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04/11/23 - Junior Points Match #11 - Luckfield Lake

Updated: Nov 6, 2023

Sometimes you get to a point with something, and you have to think well, maybe that ain’t gonna happen… Four times we tried to get on a river this year and, for various reasons, we failed. Weather is something that even happens to Dorset on occasions, and we had an awful lot of weather dumped on us over the last few weeks. So much weather in fact that the river Stour knocked on my door the other day, holding the river Frome by its’ neck and asked me ‘If I wanted some or what?’. I said that I didn’t, and the Stour went back to Sturminster after giving the Frome a harsh wedgie which made it cry all over the fields around Wool. Naturally, this was unbecoming behaviour from a normally sedate river. But I wasn’t going to push my luck.

The latest weather known as storm ‘blowing a flaming hooley or what’, passed plenty of water over the lake at Luckfield, our chosen venue after the frightening behaviour of the Stour. Jezza limped along there with a nasty case of ‘Medieval foot’ for a practice on Friday and whittled out a few pounds of silvery things on simple float gear. So, the prospect of a decent match was on the cards for the following day.

My day started in the usual way with a spring in my step and a song on my heart. The birds whistled their morning greeting and the fish in the lake rose in unison to bid me a good day. I tipped my hat in return and skipped around to erect our beloved bog tent near the ‘Owl Hoose’. (Five stars on Owl Trip Advisor). I was determined to not let it get the better of me this time after several false starts previously. Either this tent is easier to assemble, or the other was a complete git because everything went without much of a hitch. Would it still there at the end of the day? Would it take a parent with it as it departed? Only time would tell…

With the championship being so close, not shovelling the brown stuff into the room ventilator would be crucial. One slip of form from any of the three contenders could spell disaster for any hope of lifting the clubs largest and heaviest trophy.

The draw went as follows: Peg 1: Liam ‘Grow Bag’ Serkis (Non-competitor). Peg 2: Oliver ‘Aquaboy’ Smith (Non-Audio). Peg 3: Kenzie ‘Big Fish’ Toulson (Non-porous). Peg 5: Austin ‘Moglie’ Scott-Kennedy (Non-absorbent). Peg 6: Jack ‘Twiglet’ Copp (Non-stick). Peg 7: Josiah ‘His Lordship’ Wells-Parkes (Non-grip). Peg 8: Jack ‘Back of the net’ Davis (Non-luckworthy)

You trio of spectacular coaches today were: Graham Howard – Micheal Fish Jerry Bracey – Wincey Willis Jon Bass – Jon Kettley A Brief, but well supported, Chris Painter as Ulrika Johnsson

Peg One: Liam Serkis: Liam arrive a little after the others looking a little cold. Went I asked if he was warm enough, he answered by telling me that he had already taken a dive in a river that morning from the height of a moving bicycle. Many questions passed through my mind, none of which I asked him. But he was ok and none the worse for his ridiculous self-inflicted ordeal… Blue-eyed Hazel arrived sporting brand-new contacts which didn’t seem to be working because she greeted me with a warm hug. Liam had decided to spend his time with us today catching roach on the whip. He also caught a lot of Hawthorn trees in the process. You can’t blame him though, the wind at times was pretty evil. Jerry had been the lucky one who stood the closest and had the whip thrust into his hand and was asked to sort it… I helped by trying cut away the offending branch with loppers. This meant I had to stand on a thin, slippery, and rather precarious piece of wooden decking that enabled me to position myself close enough to the bush to reach the snagged branch. Jerry advised me not to fall in, which was helpful and further helped by hooking a banana finger through the hanging loop positioned somewhere between my shoulder blades on the outside of my jacket. I hoped that Preston Innovations made ‘em strong because Jerry clearly thought that it was going to be enough to prevent my ample figure from a dunking should my Flamingo-like balance fail me. Sadly, for you, it didn’t. But I managed to cut through the line we were trying to retrieve anyway. So, the whole exercise was pointless… Liam caught some nice Silvers before beating a hasty retreat ahead of the impending rainstorm that would follow. Did he know? Or was it coincidence… Whichever it was I waved Liam and Hazel off until next time…

Peg Two: Oliver Smith: Now I wouldn’t call it cheating but Ollie did try to use his disgustingly youthful fingers to try to feel the numbers on the plastic tokens in the bag of dreams. When accused, he denied it. But, within, seconds had admitted his crime by announcing that he thought it was peg three, not two. Guilty as charged! I let him off with a light verbal flaying and drew a line under the whole charade before continuing the draw with me drawing the pegs for the rest. They must think we’re all daft… Now firmly bedded into peg two, Annamama was singing the praise of the protective covering of the trees whilst, at the same time, berating me for organising such atrocious weather. I tried to explain that me and the almighty have not been on speaking terms since 1996, but apparently it was still my fault. I told her that she would look lovely in any weather she wanted to wear, and that seemed to appease her for enough time for me to escape. Ollie, now being a teenager, was slightly more neanderthal than usual today. Answering any question or comment with a polite ‘What?’ or ‘Huh?’. I later found out that he was mono-audially plugged into a secret device secreted about his person. Imagine my delight when I heard that the offending ‘ear-bud’ had ended up in his keepnet! Sadly, I must report that it still worked after a three-hour dunking. ENT checks will now be mandatory on all future junior events to sniff out illegal devices. Ollie had a reasonable day’s fishing considering the silverfish had seemed to have largely gone on strike. Weighing in 21lbs on the nose was good enough to secure third place on the day but was shy of the win he needed to keep him in the running (mathematically) for the championship. A good effort on a difficult day from the former champion. (Additional notes: As promised no mention will be made of Anna’s senior fan club followers, the A.O.G. (Anna’s Old Gits), or her ambition to be an advanced driving instructor – The Mud-Slinger)

Peg Three: Kenzie Toulson: Tina was in a state of shock at realising she was outside, in November, knowing full well that the arrival of the rain was guaranteed. She was all but pining for the warmth of the summer, with the associated vest tops and shorts. In all honesty you can’t blame her either, an opinion that was demonstrated in the film clip at the end of the blog. The heavens opened and for a few seconds I thought about toughing it out in my waterproofs. Head won over heart, and I beat a hasty retreat, and joined Tina in the comparative dry of my umbrella. The sight of Kenzie sat patiently waiting for a bite whilst the Gods emptied the contents of a small reservoir on his and everyone else’s heads was a sight to behold, and very amusing. Kenzie had drawn the peg that I often go to when I fish at Luckfield. It certainly holds some fish and has unique features to it. One of those is a small channel that goes behind the bush to your right. Fish feel safe in there, unless you position a bait at the entrance to the channel. Kenzie had done just that and boy did it pay off… I had got the shout from the delightful Mrs Painter who told me that Kenzie had hooked a belter. When I arrived at p3, Tina instantly relinquished all netting responsibilities by throwing the landing net handle at me. ‘You do it! It’s massive!’… It was too, and by the time I slid the net under it, Kenzie was shaking so much you could almost hear him humming. The biggest fish of the day went a hefty 13lbs 5ozs, a definite boost to his final weight. Being so big, the fish was weighed, recorded, and returned immediately rather than folded into a keep net. Two more Carp and a solitary Roach was added to his final total weight of 27lbs 3ozs. Kenzie was buzzing with a new PB and a £10 voucher for finishing second in only his second match ever. Very well done! As a foot note, Kenzie showed an extraordinary level of composure when playing some very nice fish today, particularly for a junior so new to the sport. Of course, he exploded when the fish was safe, and we were all wiping verbal diarrhoea off ourselves for a good 45 minutes after.

Peg Five: Austin Scott-Kennedy: Forgetting your rods is not the best start to a critical match in the pursuit of a maiden championship. Maybe the consistent results of the year so far were making the whole exercise a little mundane for Austin. Luckily for him he was at the venue where we store the junior coaching equipment, so there was something there to save his blushes and his tooshie. Whether it was the pressure of the occasion, the swim, the huge jacket that he was poured into, the weather, or a combination of all of them, but Austin looked like the confidence had drained from him a little. He always sends me questions to answer before every event, and I hope that the info has played a part in his success this year. But, until you get to your peg, you don’t really know if what you know is going to be useful or not. There have been a few fish coming out of P5 this year, so I had confidence that Moglie could winkle a result from here. But it wasn’t to be today and, sadly for him, his vein of good form deserted him when he needed it the most. Brian, like Tina, couldn’t believe he was outside in November, and had even encased his legs in two layers of trousers. The outer most of these was a blindingly new pair of over trousers that looked ripe for soiling at some point during the day. I didn’t have to wait long. Collecting the rest of Austin’s gear, I noticed that one of Brian’s legs was suspiciously muddier than ten minutes earlier. They were new no more because Brian had taken a dive with Austin’s seat box on the slippery mud in P5. He was fine, so it was funny. But it was a little treacherous under foot today. Austin had to be satisfied with being tale end Charlie today, something I know he won’t be happy about. The good news is that his championship is still very much alive, and fate will decide who lifts trophy at the last match, as it should be. Austin weighed a rather lowly 9lb 9ozs of a single Carp and side helping of Roach.

Peg Six: Jack Copp: Jack had decided to go for silvers today and set about zipping out Roach and Skimmers with great speed. Six is an awkward old peg for a pole, I know from experience. But, if you can get them to come close enough, you’re in with a chance of an efficient day. As mentioned earlier, the silvers were a bit off colour compared to last year when Austin gathered a beautiful bag of silver from P7. It must be said that Jack gave it a good shot, spending a good amount of the match on the pole. But they wouldn’t come close enough for comfort and finally deserted him with 90-minutes to go. Jack turned to a renowned spot down the right margin, one of the Red Foxes favourite spots, and Jack exploited it to the max. As soon as a string of Carp was hitting Jack’s landing net, most knew it was all over for the win. Despite the chance of a weigh boosting munter, the feeling was that Jack had it in the bag towards the end which just as well because the crusade for silvers had not paid off as he hoped. The fact was that Jack’s bag of several Carp was enough to win on their own, without the silvers. But together they weighed 39lbs 5ozs. The win and the big voucher were Jack’s and he thoroughly deserved it. Congratulations Twiglet…

Peg Seven: Josiah Wells-Parkes: ‘Watch it mate, those steps are lethal’ came the warning from James who clearly did not want to see me go clattering down the steps into the mud at the bottom. It was nasty and all the moving around in such a small area had turned P7 into a bog of some note. In the middle of the bog was jo, sat on his angled box, ready for action. He was on the peg were the silvers lived, but he was there on the day when the slivers were reluctant to feed. He managed to snare two belting fish, another would have launched him into third, even second place. But he couldn’t find another and had to be content with fourth. Like Austin, his championship is very much still alive going into the last match in two-week’s time. I watched Jo for a while, and you can see the mark left on him from Callum’s visit a few weeks earlier. I will genuinely send a video to Callum to show him the influence he had and progress of the juniors that came to see him. People do not see the extra challenge that Jo has compared to the other juniors. I do. I see the trouble he has with his hands. The flare ups from touching the pellets and the fish. For Jo, it would be so much easier for him to find a new sport to pursue, to make the suffering from his hands go away. But he loves his fishing, and we love him for it. This year has marked a significant step forward in his fishing and long may it continue. Jo’s weight at the end was 20lbs 9ozs.

Peg Eight: Jack Davis: Some days go your way. Some days you can ride your luck and look back thinking you just got away with it. Other days Satan just opens his laundry basket after a heavy session at the gym and plunges your face in up to your shoulder blades. Jack D was sniffing socks today for sure… P8 was the heartbreak swim and for good reason. Edging into winter gives the angler a tough choice. Do you gear for silvers or Carp? Gearing for silvers will get you bites. But hook a Carp and you could get bashed up. Gear for Carp and you’ll land the fish you hook, if you get any bites on heavier lines and hooks. Compromise, compromise, compromise… Jack quite rightly opted for bites and silvers, rolling the dice against hooking a beast. Early in the match, the beast cometh and eateth Jack’s bait(eth)… I wasn’t present but Gentle Jon said that the fish was on for ages, running Jack ragged all over his swim. Slowly but surely, ground was being gained on what would be a very handy fish indeed. Predictions were that it was well into double figures as Jack patiently played the fish as best he could on lighter gear. Finally, after what seem like an age, the fish was in the landing net. Like Jack and Josiah, the steep bank makes it difficult to fish a pole properly and Jack had to break his pole down several times to be able to land it. Your guess as what happened next is as good as mine. All I do know is that, somehow the fish made a last big kick which resulted in it being free from the net again. It wasn’t going to hang around and made a bit for freedom as any good Carp should. With the pole in several pieces, Jack couldn’t keep up with the fish and that sickening feeling of all the pressure on the elastic suddenly being released was evident on poor Jack’s face. You carry an episode like that with you, and it can be tough to shake off. But Jack managed to get amongst the Carp again, but far too late to make a difference. He did have the largest weight of silvers (7lbs) boosted, as it was, by a nice green looking Tench of about 2lbs. 14lbs 11ozs for Jack at the end but, what could it have been? Something we shall never know… Well done anyway Jack…

With just one more round to go, we turn our eyes to Whitemoor in two weeks-time for the Martin Vine Memorial trophy match on the Canal Lake. As usual, I will try to get as much info about the venue as I can, but the possibilities are many on a lake like this. Isn’t it exciting!?

The championship now stands as follows: 188 Jack Copp 184 Josiah Wells-Parkes and Austin Scott-Kennedy.

The silverfish champs: 23lbs 3ozs Jack Copp 19lbs 13ozs Austin Scott-Kennedy

As usual it’s all to play for and we will know all too soon who will be needing the silver polish…

My eternal thanks go to Jerry Bracey and Jon Bass for their help in difficult conditions today, thank you both.

As I mentioned on the day, I am planning some evening classes through the wintertime for tutorials on making pole rigs and tying hooks etc. I only have room for two or three in each session, so there will be a few chances to get involved if you wish to. I will probably have a week or two off after the end of the season before setting some dates for these. I will let you all know via Spond.

There is still a chance for us to have a coaching session over the winter on the river if it ever behaves itself again. I will let you know more in due course.

For now, thank you all for a great day.

Take care and tight lines…

Juniors Sec…

**Disclaimer** The photos for this event were taken by Oliver Smith. If you have any objections to any images shown, I will give you his contact details for any solicitors correspondents... -JS...

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