Well, its been a long time since I updated this blog, I seem to have been working ever since the last update. OK so not strictly true, but work has certainly meant I've squeezed in matches without proper preparation, had no time to practise and not been able to commit to any leagues, individual or team.
Mike Nicholl's and Tony Rixon's blogs have now spurred me on to restart this one and record the details of my quest to get some consistency in my results, in this very different match scene, to the one I left in 1991.
I've been fishing open matches, with smattering of club matches in amongst them, trying to get a blend of venues I feel that I know a little about and taking in some new venues (not too successfully, if my dismal returns on Tony's, Wednesday opens, at Landsend and Avalon are anything to go by).
The one venue that has seen my most consistent results, is Woodland Lake, at the Trinity Waters complex in Bridgwater. The same cannot be said for Trinity's Wildmarsh Lake, which remains a thorn in my side, my best weight from this lake being just over 16lb - although I stayed on after the match, to try and suss it out and had 80lb in 3 hours - bloody lake, matches on it and me do not get on.
Back to Woodlands, this was a Clevedon club match (I've missed a lot of Trinity's opens this season due to work), not quite enough anglers to book the whole lake, but we had both ends and the far bank, I got involved in the pegging and tried to ensure that it gave the best chance to all fishing - never easy, you can never please everyone - although thankfully no moans on the day.
I pulled peg 14 out of the drawbag, not too bad a draw, but the wind was blowing to the opposite end of the lake and walking round with Paul Faiers, who had drawn 6, I did think he'd bag up, there were fish blowing in front and to the right of him.
No signs of fish blowing when I got to my peg, but I was fairly unperturbed, as a peg that can appear fairly barren on Woodland, can look like a Jacuzzi within 10 minutes of feeding it. I had a plan and a back up, not my usual strategy, I was hammered off the next peg in a recent Tuesday evening open, by Eric Fouracre and after a chat with him, in which he kindly gave me loads of info about how he fishes it, I went and practised it, and it worked. Many of my pickups on this lake have been as a result of catching in the margins, this just hasn't worked so well this season and the pole or waggler up in th water have been met with varied results, the lake, as have many this season, has been inconsistent.
My plan was to fish paste about 2m past the bottom of the slope, I had wagglers set up in reserve and margin rigs, for the LH near margin and under the empty pallet of peg 13. On the all in, I potted in some pellet and went over it with some paste, the fizzing started almost immediately, the float shot under, a missed bite, next put in and a near 5lb carp was in the net, that was it, for the next hour all I did was miss bites and lose foul hookers, I just couldn't get them down on the bottom. Ivan Currie on peg 15 to my left had a couple of fish on the waggler and I could see someone down on peg 8 or 10 catching the odd fish on the waggler. I had been feedingthe margin, and dropped in with a piece of beef Coshida on the hook, the float settled and went straight under, a fish about 1.5lb, back in and another the same size, the margins have not given up the bigger fish this season ( so far), then nothing.
Decision time, I decided to fish the pellet waggler, but starting from behind, I had to entice the fish attracted by Ivan's pellet on peg 15 and stop any other moving past me towards him, I fed 8mm, with 8mm on the hook, these making a bigger splash, I started to catch and they kept coming for two hours, with 2 hours of the match to go, I had 20 fish, averaging 4lb a piece, hoping to go on and get a good weight, I was surprised when they just switched off, I struggled for bites, smaller hook pellet, bigger hook pellet all to no avail, Cutting back on feed, stepping it up, searching fro 6" to 6' deep, nothing, so a switch to the margins and the empty pallet under 13, this was bound to give me a few fish in the last hour - how fishing likes to prove you wrong, a couple of missed bites and nothing to show for them.
Back on the waggler saw me net another 5 fish in the last 45 minutes and at the whistle, I thought I'd done enough. As the scales got to me Dave Baker was top weight so far, with 48lb 4oz, I knew my 25 fish would beat that ( along with my 1 roach and 1 small tench taken on the pellet waggler).
I had lost one fish at the net in the last 45 minutes, the only fish I'd lost all day on the pellet waggler and that cost me my first ton in England, as I weighed 98lb 4oz, Ivan on peg 15 had toiled away for most of the day on the waggler, with the odd look in the margins and he weighed
59lb 8oz for second place.
A nice match on what is one of my favourite venues, good fishing, well run and looked after by John & Sue.