Three day festival at Viaduct, which was popular and sold out, 54 anglers over 3 lakes, when I booked in back in the winter, I assumed we'd be basking in sun and mugging fish, as it turns out, I was still wearing thermals on the first day of the festival. The drive down to Viaduct was in miserable weather, heavy rain and very misty, especially by Shepton Mallet.
Plenty of familiar faces at the draw, which was a free draw first day and then a lake rotation on the subsequent days, so plenty of banter flying about and everyone hoping for a good draw to start the festival, I was actually first in the tub and all the flyers were in there...... safe to say, I didn't pull one out, 25 on Spring for me and who pulls out the next peg (26) but Trigger, so no pressure then.
I was given a bit of advice by Steve Tucker, so decided that would be one approach, a feeder to the aerator , the peg has no margins to speak of, a tree on the RH side does look inviting for a topkit line, but plumbs up so snaggy, I stayed well clear, the other margin, given the clarity of the water and the proximity of peg 26 was discarded as not practical.
So, waggler, to fish for whatever turned up, a straight lead and a feeder, a rig to fish meat in front of the tree to my right, two rigs to fish pellet on the deck, one with a solid 10 elastic and 0.16/0.14 to a 18 LWG and another with 0.20/0.16 to a 16 B960, just in case it got good...... ever the optimist!!
A chat with Trigger and a nose at his rigs before the start and on the all-in I started on the lead with 8mm pellet out to the aerator. Not so much as a liner, so it only lasted 20 minutes as over on peg 1 Joe McMahon was catching skimmers on the pole, on pellets. I had a look on this line and it was quite slow, while Joe was getting one a bung, neither myself or Trigger could match his catch rate.
Then Trigger hooked a carp on his skimmer rig and seconds later, so did I, bit of tussle getting it in as it was nudging double figures, Trig had another on this line, but I didn't hook another all day!! I gave the feeder a good 3/4 of an hour with just 1 skimmer on corn to show for it, I spent the rest of the match fishing corn on the waggler picking up odd good skimmers. Ending up with 32.06 and 4 points, so a disappointing start, but beaten by 3 corner pegs and 50lb+ more needed for another point - really not sure where that could have come from
Onto day 2 and the rotation put us on Campbell, early into the tub again and not overjoyed with the draw which saw me going to 113, it can be good if the waggler works or if the fish come short, but as most were predicting a shallow fishing day (no thermals today....) it's not the best to compete with the pegs further out in the lake.
Sam Powell, Mark Wynne and Jamie Parkhouse on 130,129 and 112 got off to a flying start fishing shallow, whilst I had two on the waggler then nothing, I did try shallow on the pole, but as predicted, sat too far back to reach the fish. I then had one on the lead, but as it was so slow and I was so far behind I had to try the edges, earlier than I would have liked, I had one fish down the RH edge, but it wasn't very encouraging. I went down the LH edge and between 1500-1600 hooked and lost 8 fish, the first went into a snag, 2 snapped 0.18 as I was holding on, trying to stop them getting to the snag (the Daiwa Multi Margin is one strong bit of kit!!) and another was lost as the rig loop burst open - my fault for not retying it after changing two hooklengths that had put extreme pressure on it - the others the hook just pulled out.
Torrid day and I was sure I'd be last on lake, as it was my meagre 85lb was worth 6 points, so 6th in section and that was it festival over, another day I am struggling to see where more fish could have come from.
Day three, Cary and all there was left to fish for was pride and the lake win. Sticking with the early into the draw and I pulled three stuck together, the last two days I'd pulled two stuck together and dropped them back in, today I took the outer one and dropped the others back in. Hopefully a good move as peg 90 was to be my home for the day. It can be an awesome peg in the right conditions, but even on its average days there are always a few resident fish to target.
It had won the section yesterday, so hopefully I could repeat that. I set up two wagglers and a lead rod, and topkits to cover the RH margin and this was the same depth as going 16m up the end bank, so same rig for that. LH edge was shallower, so a lighter, shorter float for that, a rig for meat at 5m, a pellet rig for on the deck and one shallow.
The bog standard start, meat short, the same result as the last two days - nothing! A switch to the lead up to the end bank brought a double figure fish and then 2 stockies, before that went dead. Shallow on the pole proved fruitless and I did have one on worm over the pellet line at depth, but it was loner by the look of it.
I was hoping to get away with not going 16m up the end bank, but needs must and I had 2 carp and a couple of stockies straight away, before that also went slow, but by persevering I topped up the feed with 10-12 pellets and 6 pieces of meat and had odd fish through the match, including a couple of commons that tested every bit of kit to the limit, but my usual set up of Orange Vespe, Stroft line and Guru XS hooks made sure I landed everyone, including one not too far off 20lb.
3 carp for a bit over 40lb...
I felt I fished a fairly tidy match, a relief after yesterdays nightmare of losing 8 fish on the trot..... and the scales gave me 134.08, enough to win the section and pick up the last Superpool money, buy getting 3rd on the lake - beaten into third by Ben Hagg, who weighed 134.09 - couldn't be closer!!!
Well done to the winners and framers, it was a decent festival, thanks to Ben & Guru for running it and to Steve, Helen & Matt at Viaduct.
1. Phil Cannings - 3 points
2. Craig Edmunds - 5 points
3. Lee Pisticcio - 6 points
4. Steve Hutter - 7 points / 419lb 2oz
5. Dan White - 7 points / 415lb 15oz
6. Carl Williams - 8 points
7. Sam Powell - 9 points / 417lb 11oz
8. Grant Albutt - 9 points / 379lb 11oz
9. Dave Romain - 9 points / 376lb 9oz
10. Pete Upperton - 9 points / 326lb 13oz