HEADLINES: Wildlife friendly Junior feeds the world: Junior record broken for venue: Participant ‘Flies in’ to event:
Chester’s Lake looked resplendent with its newly groomed island, despite the low water level which was not that surprising when you consider the lack of rain that we’ve had since June.
The cloudy, and occasionally rainy weather, only served to underline the fact that Autumn was beginning to make its presence felt. The greenery in the trees that gave shade in the summer was now turning to brown, and the leaves were beginning to lay a carpet on the grass. Do not think it was cold though because it wasn’t. There was still enough warmth in the air to allow the wearing of shorts and vest tops by those gathered for the eighth round of the DDAS junior championship.
Todays match was going to be supported by the Angling Trusts ‘Get Fishing’ campaign that helps fisheries to get more kids involved with fishing. Tom had purchased some drinks and nibbles which would be consumed during a break in proceedings at one o’clock.
I popped the usual couple of signs out to guide the wayward flock to where they were supposed to be. No such guidance was needed for the Copp’s who I believe had arrived at the lake to wake the Cockerell. They were there before me anyway, and I was there way too early.
I drove up to the office to chat to Tom before asking about access to a water tap to fill up the flag weight bags. He showed me, we chatted, and I duly drove off without a drop being dripped into a bag of any kind… I’m glad that parts of my body are firmly attached because I would no doubt periodically forget those too! After a bit of tooth grinding, I headed back up the track again, depositing yet another layer of dust on the cars parked by the Canal Lake.
Bags now filled I arrived back at ‘Chester’s’ to find Dave sorting through the nets for the best he could find. Jack and I set off to put the six pegs that would be required for the match. It is sometimes easier to peg out lots of numbers, rather than just pick a few from many. Making a choice is difficult. Ask any married couple when it comes to deciding what to have for dinner.
Between us, Jack and I nailed down the golden spots for the day that gave each angler plenty of room in which to fish, and no room with which to complain.
Flags and banners up and nearly everyone present and correct, except for one. I know what you’re thinking, and it wasn’t Amy… Jack Davis arrived with mum Serina saying that they gotten a little lost enroute to Whitemoor. Whilst touring the Dorset countryside they had even managed ‘a little air’ over some of the lumpier bits of road. It makes you wonder just how fast they were travelling? We rarely start without everyone being accounted for, so the panic was ultimately for nothing.
A bit of waffle about H&S and the draw went as follows:
Peg One – Kit freeman (The king of the North) Peg Two – Austin Scott-Kennedy (Camo/Rambo) Peg Three – Josiah Wells-Parkes (His Lordship) Peg Four – Jack Davis (Strangely Athletic (Preliminary nickname)) Peg Five – Oliver Smith (Aquaboy) Peg Six – Jack Copp (Twiglet)
Your creche of coaches today were: Graham Howard – Cockney Spice Jerry Bracey – Scary Spice Si Wagner – Brummie Spice Jon Bass – Hairy Spice
Peg One: Kit Freeman: It was soothing to know that Kit was still speaking to me after the total debacle at Todber. Clearly forgiven, I was greeted with a smile from both Kit and Jen. We were to be blessed with the company of Jen for the duration of the day today. She said she was still recovering from running in the blistering heat a couple of weeks back, on the same day that we were fishing at Todber. She looked well on it despite having been forced to give up the run, on a steep hill, just 12.5 miles out of the 400 she was scheduled to cover that day (Not necessarily accurate). I was honest and told her I would have given up just after registering for the event. Kit was looking to better the 25lbs that he caught last time out and was in a determined mood when presented me with his top kit and a new elastic. I duly set about the task of replacing the Todber boat rope with a more gentile elastic for the smaller residents of Chester’s Lake. The low air pressure meant that, for most of the juniors, it was going to be a feeder day. So it was for Kit, fishing both the island and to an empty peg to his left. Apart from an early trip to the island with his feeder, Kit fished well today. He did beat his Todber weight by weighing 25lbs 15ozs, good enough for fourth on the day and fifteen sweet championship points.
Peg Two: Austin Scott-Kennedy: Austin had drawn a winning peg from last year and, like most of the shrimps, was in a determined mood. Austin was another that found the feeder the best option today, finding swims in both the margin, and across to the island. He had also taken a dislike to the harshness of the wooden platforms. He instead used a previously undiscovered form of ‘Feng Shui’ to liberally carpet the surface with pellets for the ‘Just tipped over a fresh three pints of bait’ look. It made his peg look unique that’s for sure, and the surrounding wildlife could not wait for him to clear off at the end so they could scoff it all. A fat Grey Squirrel was heard to murmur ‘Dear god, I can eat no more’ before he fell asleep… In fairness, Austin was fishing a blinder today and used his watercraft well to pick two viable spots from which to extract fish all day. Yes, there were dalliances with the trees on occasions. But that’s the risk you take when you go deep into the jungle. Austin finished his match with 39lbs 13ozs, which was good enough to grab him second place, 20 points, and £10 to spend in Alan’s Angling. The ounces would definitely count today!
Peg Three: Josiah Wells-Parkes: Jo was still on a high after his victory with partner Si at Todber during the pairs match. Pegged in the far corner of the little lake, Jo had plenty of areas from which to catch and accurate casting was going to be key. Jo suffers with his hands quite a lot when he’s fishing, and allowances need to be made for this. Dad James was stood next to him for the whole day with a towel over his shoulder like a boxing trainer, ready to wipe Jo’s hands after each cast and each fish. I watched Jo from afar today, (I do that a lot, even when they think I’m not watching. I see all!) and his distance casting is getting better, but some work is needed on the short range, underarm stuff that Ollie and Jack have got nailed down so well. But he’s getting there. He must have got something right today because most times that I did look in his direction, his rod was bent over with yet another fish! Josiah has hit a run of form lately and it is good to see. He has come so close on a number of occasions that he deserves the taste of victory. Jo set a new junior lake record (for us) with an admirable 50lbs 12ozs winning a £15 voucher for Alan’s and 25 championship points. Well done, Jo…
Peg Four: Jack Davis: I described Jack as being like a newly born deer, trying to stand up. That’s what he reminded me of when you see him navigating his way round his fishing tackle. Not sure whether to stand, sit, or lie down… It is where we all start, and Jack is at the start of his fishing journey, and he loves it. You can’t buy passion and enthusiasm in the shops, and Jack has it in spades! This was Jack’s first match and, being a footballer, he is ultracompetitive. That can be both advantage and disadvantage because the desire to win brings with it expectation. Jack is fishing against kids that have years of experience behind them, despite their tender age. So, a win first time out was going to be a steep climb for a newbie. I placed Jack under the tutelage of Jon (Whiskers) Bass for the day, and I we definitely saw improvement before the end. Jack was struggling to reach that two foot from the bank ‘Golden zone’ at times. But, towards the latter stages of the match, he was hitting his marks well. Jerry and I both told Serina that Jack will make a very competent angler if he keeps applying himself the way he does now. Someone must come last in every event, something I know well! It was Jack’s turn today. Let’s see where he is a year from now… Jack weighed 12lbs 3ozs…
Peg Five: Oliver Smith: Ollie wasn’t impressed with the peg that stuck to his fingers in the bag of dreams. It was the same peg as the last time he fished here earlier in the year. He didn’t do very well from it then, and the story had not changed much today either. Don’t think for a minute that he didn’t try, far from it. Frustratingly the fish where there in great numbers, but were just not falling to the method feeder. I feel that the lack of a long pole is starting to affect his fishing lately. He has the talent and the ability, just not the equipment, and it makes for a tough watch sometimes. We all tried to help him, his big eyes pleading for that magic bit of advice that would turn his day around. But it wasn’t to be. It didn’t help that Annamama was threatening all who came close with a swift and painless death if we didn’t come with the goods. Something that made the hardest of coaches shy away to preserve his own existence. Soon after the lunch break, Ollies chin had dropped, and his day was done. With a limited number of matches left, Ollie may struggle to be a contender this year, but I know he won’t give up. He weighed 18lbs 5ozs, which I know won’t please him. I also know it won’t stop him either…
Peg Six: Jack Copp: Jack is starting to look the real deal these days and starting to fish like the real deal too. His new pole is paying off and every match is seen as an opportunity to push the limits of his abilities. I watched him at length today and was genuinely impressed with what I observed. Fishing long with ease, coming short to find better fish, and doing it all with eyewatering speed. Before the lunch break, my money was on Austin or Josiah all day long. But post lunch, Jack gathered some bigger Carp tight under the margin bushes and I was forced to revise my opinion. The only advice I might give is to not try to fish with such a short lash (The distance between float and pole tip) until he gets his long pole under more control. I noticed a few tangled rigs being hastily changed during the day. I’m guessing this may have been down to shipping issues and a slightly longer lash, if only a couple of centimetres, would help with this. Jack would be left wishing he’d bagged just one more fish because, had he have done so, he would have pinched second place from under Austin’s nose. Jack weighed 39lbs 7ozs, enough for third and a £5 voucher for Alan’s Angling.
Jerry was spouting on about the ‘9000 steps’ he’d managed during the day. It is not surprising seeing as he laps faster than Max Verstappen on acid. Compared to my poultry 6700 steps, he’d definitely covered some ground. Mainly due to the fact, and I quote, “Every time I came passed you, you were sat on you’re a***”… The only time I saw him stood still was when he was eating!!!
I want to quickly take a moment to give praise to the parents that dedicate their time to bring their anglers out to fish with us. You are the most important part of why we have had such a great year in ’23. Thank you for wanting to spend the time with us and for bringing your children out for us to coach.
Big thanks to Tom at Whitemoor for hosting us and supplying the nibbles and drinks today. Thanks for providing such a great, junior friendly fishery that our juniors love to visit.
Thank you to Jerry, Jon, and Si for their coaching expertise.
Our next event is next weekend (23rd) back at Whitemoor for a day with our special guest, England international and top angler, Callum Dicks. There are still a few spaces left if you wish to join in for what will be an educational day for all of us.
Take care all,