I'd been looking forward to this match, I've fished it twice before, finishing 2nd and 3rd, last year I missed it as it clashes with the South West Winter League, which I didn't fish this season.
John, Sue and Misha always work hard to make it a success and this year was no exception. It was my first look at Woodland since John has removed all of the trees on the car park bank, in preparation for him levelling the bank. He had already started levelling in the corner, peg 31 had vanished. Paul Faiers and myself walked up this bank before the match and fancied the look of peg 30, both pretty certain that fish would be attracted by the work John had been doing, which had put colour in the water.
The wind was blowing from peg 1 to peg 16, so the poor buggers who drew 16, 17 and 18 would get the wind (and rain) straight into their faces. The drawbag did its usual for me, peg 16, wind in my face and the opposite corner to the one I fancied. Probably my least favourite peg on the lake, I'm usually confident of catching from most pegs on Woodland, this is one of the few that I have failed dismally to get anywhere near framing. Oh well, its the Christmas match, the wind wasn't too cold, so lets give it a go.
Trying to keep things simple, I set up a method feeder (although it would be a last resort if the weather got too bad), I set up 4 rigs, 2 which needed top fours because of the depth, 2 for the margins. The 2 open water rigs were similar, but one was in the hope that skimmers might show, so a MW diamond 0.13 to 0.11 hooklength and a 18 B911, the rig for carp was a 1g float (make unknown) 0.17 to a 0.15 hooklength with a 16 B911. I needed 2 margin rigs, as whilst I didn;t really have a margin to the left, there is a tree in the water and it is a lot deeper than the RH margin. The LH rig was 0.19 straight through to a 12 animal and red hydro and the LH margin rig was my usual purple hydro, 0.17 straight through to a 14 B911.
I fed some softened 4mm pellet at 12m, corn and dead maggot on the RH margin at 12.5m, 7m and 2m. Corn and about half a dozen 4mm cubes of meat under the tree to the left. After 3/4 of an hour without a bite, I put some chopped worm and caster in the 12m open water line, still nothing. At this point I wasn't too concerned, I've framed more than once on Woodland in the winter, with fish caught in the last hour or so.
After 1¾ hours, I had my first bite, in the RH margin at 2m, a carp just over the lb mark was soon in the net. I kept alternating betewwn the lines,sticking to maggot hookbait, taking another small carp from the 12.5m RH margin and then one from the 12m open water swim. At 2.20PM the float buried and I lifted into a better fish, after a spirited struggle a carp around the 8lb mark was in the net, only 40 minutes to go, but a few more like that would see me frame, it was not to be, in the last 15 minutes the wind dropped and I had a few bites, small roach, but at least it was bites - more in the last 15 minutes than in the rest of the match.
Rich Coles on peg 17 had managed to get a few carp and 2 tench from his LH margin, caught on maggot, this was the first time I'd never had a bite on corn here during the winter.
The wind and rain had certainly knocked sport back, keeping weights low. Trinity regular, Andy Hembrow won from peg 30, looks like the bankside work had attracted the fish.
1) Andy Hembrow 38.13 peg 30
2) Rich Coles 27.02 peg 17
3) Jay King 25.14 peg 20
4) Kev Perry 20.05 peg 26
Top silvers weight was Eric Fouracre, a decent mixed bag which went 19.14 (peg 28).
I managed 12.12, probably the least amount of bites I've ever had at Trinity, I couldn't even get a roach until the wind dropped, the wind blew 2 margin rigs into the trailing brambles and blackthorn bushes whilst trying to get tight to the bank, so all in all a pretty unsuccessful day, which worringly seems to becoming a habit.
John & Sue put together some fabulous looking hampers for the top three and the silvers winner, bottles of wine and christmas cards for all the also rans. This allong with the rounds of the lake that Sue and Misha made, dishing out complimentary soup & roll, hot sauage rolls and hot mince pies, many thanks to all three of you.