Sunday, 29 May 2016

Tony Rixon's Float Only League, Round 1, Viaduct, Sunday 29th May 2016

First round of Tony's popular float only league today, Campbell and Cary in, I wasn't too fussed where I drew as a section win was the aim, although the wind was pushing towards the car park bank again, yesterday in Veals we both thought 109 might be a nice draw.

Into the tin and I was somewhat shocked to draw 135, car park bank of Campbell, now this can be a feast or famine peg and I have drawn it before and struggled, but with the wind blowing in to it and a few fish came off it yesterday, surely it should be worth a section win.  Apparently, so I was advised, the fish yesterday were caught short on meat and 11m down the RH edge.

As the fish have been spawning, I did try and give myself some options, so set up a rig to fish meat short, two pellet rigs to fish 14m, one shallow, one full depth, I also set up a paste rig, to try a target bait over the pellet if necessary.  Two margin rigs, one with 3 No8s bulked and one with 3 No11's spread out, as I had a couple of waggler rods in the ready made case, I got them out - they went away again at the end unused.

Bait tray was simple, 6 and 8mm pellets, 8 and 10mm meat and dead maggots, I did have a bag of paste and some worms in the cool bag. Starting short on meat, it was evident that there were some 'shit' fish in the peg, as the float did the dance that signals small fish attacking the meat.  I persevered for 20 minutes and did have two carp on it, but it wasn't going to be a worthwhile line of attack, at least not early on.

I had fed a throwaway line with softened pellets down to the left, it remained thrown away, I didn't see any indication of a fish there all match, I also pinged pellets down to the pallet of 136.  I went out on the 14m line, in line with the aerator, I had a couple of fish and had some liners, I tried the shallow rig and did not get a touch on it.  Persevering with the full depth rig, was best and I upped the feed, I had 3 No11's down the line and I had several fish on the drop, but mainly I caught by sitting and waiting, lifting and dropping didn't work at all.  I kept at this, apart from a a short spell where I did try paste over the feed, but the wind was making it awkward to fish at this length.

Back on the pellet and fish were coming to the net, not at an amazing rate, nor were they a big stamp of fish, but I could see the lake was fishing reasonably hard for some, so stuck at it.  I had been pinging pellets down to 136 all this time and went in there for a look, but nothing, not a bite, this was exactly the same as last time I drew the peg.  I decided to put GB and maggot in to try and draw the fish that were slurping away under the brambles to the left of 110. 3 big pots and back on the long pellet rig until I saw some indication down the edge.

Dropping two worms in over the GB was more successful than pellet and I did manage a few fish from there, but it was never hectic and the fish size wasn't the expected stamp from the edge.  With 3/4 of an hour to go I put a 4th net in, having clicked 50lb on the three I had in, this was the usual kiss of death, putting just three fish in it in the last 45 minutes.  With hindsight I should have gone back on the pellet, but was kept 'interested' in the margin, by the odd bite, signs of fish and I did lose a double figure fish just before the end - frustratingly it was one of the lazy wallowers, which you expect to draw in and scoop straight away, this one managed to wallow himself off the hook and cost me second place......... Still, lake win and section win, so mission accomplished.

1. Dave White - 204lb 10oz - peg 109
2. Nick Ewers - 182lb 3oz - peg 76
3. Chris Fox - 181lb 7oz - peg 135
4. Chris Davis - 165lb 1oz - peg 131
5. Ken Rayner - 161lb 5oz - peg 94
6. Dan White - 144lb 12oz - peg 123

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Acorn Costcutter, Tuesday 24th May 2016

A chance to go fishing today, the closest and easiest option was Acorn, not my favourite venue, nothing against the fishery at all, but I do prefer an open water lake to a snake lake and I have a dreadful record here, apart from the first few times I fished it.

Traveled down with Tony Rixon and we walked round the lake at the start with Mark Bartlett to assess the pegging and state of the pallets, the aging ones Mark is going to repair /replace.  The draw tin gave me 33, a bridge peg, which is not to be sniffed at, although they are more bankers in the winter than the summer months.

I had a loan of Tony's brand new shears to trim the far bank grass, which is necessary to get tight to the bank, glad he had been shopping yesterday, as I think without them I wouldn't have got rid of the dense vegetation.  Once the gardening was done, it was onto rigs, one for pellet against the far bank mudline, this was less than 12" deep, the other area I had cleared had grass clumps stopping me getting tight in and this was about 20" deep.  I also set up a rig for the 'second shelf and a paste rig for full depth against the bridge.  Finally a margin rig to fish down to the pallet of 32, this was a decent depth tight in , but sloped off quite quickly.

I started across against the far bank and this gave me a flying start, as I put 45lb on the clicker in the first two hours and I was starting to think I would be on for a decent weight, I was feeding 4mm and a few 6mm pellets with 6mm in the band.  After two hours the wheels fell off, the bites stopped, signs of fish stopped and catching stopped, I spent the next three hours trying paste, I tried short by the bridge, margins, shallow, maggots,  chopped some worms and tried worm slop shallow, all to no avail apart from a couple of squeakers.

Going into the last hour there were a few signs of fish back on the far bank and this did produce a few more fish, but not hectic sport, frustrating really, as I guessed it wouldn't be enough to do any good, I lost a big fish at the net, but apart from that not too much went wrong, apart from the 3 hour virtually blank spell.

I did put 80.03 on the scales, which was enough for 5th and last in the money, I think this is my best weight from this venue, so maybe I won't leave it so long to come back next time.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Viaduct Spring League, Round 3, Sunday 22nd May 2016

Last weekend was spent in Barcelona, at the Spanish GP, a change, but it was good to be back fishing today.  Traveling down with Tony again, we covered a huge range of subjects, one of which was we were both unsure of exactly where we wanted to draw.

I considered changing my drawing, which usually means getting in ASAP, but decided in the end to get near the front and picked up two stuck together - hmm, I always seem to take the wrong one when that happens - so dropped them back in, took another and it was Cary 86.  Not a peg you'd be disappointed to draw, so hopefully in with a chance of some coin today.

Chatting with Dan White before, he offered the advice that they'd come to the pole at 16m, which would be good, as unless it's going round all the time, I'm not a fan of lead chucking.  I set up two wagglers, one full depth, one shallow, two lead rods and 4 topkits, one for down the LH edge, a .3 float, 0.20 line and a 12 Guru XS spade - I have had some lumps from this edge in previous matches....  A Roob on 0.20 with a 0.18 hooklength and a 14 Guru XS for meat short, this just had 4 strung out No 11's down the line, a similar rig, but a heavier float and bulk and finally, a NG power slim to fish pellet at 14.5m at full depth, this again on 0.20 with a 0.18 hooklength with a 16 B960 and a band.

Bait tray was 6, 8 and 11mm pellets, 8 and 10mm meat and dead reds.  Starting on the waggler, it didn't take long to get a 8lb fish in the net and then another a bit bigger, but then the wind got up, R to L and this made the waggler presentation all wrong.  I did have 5 minutes on the lead, but the tip didn't move.  A look on the short meat line saw the float doing the 'shit fish dance' even with 10mm bacon grill on.  Obviously no carp there yet.  I had a spell at 14.5m and put several fish in the net, the action wasn't frantic and I did wonder if paste might have worked as a stand out bait - but I didn't have any.  I upped the feed and this brought a couple more fish and some liners, so off my box and set up a shallow rig.

Had a bite first slap with the shallow rig, but lost the fish just after breaking down to topkit, didn't feel fouled, a 6lb fish followed shortly after, but it was obvious there weren't loads of fish competing for bait, so I abandoned the shallow rig and went for a look in the margin, where I had been feeding meat and pellet.  First two drop ins with meat produced two perch, both over 1lb, one nearer 2lb.  I then decided to go down the GB and maggot route with this and put 3 full cups of GB and 1/4 pot of maggots.

Back onto the meat line and I had a mid double, before the shit fish returned.  I had been feeding 11mm pellets out towards the middle and tried the lead over this again, to no avail, although my patience with it didn't last more than 5 minutes again.
Down the edge with maggots and a 14lber was my reward, followed by a 2lb+ hybrid and then a common which was 20lb, the edge seemed to be devoid of fish after that, I managed one more from the meat line, but the last hour was fairly quiet.

158.12 was enough to win the section by over 50lb and second on the lake, so an upturn in fortune in this league, sadly it's too late to trouble the frame, but a welcome result none the less.

1. Craig Edmunds - 269lb 1oz - peg 115
2. Ben Hagg - 208lb 7oz - peg 110
3. Mike Williams - 191lb - peg 124
4. Leon Hubbard - 190lb 11oz - peg 128
5. Luke Sorokin - 180lb 9oz - peg 53
6. Dick Bull - 176lb 6oz - peg 90
7. Bob Gullick - 174lb 11oz - peg 129
8. Dan White - 172lb 15oz - peg 127
9. Chris Davis - 170lb 5oz - peg 130
10. Chris Fox - 158lb 12oz - peg 86

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Viaduct Spring League R2, Sunday 8th May 2016

Traveling down with Tony, we chatted about the effect the wind blowing to the car park end of the lakes would have, as the fish have certainly followed it.

I decided to stick to getting in the draw tin early and wasn't overjoyed to see 123 staring back at me, whilst Tony drew 109, both feast or famine pegs, but with the wind blowing into 109 for a week, it was likely to be one its better days.  123 had not fared too well on the Saturday open, but there is always a chance that the fish have gone into the corner. 

Enough time to set up a lead rod, which once again went away at the end with the line dry, with Gary Ethridge on 121 there was limited scope to fish long, two waggler rods, one full depth, one shallow - I had a cast or two to get my range for the shallow wag and landed it tight to the end bank, float dipped and fish on, a 4lb common took the pellet band.  That is usually the kiss of death and Gary reminded me, Dave Cockayne on 124 offered a landing net, but i had already set mine up.

4 topkits, shallow, full depth pellet plumbed up at 14.5m, meat short and margin for the LH edge down to the corner. It was a slow start, the waggler to the end bank didn't produce a bite, a few casts with no feed, then light feed, all of which was to no avail, the wind was strong and gusty enough to be a nuisance, it was coming almost straight at me, but slightly L to R.  A couple of fish on the short meat line by feeding negatively saw something go in the net, but it was another day of looking up the lake seeing elastic streaming out and landing nets working overtime.

The 14.5m line did not produce as much as a bite, I set up a paste rig and tried some paste at about 7m off at 11 0'clock, this gave up 1 skimmer and one carp.  The carp were a decent size, just few and far between, Gary was suffering the same fate and 119 was similarly suffering, we were all waiting ages for a bite, there just seemed to be a few resident bigger fish this end, with nothing to stir them up and get some competition going.

I didn't go down the edge for 3 hours, trying to leave it to settle, having fed some pellet and meat, I did venture down there at the halfway point and had a 14lber, then a smaller common before it was as dead as the rest of the lines, I had a two hour spell where I didn't have a bite, I couldn't even raise a small skimmer.....

With an hour to go I mixed up some GB and put this down the edge with maggot, I had two more fish on it, but these were the only bites and indications on the float, the peg certainly wasn't rammed with fish.  With hindsight, it might have paid to fish maggot down the edge from the start, meat short and long, just fished really negatively for one fish in the peg at a time, I do find this difficult to do when the pegs in the opposite quarter of the lake are bagging, I guess I tried to force it slightly and that was wrong on the day.  There was no way, no matter what I did, I would have competed with the weights that framed, but I might have eked out a couple more section points, as I only managed to beat Gary on 121, my 108, just trumping his 103. there were a couple of low 120's in the section, but that's it now. apart from 3 section wins and others having disasters, its series over and look at the next matches as 55 peg opens.

1. Andrew Crocker – 309lb 5oz – peg 77
2. Tony Gilbert – 296 2oz – peg 53
3. Callum Craig – 256lb 12oz – peg 135
4. Rob Giles – 247lb 13oz – peg 112
5. Steve Seager – 220lb 10oz – peg 114
6. Gary O’Shea – 205lb 14oz – peg 103

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Viaduct Costcutter, Thursday 5th May 2016

Back to Viaduct, this time with Tony driving and a stop off at a new breakfast venue for me, Junction CafĂ©, Castle Cary.  I'd go again, not the best breakfast I've ever had, but far from the worst one.

About 40 fishing this one, so there were pegs on Lodge, which I was desperately hoping to avoid and managed it, with 74 on Cary being my home for the day, no great feeling of elation or desperation, as the peg can and does throw up good weights, but can also be a grueller, the good sign today was what wind there was, was pushing down this end of the lake.

With plenty of time to set up, I did set up two wagglers, one full depth, one shallow, also a lead rod, which got stripped down at the end without having been touched. 4 topkits, a margin rig, which would suffice for the RH margin and up to the empty pallet of 75, a shallow/mugging rig, as there were cruisers visible, but they were mainly over the other side in front of the empty 106/107. A meat rig for short, this was plumbed up at 2+2 and I used my new 5/6 section dolly butt, these are a great addition to the pole, well worth the money.  Also a full depth rig to fish banded pellet at 14.5m.

By the all-in I thought the cruisers were going to disappear, but there were still odd ones venturing off the end of the tree and to my left in open water, I managed to mug two, one from each area, before the wind decided to get up and ripple the surface, still nigh on 30lb in the net in 20 minutes - good start. There were odd bubbles on the 2+2 line and that gave me two more carp, before it went quiet. Out on the long line and I had another and there were indications of fish out on that line, but catching them was proving tricky.  Due to the close proximity of the tree to where I was getting bites, it had to be the deep rig, or lowering the shallow rig in, which didn't work, as I never had a bite on it.  The deep rig brought another fish on 8mm pellet and a couple of lost foulers, before it went quiet as well.

As the wind was blowing into the tree, I cast the depth waggler past the tree, let the wind bow the line round and then wound the waggler into position under the tree, this resulted in one fish and two missed bites, before the wind decided to stop and that was the end of getting the waggler into the fed area.  The middle of the match was a bit barren, there seemed to be no skimmers to be had, the carp had backed away between 107 and 109 where hey were topping and generally crashing about, right royally taking the piss.........

A bubble or two back on the meat line had me reaching for that rig and a bite was soon forthcoming, but it was an immaculate 2lb hybrid, rather than the mid double carp I wanted - still at this point of the match a run of these would be nice.  It wasn't to be, he seemed like a lone muncher, until I added one small skimmer to the net.  By now I had fed the margins left and right, with pellet and meat, but they too were unproductive. I didn't feel it was right for groundbait, but started putting some maggots in the margins and had a carp straight away, then a 2lb+ perch and his smaller brother.  The LH edge produced one absolutely crazy common, nigh on double figures, but fought like one a lot bigger.  A couple more carp from the RH edge, but it was feed and wait for a bite, margins were certainly not full of feeding fish.

With 15 minutes to go, the bubbles came back on the meat line and another decent carp was hooked, just managed to get him netted and back in the water before the all-out, typically, the short line had several bubbles coming up all time time I was packing up, they had moved in just too late to make an assault on the match winners weight.    An enjoyable day, but I am still trying to work out a way (unsuccessfully it would seem) to get the odd fish during those quiet spells, but I am not alone in that.  Anyway, my fish went 142lb, which was enough to win the lake, but only 5th in the match behind 4 weights from Cary.  Tony managed a silvers frame as well, so two slim brown envelopes in the van.

1. Ben Ludwell 184.02 peg 111
2. Ash Tompkins 157.08  peg 119
3. Scott Russell 155.07 peg 124
4. Ian Dunlop 153.02 peg 126
5. Chris Fox 142.13 peg 74
6. Les Gardener 128.00 peg 81


1. Scott Russell 45.01 peg 124
2. Tony Rixon 25.03 peg 102

Bank Holiday Open, Viaduct, Monday 2nd May 2016

After 7 long days at work and some stuff going on at home, I wasn't feeling bright and breezy at the draw, but the prospect of a day snaring Cary lumps ensured I turned up.  Once I opened the swimcard, I wished I hadn't, bloody Lodge car park bank again, 55 staring back at me.

I really didn't fancy it for a match win, didn't fancy sitting there for 6 hours and was of an inclination to jump in the van and go home, such was the black cloud that descended over me.  I changed my mind and whilst I couldn't bring myself to walk to that peg, I did go round to the Match lake and fish peg 42 to try out my new elastics and method of attaching rigs. These were yellow, black, green and red hollow from Keepnets Direct and attached as per the description in Paul Holland's youtube video.

I had a great days fishing, shame about the bloody torrential downpour, but carp to 8lb, F1's, big hybrids and skimmers were all falling to either meat short or pellet shallow and deep at 14.5m. 88lb on the clicker for carp/F1's and over 30lb of big hybrids and skimmers.  I was impressed with both the elastics and the method of attaching and now look forward to giving them a bit more of a try out.

As expected the match was won from Cary, so I felt a little vindicated in my decision, even though it was made through frustration and temper.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Viaduct Spring League 2016, 1st Round. Sunday 24th April.

Nice to get a ride down with Tony (Rixon), surely whatever angling demon has been sabotaging my matches since I went over in the net in the Viaduct Winter League, will have relinquished its hold and moved onto a new victim!!

It seems not, just in front of me in the draw queue the fancied pegs were coming out thick and fast, Mark Poppleton on 115, Tony Rixon on 116, along with various others heading to big weight pegs that they grace with alarming regularity,  For me, as you might expect, Lodge, at least it wasn't the hotly discussed car park bank, 68, which can be a decent draw, so hopeful in the section.

I did set up a lead rod and a depth waggler, a rig to fish hard pellet at 14m to try and 'catch all' - ie skimmers and carp. A meat rig short and a margin rig for going down to the pallet of 67.  I started at 14m after cupping in a few 4mm pellets and it wasn't long before I was latched into a lump, after a long tussle I felt that the next lift of the topkit would see it surface in front of the keepnet where I could net it (too big to scoop, it was one that had to guided and shuffled into the net).

I lifted the topkit and had the heart wrenching moment when you realise the elastic has snapped, in slow motion the elastic (which had snapped about 1/3 up from the puller bead) slipped from the topkit and coiled on the water. Then ensued that fruitless trying to twizzle the elastic around the topkit, whilst it slipped slowly and serenely away.  Next that scrabble to dump the topkit and get the lead rod out, that too was a frustratingly pointless act as the arc of casts failed to come back with even a dead leaf, let alone my rig and precious fish.  That was at least 18lb, so not a good start.

Back onto that line and I did have a couple of fish over the next 90 minutes, which was good on the lake, apart from Ben on 66 and Leon on 64 who were catching best of all.  The cold seemed to have been a signal for the skimmers to shut up shop, as there were very few caught, even when I switched to 4mm pellet, the remained conspicuous by their absence.  Meat was no better as a bait, with everyone struggling still.  The sun came out from behind the clouds and the wind dropped, all of a sudden the carp were visible, cruising round 6-12" below the surface, so into the rod bag and out with the shallow waggler, this brought a near instant response by casting to a visible fish.  Sadly the sun and the wind contrived to make spotting fish a very hit or miss affair, in very brief spells and the waggler only accounted for one more fish.

Todays first mistake was not bringing some bread, that popped up 12" below the surface may well have snared a fish or two as they cruised round. Second mistake may have been feeding the short meat line too soon, as it produced nothing for me, at the end I had to rely on the margin.  That would have been OK, but I had been feeding half a section short of the platform and could not get a bite there, I had to flick the bait under the platform of 67 to get a bite and that ended up a miserable:  Me 3 v Carp 7, with for the first time ever, a straightened Guru XS size 14 along the way.

That saw me chip shopped as Ben won the section from peg 66, as his peg got stronger and stronger towards the end, whilst Phil Cardwell on 69 managed a couple from his short line, a couple of popped up bread and even a couple from the margin between us to take second in section.  A fourth in section was how I wanted to start the series, but surely it can't be too much longer before that bloody monkey climbs off my back.  It must be a coincidence, but the downturn in my results since that net disqualification and resulting losing out on winning the match, has been dragging on a little too long now.

Travelling companion for the day Tony did the business from 116 and put over 200lb in the net, so well done to him, I just hope some of that mojo has worked its way onto my kit for this week, which will see me at Viaduct bank holiday Monday, the Thursday Costcutter and then back for round 2 of the spring league on Sunday 8th - need to put things right for that one.

I have also had a week of stripping elastic out of my poles, I have been using Sensas Magic Latex, but as it broke (3 weeks old) so easily and the piece I had left was snapping like cotton, I have junked it all and re-elasticated with hollows, so a couple of matches to get used to it before the next league. I have also gone over to the Paul Holland way of doing it with a bead, I have never had confidence in putting line straight onto elastic, but many people have told me they use this method without problem now, so in with two feet.  Not content with that, I have put some Preston pulla rollers in 5 topkits, I was reluctant to drill a 10mm hole in a Daiwa topkit, but again, plenty seem to do it without issue.  As a balance I have a couple with MAP inserts and several with Frenzee, I'll see which ones suit me best over the next few weeks.

Bait Tech Festival 2016

Going into a festival on the back of a poor run isn't ideal, but it's also an opportunity to turn things around.

This year as usual the Lodge comprised of myself, Paul Faiers and Glenn Calvert, we usually have Paul's Father-in-Law along with us, Chips, but his health took a turn for the worse and he couldn't come this year, so best wishes to Chips and hope he is improving.

We went down early Saturday, as Glenn wanted to watch the football, but clean living folk like me and Faiersy weren't having any of that, so we went onto Python for the afternoon and I had a great afternoon, 80-90lb of F1's, skimmers, perch and roach, whilst Paul had at least 50lb.  That was the first time I had fished it, but was warned not to get too carried away, as that sort of weight wouldn't come out in a match.

A couple of beers in the evening, just to be sociable and meet up with old friends, led to a couple more and it was nearly 09.00 Sunday before any of us rose.  We had a day on Pollawyn, it wasn't hectic, until towards the end when I caught well short on meat, including a Barbel that wasn't far off 6lb.

A much quieter night and up Monday for the draw, I managed peg 38 on Bolingey, not a bad draw, so I was hopeful of catching a few.

I had Steve Nadin opposite, so if it was to be tough at least a familiar face to share the moans with.....

I set up a shallow waggler to fish down to the end bank, a lead rod and several topkits, to cover the margin, short meat, long meat and as there were odd fish showing themselves, a shallow rig, I think if the sun had come out, it might have been a mugging day, but it wasn't quite warm and sunny enough.

Baits were meat, corn and dead maggots, I had a double figure fish straight away on the waggler/meat cast down to the first overhanging bush, before I fed anything, shortly after another, but that was it until much later in the match when I had one more from this line.

It was a struggle, one of those days when catching a fish would spook the others from that line and I worked away swapping lines and ended the day with 86lb, which was 4lb shy of winning the section, but at least a second in section wasn't a disastrous start.

Day two, Pollawyn, a lake I have had reasonable section results on, so fairly confident, out of the draw tin comes 36 another end peg, but not a corner.  For some reason I didn't take anymore pictures, so just words from here on in.  I had a basic plan, but just before the start Paul walked down from Jenny's wanting to borrow a bait tub, he pointed out all the carp basking at the end of the lake, 3 pegs away, but at Whiteacres you can fish halfway to the next angler, regardless of distance, so I spent 20 minutes trying to avoid tress and cast to the fish - pointless and it had thrown me.

I got it completely wrong, peg 34 has a ledge and rushes, which were shaking with fish movement, he was catching carp on the bomb and bread, it narrows up at 36 so I could reach my shelfless, rushless far bank with the pole.  The wind was also funnelling into the peg making things difficult.  I could also see those on the high bank catching well and I persisted trying to catch carp - why?? the high bank isn't in my section!!  Towards the end I made up some groundbait and chopped some worms, that brought me 18lb skimmers in an hour, last in the section and realisation that 32lb was second in section,, 5 hours of worm fishing would have seen me do that, I'm convinced - no excuses, totally blew it.

Day three and it was Twin Oaks / Trelawny, I fancied Twin Oaks and managed to secure a peg on there, trouble is the wind and the fish were ending up towards peg 1, I drew 18 which had been last the day before.  It was looking likely that I was going to join that result, as with 3 and 1/4 hours gone I hadn't had a bite, not a single indication that there was a fish in the peg.  Then at 3.15 I had a carp on the bomb, then next cast another, that was it, not another bite on it.  A cast with the shallow waggler to search the water a bit more saw the float bury and a spirited 3lb tench was netted, then a 4oz roach, which was the last bite on that.  I did manage some big skimmers, F1's and a couple of carp down the edge in the last 3/4 of an hour which saw me beat peg 16 and peg 8 (I think) saving the shame of coming last two days in a row, but that was festival over.

Day four, Trewaters/Jenny's, I tried the PMA to get me a draw on Jenny's as Trewaters is a bit of a bogie water for me, but it wasn't to be and I got Trewaters, but a decent draw, 37- although it had been last the day before, see the pattern emerging!!!  You can just reach the island with 16m, or at least you could if it wasn't so windy that it made it a fairly pointless exercise for most of the match.  Also there are a couple of yellow bushes at 16m down the LH edge, these often produce, again the wind was making it tricky, as it was pushing the 16m of pole into the bank.  (Is that enough excuses??)

I had Dan White to my right and he stuck to a couple of short lines, we were fairly neck and neck until the last 90 minutes when I went chasing fish down the edge and Dan slaughtered them on his 5m line, taking the section with 100lb to my low 70's.  A couple of other weights from the other end of the lake pushed down to a miserable mid section position and I am heading for my worst ever Bait Tech festival result.

Day 5 and just the lake and a bit of pride to fish for, out comes 13 on Acorn, a lake I've never fished, it had been 4th in section the day before. Chatting to Alan Scotthorne before the start (he was on Canal) and he advised me that very frugal feeding was the way to go.  I set up a deep and shallow waggler, a lead rod and several topkits, a margin rig, a long meat rig, a short meat rig and a shallow rig.  Word was that even with 8mm meat on previous days anglers were getting 'roached' out, especially if feeding heavily.

I started on the waggler tight to the island and was soon several fish behind peg 15, where an old boy was catching well on popped up bread into the wides (peg 15 is half as wide again as 13).  A swap to meat short kindering 3 cubes in saw me take 3 fish in the first hour, the guy on 15 obviously hadn't taken advice from Alan S and was throwing handfuls of meat in, he went over it and was soon getting one a bung, whilst most of the rest of us on the lake sat looking on, somewhat bemused.  In response I did start a really positive line at 11m towards peg 15 and that did give me one bite which was a fouler that got away.  A dismal day to round off the festival, wet, grey, very difficult fishing at least I wasn't the only one struggling as 15, won the lake, Rob Wotton was 2nd, 17 had a few and the rest of us all weighed 40lb or less.

So, that was my worst ever finish, must go back and put that right, the result aside, it was as ever, a good week, in good company, even if I wimped out of going out on Thursday night and stayed in the lodge watching fishing DVD's ( I wasn' t the only one).