Headlines... Parent moves faster than sound. Coach gets cloned. & Boy uses leg as plummet...
Thursday saw Sgt Bracey and I tooling up to do battle with the inhabitants of Luckfield lake in readiness for the weekends Junior match. It was a welcome change from caring duties because M’Lady has been particularly unwell this week. My discomfort is, of course, nothing compared to hers but, it does weigh on one a little. Jerry had set up shop on peg seven so, after a little chat, I dragged the mobile tackle shop to peg six. It's an interesting peg and it’s quite an adventure to get to the wooden platform. You don’t so much as climb down the steps, as much as land at relatively high speed, whilst carrying heavy equipment. You just have to remember to apply heavy breaking before the wet bit. With only gear that a majority of the juniors would be using (Basically no expensive poles, etc) I set about trying to see what I could winkle out. Jerry was doing a great job from what I could hear, I couldn’t see him that well. But the regular splashing was evidence of a productive day. Practice, for me, is about finding out what they want and then expanding that until it doesn’t work anymore. For the Carp, that didn’t seem to be too hard because they were conspicuous by their absence. Eight anglers were on the lake, and no one caught a mud pig all day. Bored of the waggler, changed to the whip and settled down to try to find a rhythm. The rhythm came and 154 fish later I thought that I’d found something to tell the Shrimps. Jerry was throwing bait in the lake like he was trying to put out a fire with handfuls of sand, and it was working. He was catching much larger fish than me. He had 60 odd fish to his name, and we called it a day. The following day, the housewife’s favourite PE teacher, Broadmaynes Red Fox, had a little fish himself and bagged twelve Carp and two Bream to confuse the situation further. Had the conditions changed that much in twenty-four hours?
The Morning came quite early for me, waking as I did at 03:40am. Looking out of the kitchen window it had clearly rained a lot overnight and the white roof of the shed was evidence that the temps were way down. Tom came down to give us extensive advice because he knows most of the fish by their first names, and the names of their cousin’s pet tadpoles! We decided on the peg numbers and awaited the arrival of excited shrimps.
The coaching tutorial today was curtesy of a gentle meander through my own bait bag. I tied to offer some advice as to how and when each bait item should be used but, as usual, my confidence waned as I droned on and I’m not altogether sure I got across all the information that I wanted to. It is difficult because even in a small group, the experience gaps are so wide that I feel that some of them are bored, a couple learn stuff, and the rest are just confused. One day I will feel that I got it right.
The weather was a disappointment at the start with drizzle to dampen the day. Dampened also was the usually effervescent demeanour of Mrs McKay-Smith who does not like the rain. A scowl greeted me when she arrived, pointing at the sky with disgust. I naturally apologised profusely before walking away with head bowed. The sun did come out for most of the day for which I gave Anna full credit.
“Don’t forget you owe me eight quid” growled a passing Jerry as he reminded me of my outstanding debt to him for helping me to expand my rod collection. The tone of his voice was forceful enough to jog my decaying memory without being held against a tree by my throat and having a wire stemmed pole float held to my right eye, to which I took great offence. Once released, I stripped the car for some loose change and scurried off to pay my dues. From peg one I noticed the familiar silhouette of Jerry across the lake at peg seven. Circling anti-clockwise I stopped at p3 and saw that either Jerry was at p10 or he had been cloned and there were now two of them. Cloned or not, I was still 180° from my target. I thought that I would try to head him off by going clockwise and meet him head on. To my dismay a third Jerry was now disappearing through the gate to the car park! I had them cornered. All three Jerry’s had now merged back into one and the debt was paid. I felt glad there was only one of them again because it was going to be an expensive day if I owed all three of them money…
Your runners and riders went something like this…
Peg 1: Josiah Wells-Parkes (His Lordship) Peg 2: Harry Cryer (Thing #1) Peg 3: Caoimhin D’Errico (The lad with the best name ever!) Peg 5: Jack Copp (Twiglet) Peg 7: Austin Scott-Kennedy (Camouflage/Rambo) Peg 8: Jack Cryer (Thing #2) Peg 10: Oliver Smith (Aquaboy)
Your coaches for today were,
Graham Howard – Dougal Jerry Bracey – Ermintrude Tim Broughton – Brian Jon Bass – Mr Rusty Chris Ward – Zebadee Si Wagner – Dylan
Supporting cast members: The occasional Chris Painter and a fleeting Sir Thomas Foyle of Broadmayne.
Peg One: Josiah Wells-Parkes: I’m going to call Josiah’s day ‘modest’ by his standards. Peg One had shown form of late but today the peg seemed to have forgotten all about that and stared back at young Jo with mild confusion. The lad isn’t one to shout about anything much (at least when he’s fishing) but, even by his standards, he was a tad quiet. Sexy Dad, James, said that it may have been because they had a few words a little earlier. What ever the reason, Jo was in no mood for photos at that moment. He was fine later so I got the chance to sit with him for a while and make small adjustments to his rigs and seating arrangements. The only thing that I couldn’t change was the lack of enthusiasm from the fish. Fair play to him, Jo kept at it until the very end and was rewarded with a bonus Tench which kind of saved his bacon a bit. Not everyday is a full net day, but it doesn’t matter if you enjoy it and learn a bit along the way. Jo ended the day with 3lbs 8ozs and a consistent tally of points to add to the 20 that he scored last time out.
Peg Two: Harry Cryer: Still fairly new to fishing and probably still buzzing from his impressive catch last time out at Sharnhill, Harry was on a good peg with peg two. It was one of the few pegs to have visible signs of fish activity. The lilies were constantly trembling like a member of the SNP during an audit. But that’s all very well seeing where they are. You still must get them out. Harry was hit by a colossal tangle early on and I rushed to his aid to retackle his float rod. New anglers like Harry suffer from special awareness difficulties when holding a fishing rod. More than once I thought I saw the trees try to shimmy out of the way as Harry turned around without realising he was 10ft wider than normal! Like Josiah, Harry was on an on form peg that didn’t give up it’s inhabitants easily. But he stayed the course and finished the day with a weight equal to that of peg one at 3lbs 8ozs.
Peg Three: Caoimhin D’Errico: I going to start by addressing the obvious. How on earth do you pronounce such a spectacular name? Like all good Irish names, do not even think about saying it like you see it. It’s pronounced ‘Keavan’, like Steven, but with a ‘K’. I feel that the lad will be explaining that one for the rest of his life… For purposes of easy admin and extreme laziness, I’m going to refer to him as ‘Keef’ from here on out. I hope he does not mind? Partnering Keef for the match was gentle Jon Bass. Today was Keef’s second days fishing ever after a successful taster session with me the week before at Revels. Jon is an ideal coach for such circumstances and set about showing the newbie the ropes. When coaching new juniors, I do not think it helps to have too many opinions thrown at them in one hit, so I tended to leave Jon to it and just dropped in from time to time to see how he was getting on. Pretty well it seems because I learned that a few Roach and a decent Bream were lurking in the keepnet. I have said it before, you cannot buy enthusiasm, and Keef has it in spades. I look forward to seeing him improve over the coming months. Keef ended the day with 2lbs 13ozs. Well done!
Peg Five: Jack Copp: Jack was not happy with peg five despite encouragement from both me, and Jacks automatic bait dispenser, Dave (Catapult). Twiglet started well, bagging some decent Roach and Rudd before many had had their first bite. But the bites seemed to diminish as the match progressed and Jack’s fears about the peg may have been coming true. Even with Catapult piling in the bait for Jack like it was going out of fashion. There is a point in most matches that is known as the ‘Poop or bust phase’ (the pre-watershed version is used here). This is the moment where a few things can happen. It might be that you pile in the bait to try to encourage fish like Bream or Carp to feed, or it could be the decision to change to a method that may catch you some better, possibly match winning fish. Doing either can bring you an equal amount of disaster as it will success. Jack opted for the second of the two and it paid off. Two ‘proper Carp’ fell to feeder tactics, giving his total score a 19lb boost to add to the 4lbs of silverfish already in the net. A good win for the reigning champion with 23lbs 9ozs, A £15 voucher for Alan’s Angling, and 25 sweet, sweet points.
Peg Seven: Austin Scott-Kennedy: Walking around the lake in the morning before everyone else had arrived, I thought that either p7 or p8 would be a good bet for the win today. I was not far off being right either (For a change). It was the Jerry’s had fished a few days earlier and did reasonably well. If a junior got it right, they may have a good day. Rambo (I’m trying out a new nickname) has made it clear that he wants to improve his pole skills this year and today was going to give him plenty of practice. The lead coach is always telling his juniors to ‘be careful how much you feed’ and ‘You can put the bait in, but you can not take it out). But Rambo had other ideas. He started catching some very impressive silverfish indeed, all whilst he fed maggots by the handful. Literally! Jerry reckoned that Austin was fishing shallow, not because the fish were sitting in the upper layers of the lake, but that Rambo had fed so many maggots that he had created a small, submerged island of bait that the fish had to swim over the top of. In a four-and-a-half-hour match, he had run out of bait with an hour to go! I topped him up with some that I used for the demo, and he was able to make it to the end. Jack in the next swim had rolled the dice for big fish and won. Had it not worked, Austin would have won in the best way possible. With a big bag of Roach. Austin finished in second with 13lbs 3ozs. Impressive when you think that Ollie won the silverfish championship with just under 17lbs for the whole year! He wins a £10 Alan’s Angling voucher and 20 championship points. ** The Mud-Slinger reserves the right not to mention the fact that Austin fell in trying to rescue a Roach from certain freedom. We hope his knees get dry very soon...
Peg Eight: Jack Cryer: I may have got it right with p7, but it was a different story in p8. Jack was struggling for a while but still managed to use his time to brush up on casting skills. Last time out at Sharnhill, Jack pulled the Phoenix from the flames with a big lump just three minutes from the end. Sadly, similar tactics didn’t quite hit the target because he hooked and landed what I think was a big Bream after the final whistle had gone. The fish was immediately returned to the water, and I did not even stop to think why they (Jack and nice bloke Tim) were still fishing after the whistle? It did not really matter in the end because young Jack had endured a difficult day. Maybe the late fish would boost his spirits a bit? I’m going to give Mr Cryer senior a mention here because there are not many parents, or people come to think of it, that can match Pauls built in acceleration. I did suspect that there were more people being cloned than just Jerry because Paul was everywhere! Having two boys in a comp on opposite sides of a lake probably means you’re going to have to cover some ground, but the speed! Very Impressive!
Jack scored 12 points with 2lbs 3ozs…
Peg Ten: Oliver Smith: Team Smith, along with an immovable Si Wag, had taken up residence in p10. A peg that has had a certain amount of pedigree in the past. Ollie was fishing the pole with some confidence in the margin from the start, but it soon became clear that the Carp were not going to be a viable option for everyone. With a little encouragement Ollie started to fish more in front and was picking up small fish regularly. The thing about a good angler is that they can be putting fish in the net without anyone really noticing. It is only at the end when they pull out their keep net that you understand what kind of day they have had. Ollie was quietly putting many ounces in the net that would pay off at the finish. Making it to the end of the match was not guaranteed for Master Smith because, apparently, he had suggested that he might ‘loan out his mother to help carry fellow juniors equipment for a measly £3.00 an hour’, as well as other minor verbal infringements throughout the day. I managed to arrive just in time to make everything better by saying that I would not be prepared to pay that much. It was suggested that I may like to vacate the peg immediately. Ollie could not make the magic happen for the win and, was instead required to settle for 6lbs 14ozs for third place, a voucher for Alan’s Angling, and 17 points.
Congratulations to Jack, Austin, and Ollie. Well done to the rest of the juniors.
By the end, I felt more drained than usual and struggled to string a coherent sentence together. It is just as well that I have such an exceptional team of coaches to help me pack everything away. Thank you, guys.
A little moan: Junior fishing means making exceptions and having flexible rules sometimes. The exceptions have to be justified and the rules do have to have limits before they are deemed to be broken. In the club handbook the rules clearly state that juniors may have help with; The playing, landing, and unhooking of fish. That is all… Any more than the above without justification, can and will be deemed as a rule breech. I do not want to have to start laying down the law because then it becomes like kids football matches where there is arguments and a bad atmosphere. There has to be a point when constant rule breaking, even after being asked not to or even warned about, has to been seen as extracting the urine or even carefree cheating. If you are reading this and thinking this is aimed at you, you may be right. I am asking you to please stop. Do not make me enforce the rules of fair play when we have managed to abide by these simple rules so far without the need to take action. If I have asked or warned you not to do something, then please do not continue to do it. If not in respect for me, then in respect of fair play.
Also, no I have not finished yet, please ensure that you in full comprehension of the rules of junior match fishing. They are available on the DDAS club website as well as on the Junior website. It is your responsibility to know the rules of junior fishing events because they are there for everyone to see.
Right, now that’s done, our next event is in three weeks-time (13th May) at the amazing Todber Manor fishery. As you may know it is a special day because of the big-name anglers that will be there doing pole fishing demonstrations. I am asking you to please arrive at the earlier time of 9am to get the chance to see and speak to these anglers with unhuman amounts of skill and talent. For those that need it, keep your eyes on the Spond app for Re-Gen tackle items that may be of interest to you for this event.
If any of the juniors, particularly the newer ones, want to go fishing with me on any of the weekends in between now and the next event, just let me know and I will be there if I can.
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Huge thanks to Sgt. Bracey, Gentle Jon, Nice Bloke Tim, Si Wag Master of Errors, and Captain Chris. Additional thanks to Tree Chopper Chris and the Red Fox. Thank you, gentlemen.
I hope to see you at Todber!