I couldn't make all the matches in this league, which is a shame, so I took this chance to stand in for an absentee. Just as well I left in plenty of time as Tony had assured me the draw was at 09.00, so luckily I was driving into the lane to the fishery when he rang me at 08.25, sheepishly asking where I was, as it was actually a 08.30 draw.
Into the draw bag and I pulled out 36, pretty meaningless to me, as I haven't fished the venue for a while and I had a rough idea of what I was going to do whatever peg I drew. Walked up from the car park and stepped onto the pallet which couldn't have been slipperier if it had been booby-trapped. Luckily there was a enough dead rushes around the peg that had been cut down, for me to gather hen up and spread them on the pallet, nice safe walking area now.....
I set too much gear up - its too easy now taking ready made up rods - a waggler, that was cast out to plumb up, it then sat in the roost until it was put away at the end. A feeder rod, as the weather was forecast to be somewhat unpleasant, so I might want to huddle up and watch a tip. A whip, as Tony had mentioned there were roach of 2-3oz to be caught and three pole rigs, two similar rigs, Drennan floats one 0.6g and the other 1.0g, these with a classic bulk and two droppers set up, 0.10 hooklength and a 18 Guru F1 maggot hook. The other rig was a double bulk rig, with 5" of line on the bottom, this had a 0.12 hooklength and a 16 Guru F1 maggot hook.
Bait was simply caster, maggot, pinkie and worm, along with a GB mix of Tom Thick's Intelligent, Sensas lake and brown crumb. Two balls of this went in at the start, I only ventured out 11m as the wind was gusty and threatening to worsen, I then had a look on the whip and caster, this brought a couple of small roach, but that weren't lined up, it was a case of taking a fish or two and then having to change depth constantly to find them, they wouldn't sit at one depth feeding and that makes them unviable as a way to win or frame.
A look over the GB saw a few bites, but it was from small roach, I switched to the double bulk rig and had a near pound hybrid. The roach weren't such a nuisance on the double bulk, unless it was laid in, rather than lowered fast, I hadn't put any worm in the first feed, so topped up after an hour or so and put a little bit of worm in, this seemed to kill off the roach bites and shortly after I had appositive bite and lifted into what I initially thought was a carp, but as I got down to the topkit and the fish jagged and tried to get under the net and pallet, I was hopeful it would be a tench, a lovely sight when a nigh on 3lb golden tench was netted. Shortly after I was struggling for bites again and came back on the whip, I had a few roach from tiny to 4oz, again by varying from 18" to touching the bottom. I did try chucking the feeder out, but in all honesty, never gave it long enough, so up the bank with that and out on the double bulk rig.
This brought a couple more decent skimmers, but it was slow going and I was starting to curse my reticence to fish expander pellets, as those catching were catching on them, I did start up a new line with 30 minutes to go and had one decent skimmer and 2 carp from that. I knew I hadn't beat the end peg 38, Mark Leader, who won with 28.14. I was pleasantly surprised to be with my 16.08 and a section pick-up by default. I caught all the skimmers and the tench on the double bulk rig, it was much more effective than the others,