Angling at the September Festival
After a two year break, it felt awesome to be back for the HASSRA Festival. Myself, Roy and Chris were attempting to defend our first team win for the South East team two years ago at Packington Fishery. Rumour had it that it had been fishing very hard with very low match weights recently both on 'moody' Molands and Anniversaries, and my practice session on Molands did confirm this, with only 5 F1s being caught. I did feel that there were a lot of small silvers there, which could provide a decent 20lb weight if the carp or F1s didn't show...so of course, I drew on the other lake, Anniversaries, which I've never fished before!! I had drawn a decent peg, permanent peg 2 (didn't mean much to me), Roy and Chris were both on Molands with Pegs 10 and 41. Draw done, it was time to settle down for a beer or 4 with some of the other danglers present.
On to the day of the match, nice short walk (always nice). Unfortunately, a lot of debris and floating leaves had settled in front of me, which could affect presentation...I hoped they'd blow out as the session went on. Margins looked lovely with lots of features and a few overhanging branches so thought they'd hold a few fish.
My match started well enough - 2lb F1 first drop in on the 2 + 1 pellet line, followed by two slightly smaller specimens before the line died. A move just off the feed gave me one more fish before I had to move out a section which gave me another short lived run of fish. Out to 10m and again picked off a few fish before the line dried up.
That was pretty much the pattern for the match - nick a fish or two and start a new line...not the most straightforward match I've ever fished and had to work for every bite. The debris stayed put pretty much the whole match so I couldn't fish across at all during the match which would have helped my cause - that's fishing though. The last two hours were pretty grim, and even my margin lines only produced a handful of fish.
Come the all out, I felt I had about 40lb which I felt was okay-ish... when the scales reached me, 44lb 4oz was winning so when I put 44lb on the scales I was fairly happy (though at this point, I did rue missing my keepnet with an 8oz skimmer during the match which would have won me the lake!!) and I ended second on the lake. News from Molands was that someone had 60+lb, and then weights were down into the 40s. Ended up I had come third overall on the day which equals my best result in the nationals, though that skimmer cost me individual second and team third. Roy had a respectable weight of 26lb odd, but Chris had struggled- only putting 6lb on the scales. Overall in the team event, SE ended 4th.
Have to add, this was a brilliantly organised event; just a shame the venue has had a downward turn in form. Already looking forward to next year's event.