After picking Janders up it was off to Summerhayes, the match was on Long's again and I wasn't confident of breaking the jinx. There was a good turnout of twenty anglers and after a coffee it was soon time to draw, I was near the end of the queue and pulled out peg 4 which put me on the far side yet again. I just can't seem to draw the near side or down the bottom end. Janders pulled out peg 23 and was on an inviting looking corner.
Pete had pegged it so anglers were in two's so you had two spare pegs to one side to give everyone plenty of room. I had a chap on my left who used to fish with us years ago at Howley and had just got back into fishing. The nearest angler on my right was Heardy on peg 1 who was keen to have a £1 sidebet. I set up a 0.4 gram Malman pencil float for the skimmer line at 10 metres, a Malman paste float for the same line and a dibber for fishing to the far bank which was 14.5 metres away. As always it was pretty windy and I couldn't see me venturing across too often.
Pete shouted the all in and I cupped in half a pot of micros at 10 metres and the same plus some corn against the far bank. I started on the skimmer line with a 4mm expander on the hook and first put in the float sailed away and I had nice skimmer of a pound and a half - good start. I then missed a good bite before catching some 6-8oz skimmers and some small roach and skimmers. After an hour I had 12 fish for around 3lb or so and was ahead of the anglers around me. Heardy and the Wickham on peg 39 were really struggling (so it's not just me then!) and it looked like it was going to be hard at our end yet again.
The second hour was much the same, I was still toss potting in micros every put in and added around 8 more fish but was getting quite a few small roach. I was missing quite a few bites but I thought these might be small fish. We'd had a few showers and the wind was still being a pain. The third hour saw my skimmer line start to slow right up, I only had 5 fish although two of these were good skimmers and I guessed I probably had around 8lb in the net. Martin had only had three small carp and the chap on 39 probably had around the same. The guy on my left only had a couple of skimmers and lots of small roach. The chap three pegs away on his left seemed to be catching silvers quite well but I felt I was still ahead at the half way point.
I decided to rest the skimmer line and put in another half a cup of micros before going across with corn on the hook. Although the wind had died off a little and the showers had stopped, it was still a real struggle to hold the rig still and apart from a few indications, it was a waste of time. There were some reeds across in front of peg three which had been knocking every now and again so I plumbed up there and tried that for half an hour but never had a proper bite. Back on the skimmer line and I couldn't get a bite here either now! The guy next door had a couple of skimmers and a small carp so at least I knew there were a few about.
With an hour and a half to go, I started getting bites again, I was still getting small roach but then had a small carp, a decent skimmer and a lovely crucian in quick succession to put me on around 11lb. I was on 34 fish and thought if I could add another six skimmers in the last hour it would give me around 14lb or so. I had a 6oz skimmer but then the next few fish were all small roach. Martin was now fishing paste down the edge and had three carp one after another before losing a good one and I was sure that he would beat me in the last hour after I had been ahead of him all day!
I then lost a good skimmer and shortly after lost another and it was all going pear shaped. With 15 minutes left I had a skimmer pushing 2lb and another of similar size with 5 mins to go. I did miss one more bite and then Pete shouted the all out. I finished with 41 fish and thought I had around 14lb although I was admitting to 10lb! Martin reckoned he had about 14lb so the sidebet was going to the wire. As I was packing up the scales arrived at peg 39 and he had 18lb something and I didn't think I had that. I took my kit back to the car and caught up with the scales a few pegs on. 31lb 9oz was top weight so far but crucially the top silvers weight was 12lb odd, then there were a couple of 14lb silvers weights and I started to think those two late, lost fish were going to cost me.
Janders didn't weigh and handed over a £1, Eric Fouracre came close to Glyn Wickham's leading overall weight with 31lb 8oz and there was also a 31lb 4oz. The chap on my left didn't weigh and then it was my turn. My solitary carp weighed 15oz and then I pulled my silvers out and everyone was saying it would be close, Pete called out my weight at 17lb 1oz (18lb in total) and I'd gone into the lead for the silvers with only Martin to weigh. Martin weighed 13lb+ in total so I'd won the silvers and an added bonus was that I took a squid off Heardy (he'll have it back on Sunday!).
I was really chuffed and had fished a pretty tidy match with the only blip being those two lost skimmers and I'd finally broken the Long's jinx.
1 - Glyn Wickham - 31lb 9oz
2 - Eric Fouracre (Mosella) - 31lb 8oz
3 - 31lb 4oz
4 - 26lb+
5 - Alvin Jones (Enterprise Angling) - 25lb 10oz
1 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 17lb 1oz
2 - 14lb 13oz
Well I seem to do okay on silvers at Summerhayes but can't seem to get to grips with the carp and I really need to put in some practice with paste to get my confidence up.
Next up is the final evening league match at Dillington where Alvin leads me and Moses by 1.5 points. I would love to do well in the final match but it'll probably all go tits up now!