Another windy day greeted me as I struggled from under the covers, working 6 days a week at the moment and having Sundays enjoyment spoiled by the bloody wind, I wish it would bugger off, I'd rather have a cold, clear frosty morning.
No floods to negotiate this week, as the Avon at Christian Malford was well back within its banks, so a trouble free drive to the fishery, where I was greeted with a drooling Clint..... you'll have to ask him about it!!
I managed to end up near the back of the draw queue, I'd rather be at the front and the much needed section win was looking unlikely when I drew unfancied 26 on the road bank, initially I thought that the wind was straight behind me, so it wouldn't be too bad, but it wasn't, so not even that in my favour. I did have the feature of an aerator to chuck to and an empty peg either side, so perhaps all wasn't lost.
I certainly can't claim to have sussed Ivy House out, so ended up with 2 lead rods, 2 wagglers and 4 topkits set up, one of the lead rods had the smallest Guru pellet feeder on it, the other a straight lead. The wagglers were a straight Middy clear 4g model, these cast and fish really well, the best plastic wagglers I have used, the other a Drennan Glowtip for a bit more sensitivity, these remind me of the old stillwater blues. Topkits were a no nonsense rig, 4 No8 single bulk, 0.20/0.18 to a 16 Guru super strong hook, just in case the fish would venture into the shallow water in the corner, a 0.4g float to fish at 14.5m with maggot, another to fish in slightly shallower water off to the LH side at 14m and a silvers rig, 0.2g with a 18 gamma green on 0.09 to fish at 6m.
It was a slow start, nobody catching, I tried popped up bread, it has caught me fish here, but only on one occasion, so I only gave it 15 minutes. Then tried pellet and a couple of different colour band um's with the pellet feeder, all to no avail, before deciding that the bait that has caught me virtually all of my fish this series, maggots, would once again be my best bet. The 14.5 and 14m lines were tried, with maggot and also soft pellet over micros, but these were as seemingly devoid of fish as the lead lines. Time to switch to the waggler, fishing double floating maggot, with only a couple of No10's down the line, this brought an immediate response, in the form of a small skimmer. That remained my only skimmer, why, when the place is full of them, are they so difficult to catch in the winter.
Sticking with the waggler a couple of small perch and roach were the next to take the slow sinking maggots, before a quick bite was met with a more solid resistance on the strike, a welcome carp, but only about 7lb, two chucks later, another carp, this one about 3lb and that was to be it for the carp, no more on the waggler. The 6m line was producing roach, but small ones and having seen peg 21 land a couple of big carp, I needed to try and get some more, 1oz roach were never going to build the section winning weight.
I tried the line I'd been feeding with maggot in about 3' of water down towards peg 27, second time I tried it the float dipped and I was attached to a large fish that wallowed in towards the waiting landing net, before seemingly realising it was hooked. I think it was foul hooked and after a lengthy tussle, the hook pulled, I wasn't sure if that would be costly or not.
That kept me fishing that line with only roach to show for it too long, as had I switched back to the 6m, I may well have taken second in section, rather than the third I managed, peg 21 weighed 3 or 4 carp for 45lb, peg 32 had 13.12 of silvers and I weighed 13.04, 10 minutes on the roach would have clawed that back.
As it happens, my 3 points was just low enough to take 5th and final place in the money on the overall standings, with a series total of 15 points, Andy Lloyd also having 15 points, but beating me on weight 209lb to 160lb. It was a tough series, some enjoyable moments and some frustrating ones, partly caused by the weather, partly by making incorrect decisions on my part.
Thanks to Andy and Karen, there was a selection of sandwiches, cakes and other snacks laid on at the end (and I've never seen anyone eat 4 slices of cake before Leon....) best wishes in your next ventures after leaving Ivy House, I hope the new owners are as welcoming.
Overall winner was Vince Shipp, well done to him.