The evening events are all well and good but, you have all day to get excited about them. Normally, the procedure is, try to get some sleep, wake up with the alarm or having my face walked on by Matilda the Cat, breakfast and away.
But the evening matches have me pacing around all day, constantly looking at the time until I decide that there no more point in hanging around and leave three hours early. I even did some housework <shudder> to try and kill some time!
Today was no exception.
I got to the lake at about 3:15pm and went about setting up the equipment. The equipment consisted of six peg numbers and two whips.
At 3:20pm, I was at a loss as to what to do next.
It was amazing how much the weed had grown since we were last here. So much so that some may have struggled to get nets in the water. So, I borrowed a rake and dragged some of it out to make some room. Peg one had weed growing too far out to reach which I thought would be a problem, so I moved Peg 2 (Faith, who was not competing in the match because she qualified last time) to a different position and relocated peg one.
Weed raking completed I sat for a while, checked social media and emails, wandered round the Catfish lake, and sat down again. I looked at the whips. If only I had some bait… I thought about digging up some worms. That seemed like a lot of effort, so I looked around for something else. Oats from a cereal bar? A piece of apple? I know, low fat sweet chilli crackers… Of course! It was obvious! They worked too!
I meandered down to the shop where I caught up with Jason and had a little chat and it was then that Annamama and Aquaboy turned up. They were closely followed by the Longus family of James and Tim. We made our way back up to the lake by which time everyone was starting to arrive.
The usual barrage of when do we start? How long is it before the match starts? and can we start yet? Everyone had arrived amazingly early, and Ollie was whining about starting earlier. Seeing as everyone was ready, I blew the ‘all in’ at 5:30.
Straight away fish of all shapes, sizes, and colours, were being extracted from the depths at an incredible rate.
Your coaches on parade tonight were, Chief Lard Bag – Graham Howard Sickeningly slim for his age – Andy Hawkins
Your Goldfish wranglers for the evening were,
Peg one: James Oram (Baby Longus)
Peg two: Faith Stone (Gibber Jabber)
Peg three: Oliver Smith (Aquaboy/Inspector Gadget)
Peg four: Jack Copp (Twiglet)
Peg five: Josh Roe (Cheeky Monkey)
Peg six: Josiah Wells-Parkes (His Lordship)
Peg One: James Oram: James did incredibly well for a newcomer to fishing and, I have noticed that he has a unique style too. He tends to stand up a lot, which I can only assume is to use his amazing height to get a ‘top-down view’ of the lake to locate the fish. Nothing that some Velcro on his seat box cushion and the back of his trousers won’t sort out… James did have the weediest swim on the night, and this caused him a few problems with lost hooks. A bit of rig adjustment mostly sorted that out and he was away. Being so new to the sport, I think James was a bit concerned about competing in matches but, now he has seen how little it really matters compared to how much you enjoy the session, he has embraced match scene and I am pleased that he has. James is learning fast as is dad Tim, and they’re coming along nicely. James finished the evening with a colourful bag weighing 3lbs 12ozs. Nicely done James…
Peg Two: Faith Stone: Usually there is a cloud of dust arriving at the lake and somewhere in the middle of the cloud is Faith and her entourage… Tonight, however, they just appeared like ninjas, all with their hair down in ‘Pre-battle mode’. Mike has sorted Faith’s gear into a very tidy fishing unit indeed. I might have to look at my own gear she looks that good! On one of my several visits to the Stone encampment, Faith was trying to avoid the camera by turning her head. This resulted in getting one of the better pictures I have taken with my camera. I’m quite chuffed with it. Faith spent the night getting in some practice with her pole and put together a tidy net weighing 4lbs 13ozs. A good effort with no pressure on her. ** Without going into too much detail, Mike received some sad news during the event. On behalf of all the DDAS Junior family, I send our deepest condolences**
Peg 3: Oliver Smith: With it being a rather breezy evening, Ollie was going to spend more time chasing the lightweight rig tied to his whip, than he was fishing. Because I’m such a good egg, I gave him a rig of my own. Most of the time, you can get away with a rig that will cover most situations with a whip. But, on nights like this when the weather plays a part, then it pays to have a few rigs tied up to cover a multitude of conditions. Whilst chatting with Annamama (Always one of my most favourite past times), she made a statement that made me consider the content of the blog. She thought that the Mud-Slinger is always being mean to her and telling her off. So, I will rectify that right here. Anna is a delightful lady. Poised, charming, and effervescent, she is the epitome of womankind. But the best part about Anna is kept hidden from the public and only shown to special people on special occasions. Stu is a great guy. A bit like a Christmas tree, he is only bought out once a year. His fluffy face tickles when he hugs you (I imagine), and he is always laughing despite what he has to put up with. I love the bloke and miss him a lot. I just wish that Anna would let out more often.
In the background of all the banter, I seem to remember that there was a fishing match occurring somewhere. Ollie put on an impressive display of Goldfish wrangling, despite dropping a few fish off when he was swinging them in. I moved his keep net to be more in front of him to turn his miss fortune into jamminess as his dropped fish ended up in his keep net, rather than back into the lake. There’s a lesson for everyone here I feel. Ollie finished the evening with 14lbs 4ozs, but would it be enough?
Jack Copp: First thing to say is happy birthday to Dave! I just hope I look that good at 55! Happy Birthday mate… Dave celebrated his birthday in the traditional manner by hooking himself in the back of the T shirt and was put back unharmed after being ‘disgorged’. Jack, in wrap-around sunnies, turned up looking determined to do well. Another one eager to start, he was in from the off. I did catch Dave feeding for Jack. It only happened once (as far as I saw) and apparently, he was ‘only showing Jack where to fish’. I swear I heard the ‘toot toot’ of the banana boat as it sailed away as a pig soared across the heavens…. It will be handcuffs or Japanese finger traps for Mr Copp next time. Despite his best efforts, the better fish seemed to vacate the swim towards the end of the match. Which only left his swim full of tiny (and I mean TINY) Gudgeon. For a ‘Goby Fan’ like
Jack, this was a seventh heaven judging by the squeals of delight every time he hooked one. Dave used his skill as the British Butterfly Catching Champion (1991) to swat the fish out of mid-air with a landing net with the precision of a sniper. Very amusing to watch. Jack went longer with his pole and managed to snare a couple of small Carp, but it was too late to catch the others. Jack had resigned himself to his fate and was just having fun. Jack weighed in 4lbs 12ozs. Still all to play for with one round to go.
Peg Five: Josh Roe: Josh turned up encouraged by the fact that he was in the same swim as the last round where he lost a better fish at the end. So, he was determined to exact his revenge. Pellets and Maggots were the order of the day and Josh was away quickly with the others, but just as quickly the wheels fell off. Josh was being plagued with the same problem as Jack but, not being as big a ‘Goby-Head’ as Jack, Josh wasn’t quite so excited. Rig adjustments, changes to feeding patterns, and not even the Chief Lard Bag (CLB) snatching the pole from his grasp and trying to hit bites seemed to work. The CLB decided the ‘Poop or bust’ technique was the way to go and hurled two good handfuls of pellets into the lake. Josh thought this was a great idea and tried to add several more before being almost physically restrained. The CLB connected with a Goldfish and control was handed back to Josh who wasted no time in finding some larger fish towards the end. Josh found his enthusiasm again and finished the evening with 3lbs 15ozs. A satisfactory end to a tough match. Well done.
Peg 6: Josiah Wells-Parkes: Jo and James turned up and thrust a pole into my face and asked, ‘How do we use this?’ I walked though it with them and soon they were catching some decent fish. Poles are awkward things to use for newcomers, but Jo was making a good effort with his new toy. Jo had drawn the winning peg from the last round and I’m sure was encouraged by this. Every time I looked over to him, he was landing yet another fish. Maybe this was going to be his night? Jo played the fish extremely well. He was patient and let the elastic do the work. Expert netting from James had the fish quickly in the net….. Most of the time. Jo weighed a magnificent 12lbs 13ozs. Not enough to qualify by winning but, set a high benchmark for the highest weight runner up spot in the final. Well done, Jo, Good job…
So, there we have it. Another master class from Master Smith and his affable, captivating, enigmatic (is that enough?) mum, Anna. Even though Ollie was disappointed not to come away with a medal or trophy!! It’s a qualifier!!! <eyeroll>.
Ollie qualifies for the final in September alongside championship arch-rival Faith Stone. Josiah has set a high benchmark for the runners-up spot too.
The final qualifying round is on the 8th of July. Same times, same place.
Huge thank you to Jason Fricker and the staff at Revels for another great evening of colourful fishing. It has made such a difference to the juniors by fishing on the stock pond.
Big thank you to Andy Hawkins for the help tonight, but not for the sizeist abuse (He called me fat, so I pushed him down a hill!). Thank you, Andy.
A great night with a great group of people. Parents and juniors, I thank you for your company tonight.
The next junior session is next weekend on Saturday 18th of June at Sharnhill. Limited to TEN spaces so, if you want to come, get booked in.
See you next time.