Disrupted Plans Jan 2020

The New Year  saw me back in the rut – peg 12, but it threw up a hectic session with 76 roach and 6 rudd  for the princely weight of 2-12! But also two pike of 8-6 and 6-8. Back to 12 on the Monday sees a change to gale force winds and chocolate for water, 33 roach and 7 rudd were winkled out at 2+2 as I couldn’t control the pole at 10m! Again small fish for a 1-8 weight – I gave up after 2 hours as I just couldn’t control even 2+2.The weather continued to create havoc and it was the Friday that saw me back at 12, later joined by another regular on 11, both of us biteless in the 4 hours I fished.

Time to brush off any New Year blues and head off to Port Talbot, as usual it was raining when we met to transfer the kit to one car and stopped once we got going! As soon as we hit Bridgend we hit biblical rain but fortunately we managed to drive out of it and it was only light drizzle when we arrived at Bros Cafe for the draw. On the way down Darren asked what peg I fancied and I replied that I would like one down the bottom end for a change but not really bothered as long as I didn’t get peg 7 – what did I draw -peg 7, Darren fared a little better and drew end peg 3. Last time I could not get the whip or pole line to work and had to scratch for 25 fish mainly on the feeder, still it was a new day and I had to get positive about it or I would be beaten before I started!

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I began the match with 8 jaffas laced with micros, dead reds and casters at 8m and put 2 similar jaffas at 4m on the whip line. Starting on the margin pole at 8m it was 5minutes before I got my first bite, a 2oz roach, this was followed at intervals with more roach and the odd perch before slowing right down after an hour and only 10 fish in the net. Onto the whip line that I had been feeding with loose hemp and the occasional nugget of groundbait, a slow run of roach and perch saw me finish the second hour on 30 fish, the third hour started slowly and prompted me to try the 8m line again only to get a roach first put in then nothing. On to the feeder at 20 turns and again slow with just two roach, one on worm the other on maggot (during this spell the heavens opened and we had a patch of rain and hailstones for about 15-20 minutes), at this point I decided to cut my losses and stick on the whip.The end of the third hour saw me on 37 fish. The fourth hour was totally different weather wise as the sun came out and shone directly down the dock onto peg 7 so I was having trouble seeing the colour of my maggots let alone the float, adjusting the feeding so it was more of a 1m strip in front of me I alternated the glare free areas to finish the fourth hour on 55 fish.

The final hour started slowly but 37 roach in the last 40 minutes saw me finish on 97 fish. I had not had a single net fish or skimmer. Darren weighed in first with 12-3 he said he had 103 fish but crucially he had caught some skimmers- including two in the last 10 minutes to boost his weight. Mel on peg 4 weighed in 14-1, peg 6 weighed in 8-0, my fish went 9-2. Peg 8 on the headland had been catching well all day on the feeder and weighed in 20-4 for a match win, the rest of the weights were very close with 5 weights between 11 and 12lb, then several in the 16-18lb region.
Going home and reflecting on the match, we agreed that despite being newcomers we were not too far off the pace and just need to have a reasonable draw, two matches left to make a difference
The Wednesday saw the arrival of Gareth accompanied by his wife Wendy and my grandson Zachary from China. Sunday sees us grab a few hours at Bowood Gareth fishing 12 and I went on 11. The water was a better colour now and somehow the fish had moved down to 11, I had one pike of 5-15, a skimmer of 1-12 and 12 roach (1-5-8), whilst Gareth didn’t get a run and had to make do with15 roach. Back the next day for another short session, I went on 11 again and had 5 roach, while Gareth fished 12 and had 1 roach but as we were packing up hit a run on the pike rod which resulted in an 11lbe. IMG_20200119_095701859_HDRIMG_20200120_162900727
A few days later we managed another short session with me on 11 and Gareth on 12, this time I had a a pike of 6-2 and 10 roach, while Gareth managed pike of 4-0 and 5-14 plus a clutch of roach, rudd and blades for 2-2.
Sunday sees us arrive for a late afternoon session with Gareth due to go back on the Tuesday, unfortunately there was another angler on 12 with a float also on 11 so we fished the shallower pegs, me on 9 and Gareth on 10. We had no pike although the angler on 12 had 4 small samples in the 2 hours we were there, but we were kept busy with small roach and rudd, I finished with 22roach and 15 rudd for 1-12 while Gareth had 15roach and 5 rudd for 1-8.
The corona virus then disrupted plans as the advice from Zhongshan was not to return as everything was shutting down! Wendy works as a manager in a hospital and the advice came from her colleagues. So plane tickets were cancelled and bags unpacked, the silver lining was we had more time with Zachary and the chance to go fishing a few more times. The day after they should have left we were back at Bowood for a another short late afternoon session, with Gareth on 12 and me on 11. Gareth had a bream of 1-8 and 9 roach and 1 rudd for 012, while I sneakily managed to get skimmers of 1-4 and 1-0 plus 10 roach and a rudd for 1-2 plus a pike of 9-1. All the pike were taken on a double single hook rig and sardine bait.
As I write this tickets have been booked to return and then two hours later cancelled following the Foreign Office statement that Britons should leave China!  We will see what February brings, will they still be here?