Before diasppearing to Droitwich I managed to head to Staits, this time on a Tuesday and managed to find it free from a match. Having paid for my day ticket I drove around and parked at the far end and opted for Peg 1 – the first peg on the roadside- an area that I had been told was difficult. My thinking being if I could work out an approach for the difficult areas then if anyone in the team drew them (probably me!) then at least we would have a tactic!
I opted to ignore the island as the info was that the carp were usually at the other end of the lake and again I wanted to concentrate on the pole. I elected to try three lines, the first at 11m, another at 2+2 and the left hand margin by the overhanging bush. I am slightly odd in the sense that most people will start at the full distance of their pole- either 16m or 14.5m- while I prefer to settle on a different line to those around me and 10/11m is often ignored which is why I fish it! Anyway I put 3 balls of crushed expander with some 6mm pellets at 11m while putting a solitary golf ball of the same at the 2+2 line. I proceeded to loose feed pellet over the top of the 11m line and a pinch of maggots every put in on the short line. A handful of pellets was put into the margin and left for 20 minutes before repeating.
Tackle was heavier than I probably would normally use for silvers but with the possibility of carp I thought discretion was the better part of valour! The long line was 0.16mm to a 0.14mm hooklength to a 16 barbless with a 10-12 elastic set soft, while the 2+2 was 0.14mm to a 0.12mm to a 16 and a hybrid elastic which I think was 6-10, again set soft.
Starting on the 2+2 line I began getting bites after 15 minutes or so and after 2 hours had 7 roach, 3 perch, 2 rudd and 9 skimmers, the biggest being 1.5lb. At this point I decided to try the long line, putting on an expander, there was lots of interest but no positive bites, I did managed to foulhook and lose a decent fish, possibly a proper bream when the hook pulled leaving me with a scale and some slime! The margin again showed lots of activity but mainly from small fish and a solitary perch was the result.
So on to Droitwich and Woodland View, I was charged with running the event and the majority were staying on site in the caravan/lodges. I was to share with Les Hobson. Anyway we were scheduled to fish Arles then Hay and Barley and ending up on Front and Back Deans, on arrival I found this had all changed and we were now on Big and Little Als on Day 1, then on Front and Back Deans for the next two days, with each angler fishing both pools, ie if you drew Front Deans on Day 2 you would draw from Back Deans on Day 3. So having sorted out the pools for the three days and the pegs we were to use, I got the draw underway and after everyone had drawn I was left with peg 10 on Little Als.
Arriving at my peg I realised it was the peg that the match was won from on our last visit with the fish coming from right into the corner of the lake. My elation lasted all of two minutes as Tony Wynn (always refered to as Tony Wrexham) turned up and said he was on 11, I thought that was on the other side but it transpired that they had put the peg literally in the corner of the lake so Tony was able to fish along the side bank with ease and I could not get anywhere near ! Added to that we had a strong wind blowing directly in our faces and into the corner. You can guess what happened – Tony bagged up with carp and weighed in 80-12, at one point saying he had caught 20 carp without losing one and then proceeded to lose the next three!
My match was not comfortable, I set up a margin rig, a rig for 11m that was not used and a 2+2 rig for worm and another for pellet To cut a long story short, Tony had 4 carp in the net before I had a bite, I ended up with 4 carp that I clicked at 16lb and lots of micro perch plus the odd small skimmer for 19-1, Herbie on my left had 1 carp and I ended up 5th out of 6 in the section! Les suffered a similar fate also finishing 5th.
Moving on to Day two I was left with peg 14 on Front Deans -an end peg, arriving I was hopeful as the wind was blowing directly into me .I set up a top kit line with a tosspot with a homemade 0.3g slim chianti style float with 0.16mm to 0.14mm and a 16, a 2+2 line with a similar float taking 0.4g and the same set up, a margin rig with 0.20mm and a 16 and a 11m rig with a 0.5g rugby ball float with the same set up as the 2+2 . As a back up I also set up a bomb rod but did not expect to use it and didn’t!
I started the match with the wind- and it was a cold one!- coming straight into my face, the sun was obscured by the tree on my right so it felt distinctly wintery whilst the anglers on the other bank were in tee shirts, I ended up wearing my jacket zipped up tight. I began on the top 2 line, toss-potting in micros and with an expander on the hook, I was quickly into fish and had clicked 20lb in the first hour when horror of horrors the wind swiung around to blow down the other end of the lake and the bites died! I scratched around rotaing through the line getting a couple more carp on worm on the 2+2 line and one from the margin but at the end I weighed in 39-10 made up of 25-02 of carp and 14-08 of silvers. This left me 5th in section only beating Tony Wrexham who again drew next to me! So on to the final day and I was left with peg 35 on Back Deans – not great as Pete Bailey (sponsored by Colmic) had fished it the previous day and had caught 80 odd pounds but had only come 4th in section so it must have been tough! I set up as before but without the bomb rod. (No pictures for this day!) Once again I was drawn next to Tony!
I began as before with the sun on my back but the wind in my face (off and on), the top kit line produced some F1s and skimmers and by rotating the lines before going down the edge I managed to get 34-05 to put on the scales, consisting of two better sized carp, some F1s and some bigger skimmers/bream, this got me to 3rd in the section. I collected the boards and sat in my car to do the results before dsriving to the on-site cafe to do the results and payouts. Special mention must go to Barry Gabriel (Bazz Wrexham) who won the festival with a perfect score of 3 points and 288-03. Seventeen different anglers won something as I paid first two in each section plus top 5 overall in festival, I was not one of the seventeen!
Must do better next time!