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Sunday, 17 November 2013

Harescombe Match Lake, 17 November (15 pegs)

This was our 4th and final trip up to Harescombe this year and I was looking forward to it, especially after last week's match on Campbell which was a bit of a struggle.
For once the weather was expected to be kind with little or no wind and reasonably dry too so it would be interesting to see how we would get on with the venue in decent conditions where presentation wouldn't be a problem.
The Tuesday match had been won with 104lbs with two weights of 99lbs and the previous Sunday had been won with 112lbs so despite the recent drop in temperature it looked like the fish were still very active.
Looking through the recent results showed no particular area standing out although Andy the owner reckoned pegs 5/6 were producing consistently recently (more on this later)!
Incidentally, if you are interested, you can find the match results here.
On to the match then and the pegging was sorted by Andy and almost everyone had an empty peg one side or at least plenty of space.
Payout was 1st and 2nd overall with three section payouts.  As Ryan Radford doesn't go in the pools I did suggest that if Ryan won his section I would leave it to the discretion of the default section winner to hand over part of their spoils to him although this suggestion was met with a rather mediocre response!
As usual I drew last and was left with peg 6 (more on this later).
Being quite an open venue it's quite easy to see (or hear) who is catching and from my vantage point, halfway down the carpark bank I could see plenty of elastic coming from the pegs to my right, most notably Brian Shanks on peg 9, Chris Szakacs 2 down on 13 and Rich Jones to my right on 7.
Jason Bird was sandwiched between Brian and Chris on peg 11 and I couldn't see much elastic coming from his pole although I guessed he had formulated a cunning plan of attack and would come good as the match progressed ( he didn't  though which was a shame)!
At the top end of the lake, fortunately I couldn't see him, Simon Belcham was also off to a tremendous start on the temporary end peg 29.
Luckily for everyone around Simon's neighbour Lionel Legge was keeping score with regular updates of how many fish Simon had .... By the time he reached 84 most were bored!
Mr Shanks meanwhile was steadily putting fish in his net in between losing fish and snagging the far bank undergrowth.
On the other side of the lake Derek Lucas had gotten off to a flying start on peg 18  (yes, you read that correctly), as had Stevie Wynne on 22 and I could just about make out Darren North opposite me on the other temporary end(ish) peg 24 putting a few in his nets.
And that was pretty much how it ended up with Brian Shanks taking the honours with 74-2 just ahead of Simon Belcham's tremendous weight of 70-0.
Miraculously Chris Szakacs' estimated 40lbs suddenly grew into 68-15 for third place.
Section winners were Dean Malin's bitch, Alan Healey (by default), Chris Szakacs (also by default) and Stevie Wynne who won his section fair and square and never broke anything so a good day for him!
Not a good day for Jason Bird however as he was well and truly "chip-shopped" between Brian and Chris, oh dear!
I did take the trouble to find out the secrets of the top 3's success.
Simon's response was "clean living" which made sense really as I wasn't expecting a sensible answer.
Brian and Chris were a little more forthcoming....
Brian caught on double maggot over kindered micros, feeding approximately 15 micro's after four fish.  He caught mostly on the shelf with a few fish caught down the shelf.
Chris fished similarly but fed maggots and found lifting his rig a few inches would induce more positive bites.
Neither admitted to lashing bait in with a polecup, lesson learnt! 
See below for the scores on the doors.

Oh, and back to what happened on peg 6.  Not a lot to be honest!
I've always been a believer in the saying:
"Fail to prepare and prepare to fail" so with this in mind I sacrificed my normal Saturday dose of Ola Jordan on Strictly and set about making up some "special" F1 rigs which included ultra sensitive floats, light (0.12) line, size 16 Tubertini 808 hooks and lots of tiny no. 11 shot that could be spread around as required.
I also equipped a topkit with some light elastic so all was looking good.
I started the match feeding 2 spots at the bottom of the far shelf with micros and dead reds, a cup of the same went down the track and also in front of the empty platform to my left.
Starting at the bottom of the far shelf not much was happening apart from a few tiny skimmers on drm's and after flogging a dead horse for 30 minutes it became apparent that everyone else were catching in the shallow water on top of the far shelf which I hadn't accounted for in my clever plan of attack.
So a pot of feed was dumped up there while I fished around in the box for a suitable rig.
The best I could come up with was a shallow rig left over from the summer which had what looked like 0.18 line and a 14 B911 on but it would have to do and that was stuck on a topkit with 16 elastic in ( another leftover from the summer)!
I messed around with this rig up on the shelf with 2 or 3 drm's on the hook but it was a major struggle and was only producing small silvers and the odd half-decent suicidal carp/f1. Those that I did get seemed to be a bit bigger than what most people were catching but they were very few and far between and my best fish turned out to be a chub of about a pound and a half.
Corn produced sod all and the platform swim gave up a small skimmer and a missed bite.
I spent the last half hour down the track which produced a few tiny things and a last gasp decent carp in extra time just seconds before I called the "all out" ... Funny that!
Anyway the end result of that dismal performance was 20-8 for 15th (my fingers won't allow me to type the "L" word. But at least I never chickened out of weighing in and it was still an enjoyable match with plenty of bites for most of us which is what you want this time of year.
Next week we are on Woodlands at Trinity and at the moment we are a bit light on numbers so don't be shy.


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