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29/07/23 - Junior Points Match #7 - Ash Lake - Todber Manor



I’m not sure who reads this rubbish? I can only assume that someone has nothing else better to do. It amuses me to do it, so I’ll carry on…


I made arrangements with Todber Manor at short notice to move our points match there instead of the planned Lysander Lake. I was advised that Whitepost lake might be our only option because the availability of the other match lakes was in question. A pairs match had been booked on the same day, and I was to call the shop on Friday evening to confirm which lake we were to be using. Mistake number one: I forgot to call the shop on Friday evening.


I arrived at Todber on a blustery but mild morning after a sweet little trip through the Dorset countryside following the 20-minute detour owing to bridge maintenance. It was a chance to view and appreciate some of the rich peoples’ houses, and to add them to my despise list.

I paid the peg fees upon arrival at the shop and bought the voucher prizes for the match. I then headed off to Whitepost Lake. Mistake number two: No one from the shop said anything about which lake we were to use, and I assumed it was Whitepost, and didn’t ask.


When I got to Whitepost Lake, my heart sank when I saw someone fishing already.

Great! I noticed there wasn’t a ‘closed’ sign on the notice board.

Just great! I approached the gentleman and told him that the lake was booked today, and as politely as I could, asked him if he wouldn’t mind moving. He admitted he was close to going home anyway and that he would pack away. I thanked him for his understanding, and he left.


As I pegged out the swims, another car arrived in the carpark. I approached the driver with the same level of politeness that had worked previously. The gentleman was a little more ‘miffed’ this time and told me that he had been informed in the shop that the juniors were fishing on Ash Lake…


It’s a special moment when you realised that you may have tossed a giant code brown at the biggest fan in human history. People fishing, no sign out, and different people saying the same thing. One of Todbers' worker bees passed by, and I asked him to confirm my growing fear. He did, and my fear was proven correct. I can only apologise to the chap I prematurely ejected from the lake…

Lesson number one: Always call when you’re supposed to… Lesson number two: Always confirm which lake you are fishing on when the there are more than one. Lesson number three: Never assume anything!


With everyone now gathered at the lake we were supposed to be on (and the lake which I had secretly hope for), everything happened very quickly. The pegs were put out, money was collected, and a thousand questions were answered, and all I did was to help Austin elasticate two pole tips! Thanks chaps...


The draw went as follows, Peg 1: Jack (Shipps Offspring) Copp Peg 2: Josiah (Sit Back) Wells-Parkes Peg 3: Austin (Overload) Scott-Kennedy Peg 4: Jack (Breaker of Poles) Cryer Peg 5: Ollie (Whiskers) Smith Peg 6 Harry (Elmer Fudd) Cryer Peg 7: Kit (Don’t make me use Maggots) Freeman


Your pallet of coaches (the correct noun of a group of five coaches) were, Graham Howard – Lord Edmund Blackadder Jerry Bracey – Baldrick Si Wagner – Lord Percy Percy, Aire to the Dutchy of Northumberland Tim Broughton – Lord Melchett, Lord Chamberlain Jon Bass – Lord Flashheart (Hooray! WOOF!)



Peg One: Jack Copp: No one was more pleased to see me get the lake wrong than Jack. There was lots of fist pumping going on when it became clear that the lead coach had ‘muffed up’ again.

Most of the English-speaking world now knows that Jack has a new pole, and today was going to be its debut in a competitive arena. It was going to get a workout too… I have heard that Des Shipp recently adopted Jack if the amount of social media correspondence is anything to go by. Des regularly sending Jack his best wishes, as well help, tips, and notifications of the latest court injunction. Jack was also one of the many juniors that had Jerry and I looking round for a wall to smash our faces against. A virtual book of solid advice went completely ignored by more than one or two juniors today. Maybe if Jerry and I were to make some generic You Tube videos, we would be more listened to? It wasn’t just Jack though and, if I’m honest, it wasn’t going to slow him down much. Jacks new pole obviously came with a ‘style package’ as well as a series of spare top kits, because I don’t think that I’ve seen a pole being held in so many different poses whilst playing a single fish. It’s difficult to describe but, if you have ever watched Olympic fencing, you’ll have a rough idea. The method that nailed down an impressive victory for Jack was to flick a feeder down the margin. In the end it wasn’t even worth him putting his rod down because the tip was curving round under the weight of another angry little Carp. Jack finished his match with an easy win and a new Junior Match Record of 198lbs 15ozs. A little more willingness to listen to advice would have helped Jack over the 200lb line, but a good job all the same.



Peg Two: Josiah Wells-Parkes: The more observant amongst both of you reading this will have noticed some new nicknames for this event, reflecting more the shrimps on the day. ‘Sit Back’ best describes Jo’s attitude to setting and packing away. Goodness knows what would happen if James wasn’t there! I think he’d be sat there waiting as the whistle blew! But his Lordship didn’t get the nickname just for his fancy name alone. Jo started well on the pole, netting the first fish of the day. For whatever reason, the margin seemed to dry up, forcing him onto the feeder sooner than expected. A good run of decent fish throughout the day secured second place for Jo with a very creditable 140lbs 2ozs. Brilliant job Jo, well done.



Peg Three: Austin Scott-Kennedy: Drawing in the middle of the lake at the narrow ‘pinch’ in Ash Lake may not have worked in Austin's' Favour today. He was the first to ‘Chuck the Chimp’ (Cast a feeder) to an excitable group of hungry Carp. They needed be reasonable hungry too judging by the dinner plates coming in from the sky. Let's just say they were sizable at the very least. I’ll explain.

The lakes are very heavily stocked, and this makes the fish extremely competitive. They will tear the bottom of the lake to pieces searching for food particles and create large clouds of mud. It is easy to think that you need to introduce more and more bait. You can use a bigger feeder or overload the one you have. Not only will this make your feeder difficult to cast, but it will draw too many fish into your swim making them almost impossible to catch. Using measured amounts of bait (A mould) will make the fish eat what is there rather than gorging themselves on the extra feed that no longer has anything to do with your hook bait. It is an important lesson to learn because the fish Austin caught were of a bigger size than the others, there were just not enough of them. I felt for Austin today because it has taken from March to almost August for m=him to slip out of the top three places and it is not often that you can say ‘only’ 106lbs 8ozs. But that is what fishing has become at Todber. Good casting skills today Austin, just measure your feed better. Well done.



Peg Four: Jack Cryer: Now you know why my pole stays at home during junior events! You lend someone your gear and it comes back wrecked! An exaggeration of course, and it was the first time that Jack had properly used a pole. The puller bush had come adrift in his hands, and we had elastic against carbon if we were not careful. I activated my secret role as the artful bodger and fixed the bush in place with a zip-tie, which Jack kept catching his hands on for the rest of the day! We managed to tidy up Jacks’ skills with a pole during the match and, by the end, he was using it far more efficiently. Jack had a quiet day and there isn’t much more to say other than well done for a very creditable 129lbs 8ozs. Good job Jack…



Peg Five: Oliver Smith: Ollie was treading water and was completely adrift without his support entourage today. Annamama seemed to think that sending her child off to fish a match ALONE was far less important than packing ready for G&T’s by a lake in France.

On reflection, she's probably right! Ollie was decanted to the venue by Sgt Bracey who struggled to understand the in-car conversion on the journey up with a now knuckle dragging teenager. Maybe Jerry is unfamiliar with the low grunts and noises from a newly teenaged boy.

Ollie, fresh from doing battle with a 41lb Catfish recently, was surprised to find a smaller version attached to his pole rig during the match. The sound he made was supposed to be a squeal of delight, but all that came out was a sound similar to that made by the door of a rusty car. Sadly, the kitty cat slipped the hook before he got it into the net and the ‘squeal’ turned into an incoherent rumble. Ollie fished a tidy match, probably due to the orders being barked at him every time Jerry walked past him. He finished the day with 138lbs 2ozs, good enough for third place on the day. Well done.



Peg Six: Harry Cryer: Harry was under the direction of Nice Bloke Tim today and took the opportunity to try some different methods from the others. Despite the breeze, fish could be seen everywhere on the surface and Tim set up a pellet waggler for Harry to try. Using baits close to the surface (You’re not allowed to use floating baits in matches) is a great way to attract Carp. It’s also a great way to attract birds.

Mrs Duck had seen the pellets plop into the water and seized the opportunity for an easy meal. Unfortunately, Harry was also attached to the pellet and the two became one with the aid of fishing line.

For a big lad, Tim has very gentle hands (So I’m told) and Mrs Duck was quickly in the landing net and was carefully released completely unharmed, if a little flustered. She re-joined her sisters to a chorus of chatter and cackling.

Harry had a good day, but without a pole, he was always going to struggle. He tipped 116lbs 8ozs onto the scales at the end. Good job Harry.



Peg 7: Kit Freeman: Another junior armed with a new pole, Kit was ready for the fight today. He had a reasonable chance too being at the far and windward end of the lake. Like all the pegs on Ash Lake, Kit had some nice firm margins to fish to. Kit had plumbed the depth carefully and had everything sorted. Kit has the potential to be the real deal and picks up new skills very quickly. It is sometimes easy to forget that he is very new to fishing. Kit was catching well for the first part of the match but was a little limited on rigs to go long/short at four metres when it may have paid off. This information is only realised in hindsight and sometimes tough to see in the moment. But that’s why we review the day to find out what we may or should have done different so we can be better prepared for the next time. That’s process of learning. Towards the end of the match, the fish had turned up in force to Kits right hand margin. Maggots had worked in the senior match going on behind us and so Kit tried some in his swim. The effect of a slow falling bait brought the fish instantly to the surface. The rig was changed to a simple shallow pattern, and I was sure that this would catch many more fish for him. But it had the reverse effect, and he only managed one fish in the last 30 minutes. It might have been better to stay with pellets, but the fish reasoned to maggots far more positively and I would have fished them with total confidence. Something to work on perhaps? Kit weighed a fine 127lbs 4ozs on his first match at Todber. Good job Kit…


I mentioned the match taking place on Hillview. Watching that was a real eye opener and hard to take in. Some anglers were filling a keep net to the limit in just 15-minutes, making the use of multiple nets necessary. The methods are robust but effective and real food for thought. The match was won with over 900lbs of fish! Yes, you did read that correctly. Still not the highest weight there though!



Congratulations to Jack on his win your top three and championship look something like this.

1st Jack Copp 198lbs 15ozs 2nd Josiah Wells-Parkes 140lbs 2ozs 3rd Oliver Smith 138lbs 2ozs


Championship Standings. Jack Copp 117 Austin Scott-Kennedy 111 Harry Cryer 103 Josiah Wells-Parkes 95 Jack Cryer 90 Oliver Smith 90 Kit Freeman 46 Caoimhin D’Errico 37 Jake Taylor 15 Finley Kew 12


We spent three or four years ‘chasing the ton’. Now we have had a match where all the participants weighed in over 100lbs. It is a measure of the evolution of the fishing at Todber Manor. But also, the blossoming skills of our juniors and, dare I say, the evolution of us as coaches.

It was a great day for everyone involved, and I am pleased to say that I have booked Ash Lake for the final Tuesday Club coaching session on the 29th of August so don’t miss that one!


As always, a big thank you to Jerry, Si, Tim and Jon for their time and efforts today. Special thanks to the parents for doing some sterling coaching too.


Thank you to John Candy and all the staff at Todber Manor who always make us feel so warmly welcomed.


Our next match is the 11th of July at Revels for the last qualifying round of the Stock Pond Knockout series. Your last chance to claim your place in the final.


Tight lines…


Juniors Sec…


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