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22/06/24 - Junior Pairs Match - Charlottes Lake, Harbourbridge Lakes.

Important information:

The next event was stated as being at Sharnhill at the last event.

We will in fact be going back to Revels for a special coaching session with guest coach and Colmic Ace, Richard Chave.

This will be a Silverfish special with a real master of the art. Richard has won matches far and wide on rivers, lakes, and canals including the British Canal Pairs Championships and has qualified for the very prestigious Riverfest final.

Details will be on Spond as usual.


Before we start, I want to address an issue that arose from the match today.

I want all our juniors to have a little think about what they say to each other during the junior events.

We all say things in a group environment that might be aimed at another individual.

Despite the intent of playful words, sometimes they can be hurtful. Particularly if they repetitive or overused.

I/we will be addressing this particular situation in the next few days, but I would ask that a little thought for your fellow juniors is required on occasions.


I’m not going to lie; the pairs match is probably my favourite junior event of the year. I think it reminds me of team fishing back in the day, where just to do your best could be enough to be carried by your team-mates. Obviously, a pairs match does not involve large numbers of team members. Two in fact. But you still get the feeling of being in a team and the feeling that you still need to keep trying even though you may not win.

The week started with a coaching session at Harbourbridge on Wednesday that gave me a good insight into how the fishing might be for the match day.

Having looked at the weather forecast for the week, Wednesday would probably be a false dawn because of the 180° change of wind direction and variable air pressures in the days in between. The fishing was good and, with a few anglers on the lake, the angling pressure would be similar to Saturday.

But there would one vital difference that became apparent on the day.

We needed to raise the number of participants for the pairs match because of the cost of the vouchers. Double the vouchers means £60 instead of the usual £30.

We needed 12 juniors, and we got 12 juniors. Just…

Your Shrimplets for today were;

Peg 1: Jack Copp (Twiglet, brought to you by Middy, and by the number 12).

Peg 2: Kenzie Toulson (Chatterbox).

Peg 3: Josh Roe (Matrix Padawan).

Peg 4: Mia Evans (Little Miss Preston)

Peg 5: Kit Freeman (The Human Torpedo)

Peg 6: Harry Wilmer (Jeremy Paxman)

Peg 7: Austin Scott-Kennedy (Rambo)

Peg 8: Oliver Smith (Aquaboy)

Peg 9: Harry Cryer: (Windchime)

Peg 10: Alec Campbell (The Noisy One)

Peg 11: Jack Cryer (T’other Jack)

Peg 12: Josiah Wells-Parkes (His Lordship)

The Jelly-Mould (The correct collective noun for a group of 4 to 5 Angling Coaches) today were,

Graham Howard as Anastasia Tremaine.

Jerry Bracey as Drizella Tremaine.

Tim Broughton as Prince Charming.

Chris Ward as Fairy Godmother.

Nigel Kemp as Cinderella (Because he arrived late!)


Peg One:

Jack Copp:

Created in a corner of the Middy factory, the new Jack Copp was covered from head to toe in Middy sponsorship. Well, that may not have been strictly true but, the bits he did have were quite good.

Jack had celebrated with a leaping punch to the air when I drew him peg one. Dave did the same but only because it was the closest peg to the carpark!

But two hours into the match the air was now decidedly unpunched because the lake wasn’t performing how anyone expected. The wind that headed east on Wednesday, was now going hard West and, in theory, should have favoured the Copplet. But that wasn’t case, and by Jack’s high standards, it was a struggle.

It was Jack that mentioned that the added pressure of multiple keep nets may have been a contributing factor to the fish being less than responsive.

Jack used everything in his armoury to catch more fish. Even using Dave as a far bank marker at one point… What a dad has to do for his kid…

After the match had finished Jack fished short (Top kit + 3) and caught Carp after Carp and it made me think…

What the juniors need is a seasoned angler, say about in his or her mid 50’s, with years of angling experience to go and fish at the venues the matches are being held on, so they can get an idea of what the juniors should do. This person should then write down their findings on a website, Facebook page, or Fb group so that the juniors would have a reference to baits and methods that WILL work. The juniors would then meticulously follow the advice of this person, lets call them a ‘Lead Coach’, and catch many more fish.

I’ll work on it for future matches…

Jack would weigh in 15lbs 10ozs for 4 match points.


Peg Two:

Kenzie Toulson:

Kenzie was pegged next to another renown chatterbox, Josh. It may have been two excited kids that have a lot to say about everything, or it could have been a new match ploy to mentally destroy the opposition by talking them into submission over five very long hours! Whatever the tactics, they definitely got into the Middy Masters head and were told to ‘shut up!’ on more than a couple of occasions…

At the weigh in, I got my most disappointing moment of the day.

The fish were going nuts and spraying both me and Kenzie with all sorts of gunge. From behind me I heard Tina comment that she ‘Couldn’t wait to get you into the shower’.

Confused, and in all innocence, I asked if she was talking to me?

Tina answered in three levels of increasing venom ‘No….NO….NO!!!!’

I understood her denying my innocent confusion, but the strength of the denial was a little hurtful..

Kenzie has a lot going on in the background at the moment and I am glad that he and Tina made it to the match today. We agreed that a bit of fishing therapy was helpful right now. They are integral parts of our fishing family, and we stand together.

Kenzie weighed in7lbs 3ozs for 12 match points.


Peg Three:

Josh Roe:

The weather can be unkind to some, and Martin was one of them. I warned him that he would get fed up with me asking how he was today, and it may have been the case.

Even the Roe families fast response unit, Sadie, came to administer extra potions and ask him for the 154th time if he was ok.

Asthma sucks….

I watched Josh fishing on a few occasions today and he is fast becoming a tidy angler. Like Jack, the purchase of good gear has elevated his fishing to another level, and it shows. The smooth use of his pole when playing a bonus fish was impressive and, although I didn’t get round to looking at his rigs, they must have been effective because he was catching.

It was sweet at the end when Josh asked me if we would take long to weigh in, etc, because ‘The first thing I’m going to do when I get home is put him on a nebuliser’ (pointing at a flagging Martin).

Peg wise, not competitive. But Josh fished a tidy match for 20lbs 9ozs for 3 match points.


Peg Four:

Mia Evans:

Mia impressed me today.

Going for nearly a full 90-minutes without diving into her lunch bag was a new milestone for her, and I’m proud. Mia has a steady style. Smooth and purposeful. A useful aspect when fishing in breezy conditions like today. We just need to inject a little urgency to get her to make the next step up. (an observation, not a criticism). Maybe that will come in time, but for now she’s doing great things, despite what some might think.

A monster tangle allowed me to demonstrate my untangling skills, and for Mia to tuck into phase two of her extensive menu.

A few juniors learned today that a hook is not just a hook.

I observed a few juniors (some that should have known better by the way!) using one hook for all their fishing regardless of the bait.

It is vital that you match your hooks to the size and type of bait being used.

Eyed hooks for bait bands, Lasso’s, Quickstops, etc.

Spade hooks for maggots, meat, and any other baits that are mounted directly on to the hook.

Weight (thickness of wire or ‘Gauge’) of the hook is also vitally important that you carefully match with the bait being used. We will address all this at the next coaching session.

Mia did a great job today, fishing with the weight target set for her by Jerry of 12lbs, she weighed in 12lbs 15ozs and 10 match points.


Peg Five:

Kit Freeman:

In the water, Kit is lightning. Out of the water (next to it), Kit is a bit rusty.

The returning Kit is trying to catch up with his fellow juniors because he has been busy lately trying to swim faster than a startled Roach in a weed bed full of hungry Pike. Only I imagine he will see himself as the Pike, rather than the Roach.

We will look at the bits and pieces that he needs to change in order to be more competitive, or at least fish a little better. Using size 23 elastic won’t really cut it for finger length Rudd.

Kit is an intelligent lad, and he knew that he wasn’t up to scratch with his fishing at the moment. But, to his credit, he came anyway. Just because he loves his fishing.

He got little return for the effort that he put in, but it gave me a chance to see what areas we needed to work on. It’s always good to catch up with Kit.

A weight of 7lbs 8ozs and 11 match points would be his reward on a moody day at Harbourbridge.


Peg Six:

Harry Wilmer:

I’m not going to make a big deal of this. All I’m going to say is that Harry had tried to stop the Earth from rotating by using a skateboard and his face and let’s leave it at that.

Speech was an issue for the battered Harry and by that, I mean understanding him was a problem. Talking is never an issue for Harry and even a superglued lip didn’t stop him from asking more questions than the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard trial, only it was limited just 300 questions per hour rather than the usual 500.

Harry wasn’t happy that he was the only one with injuries and decided that Ross’s partner who had turned up for the day and who’s name sadly escapes me because she was delightful to talk to, should join Harry in the A&E.

She moved around the rear of Harry to get a photo of a fish he’d landed, just as Harry moved his handle. She tripped on it sending her into what was in my mind a very slow- motion descent. I neither had the time to break her fall nor to get my phone out to film it happening…I rued an opportunity lost as I made sure she was ok. Fortunately, she bounced well and got up faster than she fell, which was impressive. It would appear than some would go to any lengths to get in the Mud-Slinger?

Bravo, my dear, mission accomplished…

As far as the fishing goes, Harry had a good day catching 15lbs 7ozs for 5 match points.


Peg Seven:

Austin Scott-Kennedy:

Austin had promised me before the match to go home drier than the last time out at Revels. I was pleased about this because Graham was not a happy boy last time.

Then again, the club’s committee members were busy throwing each other in the weekend before, so maybe it’s me that’s got it wrong?

Austin had a clean mudline to fish to that would be a distinct advantage to him today. Austin has previous form at Harbourbridge for festooning the far bank with a varied range of feeders buried so deep that some had reached the Magma layer.

There wasn’t a Squirrel in sight for at least five miles, and even the local birds were heard flying up the lake muttering ‘Oh God, Oh God, Oh God’ as they ran the gauntlet of withering fire from Austin’s seat box.

Grandad Brian was keeping a tally of lost feeders, hoping that it would stay below the state pension rate or at least below the £15 of potential winnings at the end.

This is the penalty for fishing tight over, and Austin was tighter than a tight thing in a tight space.

Austin needed to spend time setting up during the match which limited his fishing time. This was probably just as well for the others because it also limited him to 45lb 7ozs and one solitary match point. By far the top weight by quite some margin...


Peg Eight:

Oliver Smith:

That's a bit close to the edge isn't it? I asked.

'I'd rather lose the boy than all this expensive bait!' was the genuine, not exaggerated reply.

Annamama was pacing the bank, wringing her hands in frustration. The usual warm feathery soft words for adoring encouragement had been replaced by much harder words of derision and, dare I say, disappointment?

El Capitano was having an off day today. The toys had come of the pram, the dummy spat, and the nappy filled. Even SGT Bracey’s gentle threats of physical harm did nothing to lift the lad from his funk.

Ollie wasn’t feeling it today and each time I looked at him his shoulders rounded more and more. I thought that he might have had a better day than he did because he was catching small skimmers at the start. I advised small balls of micros which quickly resulted in a Bream of 2lbs. But only the one Bream.

Later on we asked Harry in the next peg if we could poach some of the tree line that he wasn’t using. He agreed and a Carp was ‘borrowed’. But it wasn’t enough.

Ollie put 14lbs 4ozs onto the scales enough for 8 match points.


Peg Nine:

Harry Cryer:

I didn’t get a picture of it but apparently Harry had been ‘Pants’d’ by his brother and was shuffling towards the car with his joggers round his ankles. The whiteness of his slender legs lit the surrounding area up like a nuclear blast and I was forced shield my eyes from the spectacle.

Like Austin, Harry had a mudline to target and was doing a great job in getting the feeder there. Harry is improving at his own pace, and you can see the changes in his skills every week.

Maybe the fish were not there. Maybe the swim had less depth than the other swims. What ever the reason, Harry fell into the now popular ‘15lb’ bracket that so many juniors now occupied.

14lb 13ozs was Harry’s end score which carried with it 7 match points.


Peg Ten:

Alec Campbell:

I feared when they were a little late that the early rise had taken its toll on Alec who is NOT an early person. Sunrise is a myth, Breakfast is lunch, and there is only one ten o’clock in any 24 hours.

Joking aside, not sleeping sucks and I genuinely sympathise!

Alec had been practicing earlier in the week and I witnessed a huge improvement in his skills. Because the fishing was so different, his catch rate in practice was phenomenal and I had big hopes for him during the match. As promised, we don’t ‘swamp’ Alec too much. But from what I saw he didn’t do that much wrong, and his reward was a wonderful bag of silverfish weighing in 14lbs 0ozs and gave him 9 match points.

I love the reaction from the onlookers, particularly the adult anglers present, when a good big of silvers comes out. You know that the angler has had a busy day and worked hard for their catch.


Peg Eleven:

Jack Cryer:

Jack was at the upwind end of the lake meaning that, in theory, the wind would be slightly lighter. What actually happened was that instead of the wind just being strong as it was further down the lake, it swirled and gusted making it much harder to read and adjust to. Jack also had trees to contend with and this coupled with gusting wind meant a couple of lost feeders. Like his brother, Jack has improved at his own rate and is getting better. I’d like to see both their skills take the next step and maybe that’s something we could work on in future coaching sessions.

Jack was another in the 15lb club if only by one ounce, good enough to 6 match points.


Peg Twelve:

Josiah Wells-Parkes:

Jo was another returning junior after some illness and a well-deserved holiday. He was looking much better and was ready to resume his fishing year. Drawing at the far end of the lake, Jo would have lots of space to fish in that would hopefully contain plenty of weight boosting Carp as the pressure pushed the fish into quieter water.

Because of his lack of practice, you could see that Jo had slipped with things like casting. Not to say that he’s lost his edge, he just needs to hone the edge back on again.

At the end of the day, Jo fished a good match from a peg with a slight advantage over the rest. But the fish do not just swim in the net on their own, and Jo had the skills to put them there.

Jo tipped 31lbs 6ozs onto the scales and earned himself 2 match points.

So that’s the individual reports, how about the team scores?

You will have noticed that each junior was awarded match points. One for the top weight, down to twelve for the lowest.

We did a live random draw whereby I randomly asked coaches and parents to draw out a number that corresponded to the peg numbers and therefore the juniors on the day.

The team members, their weight, points, and accumulative score is as follows,

1st, P7 & P6, Austin Scott-Kennedy & Harry Wilmer, 6 points (60lbs 14ozs)

2nd, P1 & P3, Jack Copp & Josh Roe, 7 points (36lbs 3ozs)

3rd, P2 & P12, Kenzie Toulson & Josiah Wells-Parkes, 14 points (38lbs 9ozs)

4th, P11 & P8, Jack Cryer & Oliver Smith, 14 points (29lbs 5ozs)

5th, P9 & P10, Harry Cryer & Alec Campbell, 16 points (28lbs 13ozs)

6th, P5 & P4, Kit Freeman & Mia Evans, 21 points (20lbs 7ozs)

Congratulations to our winners, commiserations to the rest.


A still my favourite event of the year and a big thank you from me for all those who turned to make this our biggest Junior pairs match to date.

I also want to thank everyone for giving us the grace to remain quiet during the weighing in process. It really did help to get everything right and to make the whole thing run smoothly.

Thank you to our attending coaches, Jerry, Chris, Tim and Nigel.

Big thanks to Jim Roper for allowing us to fish on a lake that is fast becoming a firm favourite amongst the juniors.

Our next event is the third round of the evening knockout series on the Stock Pond at Revels on Friday 28th of June. There are two places left at the time of writing.

Take care all,

Juniors Sec…

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