Local woman forgets what year it is. The Mud Monster rises again. Boys nose spontaneously explodes causing mayhem.
After the success of the evening matches last year, I was very much looking forward to this year’s events and I was not going to be disappointed.
The stock pond at Revels is largely unfished but provides an abundance of fish species to catch in a variety of colours. It is simple fishing too. A whip or short elasticated pole will see you catch most fish that swim within it. It really is great fun.
The wettest March in the last 6.5 billion years has seen an explosion of growth in the lakeside foliage and, even though Dean at Revels had shown it the strimmer the day before, it still looked like it needed a haircut. Even so, the pond still looked a picture. I did have to ask Uncle Tony, Revels resident weed whacker and part time mariner, to have a swipe at a bit Dean had missed on what would be peg 2.
Strimming and noise completed, I pegged out the six spots for the evening and waited for the arrival of the Shrimps and their associated entourages. I like this part of the process. It gives you time to think and to wonder what the session will have in store for everyone. It gives you chance to take in your surroundings, take in some fluids and just breathe. The calm before the storm… The lake below the stock pond is the Catfish Lake which, unsurprisingly, has some large Catfish in it. These and some sizable Carp were enjoying the sunshine as much as I being as they were unfished for.
The crunch of gravel heralded the arrival of the evening’s participants. Soon after, the evening transformed from the serenity of inner peace to the excited chattering of children as they explored the venue, and the laboured footsteps of heavily laden parents who were, as usual, left to carry the gear… You can see in their eyes that they blame me for telling their child that it was vital that they should require a heavy seat box and all the accessories in order to pursue their chosen sport and they might be right. But, sadly, for them, I have no conscience… (I do really but, I just like to see them suffer!)
Your participants for this evening’s event were, Peg 1: Jack Cryer (Thing #1) Peg 2: Jake Taylor (The Mud Monster) Peg 3: Ollie Smith (Aquaboy) Peg 4: Jack Copp (Twiglet) Peg 5: Harry Cryer (Carnage) Peg 6: Josiah Wells-Parkes (His Lordship)
Your cast of coaches for this evening were, Graham Howard – William ‘Compo’ Simmonite Andy Hawkins – Norman ‘Cleggy’ Clegg Jon Bass - Walter C. ‘Foggy’ Dewhearst Special guest – Anna McKay Smith – Nora Batty
It was good to coach with Andy again because we always have a laugh, and it was even
better to see a Covid free Jon Bass back to his striding self once more…
Peg One: Jack Cryer: With the water level lower than usual because some doughnut had removed the regulating pipe to raise the level of the Catfish Lake a bit. They fish for giant tadpoles, what more do you need to know? This meant that Jack had a less than comfortable drop to the water for his fish, as well as making it awkward to fish from. But these are the cards you are dealt, and you must get on with it. Jack had the good fortune to have a nice little bay which was holding some better sized Carp close to the surface. Jack did have the foresight to bring some pellets with him and this was going to pay off to some degree. Jack had a full view of all the other competitors and realised that his only chance was to target some of the small Carp that lived in the corner of the lake. Unfortunately, Jack only had a regular sized Waggler float with him. This meant that his float was longer than his target fish were deep, and the bait had already passed them before they had a chance to see it. A stumpy pellet waggler float or even a ‘Blob float’ would have been more effective. He did manage to snare some in the second half of the two-hour match with some revised thinking on his feeding pattern, but it was too little too late for Jack. But I think he learned a bit tonight and he can take it with him into future events. Jack finished the evening with 3lb 12ozs.
Peg two: Jake Taylor: All hail the return of the Mud Monster! It was good to see Jake back at our junior events and even better to see the reaction to his return from his friends. It’s fair to say that Jake has been sorely missed. Being so long away, you could have been forgiven for thinking that Jake may have been a little rusty. But that wasn’t the case from what I observed. Even though Jake was fishing with a pole that he had yet to hold since Christmas, he fished like the championship contender that had formerly been. Under the helpful tutelage of Andy, Jake was catching some better sized fish, all be it not as frequently as some of the others. Towards the end of the match, Jake was feeling the magic again and was netting his own fish. Something that he had struggled with at the start. It makes it exciting when an angler is catching in a different way to the rest and makes the result harder to predict. Jake finished the match with 8lbs. But would it be enough to qualify?
Peg Three: Oliver Smith: Annamama nearly ruined my whole evening by telling me that she had, with full purpose and extreme malice, gone and booked a holiday to France (Of all places!) on the date of our wedding. The hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach was eased after I reminded her that the wedding is next year and not 2023! I won’t record it here, but this conversation went on for 15-minutes before it dawned on her. I have no words… Reigning knockout champion found himself in the same peg that he won the final from the previous year. Any advantage that may have had was neutralised by the banning of method feeders from this year’s series. It was float only and Ollie was ready with whip in hand. At the start he was catching at a reasonable rate. But he was fishing with four-meter whip and line but fishing only three meters from the bank. Irritated by this I snatched the whip from his hand at a convenient opportunity and shortened both his whip and the line attached to it. This had the effect of reducing the amount of line that Ollie had to pick up for each bite and increased the number of bites converted into fish in the net. The straighter and less slack the line is to your float, the quicker you will connect with the fish. This is the case for nearly all forms of fishing in still waters. It seemed to work because he did connect with some nice sized Roach and Rudd to take the win and therefore progress to the final in September. It was close though and one more fish would have possibly seen Jake pip master Smith at the post. Ollie weighed 8lbs 13ozs.
Peg Four: Jack Copp: Confidence has never been lacking from Jack, and for that he is to be commended. But there are occasions when ‘having a plan’ cuts ones nose off to spite one’s face sometimes. Jack has been pushing himself to fish with a long pole on most of his fishing trips lately and he is doing well at it too. He impressed the seniors at Whitemoor recently with his new skills. Tonight however, Jack persisted with a long pole when others around him were using whips to catch the same fish at a much faster rate. We all have our favourite methods, and fishing to your strength is the way to get results. But to stubbornly ignore the obvious was to be Jack’s Achilles heel tonight. Even the terrain wasn’t being kind to Jack, making his rollers difficult to position efficiently. Jack weighed 5lbs on the night, but I can not help to think that it would have been more had he have both taken in what was happening around him and listened to the advice being offered. I will admit that Jack is coming on leaps and bounds with his pole fishing and I am proud of him for that. But, just maybe, tonight wasn’t the time to show it.
Peg Five: Harry Cryer: Those more observant of you may have noticed a new nickname for young master Cryer tonight. Carnage is appropriate considering the fact that, at one point during the evening, he looked as though he had gone eight rounds with Mike Tyson or starred as an extra in the Walking Dead. Gentle Jon Bass asked me if we have any tissues after half an hour. We didn’t and I asked why? ‘Harry has a nosebleed’ replied Jon. I went to take a peek and ‘Oh My Godfathers!’ it was everywhere! Like a slippery Eel I retrieved the, as yet unopened, first aid kit from the car and returned to give Harry the Florence Nightingale treatment. I gave Harry a large bandage to stem the flow whilst I made two, what I can only describe as Tampons from bandage rolls. Harry looked like Rowan Atkinson from a famous episode of Blackadder. The only things missing were the pencils! Blood stopped, I made him stand still long enough to get him cleaned up a bit. I’ve had nosebleeds before and, I can’t remember getting blood in my hair, forehead, eyes and all over the hoodie that I may have been wearing at the time. I’ve seen cleaner horror films! Fishing wise, Harry was whipless and so had to fish with a waggler rod to hand and couldn’t get the speed that the others could. We will try to remedy that for him soon. Harry finished the match with 3lbs 9ozs.
Peg Six: Josiah Wells-Parkes: Jo was end-peg Charlie tonight but that meant more battles with submerged weed than with fish. This is the reason why I limit the Knockout to just six participants to keep them in the deeper areas of the lake. Jo is another who is actively seeking to improve his pole skills as well as others. Tonight, was all about the whip for Jo but the aforementioned weed was going to be a pain. On several occasions there was careful tugging on snagged lines when there should have been careful playing of fish. I will ask Uncle Dean to do an ‘extra few throws’ with the weed rake before the next round. But the boy did well enough to earn himself a respectable 7lbs 5ozs on the night.
So, your first finalist was not really a surprise, it being reigning champion Oliver Smith.
Just a small side note. Please remove your floats from the water at the whistle. You can fish on to your hearts content once you have weighed in. It is in the rules, and it prevents you from getting accused of cheating. Ask yourself if you would do it in a senior match? If the answer is no, then it is the same for the juniors. If the answer is yes, then I suggest that you re-read the club rules. I am politely asking you not in future...
Tonight, has given me a few ideas for our coaching sessions during the summer holidays, the first of which is open for booking now. I will try to choose some interesting venues for these sessions, if I can, but I may not always be able to guarantee a cheaper day ticket price. I will let you know…
I am hoping to get to Whitemoor next week to practice for next weeks points match, so keep an eye out for the pre-match report.
The following week we will be on the river for the first time and, again, I am hoping to have a practice prior to the event.
So, another lovely evening spent in the company of good friends in the summer sunshine.
Big thank you, as always, to the guys that make it happen, Andy Hawkins and Jon Bass.
Also, a big thank you to Jason Fricker and the staff at Revels for preparing the venue and allowing us to fish there.
See you at Whitemoor! Juniors Sec…
(There should have been a picture of Jack Cryer on here too, but I videoed my own face instead! Sorry....)