 11.5m. I got another topkit set up with a shallow rig on and a long line, that enabled me to fish the island, although in all honesty, I didn't expect to be sitting there waving 16.5m of pole around all day.
On the all in, I cupped in two cups of pellet, with a few grains of corn in and went over it with the paste rig, after a couple of liners, on the third or 4th put in resulted in a positive bite and a near 10lb fish in the net. It took another 20 minutes or so to get another this one hooked fair and square in the tail and a baby for the lake of about 3lb. Then that was it, apart from an occasional missed bite (roach I think)on corn & soft pellet, the peg appeared devoid of fish.
I could see that Rod was struggling and the guy on peg 25, so with two hours gone I set up a roach rig on No6 elastic and fished caster shallow for the last four hours, having fish up to 1lb. I had the occasional look with a pellet at full depth in case I could entice a bonus skimmer, but to no avail. I didn't really have enough caster to do the job properly, I had two pints and four would have been more like it.
As it drew near the all out, I knew I had double figures of roach, but peg 25 had thrown up a few skimmers and chub from the margin, of a decent size, enough to beat my silvers net.
Pete Sivell came round from the Match lake, saying how crap it had fished and 20lb would win the silvers, all this taken with a pinch of salt, even though Pete is a fellow City fan, who I have known for many years, when it comes to bankside chat just remember that Sivell rhymes with Drivel!!
The Specimen lake yielded the overall winner with 99lb 6oz, from peg 31, which apparently had a winning weight of 180lb in the last week or so. Apart from that the doom mongers were right, all the backing weights from the match lake, all from one area. My hard work with the net of caster caught roach saw me beaten into second in the silvers by the skimmers and chub from peg 25. Still it was nice to pick up some money and catch plenty of fish, just not the size I expected when drawing on the lake.
1. M Poppleton 99-06 peg 31
2. M West 58.03 peg 21
3. J Genna 58.02 peg 22
4. E Fouracre 52.05 peg 19
1. K Molton 21.00 peg 25
2. C Fox 15.09 peg 26
And so onto Bullock Farm tomorrow.....