I really was not ready for this match and I was not looking forward to it as the forecast of sun and wind on a bank holiday weekend I knew it was going to be a difficult day.
I got to the draw venue nice and early as I was picking up bait and had no other timings and started waiting for the rest of the Browning Andover ‘team’, which consisted of Nic, Dave, myself and Nick the Greek. Talk at the draw was about the day ahead and looking towards the boats, bikes and wind and all I was hoping for was a half decent peg and not dropping the proverbial. Buzzer tipped up with my bait and it didn’t really look enough, probably due to all the commercials of late.
Nick did the draw and it seemed alright as far as B7 sounds, but it turned out to be in the infamous wide’s:
As you can see I decided to put the pole down the towpath and this had involved quite a bit of pruning on the inside, but I hoped that it would be worth it, it was 13 and a little bit to the front of the tree so I decided that my main line would be at 13m to give me a little room should I hook something special. I also pushed a rig up the left and right hand side of the tree and plumbed up there and instantly I was finding that due to my lack of prep I was missing things. Namely tippex and any decent worm rigs for the shallow water that I was finding, I managed to bodgeone1 and it was a 4X12 cut down chimp on 0.16-0.12 and a 14hook. This I rigged on yellow Cenex so that should I hook a proper one I would be able to deal with it.
That was my man rig dealt with so for the backups I set up a 2m and 3m whip, one to fish next to the reeds the other for the inside of the track where I would fish squatt and slop (I had a pint to get through), both these were MB special Whip floats on 0.10 – 0.07mm bottoms and 22 hooks.
I also set up a waggler but I only chucked it when I needed something to do whilst waiting for the swim to settle and so that’s enough of that.
I was ready for the all in and as it was called I potted in 6 chopped dendys and 20 caster onto the front of the tree, fed a small nugget of groundbait onto both whip lines and then shipped out to the tree line. The tow picked up immediately as a boat went through the lock 300yds to my left and as the float trotted through it dinked under and a small skimmer was soon getting netted. It was followed up by a couple of others before I had to re feed, and start again as the first of many boats wiped out my worm feed. And to be honest this was how my match progressed, catch a few fish, get wiped out by 1,2,3 or 4 boats then reefed and try to catch a few more small skimmers from the tree.
I managed a few fish on the whip lines as processions of boats went past but I couldn’t get them lined up enough to compete on that line so I had to concentrate across. I tried experimenting how I fed but it was a struggle for most and we were all very happy for the end.
I ended up with 6lb 13oz and this was enough for 6th in section with a 17lb, 8-18 and no less than 3 people all on 8-1. I was frustrated as I believe that if I had had a few more rigs I would have done better, as I lost my only short body shallow water worm rig after about 2hrs when I went a bit too close to the tree.
The team had Dave on 13points, me on 11, Nic on 9 and Nick the greek on 3poiints for team 9th on the day. This put us 11th out of 16 in the end, always next year.