So back to the fishing, the decision was whether to fish Tony's match at Landsend or the Carps match at Viaduct, as I've been trying to get to grips with Landsend, I decided that it was probably best to stick with it.
I decided to try and keep things simple, I know my biggest problem on commercials is what bait to use and when, I usually end up taking some of everything allowed, a habit I must get out of. So caster and maggot would be in the bag, along with corn and pellet (both micro and soft pellet). Some last minute action with the tin opener also saw me take one tin of cubed meat.
The drawbag gave me peg 18, I had made a conscious decision to try and avoid the words of advice and tips often offered after the draw (although I’m usually grateful for them) and fish the peg as I saw it on the day. Even though we’d had wind and rain, the temperatures hadn’t dropped too low and the water was 10°C, high enough I thought, for a few fish to feed.
On the all in I fed straight in front at the bottom of the far shelf, with caster via catapult and potted some micro pellet and corn in at 16m at 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock(which was into the open water in the gap in the islands). I started on corn, giving each of the lines 10 minutes, with two liners to show for it (probably silvers, as some decent silverfish were topping). A switch to maggot over the caster line saw bites from micro roach, persisting with the caster saw a couple of small perch come to the net, but it was very slow. Coming up the shelf and getting tighter to the island saw me pick up another perch or two, but it was difficult to get two bites from the same line.
I’d been feeding a line at 5m (caster) and dropped in over this with a maggot, micro roach (probably 2 or 3 to the ounce) again were the only takers, a switch to caster saw the size increase to about 0.75 to the ounce. I persevered with this line to see if the stamp of roach would improve and the float slid under, a lift of the 4 sections of pole saw the elastic (doubled up No5) come out at a rate which was obviously not a roach. After a couple of minutes a 3lb bright gold tench was in the net, this was the only decent fish I took from this line all day.
An occasional look back on the lines initially fed with corn & pellet produced nothing, I could see the going was hard, but I wasn’t catching the stamp of perch my near neighbour on peg 19 was, so I knew I was lagging behind in the silvers.
I felt sure that I would get some carp activity in the peg in the last hour, so decided to sit it out on the corn, in the gap in the islands, nothing for 10 minutes, then the float buried, not the carp I was expecting but a skimmer around the 1 ½lb mark. Next put in another bite, another skimmer, I thought that I’d cracked it, but no, no more bites. A look to the line I’d fed against the island produced no bites, I tried the bottom of the shelf and closer to the island up the shelf. Back to the gap in the island, this time with double maggot, about 5 seconds before the whistle, I lifted into a bite and immediately knew it was a good fish, it took nearly 15 minutes to get it up in the water so I could see it, a big double, at least 15lb, as it was getting near the time allowed for landing fish, I tried to put a bit more pressure on and it took one last lunge for freedom under the pallet, the 0.13 hooklength snapped and the rig ended up in the tree. It didn’t cost me money, but it would have put me from a DNW into 4th or 5th place.
Not sure how long its going to take me to suss this place out.........
1) Dale Howsen 31.07 peg 21
2) Nick Duckett 29.11 peg 11 (Top silvers 14.05)
3) Mike Duckett 27.04 peg 15
4) Alan Oram 24.13 peg 03