A Close Shave – Jamie Rich

With it being Good Friday, I booked into the silvers only match at Summerhayes which are held every Friday with all the winners qualifying for a Champion of Champions match in October and because of the Bank Holiday there was a good turnout of 18 anglers. The draw was announced and all the odd peg numbers were being used today so everybody would have spare pegs either side. I went in the draw bucket early for a change and pulled out peg 5 on cyanide straight – gutted!

My mood improved slightly when I got to my peg and peg 3 wasn’t in either so the guy on peg 1 and me had loads of space which had to be a bonus. I set up a 14 x 11 MW F1 Slim for three lines at 10 metres and one at 5 metres plus a 0.3 gram NG Mini Gimp to fish top two plus one on the inside. As always, I had 4mm Bait-Tech Xpands for the hook plus some 2mm Carp and Coarse pellets for feed that I soaked the night before using water with a glug of The Juice. I also mixed up a little groundbait and added some dead red maggots.

On the whistle I cupped in a small amount of micros on the inside and at 5 metres before putting in half a pot on the middle and right hand 10 metre lines, finally two balls of groundbait went in on the left hand line. I started on the inside but wasn’t confident as I hadn’t had a bite on this line in the last match on Longs, I intended to give it ten minutes to allow my other lines to settle but a tentative indication peaked my interest and when I had a 4oz skimbob shortly after, I decided to give it a bit longer. Next chuck I hooked a 5lb carp which wasn’t ideal but as I landed it without too much fuss, I thought I’d give it another go. The next bite saw a decent fish tear off and I was just about to curse another carp when it stopped and then a big skimmer, probably 2.5lb, came to the top before I netted it, things got even better when I had a 12oz golden tench next chuck and another hand sized skimmer put me over 4lb and we’d only been fishing 45 minutes.

Then it was back to earth with a bump as my next two fish were carp and the second one managed to snap my hooklength in the landing net so after tying on a new one, I picked up the other rig and went out to 10 metres for the first time. I’d seen peg 1 land a couple of better silvers and the angler on peg 9 was catching the odd skimmer as was peg 11 but as far as I could make out, I was doing okay at this early stage. It took a while to get my first bite on the longer line, which of course I missed, I hit the next one and another decent skimmer had me thinking I could be in for a good day. I should have known better as over the remainder of the second hour I only added a few small skimbobs from the two longer lines I’d fed with micros and I never had a bite over the groundbait.

As always, I wanted to leave the 5 metre as long as possible before trying it but during the third hour I only added a few more small fish and it felt like some of the anglers around me were starting to pull away. I had a couple more 4oz skimbobs but then looked up to see the angler on my right attached to a big flying skimmer and then my left-hand neighbour had one too! I had another quick go on the inside, the float sailed away and I was into yet another carp, after landing it, it was time to try the 5 metre line for the first time.

I had 3oz skimmer quite quickly and then had a little run of fish, mainly small skimmers and a couple of small roach before hooking a decent skimmer that came flying out the water but I safely netted it, next chuck I had one about 8oz and I didn’t think there was much between me and peg 1. But then the carp moved in and despite swapping lines, they were being a right pain and it was the same for everyone judging by all the elastic I could see when I looked around.

Going into the last hour, I thought I had about 7lb (and 30lb of carp!), I had a few more blades from the 10 metre line but after another carp put in an appearance, I came back in on the 5 metre line for the last 15 minutes, I had a couple of small skimmers and then a better one which was all rough, ready for spawning, I checked my watch and there were still a couple of minutes left, I had another 3oz fish and still had time to miss another bite before the all out was signalled. I ended up with 27 fish (all skimmers apart from that tench) and a few little roach which I hadn’t counted. Peg 1 was admitting to 10lb and I was pretty sure I didn’t have that.

I packed my kit up and loaded the car before catching up with the scales, a quick look at the weigh board revealed the best weight so far with 8lb 9oz followed by an 8lb. Peg 9 was admitting to 6lb and said I had double his weight but then proceeded to plonk 11lb on the scales and go into the lead. Then it was my turn and I was hoping I’d done enough to frame but after tipping my fish into the weigh basket, everybody started saying it was close and my weight was called at 11lb 3oz! I was still convinced peg 1 had beaten me though and when he pulled his net out I thought he had but again it was close and his weight was called at 10lb 7oz so I’d done it! Back at the results I was called out in first place and had a nice pick up of £85 plus a place in the final later in the year.

Follow my weekly exploits at www.againstmenandfish.blogspot.co.uk

Tight Lines

Jamie Rich

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