Only one match for me this weekend as Parker ‘The Pole’ joined me on Saturday and we headed to The Big One in Farnborough for the first time in a few years. We met up with Norts there and it was a brilliant day, although some of the big players on the match scene were absent (Preston, Daiwa, Maver, Drennan and Matrix), there was still plenty there to make it worthwhile. The Guru stand was brilliant and we had a waggle with the Aventus poles and the prototype N-Gauge pole plus the new Shimano poles which were impressive.
We also had a look at new exhibitor on the block, Nytro Fishing, they’ve got a fantastic range of rods and reels at very reasonable prices. Obviously there were loads of stars in attendance and I have to say that they were all very approachable and generous with their time (I realise they’re there to act as ambassadors for their relevant sponsors but they all came across as very genuine). In particular I had long and very interesting chats with Paul Holland, Tom Scholey, Tommy Pickering, Lewis Fensom and Adam Rooney.
It was also great to catch up with Stuart Gillham, Becky, Dean and Jenni Handley on the impressive Gillhams stand. We bumped into Dan Squire and Chanter who were there on the Wolf International stand, Darren Cox, Simon Fry on pole alley and Ben Hagg who was on the Guru and Mainline stands. A long day but well worth it.
Then Sunday we were at Hebditch’s Pond for another charity match, the previous one had been hard going with just three anglers catching and being very cold again, I thought it might be similar today. Sleeping through my alarm wasn’t the ideal start but rushing around like a headless chicken, I met the others at Cartgate only a few minutes late. Breakfast was nice and then it was time for the draw with everyone hoping to draw pegs 3 or 4 which are the most consistent pegs on the pond.
Harry asked somebody to draw for him and Steve only went and pulled out peg 3 before drawing peg 9 for himself which isn’t great. Norts was the lucky angler to get the famous number 4 and I ended up on peg 1 which I was fairly happy with. The pond was flat calm, very clear and with no fish moving, the signs were rather ominous.
I set up a 0.6 gram Drennan AS5 Pencil float to fish two lines at 13 metres, one with micros and corn and the other with groundbait and maggots plus a 0.3 gram Guru Slim to fish up the edge to my left at 11.5 metres. On the side tray I had red maggots, disco pinkies, corn, micros plus some Bait-Tech Special G Red and The Juice groundbait.
On the whistle I fed very small amounts of bait on all three lines before starting over the micros with a grain of corn, no indications and I was soon swapping to double pinkie just to try an tempt a bite. After an hour, I still hadn’t had a bite and nor had those around me although apparently Harry on 3 had lost a carp and Nick on 6 hooked a skimmer only for it to come off at the net.
Another half an hour passed without incident and it was time for a coffee and a wander, on my travels I stopped and asked how people were doing but nobody had caught yet. Norts said he’d missed a bite and while I was with him, he had a couple of indications which looked like small fish and also the reeds were knocking so I was sure it was only a matter of time before he caught.
My circuit of the pond didn’t take long as nobody had anything to report, to be honest I still felt there was a good chance we’d get a few fish but it wouldn’t be until the last hour or so. Back on my box I gave it another hour or so but still no bites and then the news filtered up through that Norts had caught a roach so was now winning the match.
It started to get really cold and t-shirt weather still seems an awfully long way off at the moment so I had another walk to warm up and relieve the boredom. It was the same story with nobody with any fish until I got to Norts again, he had an audience now with The Grand Wiz sat behind him and was getting regular bites and had caught several roach and rudd. We watched him catch a few more and then he hooked into and landed a decent carp.
With around 90 minutes of the match remaining I headed back and when Harry said he’d missed a good bite, I was still hopeful of a fish or two in the ‘Golden Last Hour’! I hadn’t been back at my peg long when Rob on peg 12 reported that Harry had just landed a carp. He started catching really well whereas nobody at our end had a bite and I really thought with him winning and Norts second, third place and the silvers prize would be drawn out of the hat.
On the whistle, my clicker was reading a big fat zero and I’m getting quite good at this blanking malarkey, that’s three on different venues so far this year! I packed up and went to get a few photos, Burnsey on peg 2 had found a late carp of 2lb 9oz which would secure him third place. Harry had caught really well to weigh 34lb 3oz and then Norts had a single carp plus roach and rudd for 9lb 9oz. Nick had caught some roach for 1lb 2oz to win the silvers and then the rest of us had blanked.
1 – Harry Hebditch (Stoke) – 34lb 3oz
2 – Chris Norton (Stoke) – 9lb 9oz
3 – Andy Burns (Stoke) – 2lb 9oz
Nick Payne (Ilminster) – 1lb 2oz
So a tough day for most but we still raised £75 for the clubs charity and Harry donated the £5 side bets to the Nugget-O-Meter which is now up to £161. Thanks as always to the Hebditch family for allowing us to use their pond and also to the lovely bunch of anglers who fish these matches as we always have a right laugh and that’s part of why I look forward to my weekends so much.
There’s still a great offer running if you fancy treating yourself to some new fishing gear, use the exclusive discount code AgainstMenandFish10 to get 10% off when you shop online at Somerset Angling
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Next up – Acorn Fishery
Coming soon – Lots more match reports
Check Out – My last match