Nice coincidence that my first Thursday of the year off work, was the one before the Teams of Five start at Viaduct, so a chance to fish a match and have a practice.
Not so good was the end of the mild weather and a chill wind blowing across Campbell, 20 fishing so Campbell and a few 'wind off your back' pegs in on Cary. 116 stuck to my hand as I dipped into the draw tin, so cold wind in my face and the opposite end to where the fish have been - but would the cold weather have them heading for their winter haunts??
I had bread, meat, maggot and corn in the bait bag and I did have a bit of GB - as it is a costcutter, I'd rather get a few bites than sit on the lead. So, waggler rod set up - just in case the wind dropped, which it didn't, so one chuck with that and it was towing through, so no more about that.
Lead rod set up, to start on bread, as the water is quite clear and two pole rigs, one for down the edge towards 117 and one for 14m to fish for whatever comes along. Starting on the bread, I was hopeful, seeing Adrian Jeffery on 114 get one first chuck. It took the best part of 20 minutes before my tip moved and a double figure fish graced the net after a very spirited tussle given the water temperature. It was a false dawn, Adrian had a couple more and was getting liners and indications, my tip was mind numbing still, not so much a liner to give hope. No one else my side of Adrian was catching, so it looked as if they were all in front of the spit.
A look (much more in hope than expectation) down the edge was just as uneventful, so out onto the long pole, where I had been loose feeding a few maggots. The wind had now slightly switched L-R and this made holding 14m a struggle, but I wasn't at all convinced I'd catch closer. Nothing on this, so I fed a bit of GB and went back on the lead, trying meat, various colours, on the deck, popped up and even trying a GB cone with a bit of mushed meat & GB in - this was all fruitless.
An enforced bank walk, to use the facilities and back on the pole over the GB, this produced a 2lb skimmer, another false dawn, as this line then only produced 3 micro roach after this. At 14.20 (15.30 finish) I decided to fish seriously until 15.00 and then chuck the lead and start packing up. At 14.30, I had another look down the edge towards 117, after a couple of minutes the float shot under and an angry double gave the knots a good test as it fully stretched the 12 solid elastic. All held and it was safely netted, dropping back in, a short wait and another one was safely inside the net.
Another one, followed, each time I topped up with a few maggots, a slightly longer wait then three in quick succession, one landed at 15.25 and one hooked seconds before the all-out. If only the match was until 16.00, I am sure I would have overtaken Adrian who had 11 fish, but mine were consistently bigger. My 6 went 62.07 and the skimmer took the total to 64.12, only good enough for 3rd on a tough day for many, Adrian clinched it with...
1: Adrian Jeffery 76.09 peg 114
2: Scott Puddy 70.13 peg 74
3: Chris Fox 64.12 peg 116
4: Kieran Guppy 55.09 peg 128
5: Terry Lenny 38.11 peg 112
6: Steve Kedge 32.09 peg 129
1; Rich Coles 10.01 peg 125