I wasn’t sure what I was going to do this weekend so when I had the chance to fish a little match at Sadborow, I jumped at the chance as you’re normally guaranteed a nice days fishing. We met at ‘Spoons for breakfast before heading out to the pond. With eight of us fishing, Hoff had to leave a peg out but couldn’t decide which one so suggested we vote on it (always a bad idea!) and handed out bits of paper, I went for peg 4 as I’d struggled the last time I was on it but when all the votes were counted, peg 7 had the majority and would be left out. As I didn’t like the outcome I said we should vote again but apparently democracy doesn’t work like that!
Before the draw, Hoff said the payout would be a little different today and he would pay the winner and then two sections, the four pegs around the island and then the four in open water. I was praying for peg 5 as it’s a really consistent peg but the Tart’s drawing arm was still on form and the smug grin was back! The other pegs I fancied were 8 or 9 but when the Hoff and Chilly claimed those, I had a horrible feeling I knew what was coming next and sure enough I had a look at my peg and it was number 4 which the Tart found very amusing! I wasn’t looking forward to this, not only would I have to watch him bag up all day, I could almost hear the gloating already and I felt sure my precious piece of Torquay gold would be heading back to Devon tonight.
As I got to my peg, there was a swirl in the margins which I hoped might be carp but the trail of bubbles heading across the pond suggested otherwise and sure enough a mink climbed onto the island, not a great start to the day!
I set up a 0.3 gram Drennan Margin Crystal to fish corn at 11.5 metres to the island and up the edge to the left plus a Drennan 0.4 gram Carp 1 to fish maggot at 5 metres angled to my right in the deepest part of the peg. On the side tray I had red maggots (dead and alive), Bait-Tech Natural Corn plus some micros I’d soaked the night before with water boosted with the new Krill and Tuna CSL Glug.
On the whistle I cupped in micros and corn on the two longer lines with the island swim fed more positively than the edge line and then put in a pot of dead reds at 5 metres. I started up the edge with corn on the hook, the float settled and went straight under – fish on! After a brief scrap I safely netted a 3lb carp, what a start! I re-baited, shipped out, toss potted in a few micros and a few grains of corn and the float sailed away again, this happened several more times and I kept thinking this couldn’t last.
The action showed no signs of slowing and after an hour I had eleven carp (including a nice ghostie of 5-6lb), looking around the pond most people were getting a few but crucially I was several fish in front of the Tart although it was early days! The mink showed itself several more times and it soon became apparent that there was more than one and they didn’t seem at all bothered by us, bloody things!
Going into the second hour one of our furry friends swam under my nets just in front of the platform and headed up towards the Tart, swimming straight through my edge swim in the process, prompting the Tart to say that wouldn’t do it much good and he was right, from a bite a chuck, the float now just sat there! After about ten minutes I was just thinking about trying the island swim when a decent bite resulted in carp number twelve. I started getting bites again but it wasn’t as prolific as the first hour and I added another five fish to put me on seventeen.
My nemesis on peg 5 was now catching really well from the island and Shane next door on 6 was getting a few as well although the open water pegs were struggling a bit. The mink were still showing themselves and one even sat on Picky’s rod bag at one stage! Everybody was getting off their boxes trying to scare them away but the little blighters didn’t seem overly concerned at all.
The third hour saw my bites slow right up and a couple of lost fish didn’t help my cause, the Tart was still catching quite well and according to Les had now overtaken me, I wasn’t so sure he was ahead but there now wasn’t much in it so it was time to change swims. I was still feeding the five metre line with maggots but wanted to leave it until the last couple of hours so cupped in some more feed up the edge before trying the island for the first time. Les was getting odd fish from the front of the island but couldn’t really get in tight enough because of some vegetation.
As we passed the halfway point, the Tart slowed right up as well and then the pegs in open water started catching, Hoff and Butch were getting the odd fish and Picky was getting a few ‘stander uppers’ which usually means better size fish. Chilly was now bagging and had chucked back some small perch so he could use the net for carp. Les had a fish off the island and then I’ve missed two decent bites in quick succession so at least there were still a few fish about. I had another quick go up the edge and the float buried but as soon as I struck I knew it was foulhooked as it tore all over the peg, I was sure it would come off but managed to net a three pounder hooked in the side!
Back over by the island, I hooked my first fish from there and felt like a decent one too and after a lengthy scrap, I slipped the net under another decent ghostie which looked 6lb plus. No more bites from either of my longer lines and as the Tart had a couple from his maggot line down the track, it was time to try my five metre line for the first time. After feeding it for four hours, I was hopeful I’d catch quite quickly but to be honest it was a bit of an anti-climax, I gave it half an hour and did miss a couple of indications with three dead reds on the hook but with the Tart adding a couple more fish and Chilly now bagging to the extent that he had to put a third net in, my match was slipping away after such a strong start.
No more bites from the longer lines, so with an hour to go, I decided to concentrate on the maggot line and after five minutes, a positive bite saw me land another decent fish, this time a chunky 5lb mirror and then a few minutes later I had another fish. The Tart commented that I was catching again now and I replied it was just odd bites ‘out of the blue’, I added another fish quite quickly, prompting Les to say ‘it’s not that out of the blue then, three fish in 20 minutes!’ During the remaining half an hour or so, I had another two or three fish and when Hoff blew for the all out, my clicker was reading 28 carp. The Tart landed one on the whistle and when I asked what weight he had, he was admitting to 60lb, I said I probably had the same but hoped it might be a bit more.
Typically it started raining as we packed up and the temperature had dropped a few degrees towards the end of the match and it was now decidedly chilly. Hoff had the scales and we headed round to start the weigh in with Shane, as we passed Chilly, I asked what weight he had and he said about 60lb but with three nets in, I think he might have been telling a few ‘porkies’ (which is about right as he’s butcher!). Shane had 48lb 4oz which included a couple of nice skimmers and then Hoff weighed a level 43lb from peg 8, as always when it’s cold, the Hoff’s lips turn an alarming shade of blue and Brendon reckons his head gasket had gone again!
Chilly was next and his first two nets went 45lb 10oz and 28lb 6oz which rather eclipsed somewhat his conservative estimate, his final net went 34lb to give him a total of 108lb, a brilliant weight (especially as he’d struggled for the first couple of hours) and I knew nobody would beat that (he should get a clicker with his winnings but not from the same place as the Tart as they don’t work properly!).
Butch had 30lb 12oz from peg 1 and Picky weighed 40lb 12oz next door, Les had chucked his fish back and then it was my turn, my first net went 39lb 12oz and the second one weighed 45lb 8oz to give me a total of 85lb 4oz (new clicker required!). Last but not least was the Tart, his first weigh was 27lb and then he pulled out his second net and this was going to close, it was called at 52lb 1oz to give him a total of 79lb 1oz (clicker calibration needed!).
So I ended second on the day, picking up the £40 section money plus the best bit of the day, taking home some more Torquay gold (2-0 this year so far!). Hoff won the open water section so hopefully the money will go towards getting his head gasket fixed!
1 – Andy Winters (Chard) – 108lb
A – Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) – 85lb 4oz
B – Mark Hollister (Chard) – 43lb
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