Firstly, I hope everyone had a good Xmas and a Happy New Year to anyone who actually reads my drivel. I mostly worked, apart from Xmas day, Caroline & I went to The Blue Ginger and had a great 5 course Indian Meal for our Xmas dinner, that slightly made up for not going to India this year (No, I lie, it didn't) - something to rectify this year methinks.
So back to the fishing, first match of the New Year and I booked into Avon Anglings Open at Shiplate Farm, my previous visits to this venue have seen me pick up money, with a couple of silvers wins from Westpool and a fourth overall with a section pick up also from Westpool on my last visit. Before this match I had treated myself to a new toy, a ProTie hook tyer, I ordered it the day after Boxing day and it arrived Saturday, thats prompt delivery. I tied up a few hooks with it for today and on initial impressions I'm very pleased with it. I always used to use a Delco hook tyer and since my return, I've been using the Drennan. but I have suffered a few lost fish, with missing hooks and a curly bit of line where the hook was. I'm not convinced the Drennan ties the hooks as well with modern pre stretched lines, as it did with good old Bayer Perlon. I tried a Matchman hook tyer a month or so back and have not suffered any lost hooks, hence my purchase of the Pro Tie.
Into the draw bag (or landing net as it was) and I managed to get myself a short walk, peg 2 on Hawthorn, my first time on this lake, so no preconceived ideas about what to do. Whilst not exactly a New Year resolution, I am determind to keep things simpler this year and not bring every bait and every rod/reel combo to matches, if I get it wrong, I'll have to persevere to make it work, or learn from my mistakes. So with this new mantra in my head, I set up three top kits, one with a 4x10 Carpa Chimp on 0.14 to 0.12 with a Drennan carp maggot to fish up the far shelf, a 4x14 Carpa Chimp same line, but a 16 Carp maggot to fish at full depth just short of the far shelf and a Sensas Auchy 0.4G on 0.12 to 0.10 with a 20 Drennan Carp, just in case there were any silvers about.
The bait tray was an extension of my new mantra, maggots, casters, dead maggots, a few softend micros and a few (very few) 4 & 6mm Devils Spawn. On the whistle I cupped in a few micros and dead reds at 10m, which was just short of the bottom of the far shelf and I pole potted a few maggots and casters over the shelf. I also fed a line to my left, just in front of a tree on my bank. It took a while before I got a bite and I could see the elastic coming out on peg 1, was the end peg going to hold the fish. I had a couple of fish on top of the shelf, but it was slow going. I switched to the full depth rig and a 4mm Devils Spawn over the micro's, this produced a 3lb fish and a couple of lost foul hookers. It was proving impossible to get the fish to settle and by swapping between the lines and between maggot/caster/Devils Spawn I kept the odd fish coming. With a couple of hours to go, I had a look on the inside line, the float twitched a couple of times and then slid under, but it was the smallest carp of the day, an ugly parrot mouthed fish about 1lb.
I had heard that Fabio was admitting to 25lb on the end peg (14) so I switched from potting bait in to the catapult and attacked the peg a bit more positively, feeding maggot on top of the shelf, this seemed to stir the fish into action, as I added 6 more fish in the last hour and a half and lost a couple more foulers. The fish were still sporadic during this spell, maybe two in two put ins and then nothing for 10 minutes, the water wasn't that clear that the pole should spook them, it seems as if they were backing off the feed and then coming back to it for a quick feed, then backing off again.
My 15 carp went 49.03 along with 2 chub for 1.08, giving me a lake win with 50.11. this was also enough to take second overall. The payout today was, in my opinion, the fairest way to pay out when using two or more lakes, Tony paid top three overall and top silver weight on both lakes. I've fished many matches where one lake fishes far better than the other, so making it impossible to get any thing other than a section when organisers pay overall regardless of lake. Talking of Tony, he won from the 'flyer' bush peg on Westpool - although that bush may not be there much longer........... Que my turn to draw it, the week after the bush is removed!!
Now its time to sit and watch the darts final with a glass of port and some stilton, lets hope the final lives up to last nights semi finals, real drama with Lewis coming from 5-1 down to win 6-5
1) Tony Rixon 81.08 peg 6 Westpool
2) Chris Fox 50.11 peg 2 Hawthorn
3) Steve Wynne 38.00 peg 6H
4) Phil 'Fabio' Harding 36.04 peg 14H
5) Martin McMahon 32.05 peg 5H
6) Alan Oram 28.08 peg 13W
1) Alan Oram 10.13 Peg 13W
2) Eddie Wynne 8.06 peg 15W