The weather was still scorchio and this week’s match was on Longs where there have been some really good weights of silvers in recent matches. I stopped at the Little Thief for brekkie and had a nice chat with Ben Hagg who came in on his way to Chard resi. Pulling into the car park, the first person I saw was Jess Jordon who I hadn’t seen for ages and his greeting of ‘Here’s Zooner’ was music to my ears! Also in attendance was Paste King Bill Hopping along with Glynn Wickham, Gareth Lennox, Roy Hughes, Mark Leahy and Craig S and I think the depleted turnout might have had something to do with a football match that was played yesterday or something!
Pete announced the draw and as people delved into the bucket I could see several pegs I fancied already gone, Mark was on 12 and Glynn pulled out 18 where Bill had nearly 35lb of silvers in a recent Friday match, I grabbed a ball and was disappointed to see corner peg 15 staring back at me, it’s a good carp peg but I felt I was already up against it on the silvers front and would be waving goodbye to another pound as it headed in Glynn’s direction.
I got to my peg which has a massive platform so lots of room and nice and comfy, the pond was at least a foot down and Glynn shouted down that it might be hard going today, I agreed although I did have a little bit of ripple which I didn’t think would do me any harm. Much like last week there were already loads of carp swimming about and hooking a fair few seemed inevitable again.
I set up a 0.3 gram NG Mini Gimp to fish top two left, right and straight out and also plumbed up a section further out on each line to give me somewhere else to go. I also set up one of Smithy’s wire stemmed floats for the ten metre lines, both rigs had 0.10mm Guru Pure Fluorocarbon hooklengths and size 16 F1 Pellet Barbless hooks, these hooks really are the business, really sharp, they keep their points and for such a fine wire hook, incredibly strong.
The usual suspects were on my side tray, Bait-Tech 2mm Carp and Coarse micros that I’d soaked the night before plus 4mm Xpands for the hook with a pot of Special G Gold soft pellets as a change bait. I also mixed up some Bait-Tech ‘The Juice’ groundbait and added a healthy squirt of Strawberry Stick Mix Liquid to the water to pack in loads of flavour and another level of attraction.
On the whistle I fed a modest amount of micros on my short lines left and right and then a single ball of groundbait straight out before cupping in two balls at ten metres in the centre of the reflection of the bush you can see in the photo above, lastly I potted in some micros at ten metres but angled to the right. I started on the top two line to the right and had only just gone in there when I heard Glynn say something and I looked around to see him holding up a good sized skimmer that he must have had first chuck and I was playing catch up already!
After ten minutes, I hadn’t had any indications so switched to the left hand line just in time to see Glynn strike into another fish, this one was a carp though, judging by the elastic stretched all across the pond. I had a couple of small roach but this wasn’t going to plan, Glynn netted the carp but then disaster struck when his silvers keepnet went in the lake. He tried to snag it with his landing net but wasn’t having any luck and ran back to the car to see if there was something he could use to retrieve it. I was now over the groundbait line but it wasn’t happening.
Glynn came back with a bungee strap attached to his landing net pole and managed to hook the keepnet but the skimmer was no longer inside and I was now ahead courtesy of my two tiny roach! My lead didn’t last long though when he had three skimmers in quick succession, I did miss a bite but it was time to change. I went out to ten metres over the groundbait and had a 2oz blade and then followed it with a slightly better 4oz specimen. So after an hour Glynn had a couple of pounds compared to my 6oz!
The second hour got off to a great start when I had several hand sized skimmers and started making inroads into Glynn’s lead, I had a better 12oz fish and with nearly two hours gone I was just thinking I hadn’t hooked a carp yet when the inevitable happened and I foulhooked one which led me a merry dance. I netted it and after all the commotion I went over the ten metre micros line for the first time and had another decent skimmer to finish the second hour with a flourish. I’d added seven skimmers for around 3lb in the second sixty minutes which I thought edged me ahead of Glynn.
I looked up and saw Glynn’s elastic stretching across the pond and chuckled thinking he’d hooked another carp but he seemed to be playing it very carefully and when the head of a big eel broke the surface, I understood why. He safely netted a large grinner that looked all of 2lb and the pendulum swung in his favour yet again. I managed a couple more small skimmers but with my ten metre micros line fizzing like crazy I was going to move before I hooked another carp but as I lifted the rig, I felt a fish and a foulhooked carp tore off. I was cursing my luck but then it stopped and it soon became apparent I was attached to a big skimmer rather than a carp, I got down to the top kit and was just thinking I had a chance of landing it and readied the net, it started to come up, I had a brief glimpse of a good skimmer and then the hook pinged out, there was slime all up the line and I had a horrible feeling that fish was going to cost me.
During the rest of the third hour I only managed to add another small skimmer and the fourth hour was very similar with a skimmer and a 4oz roach and to make things worse, carp were starting to be a pain. Glynn had slowed up as well but he did have a couple more decent skimmers to pull even further ahead of me. The only other angler I could see was Mark on peg 12 and he was getting a few carp but lost several as well. As per my usual game plan I’d been dripping a few micros on my top two plus two line every time I shipped out and with two hours to go it was time to try it for the first time.
There were a few bubbles coming up but I didn’t think they were carp and after a few minutes, the float sunk from view and I had a nice skimmer, four more followed in quick succession which had Glynn saying I was ahead of him, I didn’t think that was the case but there wasn’t much between us as we headed down the home straight. Things slowed up for me but I did have another skimmer to make it six for around 3lb in the penultimate hour. It was still nip and tuck between me and Glynn and he had three of four good skimmers of his own and I needed a good last hour.
The first fish of the sixth hour was a foulhooked carp that took me ages to land and it was sending up plumes of silt right on my short line which I didn’t think would help me much and while I was faffing about with it, Glynn landed another decent skimmer. Next chuck the float slid away and the strike was met with solid resistance but this was no carp and a lovely 2lb skimmer came to the top and things were getting interesting! Back out again and the next bite resulted in a good skimmer flying out the water, it stayed on and I netted a nice fish around 1.5lb.
Glynn had slowed up again and I happened to glance up at him and when I looked back my float was nowhere to be seen, I struck and another big skimmer leapt clear of the water, it landed and was still on but as I started shipping back, the hook pulled – gutted. Glynn hooked one of his own with the same result. A few minutes later I looked away briefly and when I looked back the float had gone again, this time it was a carp and it went off at a rate of knots, snapping my hooklength in the process. The heat was starting to take its toll on my expanders and I was struggling to get them to stay on the hook so put on a Special G Gold soft pellet.
I missed a couple of bites and then Mark appeared behind me, he’d had a bit of a ‘mare and was heading home but popped up to see how Glynn was doing. With about twenty minutes left I noticed Glynn strike into a fish out the corner of my eye and I could tell by the way the elastic was zig zagging it was another eel and after he netted it, Mark walked back past me and said it was a decent one around 2lb and I was well behind again.
Time was ticking by and then with five minutes to go, the float sailed away and I bloody missed it, I thought my chance had gone but slipped on another pellet and went back out, the float went again and this time I connected with yet another leaping skimmer about a pound, I landed it and just as I put it in my keepnet, Pete called the all out. Glynn shouted down that I’d beaten him but I really didn’t think so. I had 22 skimmers, a 4oz roach plus a few bits and I thought I had around 13lb, possibly a little bit more.
As I took my kit back to the car, I asked Roy Hughes on peg 10 how he’d done and he said he hoped he had 100lb but had lost loads of foulhookers. The scales started with Bill ‘The Paste King’ Hopping on peg 34, he had some quality silvers for 7lb 7oz and then added 100lb 13oz of carp to give him a 108lb 4oz total and he wouldn’t be far away with that. Jess on peg 31 had 34lb which included 5lb of silvers and then Craig on 24 had 67lb 5oz.
Glynn was next and said he’d had a look at his fish and thought he had around 12lb so this could be close, he actually weighed 14lb 13oz and I thought I’d be just shy of that but in fact I was way out with my estimation as my fish only weighed 11lb 7oz! Still a nice days fishing and I’d only lost those two skimmers but I did miss some good bites.
Mark had gone and then Roy had 6lb 11oz of silvers and 106lb 2oz of carp to just pip Bill with 112lb 13oz and that just left Gareth on peg 37 who had 83lb 8oz.
1 – Roy Hughes (Summerhayes) – 112lb 13oz
2 – Bill Hopping (Summerhayes) – 108lb 4oz
1 – Glynn Wickham (Summerhayes) – 14lb 13oz
Another really enjoyable day and the next peg battle with Glynn was close all match with him taking the verdict and a pound off me in the process. I’m going to fish again next week and I think it’s on Sellicks.
Before I go, there’s a couple of other things I must mention, a lad called Rob Duke contacted me, I went to school with his sister and I’ve known him for years, he’s just started fishing and was going to Todber Manor so I said to let me know how he got on. Well he messaged me last week and he’d had a cracking day on Homeground, fishing the feeder, he caught 48 fish including some nice tench and this lovely 7lb carp which is his personal best, well done mate. I love to see what people are catching so please get in touch.
*Photo courtesy of Rob Duke
In other news, it’s great to see some fishing on the telly at the moment, I’ve really been enjoying Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing on Wednesdays, BBC2 at 10:00, it’s just a lovely, gentle little gem of a show and really the fishing is just a backdrop to the two guy’s friendship. They still catch some nice fish though and the episode where Bob catches his first barbel is wonderful, his enthusiasm is infectious and when he held the fish, he looked genuinely in awe, great stuff.
Last but definitely not least, there’s a new series of Monster Carp starting on ITV4 on Thursday 12th July at 8:00 and the first episode is at Gillhams Resort in Thailand, it’s a must watch and if the trailers I’ve seen are anything to go by, they catch some simply stunning fish, check it out and you’ll see why it truly is paradise!
Next up – Summerhayes
Coming soon – My next trip down memory lane
Check Out – My last match at Summerhayes