I didn't spend ages preparing for this match, as I was wondering what had possessed me to enter this league, I really did think I may as well post the £86 it cost on the day, down the drain, I was expecting the same return on my 'investment'. I didn't fancy lake 3, as it never seems to fish well when I draw it, so of course, when I went into the draw bucket, out comes lake 3, peg 70. I have drawn this peg before in a short pole match and struggled, as its a peg that needs 14m to reach the spit where some small carp live.
At the draw there were a few comments as Ken (Rayner) has now set new standards for league organisers to be judged by, no more taking league records and weigh sheets to venues in asda carriers or plastic wallets 'borrowed' from work. Ken has shamed us all, by having his documentation all neatly printed up and transported in a spick and span briefcase, to complete the shaming of the rest of us who run leagues, no stuffing the cash into old ice cream tubs, bait boxes or trouser pockets for Ken, no its a lockable cash box to complete the professionalism - just a shame that didn't carry over into his fishing....... :-) see his blog for the sorry tale.
With plenty of time to tackle up, even I was ready at the start, having had some advice on the peg from several anglers and quite varied the advice was, I stuck with the advice from Tony Rixon, as there aren't many anglers with a better record on the venue. I had set up a pencil float to fish catch close in, a margin rig for fishing caster that was on 0.16 to 0.14 with a size 16 6313 Middy hook. A yellow topped small Daiwa float to fish across in about 3' of water, this was 0.18 to a 0.16 hooklength and a 16 Drennan carp hair rigger hook. A bit strong for this time of year, but the end bank has been eroded away and is a jungle of exposed tree and bush root and stumps. Finally, a Carpa Chimp to fish caster or devils spawn to the weed bed.
I started feeding 3 lines, a short caster line, which apart from 2 roach, one of which dropped off swinging it in, was a waste of time. I fed some softened micros and caster at 7m to the weedbed and catapulted 4mm pellets across to the spit. The weedbed produced a couple of crucians before the tiny rudd moved in and were holding up even a 6mm devils spawn. Over to the spit with a banded 6mm and I had a couple of carp, but they were small, one of them going into the silvers net as it was about 8oz. The fish wouldn't stay in the baited area, I think there were odd fish coming out of the snags and roots, feeding, getting caught and then I had to wait for the next one to venture out. During a quiet spell I went back to the weedbed swim and had a 2lb carp and a F1, before once gain, the tiny rudd made it a pointless exercise.
One bit of advice was feed the margin heavily with caster, which I did from just after the halfway mark, I kept looking in there, but not so much as a twitch on the float. By persevering with the line against the spit I managed to keep the fish coming, but they were small and coming slowly, I was sure Mark Poppleton on 68 was beating me. I had ventured a little nearer snag city and lost a couple of fish and ended up having to remake the rig, the small carp are so quick they take you into the snags as you lift into them.
With 20 minutes to go, I had a fish nearer the 4lb mark from the spit, by far the biggest fish of the day so far and then with 15 minutes to go I saw a big swirl over the margin, I dropped double caster in and the float settled and went under, I was connected to the biggest fish of the day and it took me a few minutes to net it. I quickly rebaited, dropped it back into the margin as my watch showed 4pm and I missed a bite, before I could get it back in, the all out was called.
I thought I had about 50lb of carp and 5 or 6lb of slivers (crucians and F1's), I was first to weigh and my 14 or 15 small carp went 35lb, the two bigger fish went 14lb, if only they'd all have been that stamp. My silvers went 8.04 which gave me 57lb odd, for second in section, behind Trigger who had a 70lb odd and it was third on the lake and top silvers weight. The silvers couldn't have been tighter, my 8.04 was followed by Alan Oram on 41, with 8.03, Anton Page had 8.02 and John Bradford a high 7lb.
I didn't stay and take down the results, as I was off out for a beer and a curry, which were both a bit sweeter after having a decent result on a venue that usually leaves me deflated and beaten.
Have a look at Ken Rayners blog for the results, once he's extracted them from his briefcase.