A real shame that 60% of those that put their names down dropped out, leaving this as a 10 man festival - more of a knock up really.
Day one saw us on match lake, I drew 7 and spent some time clearing the RH edge so I could get down to the pallet of 8. I had planned on catching paste if I could and dead maggots over GB down the edge. It might be more prudent in future to make up my mind once I see the peg/lake, as the levels were down and the edges were shallow, probably too shallow to catch consistently.
I set up rigs to fish across as well, but the shelf was again pretty shallow, so expecting to catch on the deck at some point, I set up a meat rig, and a rig to fish banded pellet, hopefully a catch all rig down the track.
I started across but fishing pellet in shallow water really isn't my strong point and I was soon falling behind Trigger on peg 5. To cut a long story short, the track produced just one tench to a banded pellet and the fish came in to the edge, but proved very difficult to catch in the shallow water. I guess the main highlight of the day was watching Trigger and trying to take in what he was doing. I learnt a bit and felt confident of putting some of it into practise the next day.
I managed a lowly 81.04 to Trig's double ton.
Tuesday and onto lake 3, I had a walk round before the match and thought the fish would come from the far end, as this is where they were most visible, so not too impressed when 41 stuck to my hand. No island to fish to, but there is a spit from the end bank, but it doesn't have a shelf to speak of, so its either fish at depth or shallow against it. Again I spent ages clearing out the margin vegetation to get down the LH edge, which again was shallower than I'd like. I set up a shallow rig to fish in the open water, but this only produced two roach, so no more about that. The day was spent between fishing against the spit and both margins, RH short with paste, LH maggot over GB again.
It was a tough day and rotating round he lines was essential to keep bites coming, albeit none to frequently. The LH margin had fish coming in over the GB again, but they were nigh on impossible to catch, I managed to tempt only a couple of smaller ones. he lake fished fairly tough and I think I had more fish than anyone other than lake winner Louis, but I had some real 'squeakers' and weighed 54.13,
Wednesday and onto Speci lake, I was pretty gutted to draw 32 again, that's the third match in a row on this lake I have drawn this peg and whilst its a cracking winter draw, the lack of shallow water means you sit watching 31 and 43 catching all day this summer. One bit of amusement before the start, Trigger out by the island in the boat, he found a big section of netting fouling his peg, it was a huge snag, but he got it out, it was like a tackle xmas tree, covered in gear.
As expected, Trig caught across to the island and again it was a lesson in shallow water pellet angling, whilst I managed 4 carp a 17.5m under the willow tree. I can't remember the exact weights, but Trig had a ton+, Nick Duckett on 34 had a good weight and my meagre 4 carp were 3rd in section and the section money by double default.
Thursday and back on match lake, itching to put my new found (after watching and talking to Trig) pellet dangling skills, but another corner peg, 1, this time, put paid to that, as the wind made fishing the full 16m needed to reach the island a no-no for most of the match. I managed to break my spare landing net handle clearing out the bush from the RH side, so I could fish pellet under it, also my stainless steel weed cutter that I have had years also sank into the lake and I couldn't feel it with the landing net, so thats an expensive start.
The end bank is really eroding now and its impossible get in tight, due to undercuts and tree roots, but there was a little bay of shallower water, where I decided to fish. Once again, I failed to catch anything at all in the open water either shallow or on the deck. The RH side under the bush produced a few fish to pellet, the end bank produced a couple to maggot over GB and the island a couple when I could hold a pole there. A better weight today, 90lb odd but that was nowhere again.
Friday, didn't fancy a corner peg today on lake 3 and was rewarded with peg 42 one up from Tuesday, but at least I had an island to fish to, again I cleared out the margin bankside vegetation to the LH side and this time managed to break the No1 section of my main landing net handle, a discontinued Garbolino Netsy, - pissed off about that.
The island didn't produce of nearly an hour and from what I could see the lake was fishing quite hard, so I persevered at it and put a few small carp for about 20lb in the net. The fish were coming in over the GB in the LH margin and I tried a totally different rig and it seemed to work, as I put 80lb in the net from 2pm to 3.40pm, then put another net in and changed my topkit as the elastic was looking iffy by the puller. This had the usual effect and I only managed 27lb in the third net in the last hour and 20 minutes. This was enough for 130lb and second on the day, behind the unstoppable Trig.
The festival was enjoyable, a few more fishing next year and it will be even better, a couple of observations, it would have been nice not to have to clean out so much bankside vegetation to get down the margins and Mike has said he will top up all the lakes if necessary next year.
Thanks to Mike and Di, putting on a bit of a nosh up after the last match whilst the results were done, they are all on Landsend fishery facebook page.