Its been a busy time for me lately, Ive fished 12 matches in 14 days and travelled a silly amount of miles, the start of these matches was the Maver Festival at Whiteacres, its always nice to see the usual faces after the summer, the first 3 days went well with 2 wins and a second putting me in joint second overall and thursday match was at Porth, a venue that has always been kind to me, but the fishing this year was very different to previous festivals. The hand size skimmers that make up most of the weights were not showing and with lots of colour in the water it was a bream or bust approach for lots of people as big weights were showing.
I drew in the 70s, the day before Phil Ringer won this section, and the lake, with 51lb and you needed 16lb for 4th, so I decided to forget the pole and fish an all out feeder match, what a mistake, after 5 hours I had only had 2 bites, a skimmer and an eel, to finish 3rd from last in the section, not one of my better tactical decisions, and with on 1 person catching bream in my section, second was a real posibility.
Still, hindsight is a great thing, I went to bolingey on the last day, had a nice days fishing to finish third in my section.
Over the week I finished 13th, despite the bad result at Porth, if I had managed a second at Porth I would probably finished 5th overall, still thats fishing.
I now had the weekend off to catch up on the rig and hook tying and chill out as Monday was the start of the Preston Festival finishing off with the £25,000 Parkdean Final.
Monday I drew peg 24 on the high bank, a draw I was very happy with, but the fishing was very difficult, no big weights today. 49lb won the lake and only 32lb was second, my 26lb was good enough for 3rd in the section, the big carp just never fed and the skimmers never played ball either.
Tuesday I drew peg 35 on twin oaks, an end peg, again I was happy with the draw, there was no wind on the day and I caught some F1s on the feeder for the first 3 hours, then some small carp late down the edge to weigh 70lb, good enough for 2nd in the section, Shaun Barnett won the section with 77lb of F1s down the edge, a lovely net of fish.
Wednesday, I drew peg 6 on Trelawney, not the best of draws, this section is usually won on one of the end pegs, but again the lake fished hard with very few carp showing and I caught 26lb of mainly F1s to finish second, beaten by 51lb of carp. So after 3 days I was lying 16th and still in with a chance to qualify for the final.
Thursday was Porth again, and I drew peg 73, the bream section, the end peg 71 was winning everything and everyone else is fishing for second, and so that was how the match went again, peg 71 caught 7 bream to win the lake and peg 72 caught some skimmers and big perch, all I could catch was small roach, but 11lb was enough for 3rd in the section and this kept me in with a chance of making the final.
Friday was Bolingey, most anglers favourite venue of the festivals, I drew peg 38, just inside the gate, not the best of draws but with the wind blowing in that end of the lake I was happy, peg 29 had dominated the section all week and with Andy Geldart on it it was not going to be easy. The first couple of hours was slow, this is normal at Bolingey, but gradually I started to get a few bites at 5m and with the stamp of fish being on the large size I felt confident of a decent weight, at the whistle I had 13 carp decent carp and Andy had 20 small carp, Andy weighed before me, he had 110lb, if he won his section today he would win the festival, so by the time he had got to me he was 'sweating' a bit, we both knew it was going to be close, after 3 weighs the weights were totalled up and I had 107lb, so Andy won the festival and I was in the Parkdean Final, my 5th time in 7 years.