I was looking forward to this one as me and Andy won it last year but as there were some right stars fishing this time around it would be hard to repeat it. Pete pays the top three pairs in silvers and carp and it is a really good little match. There were 15 pairs booked in and among these were quite a few of the Viaduct crew including Andy Power and Bobby Gullick along with the usual stars like Steve Jackson, Bruce Hunt and the Wickhams. Me and Andy were going all out for silvers and needed two decent draws to stand any chance of framing.
Those fishing Sellicks were called first and I pulled out peg 10 which was next to where I was last match (not great), there was some ripple on the pond but up the opposite end from me (typical). Andy pulled out 16 on Long's and it's not a flier and I felt we were up against it already. I had the owner Pete on peg 11 and he was fishing for carp, Andy Power had drawn 13 which is the most consistent carp peg on Sellicks. I had a blank peg to my right and then a chap called Dominic was on 8 with Nigel Garrett a couple pegs along where the ripple started.
I set up two Malman 0.6 gram pencils with 0.12 bottoms and white hydro through the top twos, I also set up a 0.4 gram pencil to fish at half depth with blue hydro. On the whistle I cupped in half a pot of micros at 10 metres and went straight over it with a 4mm expander. I had to wait 5 mins for my first bite and had a small skimmer to get me off the mark. I had a couple more blades and lost a carp, Dominic had three or four decent skimmers quite quickly and I was playing catch up already. Pete and Andy hadn't had much at this early stage. Just as the hour mark arrived I had my first decent skimmer and hoped there would be a few more around.
I was also trying down the track at 9.5 metres where it was few inches deeper but only had odd blades from here along with a couple of nuisance carp. Dominic had a couple more decent skims and already I felt I was going to be in for a similar match to last week (in other words a struggle!). I was still getting odd blades and then just as hour two was ending I had my second decent skimmer. When I followed this up with another a few minutes later I thought I might have a chance of doing a decent weight. Andy Power was getting odd carp now but Pete was still struggling and only had one decent skimmer and no carp as yet.
I was still getting blades in the third hour and although Dominic had slowed up I still needed some more better skimmers to catch him. Pete had a tench and was catching me up on silvers. I had around 20 fish by this stage (3 decent skims plus blades) and I also had 4 or 5 carp. But then I just couldn't buy a bite apart from carp and I lost a few of these trying to bully them. Dominic was getting odd carp as well but crucially was still getting the odd skimmer amongst them. When Pete had a couple of skimmers on worm and had overtaken me, I was getting desperate. I tried a piece of worm and laying a few inches of line on the bottom but this just resulted in two carp in two chucks and I was soon back on soft pellet.
My next fish was yet another carp and I was praying for some decent skimmers in the last hour and a half. Pete had a couple of foulhooked skimmers but they weren't helping his carp net much. For the rest of the match all I could hook was carp and I must have ended up with 12 or 13 of the poxy things and I was quite relieved when the whistle blew to signal the end. I ended with just the three decent skimmers plus twenty blades and thought I had a similar weight to last week which would be well down today.
I packed up and went to watch the weigh in which had started on Longs, Andy said he'd done okay but had suffered carp problems as well as losing three or four flying skimmers. The chap on the next peg along from him had an excellent 27lb of silvers before Andy had a level 16lb of silvers and 19lb 8oz of carp. I think there was a 17lb and a 18lb of silvers before Ray Wickham had 16lb 2oz (ouch!) and Nigel Wickham had 16lb 6oz (double ouch!). I think Andy ended up 6th in the silvers on Long's.
Over on Sellicks, Nigel Garrett had 11lb odd of silvers and then Dominic had 12lb+ and I was slightly embarrassed when I pulled my nets out, my carp went 27lb odd and my silvers a lowly 4lb 2oz which is probably my lowest silvers weight yet! Pete had beaten me on silvers and Andy Power had around 30 carp so would be there or thereabouts. I knew a couple of other anglers on the other side would beat me as well so with lots to do before my holiday, me and Andy didn't stay for the results and made our way home. I text Glynn Wickham when I got home to find out who had won.
1 - Andy Power and Partner
1 - Ray Wickham and Nigel Garrett (Summerhayes)
That's two bad weeks on Sellicks now and I just can't seem to catch proper skimmers in any numbers although I should have tried my shallow rig today as Nigel Garrett had quite a few shallow but then he did have that all important ripple. I'm dying to get back on Long's but I'm not sure where the match will be in three weeks time.
Right this will be my last blog for a couple of weeks as I fly out to Thailand tomorrow for two weeks of paradise and hopefully a big fish or two at the wonderful Gillhams resort, be sure to come back to see how I get on.