Down to the venue nice and early to get the pools paid and continuing the format we have used so far with a different member of the team drawing each round, it was Paul's turn today and when he came back with the team draw sheet, we were somewhat gobsmacked to see the same pegs as last week on it. Surely we would have to have a disaster to drop out of the frame now, Fred was absolutely over the moon at drawing 113, as he was leading the individual table. I had the worst draw in the selection of five, with 79 - I did go with positive thoughts, but knew deep down that unless something unusual happened, that was the end of my challenge for the individual places, Mike on 73, Paul on 43 and Glenn on 5.
Got to my peg to find long time angling friend Nick Collins on the next peg (80), so at least there would be some conversation and banter to pass the time and Frenzee star Adam Mitchell on 78. I set up two lead rods, two waggler rods and then had an hour or so to kill, I went for a walk, as if I had stayed at my peg I would have been tempted into setting up a pole, which was highly unlikely to do me any good.
On the all in I started on popped up bread, gave that 30 minutes with 3 casts into different parts of my peg, all to no avail, the tip remained resolutely motionless. A switch to meat, that too was met with total disdain from the fish, if there were any in the peg, after about an hour, the tip did flick, but i think that was just a roach liner, as I was feeding my casters in at about 18-20m. Nicky was getting liners and had a fish, whilst my tip was as still as if I were observing a photograph.
After two and a half hours I decided that I should put something in the net, so had a dabble over the caster feed with a light waggler and put about 7 or 8oz of roach, hybrid and tiny skimmer in the net. Nick had another carp and most people on the lake had one, except me and Adam. so back on the lead, red meat, plain meat, polony, corn, all tried, all resulted in the same motionless tip, except for two consecutive casts with about three and a half hours gone, when I had two big liners.
With three quarters of an hour to go, I started pinging corn out as far as I could - the wind coming from behind helped - and then fished the waggler over it, a 1lb skimmer came my way first cast, then next chuck another, slightly bigger, came off at the net, it really was one of those days, but I didn't think it would make any difference, as I needed carp. Back on the lead for the last 30 minutes and at ten past three, the tip curled round and I was finally attached to a carp, it kited to the right heading for the aerator and went under Adams line, sportingly he lifted it clear and I got the fish back under control - or so I thought - I tightened the clutch down to stop the fish disrupting Adam's peg again and then it turned, ran and snapped the 0.20 hooklength - bloody distraught, but it must have been foul hooked.
So feeling pretty miserable at the end, as Adam had 2 fish in the last half hour, a repeat virtually of the last match, as Mike had told me that 78 had 4 fish in the last half hour in the previous round, that left me last on the lake, I did manage 2 points, but only because someone didn't show up. Torrid, torrid day personally, but more importantly, how had we done?
I watched the Cary bank of Campbell being weighed in and Fred had won the lake and the match with 133lb, he managed not to go over in his net, although he had 51lb on his clicker and there was 60lb in the net - these bloody Campbell fish grow in the net......
So, as I thought I had 1 point at this time, that gave us 20 points, I took my gear back to the van and then went and found the others, Mike had got 15 points from peg 73 (and joint second in the silvers, top fishing mate), so 35 points, Paul thought he had beaten 6 or 7, so credited him with 8 points and Glenn had 16 points we were on 58 we thought, Paul had actually managed 10 points and my 2, gave us a total of 62 and fourth on the day, crucially that was enough to take the title of Viaduct Winter League Champions 2016. My relief at last weeks mistake not costing us was pretty immense.
Team from left to right, Mike Walker, Paul Faiers, Fred Roberts, Chris Fox and Glenn Calvert. Well done to Fred for scooping the individual title for a second time.
Big thanks to Steve, Helen, Matt, those who weighed in and to Bait Tech for sponsoring the league, I will need to grow into the EX L shirt, but am proud to wear it. I hope the lads will resist all the lucrative sponsorship deals that will come flooding in............. and stay together for a title defence next year.
1. 2nd Time Lucky - 305
2. PI Thatchers Gold - 297
3. Frenzee Orange - 293
4. Premier Angling - 291
5. Viaduct All Stars - 286
6. Frenzee Black - 282
7. Thatchers Vets - 275
8. South West Nomads - 268
9. Team Viaduct - 268
10. Somerset Angling - 256
11. Avon Angling - 252
12. Maver - 241
13. Moaning Maggots - 229
14. Thatchers Welsh Wizards - 226
15. Keyford - 224
16. Silverfox - 223
17. Amigos - 206
18. Garbolino BVMG - 170
19. Viaduct Select - 165
Next up for me will be Saturday at Sedges in the pairs match and Sunday will see me at Ivy House in the all-winners final.