Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Alders Farm Tuesday Open 19 09 17

It is amazing what a couple of days holiday from work gives you. I have managed to fit three days fishing in at Alders plus managed to paint the landing and stairs, albeit it does need another coat. I would never make a living out of it that's for sure.
Still onto today's match. A nice and friendly do on Alders Ash Lake. It has been a bit funny lately, I think with the recent drop in temperatures especially overnight the fish are gearing up for winter, after all the scientists will have us believe that animals know whats coming before it arrives. Try telling that to a rabbit full of buckshot.
Twelve of us and we had the luxury of the whole lake. So we had a bit of space, I must admit I fancied a go on the far bank today pegs 27 to 30 but as is my luck peg 10 stick to my palm. Not to worry, Troy had a good weight from it on the MDs match so fish were there or there about.I had the whole corner to myself, unfortunately, it was hard to see any of it as the reeds and the tree have grown on. For company I had two bagging machines, Derek Smith on 18 and Lee Newson on 8 although I could not see him.. Both very capable of winning from there pegs.
I opted to fish three lines today, one at 9m, one at 5m and one just in front of my keepnets. I set up both a heavy rig and a light rig for each line, and would keep rotating until I could find a regular supply of fish and the ditch one if it was not working. Red hydro for the heavier rigs and black for the lighter ones.
Over the last couple of matches I have found that by feeding micros draws fish in and you tend to get a quick response, but it tends to die after an hour. I have prolonged this spell by adding a few 4mms to the tosspot. I have also been pinging a couple of 4mms regularly.
I started off on the 5m line and although it was slow going I was nicking a few fish fishing dead depth. After an hour I had seven carp and a couple of skimmers, which went back. Hour two and I was still nicking a couple of 3lb fish and a few good perch on the maggot, but felt it was dying. I decided not to re-feed the peg and go to 9m. I deliberately had not feed anything on this line and I had three carp without feeding a single pellet. I had to keep switching between heavy and light rigs as I could not get them lined up on one method. I would nick a couple light and then have to pin it on the deck.
By rotating lines and rigs I was able to keep the fish coming, I did have a couple of dry 20 minutes were no matter what I did I could not get a fish but that's fishing. I could see Derek catching steadily and Lee Wilson on 21 was also getting amongst them but I felt as if I was always just in front of them. Lee on 8 was catching well and word was the pegs 27 to 30 were catching. I just needed to keep fish coming.
Going into the last hour I made a change that would stick in the memory banks. I came off the deck by 6 inches. Still pinging a few 4mms and fishing a 6 over the top and by lifting and dropping regularly managed to put a late surge together of small carp.
1st Lee Newson 128-11 Peg 8
2nd John Clennett 116-10 Peg 28
3rd Graham West 109-14 Peg 1
4th Pete Archer 104-10 Peg 27
5th Keith Ashby 91-13 Peg 10
6th Mick Kelly 90-14 Peg 2
So overall it fished fair, no clear cut winner going into the last hour. Lee having 60lb in that hour with some horses down the edge.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Marsh AC Alders Farm Ash Lake 16 09 17

I must admit it has taken a while but I am gradually clawing my way back in the MK Nugget stakes. It is now 9-8 in Mick's favour but considering it was 9-3, I have done well. Today would see us lining the bank on Ash Lake at Alders Farm. A venue we both know well and one I fished the previous day on the Joseph James Law match, although I was on a different lake.
On that match, Ash Lake fished steadily considering nearly every peg was in. But it was noticeable that the fish preferred micros to 4mm feed pellets. Pete Morton, Clive and Dave Pontin had all fished that match and would have the insider knowledge to get a good result. Peter had stopped over at mine, as travelling to and from Barnsley would take its toll. 
Sixteen anglers descended upon the fishery and after a great breakfast in the cafe, it was draw time. We had pegs 1- 21, but it would mean tight pegging on some of the pegs. The fancied pegs, were 1-4 and 21. Pegs 12 and 14 could feature if the wind got up and started to blow into the corner. I placed my hand in the bucket and peg 7 stuck to my palm. This peg was the one Dave Pontin had the previous day and struggled on. I had for company Pete Morton on peg 5, Dave Collier on 6, Kris Old on 8 and Troy Hillier on 10. Mick however,stuck to his plan and drew another flyer, peg 2. Possibly the best peg on the lake this year. People though have started to notice how well you are drawing Mick!!!!
Bearing in mind the previous day's lesson I went armed planning to feed micros with a pinch of 4mms all via a toss pot. I set up to fish 4 lines. One at 12.5m in 4ft of water, .19 DS small diamond in .4g to a size 18 B911f1 hook coupled with Black hydro. My top four line would be a .2g version of the above set up but with red hydro. I also set up a duplicate rig as the peg shallowed up towards the right hand side. A margin rig and a slapping rig should I become desperate were also made up.
I started my match feeding 4 or 5 4mms with a pinch of maggot and a toss pot filled with micros on the top 4 line. Bites came thick and fast and I was catching well. Those around me were struggling, and I think the choice of micros was paying dividends. Troy was catching a few, although I could not see him, I could see the swirls at the end of his bush. I just tried to keep the fish coming but after and hour the line died. I went out to 12.5m and had a couple of fish on a 6mm pellet without feeding anything. But I was foul hooking lots of fish and not getting them out. So frustrating.
I really do not know what to do. I am fishing dead depth or an inch on I foul hook fish, if I come off the deck by an inch, I do not get a bite. They say to shallow up but if your not getting bites, then whats the point. I cannot understand it.
Coming back into the top 4 shallow side I was nicking odd fish, not setting the world alight but nicking fish all the same. A look down the edges saw a couple of small carp on maggot. 
By rotating all my lines I was able to keep fish coming throughout the match albeit with plenty of lost fish. Both Peter and Dave had caught well towards the end of the match but Kris had struggled throughout, losing as many as he had in his net. 
1st Mick Wright 128-08
2nd Gino Excell 116-08
3rd Tony Roberts 98-00
4th Keith Ashby 96-00
5th Peter Morton 89-00
6th John Holdsworth 77-08
7th Troy Hillier 77-00
8th Dave Pontin 73-00
9th Simon Watkins 69-12
10th Jim Etherington 667-00
11th Dave Collier 62-00
12th Chris Withall 49-04
13th Clive Pritchard 39-00
14th Kris Old 37-00
15th John Button 12-00
16th Barry Testro DNW
So another flyer Mick has drawn and done the business from, another MK Nugget has gone his way and sees his lead extend to 10-8. The match itself was a fairly steady match, plenty of frustration by everyone. those who managed to swap and change quickly caught well. 
On a final note I must say a big thank you to Lewis Monk at Alders Farm who assisted one of our members who managed to get his car stuck. With a lot of pushing and shoving and the help of a large piece of plywood we were able to free the car. There is a 4 car rule in place for reasons such as these. Lewis is not always there to help.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Alders Farm 15 09 17 Joseph James Law Event

It is not everyday you get to fish in the company of some very talented anglers, anglers who have fished for their countries, anglers who have qualified and won some of the most prestigious events in the angling calendar. Joseph James Law, an enterprising Law firm has helped give us mere mortals the chance to do just that. They had invited 11 of the most noted teams in the match fish world, and us the mighty maggotdrowners. An opportunity not to miss.
Unfortunately Dave Webster, or Wibblester if you know him well enough was unable to attend, but his able Deputy Pete Morton was on hand to be able to bring together a team. Pete, Dave Pontin, Clive Pritchard, Adam Daniells and myselfgathered like a Marvel Comic assemble. Barry made up the final member of our team as it was felt that we needed to keep an eye on the opposition and relay any vital gossip.
Dave W had kindly provided us with a hoodie and I must say they are very warm, but they do tend to soak up plenty of rain water throughout the day. Anyway I digress.
With a donation from Maggotdrowning towards our bait bill for the event, (I bet the other teams had to pay for there own). See how professional maggotdrowners are.I opted for some 4mm pellet and some maggot. I have always got some corn in my bag, so did not need that. A walk to the cafe where a bacon, sausage and egg roll awaited, washed down with plenty of tea.
Our draw saw Pete on Oak 5, Adam Ash 23, Dave Ash 7, Clive Pines 15 and myself Peg 8 on Pines.  I really like Pines Lake but today we had nearly every peg in and it would fish harder than normal. I had Dave Pez on the next peg 9 and John Beasley on peg 7. Both very tidy anglers and with Mark Skeggs and Pete Archer also within viewing range I could see how the section was going.
I set up a rig to fish 14.5m with a DS Diamond to a 16 B911f1 black hydro and .19 line. Two rigs to fish corn and pellet at 10 and 2 on a top four plus a margin rig to the right. I also set up a small hybrid feeder to the island in front of me.
I started off on a top four with corn on the hook feeding 4 or 5 grains every 30 seconds, Nothing after 10 minutes saw me switch sides to the pellet line, again feeding 12 pellets via a toss pot, nothing. A move to 14.5m saw my first fish, a skimmer around 2lb after an hour. I had not even seen a carp. Another skimmer and I now had 3.5lb in the net. John, Pete and Dave had all had a carp and I was going nowhere. I played around with shotting to no avail. I changed depths regularly, getting foul hookers on the deck or just touching and nothing 2 inches off. After 3 hours I sneaked 3 carp in 3 chucks and thought at last they had turned up, but just as quick had they arrived it was soon back to foul hookers.
My margins never produced, I could see fish coming in and going out but they never settled. All in all a frustrating day. I felt as though I never did the peg justice. I know it was hard with all the anglers on the lake, but I felt I missed a trick on the day, but a lesson learned. Unfortunately, I came last in my section with 12lb. Clive had fared better with 26lb and a welcome 7 points towards the team cause.Peter had fished a blinder from his peg on Oak with a very creditable 6 points including a fish of 12lb 8oz . Andy Kinder winning the lake with over a ton.
Over on Ash, Dave had struggled on peg 7 with 41lb and another last in section, whereas Adam had fished a blinder beating some very good company to secure second place in section.
Overall as a team, we came 10th out of the 12 competing teams, we had beaten our nemesis Match Fishing Scene again and BAE. Steve Tucker( Garbolino) won on Ash Lake and  Simon Skelton (Mallory Park). On the team front the Lads from Mallory Park won the event with 15 points from the Joseph James Law side. Mosella NW and Drennan International tying for third place.
In summary, an event like this takes some organisation, the staff at Joseph James Law have come out of their comfort zone and performed miracles on a day where the weather did not help. It has rained nearly all day, they have stood out in it in T shirts and wellies, never once did I see them moan or not smile. Every thing from checking in to photos, to drawing to free snacks and refreshments was laid at their very capable hands. If you need advice on any Legal matter give them a chance to prove themselves to you. I am sold. To the team at Alders Farm. You never cease to amaze us anglers, Smiles, chuckles and nothing too much trouble. You know us by name and make us all feel very welcome. Thank you. Lastly but not least, to all the volunteers, who weighed us in, kept score on larger specimen fish, walked around the complex offering advice and refreshments, never encroaching on the angler. Finally also to Andrew Settle, who without his vision and foresight has created a fixture that all the top teams look forward to. We certainly do at Maggotdrowning.com.

Shearsby Valley Lakes 09 09 17 John Buxton Memorial.

Many, many, moons ago a Gentleman by the name of John Buxton started posting a few threads on www.maggot-drowning.com. One of those was a charity match. It was fairly local to me and as I had a free Saturday I promptly put my name down. I had never been to Holly Farm before, so a quick practice was called for. I tried a couple of things on the day and they all caught me a few fish. I was happy and looking forward to the match.
Match day duly arrived and it was a pleasure to see such a great turnout for the event. John had badgered and pestered nearly everyone he knew to raise a few extra quid for the chosen charity. That was the measure of the man. He was a mountain of a man, big and strong, but with a wit and charm that you could not forget. I have never forgot him or his lovely wife Lynn. Always doing something for charity, even though he himself had a disability. I have met and befriended many people through John and for that alone I thank him. Sadly John passed away a few years ago and his friends have tried to remember him this way.
I had never been to Shearsby Valley Lakes before but the little information I managed to glean was it was fishing below par. A lot of the weekend and midweek matches were being won with around 40lb. Pellet was the dominant bait but corn could also work.
I arrived nice and early to be one of the first people there. I popped into the cafe and felt compelled to eat a large breakfast. Pete Morton, a long time friend from Maggot Drowning, Jinx and Marsh AC arrived from a rather leisurely trot from his new home in Barnsley, Match organiser Dave Pontin and Henry Williams arrived along with around 40 other anglers. I am glad I arrived early.
Dirk Williams and Mark Causer, again from over 10 years ago arrived and it was great to see them again.
The match was to be split over two pools Alders and Willow. I drew Willow 33 and after a quick chat was told it was not the best of areas, but fish swim so I went there with a positive attitude. My peg was to the right of a gap between islands. It was not in my peg but I did have a couple of features on the island. Two bushes either side at 14.5m and a clump of grass again at 14.5 in between them. It was a fairly uniform far edge and I set up a .2 NG ghandi float for tight across. Coming back towards me I had around 3ft at the bottom of the shelf and a DS .4 diamond to a size 18 B911 F1 banded pellet on a hair. A couple of margin rigs either side completed the set up. I had a nice depth and plenty of natural vegetation.
What was really disheartening was seeing nearly everyone chopping worms and preparing maggots and casters. Things started badly just after the all in and the lad on the next peg caught a skimmer on the worm. The lad opposite was also catching small silvers, also on the worm.
I started off fishing pellet at the bottom of the shelf feeding via a toss pot so it was not overfed.A couple of grains of corn with 4mm feed pellets. After an hour I had nothing to show for my efforts, I had tried the margins for no bites. I decided it was long or bust. After 15 minutes a small dip on the ghandi and a carp around 4lb was in the net. His mate followed 20 minutes later by the clump of grass.
Sadly that was my lot, I did have another bite I missed on corn and I also foul hooked a fish last put in. The regulars either side beat me but not by a lot. I reckoned on 8 or 9lb and threw back. One of them weighed 11lb and the other 15lb, so one or two fish.
Overall it was an enjoyable day, the organisation by well run, the staff at Shearsby Valley are match anglers and know there stuff. The cafe is clean and food is good. Would I go back? Yes I think I would but once the weights start going upwards rather than downwards.
John would of been proud of the efforts of Dave and his team. It even rained on us.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Marsh AC Orchard Place Lake 6 02 09 17

I must admit my fishing has been put on the back burner for a few weeks. One of the factors associated with packing up smoking is that your sense of smell returns. I used to smoke 30 a day for the last 40 years and many of them were inside the house. Now, with my sense of smell returning, I know that the house needs decorating from top to bottom and this has taken priority.
However, I still had a club match to fish at a new venue to me, the lads fished it last year and were impressed. Orchard Place near Kings Hill, Kent.The complex has a lot of lakes and we were on Lake 6. A quick chat with Mark Hathway, put me straight on tactics and baits and I was ready with a plan.
Mick was driving and another early start beckoned, but the motorways were clear and we progressed calmly towards an awaiting breakfast.
With monies paid, and peg numbers sorted, we decided on 11 to 22, as someone has mislaid 1 to 10. We had 12 anglers but Tony, Jim and Terry managed to squeeze everyone in although some pegs would only offer room for 2 keepnets. Mick as usual would draw first, Peg 21 whilst my right hand pulled 18 from the bag. Mick seemed happy with his draw, just off an island with good looking edges. I was a little further up on the same bank on the end of the point. Again I was happy with the peg, although the lake was flat calm.
My plan was to fish 6mm pellets feeding 4mms and switching to sloppy ground bait if it goes off. I was going to fish at 2+2 trying to bring them in closer to a top kit if possible. I would start off on the deck and gradually fish up in the water under a jigga to .17 mainline to .15 B911X size 18 hooklength. I set this for 2ft but had another standard rig set at a foot deep. My deep rig was a DS float taking 3 number 8 shot to a 18 B911X hook. It is a strange float to use as it takes ages to settle but once you are used to it brilliant for this sort of fishing.
At the all in I started feeding 4 or 5 pellets every 20 seconds and fishing on the deck with white hydro. A few missed bites before fish number one was in the net. an F1 around 2lb, another couple followed and I was getting into a rhythm of hook, feed, land, feed, ship out, feed and so on. It was busy fishing but worth it as I was catching. With an hour gone, I reckoned on having 20 fish for about 42lb. Others around me were nicking odd fish with Gino next peg on 12 fish, Dave on 7. I could see Mick's landing net handle going in and out regularly so knew he was doing well. The others were behind me, but Tony Roberts and the Watkins Brothers were catching well.
I was now on the Jigga, lifting and dropping all the time, and catching well on it, this lasted for about another hour before the rig got smashed. Out with the foot deep rig and I was able to carry on catching. After 3 hours I knew the ton was passed. It was now a case of juggling keepnets. I could only get two into the water and with a 70lb limit I knew I would need a third, maybe a fourth. In the distance you could hear the drone of aircraft, a look up though and you saw a spitfire on rehearsals for a show. Well done the pilot, amazing to watch and worth a few missed bites.
I managed to keep fish coming throughout the session, but had to keep adjusting the feed. 4 or 5 pellets when the fish were coming up and 20 to 30 when they dropped back down. I was now on a top three but as I was fishing shallow a lot of the time it was not a great deal of difference. I even had a spell where the float was set up 8 inches deep and I was still catching. A steady end to the match would see me finish with around 120 fish. 30 in each net. I had caught well throughout, a couple of small things have cost me. Word was Simon had 150 fish with brother Tony also admitting to 120 fish, and he was in my section, Tony Roberts was owning up to around 180lb and Mick was admitting to having had a good day and a grin.
Chris was first to weigh in with 94-04, Jim followed with 75lb. Tony Roberts was then next to up the stakes to 184lb. Simon then tipped 6 keepnets onto the scales for 298lb 8oz. Brother Tony could not match the exploits of Simon but still managed 233-08 for second so far. Terry kept the ton weights coming with 104lb, whilst Richard placed 43-12 on the board.
I was next and was thinking that 3rd place on my first visit to the venue would be nice, couple that with a MK Nugget off of Mick and I would be happy. However, my four nets went 237lb and into second. Gino was next to weigh. Having persevered with paste throughout the match he had done well with 157lb. Dave again was struggling with his health but still crept in with 61lb 4oz before we got to Mick. Mick was admitting to a good day and knowing Mick as I do, know that he rotates his fish so there is not normally a lot of difference between them. So first weigh goes 58lb and I am thinking 58 x 4 nets equals 232lb it will be close for the MK Nugget. Fortunately for me the other nets came up just short and the scales settled on 213lb 12oz. Rod brought up the rear with 42lb 8oz.
1st Simon Watkins 298-08
2nd Keith Ashby   237-00
3rd Tony Watkins 233-08
4th Mick Wright   213-12
5th Tony Roberts  184-00
6th Gino Excell     157-00
Well first time at Orchard Place, excellent fishing and made to feel welcome. To come second on the day to stop a Watkins 1-2 was pleasing and to take another MK Nugget off Mick was also a highlight. Mick reliably informs me the the score is now 9-8 to him.
Next week I am at Shearsby Valley Lakes for John Buxton's Memorial Match with a few maggot drowners. Another venue I have not fished before, hope its as good as this one.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Monks Lake 4 Marsh AC 12 08 17

After the fishing festivals, Stafford Moor and Yam Yams, a family holiday to Spain it seems that I have not fished a match for ages. I was really looking forward to getting out on the bank. I had done no preparation whatsoever, just sorted out a bait bag. Everything else was the same as my last match.
Monks Lake 4 was the destination so an early start for both Mick and I, but the traffic was clear and and a decent run saw us pulling into the car park around 0730, plenty of time for a chat. Richard was already there and the remainder slowly followed. A generous Bacon and Egg Baguette and a large Tea set me up for the day. A chance meeting with Mark Hathway, another Ghandi from another site was welcome. He was fishing one of the proper lakes on the complex. 
With no Dave Collier in attendance today. Tony Roberts would stand in for the Chairman and manage the pools and pegging from the comfort of his breakfast table. Mick had gone into the hat first, and promptly pulls out the end peg 152, whilst I had to settle for 140. On arrival at the peg I fancied it for a few fish. There were fish topping, I could see a swirl to the left hand side edge, fish crashing on the feeder line, but I had forgotten the rods, as I said no preparation.
I decided on setting up for 5 lines. Left hand edge with a .2 DS diamond to .16 Stream and a B911X 16 hook. Two lines at 2+2 at 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock, same rigs .4 DT Diamonds to .16 Stream and B911X, one a 16 with a hair-rigged band. The other a plain hook for with banding pellets myself or for fishing meat.
I set up a couple of shallow rigs for fishing long, one a drennan dibber for fishing an 8mm pellet and slapping, the other a shallow drennan bristle float for fishing a 6mm pellet.
For company I had John on 139, and Richard on 142 and at the all in I decided to let everyone pot in and just try for a sneaky carp down the edge without feeding. A couple of cubes of meat were lowered into the swim at top three and nothing. After 10 minutes I started my feeding regime. Pinging a few pellets long and potting a mix of 4 and 6mm pellets onto the 2+2 lines. These lines started fizzing fairly quickly and after a couple of minutes a 6oz skimmer was in the net, his mate followed but no carp. A look on the right hand side saw another small skimmer before my first carp of the day followed around the 1lb mark. I could hear Tony Watkins and Gino discussing their fishing and it sounded as if they were catching well, only small stuff but I was expecting them to be catching odd carp amongst them. I could hear odd splashing from John next door, so knew he was catching. Tony Roberts and Simon were on walkabout with Tony admitting to catching a few carp and Simon admitting to nothing. It seemed to be fishing very hard. I was speaking with a regular at the venue who stated a lot of the carp had been removed recently and this certainly seemed correct as the fish were not competing for food. 
With this in mind I set up another line and decided to only feed it, if I caught a fish and only with a couple of pellets. This seemed to work for an hour. I was fishing 11m feeding nothing but the hook bait. After each carp I would feed 4 6mm pellets and wait. In this time I caught 10 small carp between 1lb and 3lb. Then as quickly as it started it stopped. I tried doing the same on a different line but suffered more with foul hookers, coming off deck saw no bites, just touching or over depth resulting in foul hooked fish. Yet every now and again I would connect with another small carp of skimmer. 
Tony reckoned on 20lb for a good result today and I had that, just. But at the all in a lot of others were admitting to 20lb. It would be close.

1. Tony R peg 143 32-08lb
2. Keith Peg 140 22-08lb
3. Terry Peg 144 21-12lb
4. John Peg 139 21-00lb
5. Mick Peg 152 20-00lb
6. Clive Peg 148 18-04lb
7. Gino Peg 137 13-08lb
8. Jim Peg 151 12-00lb
9. Tony W Peg 136 11-00lb
10. Simon Peg 146 8-08lb
11. Richard Peg 142 6-08lb
12. Rod Peg 149 4-00lb

Section winners today: 136-140 Keith; 142-146 Tony R; 148-152 Mick

To be fair, the lake fished harder than we all expected, and does not do the complex justice. The other match lakes are far more competitive and enjoyable to fish. Still not to complain my positive mental attitude is continuing to bear fruit with another MK Nugget going into the coffers to make it 9-7 to Mick. The gap is closing.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Viaduct Yam Yam Festival 16-21 July 2017

With the prelude to the festival over, the Yam Yam festival was now going to be in full swing. The format being that on day one we would have 12 anglers, two leaving after the match and going home, leaving 10 anglers to fish the festival proper. We had a varied mix of lakes and one unknown. Sunday was on Lodge Lake, Monday, Campbell, Cary on Tuesday, Match Lake on Wednesday, an unknown lake on Thursday as this was the open but would be either Campbell, Cary or Lodge, with Friday being Campbell again.Again we were fishing for section points on each lake with the lowest points winning the festival.You were allowed to drop one result.
Day one Lodge Lake 16th July 2017
Peg 62 was to be my home for the day, I set up a light pellet waggler and a couple of margin lines. I also set up a line to fish banded pellet at 11m and another line at 5m for meat. Starting off at 11m fishing a 6mm banded pellet over 4mm feed pellet I had a small 4oz skimmer after around 10 minutes. Frenchy next door had gone straight down to the platform and snared a carp straight away. Soupy the other side on the concrete tower peg had also had a carp. My first sign of a carp was after 30 minutes when the white hydro poured out of the pole and after a couple of minutes slowly bringing the fish back to netting range I could it was foul hooked, unfortunately as I lowered the net to scoop it bolted off and I was left with a scale. At least I had fish in the area I thought and after another 15 minutes his smaller brother was residing in my keepnet. A couple more skimmers followed before I tried the 5m meat line. I had been dripping in 4 or 5 cubes every couple of minutes and with an hour now gone I hoped any carp would have settled over it. Nothing, not even from a skimmer. A look down the right hand edge saw me lose a proper lump on double corn but nothing down the left hand pellet line. A quick couple of chucks on the waggler line saw nothing although there was a couple of swirls over the feed. Nothing took the 8mm pellet on offer. Back to the 11m line this time with an 8mm pellet banded. Float buries and after a bit of persuasion another carp joins the one already in the net. Nothing follows so back to the edge with double corn on the hook. Soupy was catching well from the flyer, whereas Frenchy was struggling. Kimble had started to pack up and was going home. With that he put his bait tray next to his platform and emptied it. Frenchy was soon on this and proceeded to catch carp regularly. I kept plugging away down the edge and nicking odd fish throughout. Del opposite was catching well at the end of his keepnets and would win his section. Frenchy winning ours.
1st Frenchy 101-12
2nd Derek 92-09
3rd Soupy 92-00
4th Bob 90-14
5th Fred 66-15
6th Paul D 63-08
My weight of 52-06 was seventh overall and good enough for 2 points in the festival. A good start. Vic ended up with 37-10 for 5th in section.
Day two Campbell Lake 17 July 2017
A change of scenery and a chance to bag up. This time there were only 10 of us fishing as Frenchy and Kimble had gone home. Five on each side of the lake would give us all plenty of room and hopefully a few fish.
Peg 123, so I am told the best silver peg in Somerset, great when weight counts for everything.I had Bob, Gongo Soupy and Paul D in my section, whilst Vic and Del where together in their section on 110 and 112 respectively. Both good pegs.
I set up a light pellet waggler for half way across the lake, a bomb rod for fishing over the same line, a margin line to my left towards the corner and a 5m line. I started off on the waggler fishing half way across, pinging 8mm pellets for nothing in the first 15 minutes, at least I had put a bit of feed down for the bomb. Armed with a double 8mm pellet the tip flies round after a minute and I was thinking of silly weights. Another after 5 minutes before it went quiet. The wind had picked up and was now blowing down the lake. A look on the 5m saw a few good skimmers come, but no carp. At least I was catching. Bob on the next peg was now catching well on the bomb. The ripple having reached him and was now staying with him. I had flat calm in front of me. I kept plugging away as I was getting bites, odd carp and skimmers, however the carp were a good size so I felt it was worth plugging away at. With a couple of chucks on the bomb during quiet spells I managed to keep odd fish coming. With an hour to go I knew I was behind Bob, but could not see the others so it was worth persevering with. feeding a dozen 6mms and fishing an 8mm banded seemed to be the best tactic, but it could also be the time of day where the fish come in closer.
My section went
1st Gongo 185-09
2nd Soupy 172-09
3rd Bob 160-01
4th Keith 121-05
5th Paul D 93-5 Unfortunately with a net disqualified for being overweight.
The other Section went
1st Derek 216-05
2nd Cotty 167-10
3rd Nobby 142-15
4th Vic 110-10
5th Fred 110-09
So a second and a fourth for me in the sections. Vic had a 5th and 4th. Derek was looking good though with two section wins.
Day Three Cary Lake 18th July 2017
Peg 85 on the back bank. Another different lake and yet again different styles required. I set up a couple of bomb rods with different hook lengths on, one for fishing single baits on a lasso whilst the other was a combination of lasso and a band for fishing double baits.A couple of pellet wagglers, one set at depth, the other at two foot. I also set up a margin rig. I was in with the low numbers and if the wind was blowing into my peg it could be good, alas it was not and instead was blowing into the low numbers. At the all in I opted to fish the pole down the edge for 10 minutes. I was fishing into a slight depression in the bank side and positioned my rig as close as I could see. A small dip and a skimmer of around 6oz, out again and a common carp around 10lb into the keepnet. I had not fed a bean and I had 10lb in the net. Strange. I fed the line with a mix of pellet and corn the started fishing the waggler. Nothing on either the deep or the shallow waggler, so onto the bomb with a double bait. A carp after 15 minutes followed by another then nothing. With an hour and a half gone I had 3 carp in the net and was going well. Nobby next door was struggling and Gongo had not had a bite. Cotty and Paul on the high number bank were both catching well but not in my section. I could not see how Vic ,Bob and Fred the other anglers in my section were doing but heard Bob was losing a few.I nicked another one from the edge, before Nobby started catching, he had 4 in 4 casts then nothing. Another look on the bomb and another fish, I now had 5 to Nobby's 4. Into the last hour, another one on the bomb to make it 6 and Nobby was now on 6, all tied up. Again I went down the edge with 30 minutes left and I had foulhooked a fish but managed to get it in, followed by a bite and a massive bow wave leaving the peg. Match over. I enjoyed that. Hard but I felt I worked hard for the result.
My section
1st Bob 185 -11
2nd Fred 114-06
3rd Vic 84-02
4th Keith 56-10
5th Nobby 51-04
Other Section
1st Paul D 144-06
2nd Cotty 96-08
3rd Soupy 58-12
4th Gongo 38-10
5th Derek 32-09
The pegs at the lower end of the lake produced the better weights with Bob having lost double figures of carp and still having a high ton weight. Overall I secured another 4th in section, not good and hopefully my dropper. I worked hard for it but just felt the fish were not there in numbers. Vic gained 3pts but the wheels fell off for Del with a last place finish.
Day Four Match Lake 19th July 2017
Another complete change of tack, fishing for F1's with odd carp.This is something we do not do, there are no F1 venues nearby to practice. It is an art in itself, all i could hope for was that the fish hang themselves. I was told you need a corner peg to do well and fish to the island under the cover of the willow trees.I got peg 51. I set up a bomb rod to fish tight to the edge of the island. A couple of margin rigs as they were reed lined and looked great for a few fish. A 5m line for either meat or 6mm pellet and a 11m line for 6mm or 8mm pellet. I made duplicate rigs for each line and just swapped hook lengths around to match the bait.
A couple of chucks on the bomb did not produce even a liner, so I was soon on the 5m line and was soon into fish 3 F1s in 3 put ins saw me dreaming of a good day. However it was soon over, despite changing baits I could not get a rap. Vic was on the corner peg and was chucking to the gap in the willows. A slow start but he was catching. Fred was struggling next door but Paul and Nobby were both catching well and all in my section. A look down both edges saw no movement on the bristles, A llook at 11m and a small skimmer on a 6mm banded pellet, but they were small. A switch to 8mm banded produced some good bites and when I connected they were carp of F1s, unfortunately I was losing them bringing them back in, I was on white hydro, I suspect it was too heavy. But this was the only area of the peg I could get a bite, so I had to persevere.Vic was now catching well and would push both Paul and Nobby for the section whereas both Fred and I would struggle to the end.
My section
1st Paul 88-07
2nd Vic 82-13
3rd Nobby 54-10
4th Fred 21-10
5th Keith 18-00
Other section
1st Derek 99-00
2nd Cotty 66-04
3rd Bob 46-08
4th Soupy 42-11
5th Gongo 23-01
I felt really bad after this match, I should have caught more than I did, I was not prepared, I did not have any light elastics and realised that the banded pellet is not as effective as the lasso. A sharp lesson. I did not expect to win but as I have said earlier, I do expect to compete. Vic was on a roll, going 5,4,3,2 in his section results. Del had shown that the previous day was a glitch and back on a roll with 1,1,5,1. My results were 2,4,4,5 and not looking so good.
Day 5 Thursday Open 20th July 2017
With over 40 anglers on board for the Costcutter Open, the match was split over three lakes, Campbell, Cary and Lodge. Again sections were running low numbers and high numbers. Unfortrunately the difference between lakes can affect the section points considerably, as the weights on Lodge are normally, not as good as Cary or Campbell.Luckily for me I drew 132 on Campbell, a good peg where I had 200+ from last year fishing the bomb.Amazingly another 6 of us drew Campbell with Gongo, Nobby, Fred and Paul making up our section. The other consisted of Cotty and Bob on Campbell, Soupy on Cary and Vic and Derek on Lodge.
I set up two bomb rods to fish with different hook lengths and a couple of margin rigs to fish towards the corner and to the reeds to my left. I started as I had on the Cary match, fishing a single banded pellet to the right hand side hoping for a lone fish to start the day off. After 5 minutes I had my first fish on around 4lb. I fed the line with a half pot of pellet and went onto the bomb for an hour, four fish fell to single baits either a 8mm Jupiter or  8mm Meadowland pellet. Another look down both sides saw no fish although I did get bites down the right hand side. Back onto the bomb and another 4 or 5 fish but they were small. Gongo had 6 in the net to my 9 so I was still in front of what i could see. They guy opposite on 110 was emptying it fishing the waggler across towards the willow tree feeding a pouch and leaving it. He would later go down the edge short and catch.
With 3 hours gone I had around 14 fish for 50lb, a big difference to the size of fish I was catching on 123 earlier in the week. I was picking off odd fish on the bomb and just kept plugging away with a plan to fish the edge in the last hour. By swapping from single and double baits I was able to keep a few fish interested. In the last hour though I could see a few tails to my right. A drop in with an 8mm banded and I was into a good fish that saw me off in the corner. Out again and another one on, this time it was huge, estimated 16+ and as I eased it over the landing I breathed a sigh of relief. That was were my luck stopped. Whilst in the net the fish fell straight through it and dropped between platform and nets. I tried running the rod through the hole in the net but by this time the fish was gone. With a new landing net I was back out fishing and secured another couple of fish to end the day on a high.
My section
1st Gongo 106-00
2nd Keith 99-01
3rd Fred 90-08
4th Paul 82-07
5th Nobby 81-00 who managed to drop a 15lb fish back in the water instead of his keepnet.
Other section
1st Cotty 139-01
2nd Bob 129-11
3rd Soupy 110-12
4th Vic 60-00
5th Derek 51-13
So a good result for myself with a second place in section, but both Vic and Derek had both felt they could not compete with there draw. Unfortunately this would be a dropper for them.
Day 6 Campbell Lake 21st July 2017
Last day and there were plenty of contenders going into the last day's fishing. Derek was still in with a chance of winning it whilst Vic was looking to cement a place in the top half. Myself I was looking to avoid being last overall.
I fancied a peg on the Cary bank of Campbell, it had been consistent throughout the week but i did not know how it would fish after 3 days of intense pressure. Peg 114 was to be my home and I fancied it. I had two good looking margins along with a good line to the middle of the lake and no one directly opposite. I started off on the bomb and had 6 fish in the first hour fishing double 8mm pellets. With no bites for 10 minutes I had a look at 5m for again nothing. Left had edge a small 4lber on an 8mm banded coarse pellet. Right hand edge, a couple of skimmers and a tench on double corn followed a carp of around 8lb. Next fish was foul hooked and sent the rig back with a bang and a rather large scale. It was absolutely chucking it down now and I was getting soaked through but by rotating from bomb to 5m to edges I was able to keep odd fish coming, mainly skimmers, but still fish and weight builders. I knew Paul was catching next door on 112 as I could hear him. Bob went for a little swim with half an hour to go and needed a bit of assistance getting out from Fred.
My section
1st Paul 203-11
2nd Cotty 182-06
3rd Del 181-14 Knocked back on one net.
4th Gongo 102-10
5th Keith 90-08
Other section
1st Soupy 238-03
2nd Vic 123-02
3rd Fred 121-06
4th Nobby 119-08
5th Bob 104-03
At the all out I was glad it was all over. Eight days of fishing is a lot in one go.I had learnt a few valuable lessons this week and hope to put a few into practice over the coming months. I need to invest in lighter elastics, suitable for f1 and small skimmer fishing.I have learnt how to tie the lasso properly and can now do it for 4mm pellets if needed. I need to learn to fish paste and the edges as this is where a lot of fish were caught or lost.
Overall section points were
1st Cotty 9pts
2nd Soupy 10pts
3rd Del 11pts on weight
4th Bob 11pts on weight
5th Paul 11 pts on weight
6th Vic 15pts on weight
7th Gongo 15pts on weight
8th Fred 15pts on weight
9th Keith 17 pts
10th Nobby 19pts.
Well done to Cotty, Soupy and Derek on the top three places, consistent fishing all week. Got to feel a bit for Bob as he has again finished in fourth place. So next year is booked again and already I am planning for it. I must admit if it was closer to home it would be a regular haunt but 200 plus miles each way is a bit much for a day trip.
Finally many thanks go to Vic for all the driving you have done this week, for all the Yam Yams old and new, some are just new with old faces.GOT Baits for the pellet and Trevor Price for arranging the maggot and worm. Also to Steve and Helen for looking after us all week, never a groan and always on hand with a smile, finally Colin?? Reliant driver and Ben?? son ?? who weighed us in each day, and finally to the Globe pub for great food and atmosphere.