On arrival at the fishing lodge and seeing the latest results sheet I was surprised to see I was lying in 3rd place, all be level on points with several other anglers on 4 points with a slight weight advantage. First place is already spoken for as Kevin Fowell as maximum points with 3 section wins and can not be challenged. So it's any one from the next twelve anglers that can fill the remaining five framing positions.

So no pressure today I simply have to score very low as this result will have to count, I don't have the luxury of a nice dropper thanks to a blank in round one. I've drawn peg 9 on the high bank which is a good area but these big skimmers can show up anywhere from peg 6 to 15 and with some of my rivals for company it's not going to be easy, this is a tough section to win.

I start on a small banjo feeder with sweet meal groundbait and maggot at 30 metres whilst feeding one jaffa at 10 metres laced with a few pinkies and maggot. I notice Mick Wheatley on peg 7 feeding at least 6 balls at the start on his 14 metre line and I comment "your going for it then Mick" to which he smiles back and nods.
It's a slow first half hour with just a few odd fish being caught, I think I had two small skimmers on the feeder, so I have a quick look on the pole and nothing doing here. Mick has started to catch a few on his pole line.......Um.

I decide to loose feed a few maggots and prime a 18 metre line for the bomb or waggler and plan to give this a look in half an hour. I'm back on the feeder line and bump a couple of skimmers, I've been trying this new Free Spirit F1 rod and whilst the glass tips are perfect for shy bites the middle section is too stiff for small silvers (in round one I lost that 2lb + skimmer which cost me big time). I'm waiting for the new bream rod from Browning to arrive, I've tested the shop demo and it's a dream rod designed especially for this type of fishing......I can't wait for it to arrive. I'll write a tackle report later in the year.

Half way through now and Mick next door has had a purple patch of catching one a bung and I believe will win this section now. Meanwhile from what I can tell it's close for second place which I'd be happy to take, but Somehow I need to find them better size skimmers. With an hour and half to go I decide to chop up a handful of worms and feed this on a new line at 12 metres, twenty minutes later and a good skimmer goes airborne on my light elastic and I pray it stays on, it does, and a 3lb bream is in the net. I quickly ship out and this followed by a 6oz, could this be the turning point?. I wait a few minutes and another fish is pulling the elastic well out, it feels like another decent skimmer - then half way home it slips the hook, deja vu of round one and White Acres last week............please don't cost me again I think to myself.

The last 30 minutes is slow again even for Mick as I notice he now tops up his pole line for the first time since that early bombardment of jaffa's. The whistle goes and I haven't a clue who has second best weight as I can only see the two anglers to my right and I feel it's close between us.

The Scales.

My old mucker Big Keith is first in this section to weigh and puts 10.13.0 in the net. Peg 13 weighs 10.7.0 the next 3 drop into single figures with the angler on my right weighing 5.8.0. In my head I feel I've got around 8+ if that bream is 4lb? So when the needle settles at just under 8lb I'm dissapointed and I'm relying now on Dave Armstrong on the end section peg 6 not to beat my weight........he weighs 10.10.0 and that's me out of the frame, you know that feeling as a child when you roll the dice on the top line of the board and land on that long snake dropping like a stone 😢 Only this time there's no more dice to roll.

Mick - ended up weighing just under 20lbs - he got it spot on with his feeding and I have to say that was a lesson to put in the memory bank for next year. Also what I didn't say in the blog was: this pool has just been restocked with new Carp 1 to 3lbs, typically they were a pain in the arse today as I netted at least 8 of them and feel they contributed to the pegs dying after each feeding pattern - maybe that's why Micks tactic worked so well today........who knows "it's a funny old game"

I finished 10th one point out of a tight frame - match fishing is all about small margins and of late I feel I've had my fair share of being on the wrong side of them. With Spring my luck will change.......fingers crossed.

I hope you've enjoyed my Winter blog's - this is the last one until the cold spell returns, so after this years harsh winter lets hope for a long and hot bagging summer.

Thanks for reading - tight lines.