Sunday, 18 February 2018

Viaduct Winter League Round 4

Start the blog off tonight with a mention of Charlie Barnes who I was told had passed away yesterday. If you knew Charlie then you know he had been in ill health for a few years, but despite that he kept himself active on social media and often sent me a message about my blog. I remember drawing next to Charlie a few times in matches, the first time was in Portadown on the Bann. I didn't know him but he asked me my name, and told me would struggle and we chatted all match. I managed to beat him on this day and congratulated and told me I had fished a good match. As a young lad that stuck in my mind and I was always pleased to see Charlie on or off the bank. RIP my old mate.

There was a little speech made at Viaduct by Nicky Collins for Charlie and we held a minutes silence, then it was time for the draw. Myself and travelling partner Ron Hardiman were on Campbell and both praying for peg 110. Tony Gilbert was drawing for my team, and when his turn came 110 was still in (peg 1 team draw) but Tony drew peg 10, oh shite.... This is probably the worst team draw, Tony Rixon's team were last off it first round with possibly a record low score! We had peg 1 on Spring, peg 11 on Spring, peg 60 on Lodge, peg 88 on Carey and I was on peg 123 on Campbell, so as far from peg 110 as possible lol!

I looked at the previous weights off the peg and wished I hadn't, last round John Moody had 1lb 12oz off it and yesterday the angler in the open packed up. I got myself settled in and surveyed the swim, straight in front of me were Dick Bull on 119, and Ron was on 118.

Of course I was in a corner so had a long margin and end bank to fish to where I was hoping that some carp may have considered taking up residence.

I didn't set up a lot of gear today as the wind got up and was smack in my face, at least it was not freezing cold or raining. A straight lead for meat or bread was set up, a 0.4g wire stem silvers for fishing at 14.5m with 0.11 to 18 PR412. A 4x12 F1 maggot with 0.12 for 13m down the margin. Also set up a 4x12 for dobbing down the margin with 0.16 to 16 PR456.

I started the match by feeding casters on 2 lines at 14,5m and at 13m in the margin. I then chucked the lead out towards the pallet in peg 122. By this stage Ron had already hooked a couple of carp in his margin but had lost them. I had bread on the lead and after about 10 mins the tip sort of twanged and dropped back a bit, I struck but nothing there. Cast out again and next chuck another indication of sorts, nothing on the end again. Was wondering now if it was liners or roach taking the bread, so I cast out with meat on. Never had a rap on this so wound in and went dobbing in the margin just past my caster feed and all down to 16m. Not a sign at all and so after an hour I went out on the long caster lines. At this stage not much had been caught by the anglers to my right, no carp, and most were now on the pole looking for silvers. Matty Toomes was next to me on 125, then Chris Fox, then Dan White, and on the spit on 128 was Craig Trigger Edmunds.

The long pole caster line to the left initially was a bite a chuck but only from tiny roach which were hard to hit on the caster. Going onto the right line the float sat there, good sign that there were no roach I thought. Then a proper slow bite and a little 6oz skimmer, next drop in and a 10oz skimmer, next drop in and I bumped something. Well I never had another skimmer all match! The pole lines were now just full of plippy roach so I fed more casters, I fed the roach off and that was the end of bites for a very long time.

Two hours in and about 1lb 4oz in the net, still nothing in the margin so time for the lead again with meat. I cast to the left of the platform again and again not a sign. I wondered if there had been a carp there it might have moved to the other side of the platform, I took the clip off and cast out and it landed just about where I wanted it to. I think it was only about 3 minutes before the tip took off and I was into a carp. I took this very carefully, and played the fish with care, it stayed on and I was bloody happy when I put it in the net, I estimated it at 9lb. I hoped that I might have found the carp but there were no more signs on the lead here, so I cast further to the right along the bank to search for them, but no signs.

Ron and Dick were doing well opposite and I thought surely there must be another carp on my side, but it seemed not. I hardly had a bite on anything for two hours, I did have an 8oz perch on caster in the margin, but really it was rancid. About an hour to go I had a few small roach on the long pole on maggot which might be useful to get me an extra point or two at the wrong end of the section lol. I went through the motions on the lead and in the margin on the pole, then about 20 mins to go I tried a single maggot over the caster margin line, stupid really as I should have used my dobbing rig, because yes I hooked a lump. Had it on for about 40 seconds before it snapped me as it plodded off to peg 121. That was the end of that.

It was obvious I was going to do poor but was not sure how bad. My carp was weighed in at 8lb 11oz, and the silvers just 2lb 4oz, so 10lb 15oz. This ended up giving me 8 points out of 18. The lost carp did not cost me much as Trig had 9 points with 18lb 14oz. I beat a couple of 10lbs so the few roach did help a bit. Mat struggled with just under 7lb, and it was generally poor int he middle of the lake.

No surprise that peg 110 won the lake and the match, but well done to Ben Broxon who had 186lb. Ron did well on 118 and his 13 carp weighed 99lb and he was second. There was a surprise though in the silvers, Thatchers team mate Luke Sorokin caught a brilliant 42lb of skimmers on peg 129 to win the silvers and his travelling partner Rob Jones was second in silvers with 27lb from peg 98 on Carey, skimmers on the wag and corn. Picture of Luke and his net...

Well today I finally copped a bad one, and there was no get out of jail. I was 7th individual in the league after 3 rounds, but that will be gone for a burton now. I still can't complain, some anglers have had four bad draws and I always knew Campbell would be more or less decided at the drawbag and that's winter fishing.

Next weekend I am fishing the ATWL final, it is on Saturday but the blog won't be done till Sunday. Five of us on the drains, five of us on Decoy Lakes. I am on the lakes and fishing it for the first time, so a flyer would be very helpful, lol!

Sunday, 11 February 2018

January / February 1999

As planned another weekend off fishing and I got to spend some time with my family, a nice trip to Oxford yesterday, UTG! Just back from a nice walk with the wife, so time to warm up with a nice cuppa and a blog post from the past, just as 1999 was beginning.

Sunday 3rd January 1999 ATWL at Newbridge on the Bristol Avon. The river was very high and rising so conditions were poor and a draw on a deep peg with a bit of slack would do. Unfortunatley the team draw put me on peg 22 which was and is still, behind the pumphouse. I cannot think of a much worse peg to draw in flood on that stretch as there is no slack water and lots of snags. I was blanking for 4 hours and then had an eel on a lobworm, I managed two more in the last hour and that was it. I didn't record my weight, but just the fact that I only beat two people in the section, but as the team won on the day it ended OK.

The following Sunday and the Commercial House was on the K&A canal near Dundas, the weather had been very cold all week and on the day of the match after -4C in the morning it got to 4C in the day, brrrr. I was drawn at Limpley Stoke, a peg walking down from the road bridge past the straight and round the bend a bit. I didn't know if it was any good but it had a nice bit of a bush on the far bank. The match was a grueller. I had a few small roach and gudgeon on punch bread, then on pinkie at 9m. I also took a few gudgeon on the whip as back then there were quite a few gudge in this stretch. Back on the 9m line and I had a 12oz perch on a pinkie but that killed that line. All tries around the bush had been fruitless on caster then late on I hit a good fish but pulled out, guess it was a perch. Unbelievably I later had a 1lb tench on a pinkie next to the bush, a real bonus on a very cold day. Roy Garland the Evening Post reporter walked up and said the canal had fished poor, and when I weighed in he took a photo of me as he said I would frame with my 3lb 6oz, but I couldn't see that. However, Roy was correct, and in fact I won the match which was a shock. Sadly I cannot find a paper cutting of the photo Roy took.

Sunday 17th January and the final round of the ATWL with my team in first place but anything could happen. The match was on the canal again as the river was still flooded. Some of the lads in the team had fished the canal in the week, and one of them Pete Sivell told us the fish were shying off the gbait and not to feed too much, and that he had caught dripping in just squatt. I was pegged just past Dundas Aqueduct on the end of the bend before the old lock, not the best. I fed a little bit of liquidized bread down the middle to my left and one small ball of gbait to my right. I had 4 roach on bread and that was it. It was very tough, and bank runners confirmed my section was fishing poorly so plugged away catching the odd gudgeon and also two tiny perch on chopped worm. I had 1lb 4 1/2oz and that was good enough for second in the section and team job done. The team did well and we came second on the day and that ensured we won the league and would be fishing a ATWL semifinal on the Avon at Newbridge in February where we thought we would have our best ever chance of getting to the final on the Trent. I think some of us sank quite a lot of beer that night lol.

Only had a little match the following Sunday at Keynsham AA Century Ponds, I blanked and left early so not much to say. On the very last day of January 1999 I fished the penultimate round of the Commercial House League, it was back on the river, at Frys so another tough match to look forward to as every peg would be in. I was the downstream end peg but one, and an area that was pacey and not noted for bream in such conditions. However, all I could do was fish a feeder, so I went with a gbait version as I was confident catching everything on this. During the match bites were at a premium, and all I managed was 1 dace, 2 roach and 2 chub, but I did get snapped by a big chub near the end of the match, serves me right for fishing 0.12... I got 12 points from 14 and the team were now winning the league with one final match to go.

The final match of the CH league was the very next week and we were back on the canal at Limpley, oh dear. I was on the straight past beeches bay and past the old lock. A dire match for many, remember none of us had (or were allowed) to have bloodworm and joker back then as it was against the fishery rules. I took 3 roach straight away on the bread and then had to endure a long 5 hours nicking the odd gudgeon from all over the peg. I could only must 14oz but incredibly I got 12 points from 14 for this. The team won on the day and so we won the league too, I topped the team and was 4th individual in the league. Happy days.

The next two matches were both at Newbridge to practice for the ATWL semi-final. My form was rubbish blanking in the first match. The second open was mired by toilet paper coming down the river and I had 4 bleak until the last 15 mins when I had a 3lb bream from right in close. That bream though may have given the selectors a good vibe and I was picked to fish the semi.

February 27th ATWL semi final at Newbridge. The river was in a better state than it had been for ages but would be dominated by the feeder we though. Mark "Podge" Jefferies was the captain of our Avon Angling team and he did the draw and put me on peg 134 in the trees. This brought back dreaded memories of my last semi when I drew the trees and blanked, I had to catch this time. There were 21 teams fishing this match, and the top two teams would qualify for the final so it was going to be an intensive day. I threw some balls of gbait in at about 11m but started on the gbait feeder down the middle. Two hours in on a 16 to 0.14 and I had not had a sign of a bite and nerves and bad thoughts were creeping in. I dropped the feeder over the gbait at 11m and had one good bite but didn't connect, it was the only bite on that line, damn. Two hours to go and I dropped down to an 18 to 0.12 a few casts later a drop back, I netted a chub of about 1lb and felt a lot better. An hour later I had another slightly smaller chub and then I hit a big un, I could not get it under control and eventually I lost it, gutted. As we had no mobile phones you relied on runners and people watching the match, I was told there were a lot of blanks in my section so I hoped I would do OK for the team. My two small chub weighed 1lb 13oz, that was enough for 15 points out of 21, OK but the lost chub would have put me in the top two in the section for sure, I hoped it would cost the team. Back at the results the section winners and frame were read out, with the winner on the day being captain Podge who had 36lb of bream from about peg 26 I recall, that was great. Then the long reverse order of the team position.... we were called out in third place and had not qualified, gutted is an understatement and all I could think about was the chub I lost. However, we had a lifeline, as after all the semis (more than two lol) of all the teams in third place the one with the best points would go into the final, and after all the matches that was us! We scraped in to the final yay!!!

Back to 2018 and next week I am on the Viaduct league on Campbell lake, currently pegs at the bottom end (110, 111, 132, 131) have been where all the carp are holed up. A draw away from there will mean a very hard day.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Viaduct Winter League Round 3

Having had a weekend off I was or should have been well prepared for the third round of this popular league. I was on Spring Lake this week and that meant fishing for some big carp, some skimmers, and if on a real shite peg trying to catch roach on caster. I tied a few hooks for silvers and redid those rigs as I needed deeper rigs than I used on Match Lake last time. I made a few rigs for fishing in the margins in case I drew one of the corner pegs, and mixed up my favourite gbait mix, Sonubaits F1 Dark and Worm Fishmeal, plus a little Supercrumb black. All done off to watch the Gas lose, balls...

6:40 and Ron Hardiman arrives to pick me up, and we were soon tucking in to large breakfasts at Cannards Well. I swapped beans for an extra hash brown as beans and me don't get on well, must say it was probably the best one so far. Ron is a great driver and great companion, the drive there and back goes quick as we discuss many topics, must say Ron is not having any luck at the draw in this league and today was no different as he was on 20 on Spring, crap. I was asked to pull for my team, but I think there were only 2 or 3 pegs left when it was my go, by this time Steve Long and Simon Hebditch were having a right old laugh as the last 6 pegs were all poor but each time it seemed the best of them came out! I could see only 8,9 and I think 10 on Spring when I drew the team peg, luckily I got the one with 8, definitely better than the others I think. We had a poor draw though, and the writing was on the wall for a bad un.

Got to my peg and started setting up, nobody on peg 7 yet, and they took a long time to arrive, should have guessed really as for the third time I was next to Dan White! People will start to think we are an item lol! I thought I had better include of pic of Dan sat like gnome, all he could do was fish a top set for carp on his peg for whole of the match.

Not really any point of showing a view of my peg straight out in front as I was not planning on fishing there unless I really had to. My match was going to be all about fishing down to the right towards the corner under the branches.
I set up a couple of silvers rigs for out in front, 4x14 silvers and a 4x12, but as I only had two tiny roach for 1oz not worth mentioning these. For the margin to my right I set a 4x12 Maggot Float (all floats from the Des Shipp range) with 0.17 Powerline direct to a size 16 PR456. I also set up a lead rod with a size 16 PR38 to 0.19 Powerline for hair rigging baits if I felt the need to chuck right to the end of the bank. Ready to start I checked the results sheet of the last two matches to see what my peg had produced, a blank and 12oz, ooer mother I said, or something similar.

On my left today was John Howell, another angler who has had an awful run at the drawbag, I didn't rate his chances at all. On the all in at 10:30 I fed 4 balls of gbait out to 14m, I think I had fed 2 of these when Dan hooked and landed a 10lb+ carp, good start Dan! OK my turn I thought, I stuck a piece of bread on the 16 PR456 and shipped out to 12m, I didn't want to go past any fish and so I thought this was a good place to start. Sadly the carp were not in residence, at least not here, so I gradually worked my way along the bank to 14.5m but not a sign. Undeterred I decided on a change of hookbait and went with 5 dead maggots, I did this as the lake was not clear, I guess the rain from the last week or two put a bit of colour in it. Anyway, I followed the same routine, and started at 12m, when I got to 14m I thought the float dipped, I struck but the float came up and out of the water 6" and I dropped it in again when it seemed to sink. Another lift and the float came up and didn't move, I pulled hard to the left and thought I was in a snag and then the pole jerked a bit and I felt the kick of a fish. Shipped back steady but the carp put up no fight and I soon scooped up a 8lb mirror, phew some points. An hour had gone.

It was another blank hour and I was on the maggot again and out at 14.5m when the float shot under, but when I struck nothing. A slight dip and nothing, so I shipped back and changed to bread. Ten minutes later and another bite and this was hooked, but bloody hell this fish ran to the corner, and a carp jumped out of the water, but not sure it was the one I hooked. I pulled as hard as I dared and the fish came out into the open water and kept going, luckily I managed to stop it and turn it and gradually got it back to about 8m of pole where I struggled to get my sections apart. I knew this was fouled, and when I got onto my topset it was all a bit tense as the fish came up tail / back first. After what seemed an age I got the next under a long common approaching 15lb. It was hooked up the arse, lucky me.

All signs of fish stopped after this, and I could simply not get an indication. Meanwhile Dan took two more carp from the bush and was beating me. I chucked the lead for a bit, to give my back a rest as much as anything, but no bites.

There was not much going on, Craig Edmunds had one carp on peg 4 on the lead, but he lost two, I couldn't see much more as I had my back to more than half the section.

I had fed a bit of meat at 13m, never had a bite hear, and with an hour to go decided to put a full toss pot of maggots in at 14.5m. Twenty minutes to go and still no signs, I went to 16m which I had done a number of times, with 5 maggots again, and I had indication, when I struck there was a bit of swirl as a carp spooked off, damn that was my chance gone I thought. However, with less than 3 minutes to go I had a proper fast bite, and fish on. Once again I pulled hard and this fish came out, and whilst heavy was not going mad and was clearly hooked properly. I was playing it when the all out was called and soon after got another big long common in the landing net, it was a struggle to keep it in and I was a but nervous lifting it out. All went well and it was another fish of around 15lb I thought. Another late carp, even later than last match, and I am sure Dan must have thought not again lol.

Packed up and thought would I win the lake and whole section. The scales were coming round from peg 20, and I squinted to see if any carp were caught. When the scales got to peg 13 I saw that Mash was winning from opposite on peg 15 with 35lb, 3 carp and some bits. The lad on on 13 (Ben Bronson I think) also had 3 carp, his were a good size and he went into the lead with 38lb 6oz and I thought it would be very close with me. A couple of double figure silver weights followed, and then John struggled to 3lb. My turn, and the three carp were weighed by Steve Long, I could not see the scales dial and hoped to be lucky, I was as they went 39lb 7oz. As Dan's carp were smaller, he weighed 30lb, I knew I had won the lake, happy days. Luke Sorokin took a picture for me, he was supposed to get the Viaduct in the picture for Steve, but alas David Bailey he ain't.
Back to the Lodge and the team had done badly again sadly, thought I thought everyone did well from their pegs, and in winter you cannot beat the draw. As for me, well that is three bullets dodged and three pick ups so definitely luck on my side.

The match was won by Clint Wojtyla on Carey 102 with 125lb, he was closely followed by Chris Davis with 123lb from Campbell peg 110.

That man, Des Shipp, won the silvers with 24lb from peg 61 on Lodge. I wish I knew how he does it, he is on a different level.

That's it then, no fishing for me next weekend, then round four here at Viaduct when I will be on Campbell, at present a peg nearest to the car park bank is where you have to be, what will be will be.

Oh one last thing, today is World Cancer Day, and so my thoughts go out to all those people who are affected by this shitty disease, I've now been 7 years free of it, and that is my luckiest thing of all. Tight lines everyone.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

November / December 1998

Decided to have a weekend off, recharge the batteries and see a bit more of family and friends. A number of drinks Saturday at the Hollybush with Glenn, Bela, Geoff, and Mike Nicholls went down very well. I have got a bit of planning to do as I am fishing the ATWL final at Decoy Lakes for Thatchers, I've never seen it so will be relying on good information and good luck! The match is on Feb 24th so who knows what weather / conditions will be like.

Opened up the diaries again then, and back to November 1st 1998. A week of rain put the river right up and the ATWL was transferred to the K&A canal. I was drawn on peg just over the viaduct at Dundas, before the canal goes round the bend. I was happy with the draw as I had a moored boat opposite to provide some cover. I caught roach and little hybrids on punch bread, when this died I had gudgeon on a 3m whip (not many of them in the canal anymore). I ended the day fishing caster / maggot by the boat catching more roach and hybrids. My final weight of 6lb 1oz won the section and the team came 3rd on the day. The following Sunday it was the next round and we were on the river this time at Newbridge, I was on peg 83 which I did not fancy and the river was very pacey. I started by fishing a feeder on my 20 foot rod, like a pole feeder, and had a couple of roach straight away. I then lost a chub which I pulled out of just as I grabbed the net. No more bites so on to the feeder one third out. I had just a few bites but managed a couple of roach, one of a pound, but I pulled out of two big fish (bream?) and it was just not my day. 3lb 7oz was good enough for 8 points out of 11 but I threw back a section win that day. Better news the team won the day and went into first place overall.

15th of November and on the canal again for the Commercial House. I got drawn 2 pegs above Limpley road bridge and had a stinker, all I caught was a few small perch on chopped worm for 10oz. Although I only had 3 points the team did well and we won on the day.

The following week and a venture to Viaduct Fishery fishing a match on Match Lake that was undoubtedly run by Tony Rixon. Pretty sure I was drawn on peg 40, and would have been fishing with maggots and casters. I had two carp on the pole & caster, two on a waggler and three on a feeder for 38lb and picked up a tenner for a section win by default.

The next two weeks the weather turned cold with frosts and temperatures down to minus 6C. Unsurprisingly then I blanked when I fished the Bristol and West Xmas match at Swineford. This cold weather gave way to milder wetter weather and put the river up again. I did not record where I drew on the Bathampton Xmas match but I had 5lb 2oz which was 1 bream and a few eels for no good. I was though looking forward to the Bristol Docks Xmas match, this venue generally still fished OK in the winter, but a draw on the sections where skimmer were was needed. I drew on what was then "wasteground" at Half Penny bridge and was told straight away it was no good. They were right, I caught 3 fish for 5oz and was second in the section down there!

That was the end of 1998 a difficult year at times on the fishing front, but I had the best present with the birth of my second daughter. 1999 was going to be a good year I hoped, and it also had a very special moment for me which I will never forget, but you'll have to wait a while to find out what that was.

Hope you caught plenty of fish this weekend, I'm back to Viaduct next week on Spring Lake.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Viaduct Winter League Round 2

All week long I had kept an eye on the weather forecast, hoping that the weather might improve for the weekend. Of course mostly cold and damp weather was not going to improve the fishing leading up to Sunday, and Sunday was forecast to be very moist!

After the first match you know which section you will be in next, and I was going to be in D section which comprises Match lake, 4 pegs on Spring and 2 pegs on middle. That meant that I had to consider a few methods depending on where I drew, and so I spent a few more hours Friday and Saturday preparing more hooks and rigs. Saturday was enjoyable watching the Gas win at home with my family and a few ciders (thanks to Glenn Bailey for driving this week), I was however, in bed early Sat night.

Sunday morning arrives as my alarm went off at 5:40 and I heard a little rain falling. I was ready this week when Ron Hardiman arrived to pick me up. Ron said I had forgot part of my trolley, but I assured him I hadn't. As we drove down to Canards Well the temperature gauge hovered around 2C and rain stared to get a tad heavier. Breakfast was all OK and we got to the fishery in plenty of time but still struggled to park up. I was ready for the heavy rain, I had brought two lots of waterproofs and my umbrella, but waited till just before the draw to get dressed up. Andy Cranston was in the team this week and we asked him to draw, I had studied the results of last week and peg 26 and 43 were the clear favourites, but Andy drew me on peg 50. This was on Match lake and meant I had an island to fish to, on the first round Vince Brown had taken 24lb for 13 points out of 18 off this peg, so that gave me a fair indication of my chances.

Getting to the peg was arduous, Ron was right I had forgotten part of my trolley and so I had to make two trips carrying everything to my peg, still that warmed me up, a lot lol. First job for me was to put the box in place and attach the brolly, then got the other bits and bobs close by to try to keep it reasonably dry. First rod out of the bag was my 10ft mini carp preston feeder rod. I set this up initially with a straight lead for popped up bread. I then cast the lead out to clip up as close to the island as I could. First attempt and I never saw a plop and was pulling the lead from somewhere up a tree I though. Next chuck to short, next chuck no plop, WTF! I then realised that there was a waggler hanging from one tree with the line going across my peg into another, oh dear. Luckily a few chucks over the line and I managed to break it off, though the waggler was hanging I could cast to the right of it. This though was enough to put me off setting up a waggler, I didn't want to catch that other line and felt the tip rod was the best bet. That meant two pole rigs for me, and where I was was shallow, about 3 feet deep so only light rigs needed. A 4x10 with 16 PR456 to 0.13 for fishing meat at 14.5m at 11 o'clock, a 4x10 with 18 PR412 to 0.10 for gbait at 2 o'clock. That was it for me.

The rain was already chilling my hands, and all the paths were flooded, I got my bait out at the last minute and took a photo for the blog of my view and then put the phone away to stay dry! As you can see it was not very bright and was very wet. I had to cast to the middle white peg you can see in the picture. On my right was Mike Poolman who had the end of the island, and on my left again was Dan White, next to him was Craig Edmunds. I could also see Mat Toomes and Chris Fox on the bottom bank, Ron was on peg 41 which is not good.

To start the match I fed my pole lines and went on the lead with 2 or 3 discs of bread to get that all important early carp or some of the F1's that are in the lake. Well after the first hour I had not had a bite on bread or meat, Mike had one carp and Trig had a couple of F1's. Time for a change, I put on a small cage feeder and changed to a 0.13 hook length to a 18 PR456. I put two maggots on the hook and cast it out, and it landed right next to the island and I thought to myself that has be worth a bite. Two minutes it was as the rod went off and I was attached to a fish. Initially playing the fish was weird, no fight just pulling a dead weight, then about two thirds back it started to kick a bit. It was decent fish I knew and I took my time, I was very grateful when it went in the landing net, it looked about 7lb I thought. Unfortunately I had forgotten to put my keepnets in (DOH) and had to walk up the bank with the carp and sort all that it, lol what a plonker.

Confidence renewed I cast out again and soon had another indication, but nothing was hooked and when I wound in the hook was tangled, must have been a liner. Sadly this was the end of the indications and the next sixty minutes were fruitless. That said it was fishing awful and I was doing OK I thought. Time to try the pole lines, nothing on meat, and a long wait over the gbait for a 2oz skimmer. Back on the tip and nothing again, Dan was still blanking and Mat Toomes broke his duck with a carp from his margin. I managed a 8oz skimmer and another blade skimmer on the pole but no more bites. With about just over 90 minutes to go I cast the feeder out again, and after 5 minutes a proper bite and another carp was on. Got this one out too, it was about 6lb and the next three casts the tip went round and every time I was in a snag, I hadn't hooked a fish but then noticed that the maggots were burst one of the casts, so must have been roach. A few minutes later I had an 8oz perch on the tip and Mike was now getting roach on the waggler. I changed to meat on the hook but had no bites.

I tried the gbait on the pole again and this was full of small roach now, and I took a few before giving that up as I wasn't going to do any good with them. I thought about trying the meat on the pole again, but Dan and Trig had tried it a lot and not caught so I went back on the tip. With about 20 mins to do Mat hooked another carp from his margin and it was a double, so he was beating me now in my mini section as I thought was Trig. Dan had lost a F1 on the lead and then broke his blank by catching an F1 on the pole. I immediately reeled the feeder in and chucked it up the bank, and tried my pole meat swim with less than 10 minutes left. The light was poor but I could see the float OK, and after a few minutes it buried, I struck and I was in. A lot of 9 hollo elastic came out and I saw it heading to the island, so I carefully tried to coax the fish back, tricky with cold hands and not a lot of feeling in them. This fish fought better than the two on the lead, but it was probably about 5lb, I was glad when it was in the net. I shipped out again, but with only two minutes left had no more bites.

It was now time to have fun packing up, but the rain decided to stop for a while which was nice! I wasn't sure I had enough to beat Matty for the mini section, even though I had one more carp. I reckoned on having 18lb of carp and 1lb+ of silvers.  When the scales arrived to Mat we saw that Mash was winning with 25lb 6oz from fancied peg 43, Mat's two carp went 17lb 12oz and with his silvers totalled 9lb `5oz, I was worried! Mike had 6lb 8oz, then my turn. My silvers went 1lb 9oz and and my carp went 20lb 4oz for a total of 21lb 13oz. I underestimated the size of my first carp I think.

Dan weighed 2lb 4oz and Trig had 17lb 14oz. In the end my whole section was won on peg 26 by Adam Mitchel with 37lb, and with Mash 2nd on 43 that was the same top two as round one. I was therefore really happy to come 3rd in the section and win my mini section. My winning envelope which is the only other photo I took today, when I was home in the dry.

On the team front my lot had 2 blow outs, 1 middle and 2 good, we scored 51 points the same as last time. Colmic SW won again and lead the league.

Winner on the day was Paul Elmes with 176lb of carp on the waggler on Carey peg 102.
second was Andy Power with 141lb from peg 53 on lodge
third Nick Ewers with 121lb from inform peg 131

Silvers weights were low with Dick Bull winning with 16lb from peg 24 on Spring.

Well it was a very tough affair today, I got lucky with my carp but that's winter fishing and you just have to keep going and never give up. Next round in two weeks time and I am on spring lake, after two decent draws I'll need a third as Spring was shocking today and it is very peggy.