Middy-backed Russ Evans reports on a busy, wet and costly week on the bank side.
Last week saw the start of my Fish O Mania qualifying campaign at Lakeview in Leicester but before that I had the small matter of the Bury Hill Two Day silvers event on the Old Lake. On Day One I drew peg 24 in deep water next to the brilliant Steve Gardener on peg 22.
Although I knew the deep water could produce some decent weights, I wasn’t too confident that the fish were in the area as not many matches have been fished on the Old Lake of late. It is an out-and-out pole peg but I spent the first 20 minutes on the tip as I let my initial feeding of two lines settle down.
For the rest of the match I enjoyed some good bream action with fish up to 6lb and with leads on Steve of five bream to one, nine to five and 13 to nine, I was in front until the last hour when he started to catch quickly and apply the pressure. Unfortunately for me I pinged out of three good bream at the net during the course of the five hours and although it didn’t cost me on the day as I won the match with 59lb 13oz to Steve’s second placed 53lb. I had a gut feeling those lost fish would play a big part in the overall outcome as the event was to be decided on overall weight.
On Day Two I drew peg four which had produced just one tench and for me it was agony waiting for a bite as my only bite produced a bream of 3lb 14oz on the feeder. Heavy rain and hail storms made it very uncomfortable for the 40 anglers and the weights were low with Andy Ryan winning with 39lb 8oz. Steve Gardener won the event with his second day total of just over 22lb being enough. Despite a poor second day I held onto fifth place overall collecting £260 in total for my efforts. Well done to Steve for the win and to all the other anglers for braving what were terrible conditions.
With gear dried out (eventually!), I headed to Lakeview Fishery in Leicestershire to compete in my first Fish O qualifier of the year. I set off just after 5am and some two hours 35 minutes and 160 miles later I arrived in the car park of the fishery. A breakfast followed with a few brief chats with old and new friends before a walk around the fishery to get my bearings.
Seven lakes were being used to cater the 130 anglers. I saw some good end pegs on most of the lakes and fancied my chances if I could get near them so I while I was waiting in the queue for the draw I kept thinking of the pegs I had seen and hoped my fingers would pull one of them out.
As I was about to draw I bumped into Andy Ford who was covering the event for Sky and had a brief chat as I drew peg 22 on Canal lake.
It was not one of the pegs that I recalled when I walked around earlier but I was keeping positive all the same. I drove back to car park one near the lake and walked to my peg before I got my gear out. It was already raining (for a change!) and feeling very cold, and as I walked to the lake I looked at the first end peg. Number 30, not what I was hoping for. As I walked up the lake counting down the peg numbers, the growth around the bank got less and less and by the time I reached peg 22 I laughed out loud to myself. No chance!
Anyway, I gave it a go for three-and-a-half hours before the long journey home was calling me to surrender and with six fish in the net, I did just that. My lake produced the winner from peg six on the other bank. Well done to Simon Medd with his winning 65lb. I counted the cost of my match and I reckon with petrol, tickets, pools, bait and food the day stacked up to around £135 from a peg I could not compete from.
Undeterred, I am back on the Fish O trail at Peatling Pools on Wednesday May 2nd where I hope lady luck will be kind to me in the draw bag this time round. Strange as it might seem, I still enjoyed the day and felt quite calm about my poor peg as I have a feeling better things are waiting for me just around the corner. We shall see!
Tight Lines Russ Evans
Russ Evans is sponsored by Middy Tackle and Sticky