Well 94 days after leaving hospital I finally got on the bank for the Three Counties v Peatmoor match at Peatmoor Lagoon. I adopted a cautious approach and left the match kit at home and took my Bowood box with a waggler and feeder set up as I was unsure how long I could manage a pole for. I am planning to try a short session in the future with the pole just to test the water so to speak! I did take my whips but did not get them out of the bag!
Anyway I drew peg 7, one of two pegs at the top end away from the rest of the match and had Gary Reeves as company on peg 6. Set up was straight forward, home made peacock waggler with 0.10mm Shogun hooklength to a 20, feeding caster at 4 rod lengths coupled with a small groundbait feeder again to the same size hook and hooklength on my Preston Carbonactive 9ft quiver. The feeder was clipped up at 3/4 distance where the old stream bed runs and from experience the bream are most likely to show. Groundbait was a non-fishmeal concoction made up of Caperlan Lake together with the usual Cocoa Belgique and vanilla, chopped worm and caster would be sandwiched by the groundbait in the feeder.
The match kicks off and after 5 casts without bait to get some feed down I went across with single red maggot expecting instant response from the roach. NO knocks were forthcoming, which was unusual, this is usually a sign that there are either bream in the swim or it is going to be very hard! A slight shiver on the tip prompted a strike to find a partially sucked maggot. Second cast same thing with a maggot that was just burst, probably the fry that occasionally were jumping at the distance. That was the end of the action on the feeder, I had been feeding caster every 5 minutes on the waggler line and after and hour with no sign of a bite I succumbed and went on the waggler, still no response.
By this time the weather had changed from the bright, warm sunshine to a dark, gloomy sky with a swirling wind that prompted both of us to don our coats. Gary had been fishing a method out to the island and he too was without any indications and apparently neither had any one else in the match! He finally put up his pole and after two hours hooked what looked to be a microscopic roach that came off on the way in. Twenty minutes later he netted a small perch which was the only fish to be caught at that stage!
I decided to adopted the Coffee Rule – if I was still biteless by the time I had emptied my flask I would go! Experience at Peatmoor has shown that if you are blanking after 3-4 hours you will still be blanking after 5, so despite rotating between the waggler and feeder nothing changed, so after 4 hours I packed up and went home. Not the return to the bank I was hoping for but nonetheless I was back and that was the main thing for me.
During the match I had been getting updates from my son Gareth, in China, who was fishing the Shiqi river in Zhongshan – he was fairing a little better getting 3 skimmers by fishing paste at mid depth. This may not sound great but it is a very difficult place to fish and to catch skimmers is a major bonus.
Next steps will be a session on the pole before Bowood opens on the 16th and the MFS Pairs match at Makins on 18/19th.