We're now well into the winter fishing, and I've got to say, I'm really enjoying it! There's nothing better than getting up on a cold, clear morning, and driving to a canal match with a tray of bloodworm and joker in the back of the van. I love it!
The weekend before last saw me fishing the Angling Trust Winter League with Ultimate Barnsley on the Stainforth and Keadby Canal. Things have been a little harder than normal this year, but it's still great fishing, and I finished second in the section with 8-14-0, beaten by an agonizing 2oz! We did however win as a team, and actually ended up winning the series with five wins and a second place over the six rounds. The ever-consistent Osset finished second, so it's all focus on the semi-finals for us both now!
Last weekend got of to a great start, as Friday evening was spent at the a rather posh ball organized by Sandra Scotthorne, celebrating 30 years of Halkon Hunt being in business! It was a fantastic night, and all I wanted to do was get my autograph book out! It really was the 'whos who' of angling, and a great amount of appreciation was shown towards Sandra and the business. Halkon Hunt is without a doubt the most recognised brand of angling clothing, and after the professionalism and quality I've seen in my lifetime, I'm sure it is set to continue for many years to come!
After a battering by the Scotthorne's on the first round of the Fossdyke Individual League, I returned keen as ever to claw some points back last Saturday! Thankfully, the Scotthorne's weren't there, as they attended Sandra's celebratory match at Hayfield Lakes. However, after drawing Peg18 at Woodcocks, I found myself sitting down next to a jinxed nemesis of mine- none other than Rob 'Pine Top' Perkins. As regular readers will know, I draw next to him a lot, but can never seem to beat him! There were several other regulars to contend with too, Alistair Ogilvie was a few pegs away, with Sean Wright on the end peg, and Phil Turner not far away either!
I must admit, the peg did look enticing, with a large rush bed opposite, and very little weed choking the main track. I plumbed up three lines around the feature intended for lobbies, as well as two short bloodworm swims, and one at 13m just in case! I had to start on lobby, the rush bed looked far too inviting to ignore! A run of small perch settled me in, and after half an hour I had six fish for nearly a pound! At this point, the lads either side hadn't had a bite, so I decided to stay on it. A tiny piece of lobworm brought instant indications, but when bringing in my next fish, I suffered an attack from Mr Pike! Thankfully, a minute of hard pulling must have made his chops ache, and he released my perch with minimal bodily harm. I decided to re-feed, and have a go with a bigger piece of worm. A better stripy around 8oz was the reward, but I'd noticed Rob had started to catch small fish on bloodworm, urging me to have a go!
Strangely, my short lines produced just a single perch, while on the 13m line, I could catch a small roach every chuck. It's normally the other way round on the Foss, which I though was very strange. Nevertheless, talk on the bank reassured me that the whole match length was fishing hard, with John Small, one of the Fossdykes most consistent anglers, blanking from the favored marina mouth peg!
Things were looking good, so I decided to keep switching between the 13m line and my lobby swims, catching 20 or so small roach, before dropping in and sneaking a chunky perch out. I finished the match with 5-11-0, which was enough to win the section and finish fifth overall, in front of Sean on the end peg who had 4-14-0 for second. More to the point, I had one back over Mr Perkins, who did make a last gasp scare with an eel of a pound and a half.
A big well done must go out to the match winner, Paul Wilson, who had 7-11-0, and was only complaining to me the week before that he never wins anything! Tom had a hard day bless him, and despite catching 4-4-0, ended up fifth in his section, having had several end pegs and marinas to contend with. They were his excuses anyway! (Not the brightest idea to write such things then give it to me to edit really is it Mr Godfrey? I will have my revenge!- Tom)
With no matches on the Sunday, and plenty of bait left, we decided to return to Lincolnshire for a practice on the Sunday. Five of us turned up, and as always the competitive streak got the better, as we all chucked in a tenner for winner takes all. I found myself sandwiched between The Chin (I think he means 'my angling mentor , hero and allround style icon, Tom Scholey'- Tom) and John Small, and picked the only peg with an angler either side (excuse number one!).
It was a very hard, and without any scales, there was much discussion as to who had the most weight at the end of the day. Crouchey on the end stuggled for 3-0-0, while Stu Burdekin had around 4-0-0 on the marina. Tom was quick to gave himself a weight of 6-0-0 (actually it was Matt's own grandad who estimated the weight of the fish for us- Tom), which can only be described as generous.
On lifting out my fish, we agreed that there was slightly less than tom, and settled on a weight of 5-0-0, an accurate guess without any scales. Smalley on the end struggled, but managed some better roach at the end to finish with around 3-8-0.
The banter from Sunday still hasn't finished, and to be quite frank, my ears are burning with sarcastic comments from he who can only be described as a Woody/Postman Pat Hybrid. (I will take that. Its much better than looking like a cross between Keith Lemon and the puppet out of Rosie & Jim- Tom)
We're off to Rycroft Fishery tomorrow for a silverfish only match, so hopefully I can get one back on him! Sunday is the Al Bailey memorial teams of four on the Stainy, which I'm fishing with both daddy and baby Scotthorne, as well as Sam Wildsmith, so hopefully I can tell you all about some good results. Tight Lines till next time!