Plenty of matches to choose from today, I was intending to fish Trinity, Carps had a match on Woodland. The later draw, the likelihood of a better turn out and a new venue saw me heading to Acorn's new match lake.
Rather than go completely blind, I had a sneaky practise on Friday, just to get an idea of the depth and 'feel' of the place. I fished half an hour short of 6 hours and swapped lines/baits as soon as I managed to get fish coming regularly so was pleased to end with about 70lb, a 30lb/40lb split, silvers and carp. The silvers were perch, 10-12oz mainly and I had planned for them to figure in todays match...
Arriving at the draw (so glad it was 10am, as I ended up in town on a stag night last night and the powers of recovery aren't what they once were) there were plenty of good anglers in the car park, but the fact that no one knew what was a flyer and conversely no one was disappointed, as we were all equally in th dark about where the fish would come from.
I drew 21, if there was any downside, its the longest walk and when I got there there was a little surface scum and duckweed, but it was very little and the surface drift took it away before the start.
I intended to fish three lines, the bottom of the near shelf for perch, about 3' short of the bottom of the far shelf at full dpth down the track and up on the far shelf. Plumbing up I immediately discovered that the far shelf wasn't as defined and flat as the peg I'd fished Friday, the same rig for down the track, indicated that this peg was a float bristle length shallower than Fridays.
At the all in, I cupped three balls of groundbait, with micro and 4mm pellet in, down the track, fed 4mm pellet by catapult to the far shelf and caster on the near line. A look at the line down the track wasn't too productive, nor was the far shelf, whilst Louis Jones on my left was getting a small carp every put in from the off. I dropped into the near line, earlier than I'd have liked and had a brief run of the decent perch, but they didn't last long. A couple of small carp and a tench were the only other fish from this line.
The far shelf seemed to be devoid of fish, no bites, liners or indications were forthcoming. I'd set up a paste rig, as I'd not had any of the better fish on Friday, but was assured that they were in there. First drop in with the paste saw liners and the second produced a carp around 5lb, that was the last fish on paste, I hooked another later in the match, probably foul hooked and it came off. I had another decent carp down the track on hard pellet, but by this time was getting a battering on my RH side, as he was getting a fish a chuck across. The wind had got up slightly and was putting a ripple on the surface.
I was at least an hour behind peg 20 when I started catching across, I could see Tony Rixon on peg 19 also catching regularly now. Louis had stopped catching on peg 22 and thankfully, I was now getting a bite most put ins. I had a couple more bonus fish, as well as two more tench, all within 12" of the island. The rig for across was a MW slim power, on 0.15 powerline with a size 20 B911 on a 0.13 hooklength. Similar hook and line for down the track, although the float was a MW diamond that took 8 No8 stotz. Another rig the same for down the track, but with a PR36 and a lasso for hard pellet.
When the wind blew and the surface rippled, the bites came quickly and confidently, when the wind dropped, the bright conditions and flat calm, meant bites were hard to come by. At the all-out I was pretty convinced that Tony on 19 and peg 20 had me beaten, although I didn't have quite so many fish, mine were of a better stamp. A big crowd followed the scales, as it was difficult to estimate your own weight, let alone that of anyone else.
My better stamp of fish saw me manage to pip the two to my right, pegs 20 & 19,who both had good spells of catching, though not the three higher weights. I can't complain, a quality field of anglers and a fourth place. The weights were very close (apart from the winner!!) All I have to decide now, is whether to fish or work on Wednesday,if the weather holds, I think fishing will win.
A special mention to Charlies travelling partner Tom Thick, he drew the peg I fished on Friday, not sure why he didn't frame, it was solid, although hearing the worrying conversation that he and Charlie were having about incestuous relations with Tom's family - no wonder thay all have 6 toes down that neck of the woods - perhaps his mind wasn't on the fishing!! And I always though that the Yatton special was a food item in the chip shop, now it's been revealed as something of a sexual nature.....
1) John Dursley 97-05lb peg 5
2) Jim Jenner 74-09lb peg 8
3) Steve Hutchinson 70-09lb peg 17
4) Chris Fox 66-15lb peg 21
5) Tony Rixon 64-05lb peg 19
6) Tim Clark 62-00lb peg 2
1) Charlie Barnes 15-00lb peg 13
2) Ed Wynne 13-07lb peg 25