Now, I’m not really a superstitious person. But when the mother of all clumps of dehydrated
pineapple lands in your breakfast bowl of Tropical granola, it is probably wise to take notice of the omens before you. I will tell you now, I haven’t been that excited about something since I bought some new washing up sponges or even when Star Wars, ‘The phantom menace’ was released…
Spooky omens aside, my anticipation was high for the latest match at Luckfield which, despite low water levels, has been on top form of late. Even yours truly got a rare chance to wet a line on Thursday, which yielded some useful information for the Shrimps to use on Saturday. The usual optimistic Roach that try to jam an 8mm pellet into a 6mm mouth, one scabby looking Bream which looked like it had been mixing with the wrong crowd, three angry Carp that made my margin pole bend more than was acceptable in polite circles.
The Red Fox of Broadmayne was already at the lake, carving out a spot in the undergrowth for the infamous bog tent. The tent was unusually well behaved and went up AND came down without incident. This only leads me to believe that, like many others, it has a secret crush on Tom, and I can totally understand why… Incidentally, Tom got a rather nasty sunburn on a rather personal area (Which he showed me during a quiet moment together). For those who may be interested, Tom is selling copies of this picture for £3.59 a pop. All proceeds go towards the Junior fund. Order early to avoid disappointment as demand will be high. Contact Tom on 0800 S.U.N.B.U.R.N.T.B.O.T.T.Y. for details…
I think it is worth mentioning the condition of Luckfield at the moment. I can’t remember ever seeing it looking as pretty as it currently does. Testimony to those that have toiled to make it so. The fish were up for it too, with bubbles and swirls everywhere and the occasional leaping lump too!
When everyone had arrived, I handed over to Thomas to deliver the H&S briefing and got ready for the draw. With pegs 4, 6, and 9 being left out, the draw went as follows.
Peg One – Josiah ‘Smiler’ Wells-Parkes (Name change because it has been unanimously agreed that Jo has THE BEST smile that we have ever seen!)
Peg Two – Jake ‘Mud Monster’ Taylor
Peg Three – Faith ‘Jibber Jabber’ Stone
Peg Five – Jack ‘Twiglet’ Copp
Peg Seven – Oliver ‘Aquaboy’ Smith
Peg Ten – Austin ‘Camouflage’ Scott-Kennedy
Your cast of coaches tonight were.
Albus Percival Brian Dumbledor – Jon Bass Harry Potter – Graham Howard (Obviously!) Horace Slughorn – Tim Broughton Sirius Black – Chris Ward Ron Weasley – Tom Foyle (Again...)
Peg One: Josiah Wells-Parkes: Smiler and Sexy Dad had drawn peg one. Not one of my most favoured pegs I must be honest, but you can have a reasonable session there and at least there is plenty of room. Trudie’s Champion set about exploring his peg with the feeder and one thing became apparent. My pre-event report had stated that maggots would bring smaller fish. Which is true. But it was obvious that this had been read as ‘don’t bring any maggots!’ All the competitors had turned up ready for a fight with the larger species. Which is fine if you have the patience to wait for the bites. Fortunately, Young mister WP has, and he was rewarded with some nice Carp and two ‘proper’ Bream, one of which went 3lbs 2ozs. Jo finished the match with a very respectable 24lbs 12ozs which was good enough for 4th place on the night. I think he should be well pleased with that from a peg that I personally did not fancy. Good job…
Peg Two: Jake Taylor: The Mud Monster and Slinky were encamped in peg two for the evening. It was good to see them both back and Glenn even asked me who I had been ripping it out of during his absence. I confessed I had missed him, and more fabrication of the truth had been necessary than usual. Jake had turned up in character as footballer, Jack Grealish. Frankly it was a poor impression because Jake spent far too much time on his feet to be taken seriously. I can only assume that Linda had been feeding Jake a diet of only Skittles because I had never seen him so animated! He managed to stay still long enough to bag some decent silverfish, although the Carp seemed to elude him, but not bad for his first match for some time. Jake finished the match with 10lbs 10ozs including a Tench of 2lbs 12ozs and a 2lb 14ozs Bream. Well done… (Slinky because I get an irresistible urge to push him down the stairs…. I’m Joking!!!)
Peg Three: Faith Stone: Faith had drawn the same swim that I had fished two days before, so I knew what she would need to do to make it work. What she didn’t need was to find a feeder hungry tree that would complicate her session a bit. Faith’s set up is one of the best of any of the juniors and she has everything she needs to be extremely efficient in her fishing. But, tonight for what ever reason, wasn’t her night as far as a match win was concerned. It didn’t help that was looking straight at the angler that would eventually win the match. Once she had realised that just keeping at it would pay dividends towards the end, Faith managed to tick off two PB fish which eased the anguish of a difficult match. She will get there, but in her own way and at her own speed. I am keen for her focus to remain enjoyment rather than winning. We all have good and bad days, but it’s the bad days from which we learn the most. You definitely do not catch anything by going home early… Faith caught a PB Bream at 3lbs 8ozs and a PB Tench at 2lbs. Congratulations young lady… Faith finished the match with 12lbs 12ozs.
Peg Five: Jack Copp: Brimming with confidence and apparently armed ‘with a plan’, Jack was looking for a win at a venue which he loves. I asked Jack what ‘The Plan’ was? It seemed that the plan relied heavily, in fact entirely on drawing peg seven. Jack did not draw peg 7. Sitting on P5 with Jack and Donna, it was almost serenely quiet. I tried to spend at least ten minutes with each angler from the start of the match to try to offer some advice if they needed it. Jack seemed to have everything under control at this end of the lake with fish showing everywhere. I must compliment Jack in following the safety guidelines and coming to find a coach when he got snagged in a tree, even advising his mum to cover her face during the process. Unfortunately, we were not able to recover the feeder, but Jack (or Dave) had it covered with a spare feeder rod set up just in case. Jack had a good match, catching some very nice Carp on his way to second in the match with 34lbs 11ozs. Well done…
Peg Seven: Oliver Smith: You do not need me to tell you that Ollie is one of our leading juniors. I never have to pass comment on things like, his landing net is too short, sitting too far away from the edge of the lake to fish comfortably, or making sure that all the things that should be tightened up on his seat box are tightened up before you can even think about sitting on it safely…. But tonight, his landing net was STILL too short from last year, he was sitting a three day camel ride from the edge of the lake, and how he did not end up in his own keep nets on a wobbly seat box I will never understand. I put a red table cloth around my neck and put my pants over my trousers and turned myself into… SUPER COACH! Annamama let me scold her for not providing a longer landing net handle and promised to ‘Warm the back of her legs if it happened again’. She looked at me with a mixture of weak amusement and distain and headed off to borrow one from the coach’s kit. While she was gone, I plucked the boy from his rickety perch, moved his box to a far more efficient position (300 metres nearer to the water), and tightened everything that I could without breaking it. Ollie commented how much different his box felt and SAFE it was. You don’t say…. The lesson here folks is to check everything to make it as safe as possible before fishing. That way your coach does not need to have two butt clenching moments trying not to fall in! (Which would have pleased so many people I can’t tell you)… Annamama arrived with a PROPER handle and Ollie was away… P7 is where I would have wanted to be if I were fishing and Ollie backed this up with an impressive winning weight of 44lbs 6ozs, including a Carp of 13lbs 4ozs and 11lbs 14ozs of silverfish. During the weigh in and photos, I directed everyone’s attention to how Ollie handled his fish. I was exemplary to the point where many adults could learn a thing or two on how to do it. You made your coach proud.
Peg Ten: Austin Scott-Kennedy: Camouflage and Agent Maps were the ones arriving on fire this evening and I promised that I would not say anything about the fact that they went to Chickerell instead and got lost on their way to Broadmayne. So, I am not going to mention it… Although new to the group, I feel I know Amy well enough to be totally unsurprised by the fact that she went astray. I’m just glad that the lake has a map at the gate, or she may well have gotten herself lost here too. We all had quite a giggle on P10, and this was escalated when Tom mentioned that he had a rumbly tum and Amy offered him a Brazilian… At this point I wondered where the heck she was going with such an illicit sentence and call a time out instantly to save everyone’s modesty. Amy displayed some impressive bladder control as we laughed it off, particularly when we realised that she was talking about biscuits. Tom was munching away on a biscuit, and... <Redacted Content> The absolute highlight of the evening, apart from Amy showing off with her Brazilian biscuits (Cheeky!), was Austin’s epic battle with a very angry Carp. It was hooked in open water and kited, at speed first left, then all the way right before it settled into a dogged battle with one of our newest juniors. It was 30 mins before we even saw the fish and a larger landing net was called for just in case. By now, all the coaches were willing the boy on, but mostly under the expert gaze of Mr Bass. Jon was newly returned from his campaign in Scotland, beard trimmed and sporting a new barnet (Hair cut), looking every bit the gentleman that he is… Even if he did call some of the Mud-Slinger reports ‘rude’, which the writer fervently refutes. After 35minutes, I felt it was time for SUPER COACH to reappear because positive action was required. With the information on the strength of Austin’s line, I began to help him exert some heavier pressure on the fish. Comments from the gallery like ‘It’s your fault if he loses it’ and ‘Rather you than me’, were not going to put us off and Austin and I began to win the battle together. Applause echoed around the lake as the fish slid over the net expertly yielded by Mr Foyle. The applause was followed with mutterings of ‘Is that all’ and @I thought it was bigger than that’ when the news went round that it weighed just 13lbs 2ozs, and not the 20-pounder that Tom had threatened the boy with a dunking over. Something happened that we have not had before. I blew the whistle at precisely 7:30pm and THREE shouts went up of ‘FISH ON!’. We have never had one instance of this that I can remember. This time two of the shouts were landed soon after, But Austin had hooked his last fish with just four minutes to go… He would have 20-minutes to get it in. All eyes were on him now being the only angler still fishing. I think he had listened and learned from the previous battle. His confidence in his tackle was evident as he bought the fish in with a solid eight-minutes to spare… A new PB for Austin and a final weight of 28lb 6ozs, enough for third place overall.
A quick word on keep-nets and the size of the Carp being put in them. Junior events are only four hours long and the weather was much cooler than of late. That and the depth of the margins at Luckfield along with the quality and safety of the keep-nets being used, I/we were confident that the Carp were safe and secure. If any larger fish had been landed, it was agreed that we would weigh and release the fish immediately. Nothing comes before fish welfare save that of the juniors themselves…
The result of third match of the 2022 junior championship was,
1st place 25 points Oliver Smith. 2nd place 20 points Jack Copp. 3rd place 17 points Austin Scott-Kennedy.
The championship standings are very exciting!
1. Faith Stone 59 points
2. Jack Copp 58 points
3. Oliver Smith 57 points
4. Jake Taylor 40 points
5. Austin Scott-Kennedy 35 points
6. Josiah Wells-Parkes 32 points
1. Oliver Smith 13lbs
2. Jake Taylor 11lbs 12ozs
3. Faith Stone 8lbs 10ozs
4. Austin Scott-Kennedy 5lbs 8ozs
5. Josiah Wells-Parkes 4lbs 13ozs 12drms
6. Jack Copp 3lbs 2ozs
Luckfield produced the goods for our Juniors, and I think we all had a lovely time.
Big thanks to our knowledgeable team of coaches and the wonderful parents and juniors that make the sessions so much fun.
Our next junior event is at Whitemoor fishery for our next coaching session on the 30th of July. Plenty of spaces still available.