Once again the forecast was crap but this time the only difference was that snow was forecast instead of rain. Only ten hardened anglers (or nutters as I like to call them) turned up for the draw and Les decided to leave the corner pegs out in a bid to make it a fairer match. I drew peg 16 and as I had previously struggled off peg 15, I wasn't too impressed.
It was freezing cold and I set up the same two rigs as last time (see previous post) and mixed up some Van Den Eynde strawberry carp groundbait. On the whistle I cupped in three balls at 10 metres and some corn, 4 mm pellets and hemp on the inside to my left at about 6 metres. I started on the longer line with double red maggot on the hook and soon started getting bites but only from small rudd, roach and one small skimmer. Oz opposite me had an early carp and Bushy on peg 14 had caught a couple but it looked like being a struggle yet again.
It kept trying to snow and the dark clouds overhead looked ominous. After three quarters of an hour bites had tailed off on my longer line so it was time to try my inside line. I slipped on a piece of corn and was ready for a long wait. After five minutes the float slid away and a good fish was on. After a healthy scrap the black hydro did its job and I netted a decent carp of around 4lb. From what I could see this put me amongst the early leaders. A missed bite on the next put in made me think there might be a few fish there. Then it started snowing and it got so bad I could hardly make out the anglers on the opposite bank.
Oz had a couple more and Butch Baker next to him started catching carp from a reedbed on his inside. No more action for me and time was ticking by. Three hours passed and Alan 'Picky' Gage, who I have a sidebet with, started catching the odd fish. Picky was on an end peg as the corners had been left out and I resigned myself to losing another pound. I kept feeding a robin in the hope the fish fairy would see my good deed and reward me with some fish but so far it didn't seem to be working. By now odd fish were being caught all around the pond and I was slipping down the rankings.
I took a couple of sections off and carried on fishing my left hand margin where I could feed by hand. I had a couple of indications but nothing strikeable. With an hour and a half left it was obvious Bushy and Picky would be occupying the top two positions. Then all of a sudden I started getting bites, I missed two or three before catching my second carp. I then had a third before losing one which I reckon was foulhooked. I had a fourth which was foulhooked in the tail and I was right back in it. I then lost a beast which snapped 0.14 mm! before catching number five. With 30 mins left I thought if I could catch a couple more I might sneak into the frame.
It was still snowing heavily and Janders walked up to warm up a bit, he'd only caught two carp so hopefully at least one pound would be safe! He said Bushy had around twelve carp and was well ahead in the match, I reckoned Picky was second. Then Les landed a beast which was reported to be double figures. Mike on the other side of Oz had caught quite a few on the feeder and Butch was still getting the odd fish, I needed to catch a couple more. Time was running out though and apart from a missed bite five minutes from time there was no more action for me.
Les called the all out and as if by magic the snow stopped and the sun came out, incredible! I packed up and went to watch the weigh in. Les was paying the top four and I was sure I had just missed out. Picky was first to weigh and stuck an excellent 28lb 4oz on the scales, Butch was next and he had 18lb 4oz and I was now convinced I wouldn't figure in the frame. There were several more double figure weights before we came to Bushy who confirmed what everybody knew and he weighed 36lb 4oz. Well done Steve, that's his third victory on the bounce and he has certainly got this venue sorted. Janders didn't weigh and my fish went 17lb 10oz which suprised me, I was now in fourth place but still with Les to weigh.
His four fish (including one of 12lb+) went 17lb 2oz and I had held on to fourth place - just! For the conditions the pond had fished really well and despite the snow I actually quite enjoyed myself. I caught more fish today then in my last four visits combined. I picked up £20 plus a £1 off Janders which I gave straight to Picky, still at least I had stopped the rot for now.
I'm back here again next week so lets pray for some decent weather.