I'm definitely what you'd call a 'confidence angler' and at the moment I'm really buzzing and going to matches thinking I'm going to do ok. I definitely go through periods where I doubt everything I do, though, and feel like an also ran, so I'm just trying to make the most of it while I can!
The weekend before last I felt I fished a decent match. It was the first round of the International Rules league at Barston Lakes. I drew well and expected to catch some skimmers and F1s on bloodworm over balled-in groundbait but it took two hours before they turned up. By that time Danny Ashington (Starlets) was already admitting to 17lb! He went on to win the match comfortably with 46lb of mostly bream. I had a good last half of the four-hour match to catch 32lb 12oz (I reckon it was closer to 33lb but Des Shipp was being a bit tight on the scales ha ha!) That was enough for third in the 12-peg section and 6th in the match. Danny took the section and Des pipped me by 2lb - and I had a 2lb-plus bream that I had to throw back as I netted it 15 seconds after the whistle! That fish would've given me 4th overall but I had to make do with a double-default £50 section win! Oh well…
Last Sunday was Round Three of the Tunnel Barn WL and my Match fishing Drawbags team (Steve Ringer, Joe Carass, Lee Kerry and myself) have had a mixed bag at the draw so far. Last round I felt I fished really well to come 3rd on House Pool with 74lb off Peg 32. Its not a peg I'd ever run to so I was really happy. I had all F1s on maggots, getting through a good three pints of bait.
This time I rolled into the car park to be immediately faced with Mr Ringer. "What would you say if you were on the same peg again, Jon?"he asked me. He had already drawn for the team and Peg 32 was once again my destination!
I was kind of happy but I still felt there are much better draws on the lake (namely 6, 7, 29 and 30) plus it's a split section with the best half of Club Pool (A contentious point) and that means you are normally going to struggle to beat all those pegs too.
Anyway, Club had an off day - in fact the whole venue fished patchy - and my 68lb 3oz was somehow good enough to win the lake, the entire section AND come 2nd overall in the whole match. Get in! Oh, and I was only 2oz off winning the entire thing - that man Mr Shipp cost me. Grr!
Strangely, I never really caught the same as the previous round and caught better on pellets early and maggots late. I also did well down the edge and across rather than down the middle - which just goes to show how two days are rarely ever the same. In hindsight, Peg 32 is a pretty good draw with lots of options now. I think it's better than I remember as the reedbed across seems much more established now and the ducks which live there weren't fighting with each other and dive-bombing every 30 seconds. I drew it a year or two ago and those bloody ducks were a nightmare. I actually went home and asked for a laser pen for Christmas, just to see if that would help scare them off. It was either that or a 12-bore...
The next day I had time off to spend with the wife. I also couldn't resist sneaking in a quick three-hour commando-style session at a local fishery, though!!! I fished the wag for 20 minutes for just one gudgeon, then switched to the pole and caught shallow for a healthy double figures of big roach, then had a quick hour down the edge. That last hour was nothing short of spectacular as I had 10 great big perch averaging over 1lb with the biggest three all 2lb-plus! I reckon I could've caught 20 of them for an awesome catch shot… but I cut the session short and have made a mental note to do a feature for those massive stripeys. Watch this space!