Drawbag Nightmares! – Andy Neal

Andy Neal has been out and about recently fishing the final two rounds of the Bait-Tech Viaduct Spring League among other things – Our man seems to be having a bit of a poor run at the draw bag. (There’s a first time for everything! Ed.) Here he tells all about his most recent outings…

May the draw gods be with you… because they certainly aren’t with me!

Free to a good home… one set of barely used fishing stuff… that’s how it feels at the moment after a few weeks of IMG_1849terrible draws. In the last three weeks I’ve had the last two rounds of the Viaduct Spring league and the first round of the South Wales Summer league. Sunday 5th we arrived at viaduct knowing the fish were/had been spawning and largely didn’t want to play. EVERYONE prayed for a peg on campbell as the head of fish meant they would feed at some point. Cary and Lodge was always going to be a game of aqua bingo due to the massive size of the fish and the moody nature of these big units. The bigger these things get the more they like sticking a middle finger up to you if they don’t want to play ball!
Have you ever been in the situation where you are scared to put your hand in the drawbag? That’s where I am at the moment… don’t get me wrong fishing is fishing and we all go through it, that’s the game BUT when you are fearful of drawing a peg or area that you think may be hard due to the conditions.. And then go and draw there it doesn’t do the confidence any good at all. Excuse me while I wipe the tears away and yes that is a violin you can hear playing in the background.

So, to Viaduct and peg 88 came out. Not a bad peg by any means and I’ve had a few huge weights off it in the past. Some of the lads said how good this would be and although my heart said no, all the fish are around the spit area, off I went to fill my nets. Arriving at my peg I could have cried. I’ve been to viaduct a few times over the years and feel I know the moods of the lakes well. The swim and whole side of the lake seemed lifeless which means the other side would be heaving. Bobby Gullick the walking fish magnet was next to me and we both laughed as he too had been told it was solid…. uh No!

I don’t mind scratching and working for individual bites and that was definitely going to be the order of the day. I had to blank out Dan white and Gary O’Shea across the lake catching one a bung as I had a job to do. And didn’t I do it well? 5 hours 57minutes in and I’m connected to my first carp. The come-back was on. I rebaited and dropped back in on the meat short line for the float to settle and the whistle to blow. 1 bite! Cheers! Moving on… By the way the good area fished really well and there were loads of big 200plus weights again. I enjoyed spectating.

The following week and we were off to Cefn Mably for the first round of the South Wales Summer league. Luckily for me I wasn’t drawing and this seems to be a theme this year for me.. team draws I get handed decent pegs or at least pegs with some fish in them. I hadn’t fished Cefn Mably for a long time so I looked forward to this. Importantly I was the windward end of the lake and had by and large a nice day. Moving and changing to keep bites coming it was a day for frugal feeding as these fish were all over the depths and difficult to pin down. I did get blown up by the wind which put pay to what I thought would be the banker line of worm shallow down the middle of the lake at 14m but by dripping in meat short and with my faithful N-Tice on the hook I caught a few good sized F1s and Carp. Late on I turned my attention to the edge and big potted Bait-Tech Karma down the edge. Again, meat on the hook resulted in a few nice fish to end up with 78lb and a section win. It was a nice match won by teammate Mikey Williams who weighed 105lb largely caught shallow on worm and casters. 2nd was Frenzee’s Richard Aherne with 90lb closely followed by captain Eggy, me in 4th and Bob in 5th. 4 out of the top 5 overall.. Not a bad start and the 1 team point we were hoping for.

IMG_1798 (1)The last round of Viaduct was upon us yesterday and we all looked forward to it as the fish were now settling down again. After catching a few last week I thought the bad joo joo had left me and even a rub of Trig and Tony Rixon’s arms was sure to put me on a decent peg for one final flourish. Wrong… 88 again! Would you believe it? 55 peg match and I’ve had the same peg twice… I knew it wasn’t going to be as bad as last time but with the league written off I was hoping for a day on campbell clattering a few. In short I managed just short of 80lb, the big uns seemed to be sulking but plenty of the smaller fish fed. You don’t normally catch these.. TBH I was just pleased to get a few bites but it wasn’t the end I’d hoped for.

A drawbags convention made up the top 3 in the league. Jokes aside all three had fished a brilliant league. Bob Giles won his section from 85 and celebrated by going in head first. Gary ‘Mr Consistent’ O’Shea came in 2nd and that man again, Trigg – Craig Edmunds smashed the match as well as the league. A quick word on Trigg as he’s catching fish for fun at the moment. He’s had over 1000lb in 5 matches from pegs I wouldn’t class as flyers. Well done pal! awesome. Surely nobody would bet against him anywhere down there at the moment.

For me… can only get better… here’s to hoping the draw gods start to like me again soon.

I’m off to dry my eyes.

Andy Neal

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