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Junior Match #6 The Junior Pairs Match - Harbourbridge

Feeders, Floats and perfect Casting...

This weeks lies will be slightly different from the usual lies, in that, I will start from the day before the Junior event.

Fridays are busier than I care to mention and I'm usually oscillating at such a high frequency that I often become a blur to the naked eye. The other blur on Fridays, is that of reality. Things start to happen that I would otherwise be in complete control of.

For instance, when I'm getting the gear ready for the weekend, I chatter away to myself, ticking off items on a mental list. Bin and accessories - Check. Ladies loo tent - check. Portable kahzi - che...HOLY SHHHUGARLUMPS! In my stressed state last week, I had chucked everything in the shed and forgotten about it for a few days. It had been more than a few days, a week in fact since I washed out any wee wee residue from the loo. In a warm shed for a week, the wee wee had become fairly potent. In fact I actually believe it stripped 3 layers off of my eyeballs, as well as giving me flashbacks for the rest of my life... The offending object was lifted from the loo with a garden fork in a similar way to how an explosive device is handled in a terrorist situation. It was then blasted with the jet washer from a safe distance, although there was some chasing to be done as it tumbled across the grass, leaving brown patches of lifeless turf as the toxicity took it's toll...How to be a chump, Part 1.

With the gear ready and the biohazard dealt with, it was time to whip into town to grab some bits from Alan's tackle shack and to pick up the new fliers from the printers. It was a warm day, so a quick bit of hydration was in order. Who needs a glass when you can drink straight from the Brita filter jug? The jug was tipped, fully loaded, with nothing but a dribble was coming out... I realise my top lip was holding the jug closed, preventing the exit of the cold, refreshing H20. Lip removed, the water was released straight up my nose, over my face and down the T-shirt... How to be a chump, Part 2.

On to the Junior event itself and the day was beautiful and the birds were singing. Setting up was fully underway as my phone pinged and alerted me to an incoming message.

Tommy Rees wasn't coming. The day before I had hand picked a full set of tackle for young Tommy on the Friday and the car was full of gear looking for a new home. I have to admit to there being much gnashing of teeth and some naughty words were whispered to the breeze. Something about it being a waste of time. I let Sophie, Tommy's mum, know that I had painstakingly dragged some tackle the 8 long miles from Dorchester for him to use, and her reply was full of apologies, but she had not booked Tommy in for todays event....?? Say what now?

I checked and, sure enough, no Tommy was on the booking list... Uncle Simon had arrived, so I vowed to send Sophie an apology later in the day....How to be a chump, Part 3.

PC Bracey had now strolled by, followed by Glenn Taylor 'The Rain man' and Jake the Mud Monster. To my surprise Jake had a new T-shirt to show me. He excitedly spun round to reveal....

Muddy now has merchandise! It looked brilliant and sparked several of the other Juniors to ask for T-shirts with there given names and characters on them. It's going to look spectacular if they do!

The lead coaches droning bit at the start was elongated by a read through of the club match rules after the transgressions of the week previous. During the gospel of the fat angler, Aiden turned up with mum Jenni, which was a surprise, because they weren't booked in either. What the heck was going on? I started to wonder if I was booked in??? Quiet Faith and the Wyke Regis massive were running a tad late, as was Lightning and mum Teresa, because of a road accident. I had images in my head, that maybe Teresa wasn't driving fast enough for young Thomas. So much so that he had jumped out of the car and pushed it like Sonic the Hedgehog, to get her there faster... Maybe Sonic could be an alternative name for Thomas?

The draw, done from the deepest pocket of my favourite drinking shorts, was as follows...

Peg 1. Aiden 'Growbag' Woodgate.

Peg 2. Jake 'Mud Monster' Taylor

Peg 3. Carter Lynock, 'The Insect Chaser'.

Peg 4. 'Quiet' Faith Stone.

Peg 5. Oliver 'Aquaboy' Smith

Peg 6. Thomas 'Sonic' Millard

Peg 7. Jack 'Twiglet' Copp.

Aiden the Growbag, so called because the lad has shot up unbelievably in the last couple of years and I am convinced that Jenni has stood him in with the tomatoes, has been away from fishing over the lockdown and is a little rod rusty. Casting is a tricky thing to learn to start with, and having to re-learn it again must be difficult. They either go up like a rocket, down like a torpedo. Growbag opted for the first variant. It's interesting watching someone casting from side on. You get to see the arc of the cast perfectly. To say growbags casts were a little high, might do him a misjustice. But I swear I saw 5 seagulls, 2 weather balloons and a low level satellite come crashing down during the event. The lad sorted it out, however, and by the end they were sub 27,000 feet.

Tom the Red Fox showed up once all the hard work had been done and set about getting 4 hours coaching into 35 minutes (It was far longer than than that in reality). The grasses swayed as he strode back and forth along the bank, spreading his knowledge to anyone who wasn't too exhausted to listen and winning the hearts of the ladies as he went. I had the pleasure of watching him in action at Aiden's peg, as he demonstrated how to short range cast to a line clip, against some reeds. It seemed a fine cast too, as the reeds breathed in to avoid being hit by the feeder. The Fox, clearly pleased with his cast and with his work with Aiden now complete he drifted away to revitalise the Mud Monster. I stayed with Aiden to see what the masters cast would yield and, after 5 inactive minutes, I suggested that we might want to recast but, I wouldn't necessarily be able to replicate such pin point casting. Aiden picked up his rod and.... Solid! The only option was to pull for a break, which it did. Aiden is a laid back chap at the best of times, but he didn't seem that fussed about the dozens of feeding Carp in his swim with just 20 minutes to go! I however was on a mission! I tackled him back up quicker than you could say 'Get the float out, oh wait it's terminally tangled and we haven't done anything about it because we're far too laid back for our own good!!!!'... In all seriousness though, Aiden is improving steadily already and will make great inroads in to his training. He finished the day with 5lbs 4ozs 12drms.

<Click on the big picture for full screen>

The newly attired Mud Monster was wallowing in peg two, but the hot sun was drying out his normally soiled skin. He did ask if he could create a mud pit to cool off in, hippo style, But I figured that Jim might frown upon a new mud hole, so I denied his request. Muddy had his dad, the Rain man, helping him. I use the term helping loosely. Jake did learn a valuable lesson the hard way, when he got his line caught round the reel handle and snapped it. The released feeder nearly matched Growbag for altitude and came down like an absolute missile. Jake is becoming a very accomplished angler and improving in every session. He seems to take everything in his stride and always with a broad smile on his face that makes it easy to have him as the poster boy on our banner. Jakey managed a thoroughly respectable 7lbs 10ozs 8drms.

Carter the Insect chaser is quite an enigma. A quite lad that likes to keep himself to himself a lot of the time, but will amusingly blurt out a random question from absolutely nowhere, that has had me searching my rusty memory banks for the appropriate answers. Jon Bass, the man now formerly known as the Bushman of Broadmayne, was doing his level best to connect with Carter and doing a great job too. Carter has an obsession with insects which sometimes distracts him from the fishing. Jon actively got involved with the creepy crawlies, asking Carter what he knew about them. Reaching out to our Juniors like this is priceless and something we can all learn from.

After everyone had gone, mum Becky and I were chatting and Carter joined in saying that he wanted to answer the questions that are part of his level 1 training. I asked him the questions and he passed that section with flying colours. The lad had a great day with Jon and managed a creditable 4lbs 0ozs 12drms.

Quiet Faith, (Who Trudie wants to rename 'The Door mouse'. Will it stick? Who knows?) went through a phase of forgetting how to cast, but some some intense training from Mike the Pantsman, steered her back into her true form of bashing up the boys for fun. I tried to inject my own coaching to her day, but it was just getting confusing for the poor lass, so I left them to it. She found her feet and was releasing some cracking casts that saw her accumulate a total of 5lbs 3ozs 12drms

Now, Ollie Smith is a fairly confident young lad, we all know that. But confidence is justified when you can back it up with skill. Most of the coaches that had a chance to watch Ollie fishing today all remarked how well he fished and how well he was casting. Usually, Ollie is one of those that can sort out a decent weight on his own and therefore does not get coached as intensely as some for the less experienced Juniors. Today was a struggle for Aquaboy and he needed some input from our coaches to prevent him from being left behind in the race for gold. Ollie took all of the advice on board and converted it into an excellent net of fish.

He does not, however, get away without mention of the floppy hair do. The top knot gave him a slightly surprised look all day and heard threats of a haircut from at least 20 different types of sharp implement. Mine was garden shears. Mum, Anna, had the boys back however and defended each suggestion of follicle topiary, with all the protective instinct of a mother bear, defending her club from mountain lions. Trudie has some pretty ribbons in her crafting stash and I may bring some along to the next event....

Ollie ended the day with an excellent 10lbs 14ozs 12drms. A good job well done young man!

Thomas the lightning bolt was next.... What do we say about Thomas? Maybe Teresa needs to plug him in to a trickle charge overnight, instead of a super boost? It's always good to turn up with a match plan to a competitive event, and Thomas had done just that. Armed with information from Youtube, a new Carp rod and several packets of 15mm boilies, Thomas' plan was further reinforced by the knowledge that some idiot had moved an 18lb+ Carp into the match lake from the lake above a couple of weeks before. There was nothing that seasoned match angler, (Uncle) Simon, could do to dissuade Thomas from his approach, despite the anglers either side of him catching plenty on the method feeder. After three hours of nothing, I backed up Simons pleas to switch to a better method and, now out numbered, Thomas relented. Experience won the day when he caught a Carp fairly quickly and, I can't help thinking that Thomas might be lead by our coaches a bit more often. But the lad was happy, and you can't put a price on that. Although, I think Simon had a few less hairs that he started the day with. Something that he can ill afford to to do! Thomas finished the day with just 2lbs 6ozs and 1.5lbs of that was his Carp! But Thomas' day did not end there...

Headwear of the day definitely when to Teresa for modelling the very latest in summer headwear for the balding man, when she borrowed Simon's 'Dome protector'. It was no good for Si because he'd spent most of the day pulling his hair out!

Deputy Chief inspector Bracey was oscillating freely up and down the bank, cap on backwards I believe in order to be 'down with the kids'? I included this photo for two reasons. Firstly, it possibly shows the reaction of most people who overhear some of my coaching advice, and secondly, because it's the only picture I took of him during the day...

The saying 'leave the best until last', was never more appropriate than today. Jack the Twiglet Copp was in a class of his own at a venue he knows well, and it showed. Dave, Jacks automatic feeding machine was not present today and Jack was accompanied by mum, Donna. She should be proud of the lad, because he fished a blinder today. I know Dave loves fishing with his boy and rightly so, but I think it was good for Jack to be able to do it all for himself today. He asked me for help to level in his box at the start, but by the time I had got to him, he'd already done it! I checked it of course, and it was fine... Jack fished a no nonsense match to weigh in a fantastic 19lbs 5ozs to get top points on the day... But was it enough to seal the pairs match?

So the points on the day were;

Jack, 25.

Ollie, 20.

Jake, 17.

Aiden, 15.

Faith, 14.

Thomas, 13.

But what about the ruddy pairs match? I hear you yawn... Because I am cruel, heartless, beast of a man (According to some), I decided it would be fun to draw for the pairs DURING the match, and tell them at the end...and, do you know what? IT WAS FUN!!!!! Particularly for Jerry and I...

Oh, how we laughed as we told all the kids who their partners were all day, and each time it was wrong or different. We contradicted each other and told them 'I don't know....or do I???' many, many times. Ollie, in particular, nearly had a nervous breakdown trying to squeeze info out of us each time we walked past. Mild teasing (Mental torture) like this can be a blast! I'm still smiling as I write this!

Seeing as Jack had emptied his end of the lake, whoever was his partner was going to win. But the less obvious problem was working out the solo anglers weight?

Having an odd number at a pairs match presents a conundrum for the organiser. The only way to do it is to workout the average of all the other competitors, and award that to the solo angler as a 'blind partner'. Jerry stepped into the limelight to help me out because I have arithmetical prowess of a potato. I sometimes curl into the foetal position, suck my thumb and begin to weep the soft tears of a child when faced with anything other than basic maths... Jerry and I took off our shoes and socks and set about working it all out...

I tried to look intelligent and offer help, but it really doesn't suit me. After I'd been given 'the look' from Jerry to shut the <expletive> up after I'd put him off for the third time forcing him to start again, I thought it best to leave him to it... The blind partners weight worked out to be 8lbs 12ozs.

The Pairs were drawn as follows;

Jack Copp & Jake Taylor

Carter Lynock & Faith Stone

Aiden Woodgate & Oliver Smith

Thomas Millard & Jerry Bracey's mathematical prowess.

With a combined weight of 27lbs 2ozs 8drms, the winners, obviously, were Jack and Jake.

Second was Aiden and Ollie with 16lbs 3ozs.

An almost unbelievable third was Thomas, who clearly didn't need a partner and was relying solely on the numbers, with 11lbs 4ozs.

Just for the record Faith and Carter weighed in a very respectable 9lbs 4ozs 8drms in 4th...

It's not an ideal solution to work out the results in this way, but the average weight as a blind partner is the only way to do it.

It was a really hot, sunny day that, in my mind, should have produced more fish after the practice on Wednesday. But that's how it goes with fishing. If it was supposed to be easy, it would be called catching instead...

As always, the organising is the easy bit. The real stars are my coaches and, I extend my heartfelt thanks to each of them for a job very well done.

Coach of the day has to be Simon, who I believe was last seen laying in the back of his van with a cold flannel and blood pressure tablets. (I am, of course, just joking)....

Big thanks go out to all the parents for getting involved with their offspring's passion for the best sport out there. Lastly to our Juniors, who challenge, exhilarate, frustrate and teach us in equal measure...

Extra thanks to Jim Roper for the use of his venue...

The next event is on the 25th of September at the Top lake at Whitemoor. Unless we get more than 11, then we will be on the Canal lake instead...

Don't forget the Charminster Village Open Day on the 12 Sept. I/we will be there to drum up some extra interest (Hopefully)...

Juniors Sec.

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