Saturday, 21 October 2017

Preston Festival 2017, Whiteacres, Monday 9th - Friday 13th October 2017

Not an easy festival to fish this year, as Louis, one of my dogs, was ill and in the vet hospital at Langford, difficult decision to go, so the fishing and craic was somewhat overshadowed by the concern for him.

Travelled down and stayed with Glenn Calvert, the weather forecast was pretty shite for Saturday, so we didn't get there too early, so the usual practice was missed, a quick look round the lakes revealed most others had the same idea, as hardly anyone was fishing.  Usual Saturday night meet up with a few in the bar and a few beers.

Sunday just to wet a line we had a few hours on Jennys, it was fairly tough going and I think I had about 17lb of skimmers and a couple of F1's in 4 hours, evening was rounded off with a trip to the Two Clomes for tea.

Onto the serious matter of the fishing, the rotation had put me on Bolingey first day, a venue that I have usually done OK on, so looking forward to it.  I drew 18 which can be a good peg and I went hopeful that I could catch a few from it.  Its a peg that gives a few options, the margins aren't too inviting as 17 and 19 are in, but the island and open water gives plenty of space.  I'd based my bait tray round meat and pellet, but did have some corn as a back up.

I two lead rods, one with a method on and one straight lead, two wagglers, one full depth across towards the island, where there is a shelf that's a good 3' shallower than the open water and a shallow waggler. 3 pole rigs, one for meat plumbed up the shelf about 6" shallower than full depth, a pellet rig to fish at 14m and more in hope than expectation, a margin rig.  As I was ready with 40+ minutes to go and there were odd fish showing, I set up a shallow rig and a deep shallow rig, so that was either all options covered, or a confusing mess......

Started on meat up the shelf and was rewarded with a fish nigh on 10lb within 6 or 7 minutes, then I hooked one a lot bigger and lost it just as it was coming to the surface, not sure why.  That seemed to kill off the line and I went over to the island on the lead, but that was totally non productive.  A switch to the full depth waggler saw the odd fish come to banded 6mm pellet, but it wasn't hectic action.

I could see the odd fish swimming through, so had a good go at shallow and deep shallow on the pole, but that was a fruitless exercise, so I switched to the full depth rig over the feed and had one straight away, false dawn as I had no more there.  I ended the match back on the meat line and put several more in the net and I had 103lb on the clicker, this turned out to be 100.12 on the scales and was 3rd in section with that, behind 15 (149lb) who caught on the method all day and 11 (120lb) who had a good run at the end.  Not an ideal start, but not a total disaster.

Day two dawned and I was looking forward to it, Pollawyn, another lake that has seen me do OK on in the past, the day didn't start well when we sauntered up for the draw at 09.15, only to find the doors locked, turns out the draw was at 09.00 - always been 09.30 after the first day, we weren't alone as Tom Scholey and Matt Godfrey were also stood with us looking perplexed.  Glenn jumped in Tom's van with him and went to the shop, whilst I went back and got my van.  I turned up just as Glenn had drawn for me - to say I was deflated is an understatement, he handed me 37, right up the arm and very unfancied.

All I could do was go to it and fish my best match.  It's possible to reach the island from this peg with 16m, so I set up a rig for that, a small pellet feeder, a rig for just down the far shelf and a silvers rig for down the track and a meat rig for 5m.  Not too much to write about, as I felt I fished a tidy match and gave it my best for 5 hours, but all I could muster was 6.07 of perch and two gudgeon.  No matter where I fished in the peg, I either had nothing or a small perch (apart from the glory of retaining the lodge Gudgeon Cup) for the full 5 hours.  That gave me 3 points and festival over, barring 3 section wins and a miracle.  Very frustrating, if there was any consolation, 4lb came off the peg the next day and 7lb the day after, so I wasn't the only one unable to catch from it.

Day three and I drew an indifferent peg, peg 8 on Twin Oaks, would be unusual to beat 16 and 14, so I decided to fish positively, feed a bit and try and attract some fish into the peg, I had nothing to lose.  To my left I had Lee Edwards on 6 and he wasn't best pleased with the draw, as weren't the guys to his left. I had a fish nearly straight away on meat short, then,, just as Monday, lost the second one, but I kept on getting indications, so I persevered, it turned out to be F1's and a I had 3 or 4 before it went dead.  Lee was getting the odd fish on the lead, feeding next to nothing across, but we were far off the pace of the pegs up to the right, which were catching well.  I had a couple on meat at the end, but Lee's tactic of fishing negatively had out weighed my positive approach, Lee weighing 100lb to my 49lb, although we were both well beaten by the favoured pegs.

Day four and I fancied a draw on Trewaters, to banish my poor run there, but it wasn't to be and Acorn 13 was my seat for the day and Glenn headed off to Trewaters.  Peg 15 was in, but 17 wasn't drawn, meaning 3 was the next peg to him, consensus was that he would win the section, but again I felt a reasonably positive approach would be the best way to try and pick up some coin today.
I set up a straight lead, a small method feeder and tried to cover some options with pole rigs, margin, as its a long LH margin and looks good, but I have fished the peg before and never had a bite down the edge.  A meat rig to fish at 7m left, a rig to fish worm and caster at 11m right and a shallow rig.

It turned out to be a tough day and after 2 hours there was hardly anything caught on the lake, I had to concentrate on the worm and caster line to catch and I had a few F1's and skimmers, my week was summed up when I dropped a 3lb F1 back in the lake instead of the net and it cost me points.....  I ended with 17.08 which was worth 5 points and left me with only a lake win to go for on the last day to try and resurrect something from the week.

Day five and the Porth palava of swapping kit around and wondering if there would be a boat trip involved.  I had no need to worry about the boat, but did draw the longest walk again, 40.  Last 4 trips to Porth have seen me draw 40, 39, 16 and 40, each time I have drawn the high numbers they have been poor, with a DNW showing on the board for it on the previous day.

I'd love to report that I had a day catching roach and skimmers on the pole, in fact I didn't have a bite on it, 0.06 and a 24, single flouro pinkie and nothing.  I had a bite on the feeder at 12.30, a skimmer, sadly that met it's fate in the jaws of a pike and I had to wait until 14.30 for another bite, between 14.45 and the end I managed to put a level 5lb of skimmers and roach in the net on the feeder, so another poor day.

Reflecting on the festival and looking at the final positions of some very good anglers, I feel slightly vindicated in my horrendously poor finish, the draw on Pollawyn was a killer, Twin Oaks wasn't so good, Acorn I could possibly have done better and Porth I really don't think I could have had many more fish from the peg, it was barren for too long.

So a week that was not so good for the fishing, the company was great, many thanks to Glenn for the company and putting up with me for the week, apart from the fishing and the concern for Louis didn't help. He came home from the hospital on the Saturday when I got home, but went down hill on the Sunday and that horrible decision to get the vet and end his suffering was taken, so a really shite end to a week of mixed emotions.

RIP Louis,  Feb 2007 - Oct 2017 

No fishing for a week or so due to work.

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