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02/09/22 - Junior Knockout Final - Revels Stock Pond





Low water levels have hampered fishing everywhere lately and tonight was no exception. Indeed, the Catfish Lake below the stock pond has been closed to anglers because of the water level. In the previous rounds, what we thought was a large pale Ghost Carp, turned out to be nothing but a large lump of pale flint or chalk amongst the weeds. To be honest there are areas of some lakes that I thought I would never see. Areas that you would normally fish on. At the last coaching session at Harbourbridge, Sgt Bracey cast out a feeder rod last used at the same venue only for it to remain dry when it landed! I asked staff member, Tony, if he was worried about the bodies or the destroyed egos of old match and Carp anglers showing up in the Catfish Lake? He said he wasn’t worried. They were buried elsewhere….

I arrived at the lake with work to do because the pond weed had grown over the swims I needed to use. Out with the long weed rake and on with the grunting. Several piles of bright green Canadian Pond Weed later, and we had swims to fish from. Fortunately, only four swims needed thus reducing the amount of effort needed from a fat, unfit old angler…

With the draw being done by M’Lady at home earlier that afternoon (as were all the other rounds), Juniors knew where to go as soon as they got there and what to expect. The draw was as follows.

Peg 1: Faith ‘Jibber Jabber’ Stone. Peg 2: Josiah ‘His Lordship’ Wells-Parkes. Peg 3: Oliver ‘Aquaboy’ Smith Peg 4: Jack ‘Twiglet’ Copp

Your coaching comedians tonight were. Oliver Hardy – Graham Howard. Stan Laurel – Andy Hawkins.

PEG 1: Faith Stone If only effort was rewarded by results… A text from the Guru Goddess (Lydia) asking me to walk, yes WALK, down to the shop to get Faith some magnets (maggots) before the shop closed, meant that I got close to my steps target of 25,000 a day…I was only 20,000 steps short at the end of the day too. Not bad… They arrived on fire due to some traffic. I mean, who organises a fishing competition at peak traffic time? There is not much to say about Faiths match other than she gave it maximum effort. Feeding accurately, casting accurately. I watched her fishing, and I would not have fished it any differently myself! But the fish would not respond. Maybe her swim was shallower than the others due to the water level? The fish were there, but they didn’t find her hook bait enough times. There was one small Carp who I am going to call ‘Thicko’ that gobbled up her hook bait, and two others that were smart enough to find the sanctuary of a lump of weed. One of them was deeply embedded and was hanging on with all its fins. Solidly snagged, I took the rod and tried to free the little monkey. All I got was an empty hook and threats from the Goddess about being thrown in for losing it. To be honest there were lots of threats about me going for a swim to the point where I sniffed my armpits thinking it was a subliminal plea for better personal hygiene. But I’d had a shower before leaving to come up here, so it wasn’t me… Sadly, Faith’s quest to become the knockout champ came to nought with only one little Carp to show for her vast efforts. I wasn’t even going to weigh it because it looked about a pound in weight. I did weigh it in the end. The scales said 15ozs! Such was Faith’s match. I’m proud of her effort though, sitting it out to the end. Just please catch more in the pairs match next week!

PEG 2: Josiah Wells-Parkes Like all the other juniors, Jo had come for one fish only, Carp.

Big fish or bust.

Go big or go home… Jo fired shots right from the whistle by casting cleanly into neighbour Oliver’s swim. He even snubbed him some more by leaving it there! I’m impressed with Jo’s mind games… Jo was much improved health wise but Sexy Dad, James, was under pain of death to administer some medication at bang on six o’clock. I’ve met Georgina and I wouldn’t upset her either! (I’m kidding, she’s lovely). I told James that the match starts at six, so when the whistle blows, dose the lad up. This would have worked well had we not started 20 minutes early due to fading light at the end. James was visibly confused and panicked by the early whistle and reaching for the meds. I don’t think 20 minutes would have harmed Jo, but James did hold off until bang on six, Georgina! Jo fished extremely well tonight and would have been second had it not been a winner takes all match. He weighed in a very creditable 8lbs 10ozs from a swim that had no form in previous rounds. Good job Jo, well done.

PEG 3: Oliver Smith Peg 3 is the peg that everyone seems to fish from when they fish the stock pond. It is well worn and practically weed free at the edge. It was the only peg that did not need raking when I arrived, but the rake was thrown in a few times to make the venue fair for everyone. Put an on-form angler in an on-form peg, and the others are on the back foot from the start. Having said that, Peg four had won all of the qualifying rounds, so was three the one to be on? Ollie’s casting technique is unique to say the least, and I have covered it before here in the Mud-Slinger. But it does draw comment from those watching and, more importantly, it works… Ollie had an advantage of a nice ‘bay’ of weed in his swim that seemed to concentrate the fish nicely for him. A feeder cast in there was always going to be found and indeed it was. Repeatedly! I need to iron out Ollie's most ‘Cack-handed’ style of landing fish, however. It works for Mark Pollard (Renowned England international angler and famous prankster), but there is much less clashing of equipment, use of rod rests, and a spare chair on which to place a rod to unhook fish when he does it. (I told you it was weird! I will draw pictures of the situation for those confused upon request. I can’t find the words to describe it here…)

If Annamama turns up with that pokey little landing net handle once more, it’s going into the trees! (I will go and get it afterwards because I don’t endorse littering. But it will feel SO GOOD to chuck it somewhere). Dave had a telegraph pole that was painted to look like a landing net handle that he kindly loaned to Oliver for the evening. Maybe that’s why he was struggling to lift it normally? Ollie was in the zone despite the weirdness and fished impressively throughout the match. He did take his foot off the accelerator towards the closing stages, much to the displeasure of his mum. Anna wanted blood and lots of it! Ollie had slayed the others, but the feeder rod was thrust at him for the last 5 minutes despite the now obvious margin of victory. I think that Anna’s ancestry must have the blood of a Berserker. Medieval warriors that literally pulverised the skulls of the enemy and used their skin as lampshades. (I may have the last bit up). To say that Oliver walked the Knockout final is a gross understatement. Weighing in 18lbs 1oz, a margin of nearly 10lbs over second place! Ollie wins a temporary trophy to wave in people's faces on the night, and a £20 voucher for Revels tackle shop. Well done champ, impressive effort!

PEG 4: Jack Copp Jack must have thought that he had a great chance to grab the title seeing as he had been given the same peg from which he won the last round so decisively. They were the first to arrive and excitement was high. So high, in fact, that both Dave and Jack seemed to forget that it was Jack that was actually fishing! How we laughed when I pointed out them that it was Jack that should be plumbing the depth instead of running around chatting to everyone, and not his dad! Equilibrium was restored and with Jack now firmly in position, the setting up process continued… Jack got off to a flying start with a mud pig of a good 3lbs in size and he must have thought ‘Here we go’… But there was only one that size with all the others being much smaller, and fewer than his rival on P3. With only two hours to fish, it doesn’t take long to realise that tonight is not going to be your night. But, like the others, Jack stuck it out until the end, fishing the whip in the dying stages to catch that all important Gudgeon that determines whether he has had a good or bad session. (No Goby, no good!) Jack fished well and finished with a weight that would have won the first round at 7lbs 14ozs. Well done, Jack… One further note...The scales used to weigh Jack’s very large Roach at Luckfield were measured against a set of official club scales and were found to be just one ounce heavy. I will take off an ounce and work out the new percentage, but it will still be pretty large and tough to beat… Still plenty of time to go before the end of May though… So, there you have it. Our first Knockout Champion is Oliver Smith. Congratulations Ollie…

The evening series has been a great success and great fun. It was the idea of Jason Fricker at Revels, and it was a good one too. Many thanks to Jason and all at Revels Fishery for allowing us to use the Stock Pond, and for making us feel so welcome (As usual). Personally, I think the feeder spoiled it a little bit in the last two rounds. The weights went up, but a lot of the colourful species had disappeared from the keepnets with the preference for yet more carp. (Yawn) Next year may be whip or pole only…Just to spice it up a bit… <Evil Cackle>

A quick word about my fellow coach for the Knockout series, Andy Hawkins is a lovely guy, and we have a laugh together. He is so passionate about helping the juniors but, due to work commitments, is unable to help on the Saturdays of usual sessions. The evening series has given him the chance to finally help out and he has been a brilliant asset to our coaching team. On behalf of the participating juniors and myself, I would like to thank him for his efforts over the summer and I look forward to doing it all again next year. Thank you, Andy.

Next week is Todber Manor for the Senior/Junior pairs match (I don’t know if I mentioned it much at the match this evening?!!!) There is still one place left to fill if any juniors have not yet booked in would like to fish? The criterion for the event is that the Senior partner should be a member of the coaching team, helper, or a parent. This is how we did it last year. If the event gets oversubscribed in the future, then I will open it up to the wider membership. Let me know if you would like to fish and the name of your partner asap, please?

Juniors Sec…

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