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Monday, 21 April 2014

Easter Eggstravaganza, Viaduct, Campbell, 20 April

20 fishing today and Steve had pegged it slightly different than usual leaving out the set-back pegs (113 & 117) and putting in 121 and 135 instead which are in the middle of the end banks.
It's been a long time since I've seen these pegs fished and the last time I remember the match was won from 135 by Mark Britton, which shows how long ago that was as Mark hasn't been allowed to go fishing for quite a few years now.
On that day, if I remember rightly, he narrowly beat Bob Warren (his travelling partner) into 2nd and it was also the golden peg.
Anyway, payout today would be top four and two silvers, the same as the last time we fished here back in mid-March which saved me any early morning maths as I used the same figures from the last match.
As an added bonus, all the framing places got an Easter egg because I'm good like that!
Unusually for me I was running a bit late but I arrived to find that the ever-dependable Will Dearlove had collected up all the money and got the pegs, coffee tin and weighboard all sorted so when it came down to the now inevitable Mexican standoff for the last peg I was going to give in but he dived in first and picked 135 which looked like a good draw today and I was left with 132 which was the golden peg so I wasn't too disappointed either regardless of the fact that the last time round Stewart Riddle was in here and moaned his way to a dnw.
Since then the fish have spread out a bit around the lake and besides, I planned to fish it a bit different to how Stewart tackled the peg which involved 0.10 hooklengths and 4 elastic.
Incidentally, Ron Hardiman was hanging around the end of the draw queue and he picked the third from last peg which was 118, the peg he won from last time with 201lbs and with nobody in 117 he was also an happy (Easter) bunny.
For company today, I had Pete the meat Uzzell in 131, Darren North in 130 and Mark Radford on this side of the spit on 129.
As already mentioned, Will was around the corner in 135 and opposite me were Rich Britton in 110, Keith Ray in 111 and Mike Wilson in 112.
My plan of attack was fairly simple, a lead rod that was already set up, a wagg rod (also ready made up) that was only set up as it was new and I wanted to christen it but that never happened, and two pole rigs, one for straight out at 11m with meat and one for into the corner as close as I dared to the big over-hanging willow tree.
I didn't bother to plumb up the margin tight into the bank past the tree as even though it looked very inviting I expected there to be a fair bit of branches and other rubbish there which would be a bit of a nightmare so I was hoping to tempt the inhabitants out of the snags and into the clearer water where I would have more chance of hauling them out ...... that was the plan anyway!
So with not much to set up we were started on time for a change.
On the start I fed both the pole lines with pellet and meat and went out on the lead over towards the left bank and began the pellet barrage.
Most of my neighbours had started off in pretty much the same vein, except for Darren North, who had started off on the pole fishing shallow, no doubt in an effort to get one over on Brian Shanks who doesn't like being beaten on his speciality, least of all by one of his employees.
It wasn't very long before Rich Britton was reeling in his first fish and Pete Uzzell, Mark Radford and Will all followed suit but it took a fair while before my rod tip headed towards Somerton and put me back into contention and my first pellet went on the tray, which was my version of a fish-counter as I didn't want to do a "Chris" and fall foul of the 70lb net limit. 
My thought was to start a second net after 10 pellets which would allow for an average size of 7lbs and hopefully give me room for error.
As time went on my early confidence was fading as for some reason bites were hard to come by and it was looking like my pellet counter was going to be a bit pointless.
Pete had also cottoned on to the pellet counter trick only his pile of pellets was growing at a much greater rate than mine.
A switch to the pole with meat produced a fish almost instantly and for a moment I thought the tide had turned but it hadn't as nothing followed.
An early look down to the tree produced a fish straight away on meat, followed by a sailaway bite that I missed completely probably due to me not concentrating and then another fish that wasn't having any of it and won a tug-of-war battle under the tree by breaking my hooklength.
In the meantime, everyone around me seemed to be doing better except maybe Darren who was being a bit grumpy.
Will was catching anywhere and everywhere, Rich Britton was hooking brambles, snapping pole sections but still getting a few and Pete was being smug and giving me a running count of how many pellets he had on his tray!
With two hours left I was going nowhere slowly switching between the lead the pole and the rain that was forecast had started.
Going back down to the tree produced a big foul-hooked fish that I managed to get in but then went dead, so I threw caution to the wind, shortened the rig and stuck another section on to fish past the tree tight to the bank.
This resulted in almost a bite a chuck although I did pull out of a few due to pulling too hard and I probably doubled my pellet pile in the last 30 minutes, so that was a lesson learned.
Another lesson learned was that the pellet counter system I had developed doesn't work in the rain and by the end of the match I was left with a pile of mush on my tray.
The weigh-in was a bit of a nightmare as when Steve turned up with the scales the heavens opened making it almost impossible to write the weights down.
I ended up having to add up all the weighs in my head and then quickly open the folder and put the totals down but even so, by the time I got to Brian Shanks on peg 123 the pen was completely dead and the weigh-sheet was turning to paper-mache.
I was first to weigh and my pile of mush gave me a total of 12 fish for 65-11 so my estimated average of 7lbs per fish was a bit over-cautious.
I was soundly beaten by Pete "the meat" who had 77-15 despite me telling him his peg was crap at the start. 
The lake hadn't fished too well on the whole but the winner once again was Rocket Ron on 118 with 167lbs exactly which now makes Ron the club's current "big weight" specialist - a title he may not be too happy with!
Ron caught all his fish on meat on the lead and also on the pole.
Second was new signing Andy Gay on 115 with 83-0, followed closely by Rich Britton with 82-5 and Mark Radford with 80-5.
I didnt manage to get all the silvers weights but Brian Shanks won that with 16-1 from peg 123 and Darren was 2nd with 8-something so despite the "attitude" he still went home with 30 notes and an Easter egg and left with a smile.
The same couldn't be said for Chris Szakacs as although he caught a few fish, three of his pole sections got blown in to the lake at the end, he managed to rescue two of them but he was forced to strip down to his budgie-smugglers and go for a swim to retrieve his number 4.
Steve Wynne had similar troubles but he chose to shrug his shoulders and laugh it off as his matches usually involve some kind of disaster and he's used to it.
Steve Long did say he'd put his chest waders on and have a hunt for his sections for him which was good of him so hopefully Steve should be reunited with them in the near future.


Full Result:
  1. Rocket Ron Hardiman (peg 118) ...... 167-0
  2. Andy Gay (115) ............... 83-0
  3. Richard Britton (110) ........ 82-5
  4. Mark Radford (129) .......... 80-5
  5. Pete the meat Uzzell (131) .. 77-15
  6. Chris Szakacs (114) ......... 77-7
  7. Al Healey / Rich Jones (126 / 127) ... 75-4
  8. Steve Burgess* (132) ....... 65-11
  9. Brian Shanks (123) .......... 65-9
  10. Will Dearlove (135) ........... 64-2
  11. Lee Waller** (116) ........... 63-7
  12. Simon Belcham (125) ....... 57-13
  13. Adam Caswell (121) .......... 52-2
  14. Mike Welling (128) ............ 48-11
  15. Mike Wilson (112) ............ 47-11
  16. Darren North (130) .......... 41-11
  17. Stevie Wynne (119) .......... 35-2
  18. Ryan Radford (124) .......... 23-0
  19. Keith Ray (111) ............... dnw
**golden peg
***silver peg

Next week we are at Sedges on Tile Lake and we have all 20 pegs taken at the moment but the pegging is quite generous so it should still fish well.
Sunday's match was won with 144lbs from peg 40 which is the peg I've drawn in the last two matches we've fished there so that should be interesting, especially towards the back of the draw queue!


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