Viaduct Fishery, Somerton, 24th - 26th May 2017
Another great trip away, well organised by John Palmer as usual. Well done JP!
The first really hot spell of the year was well under way and continued unabated for the three days fishing, resulting in some serious exposure of semi-naked bodies, lashings of sun-screen, red faces and plenty of post-match re-hydration.
Unfortunately, the hot conditions did put the fish in Carey lake under some stress and the owners asked if we could stick to Cambell and Spring for our three matches.
The Wednesday match on Campbell set the trend for the next two days as the 'Big Four' of Dave Hughes, Sam Docker, Gary Clifford & Tony Morris would go on to dominate this mini-festival, but certainly a well-fought battle between them which left the rest of us struggling to keep up.
Day one saw the big carp cruising in the sunshine and Sam was unable to resist the call of the mugging rig. Standing up for most of the match, he swung his pellet or meat out in front of the passing fish, latching on regularly enough for top spot with 156lb. Dave Hughes worked his usual magic with pole, pellet and paste for 2nd and Tony Morris fished similarly for third.
Day two saw a significant change with a move to Spring Lake. Again there were plenty of cruising fish, but with the odd exception, few were interested in being mugged or caught at all. Most settled down to try to catch anything that swims. The much lower weight match saw Gary Clifford take the honours from behind the main island where he managed a few carp and silvers and 66lb. Dave Hughes was 2nd again close behind on 63lb from the top end bank and Tony Morris 3rd with a nice mixed bag taken on the cage feeder chucked close to the big island for 48lb, which included a very decent 33lb of silvers.
For the last day, everyone opted for an additional handicap pairs match to add extra interest, where the top and bottoms of the aggregate weights would be paired together. For example, 1st & 18th, being Dave Hughes and Andy Tickner, 2nd and 17th and so on. Seemed like a good plan, but a duff first two days for Graham Stevens saw him in 17th place and paired with Sam Docker. Being back on Campbell for the last match saw them as strong favourites and so it turned out as Graham finally found some form with a 'ton' bag and more than enough for the pair to take the additional prize by some margin.
Day 3 results again saw the familiar names as Dave Hughes took top spot with 167lb, but closer on the minor placings with Sam on 123lb and Tony on 121lb.
The overall results were never really in doubt so congratulations go to Dave Hughes for a pretty flawless three days and first place with an aggregate weight of 369lb. Sam (on his first visit), Tony and Gary had their own closer battle to finish 2nd, 3rd & 4th on 314lb, 283lb and 265lb respectively.
The Silver fish contest did however produce some different names and thanks largely to his 32lb of skimmers on day 2, Lucky John Palmer took the overall silver prize with 57lb. Well done Big John. Likewise a good 2nd day for Tony Morris helped him to 2nd with 45lb, inevitably Dave Hughes 3rd with 42lb and Barry Stagg 4th with 39lb.
Roll on October!!!!
Full results below - click on the image to enlarge.
Viaduct Fishery, Somerton, 4th - 6th October 2017
With several regulars on other duties, there were 16 this time for what turned out to be a very interesting event. It was ideal autumnal weather, but the news was that the lakes were fishing a bit below par, although as always, much still depends upon the draws and the anglers that get them. Thanks yet again to John Palmer for making all the arrangements.
For added interest, it was decided to add a 'seeded' team element to the format in addition to the overall individuals and overall Silvers-only. Half of each team would be picked from the "big four" and previous successful anglers with the other halves drawn randomly from the rest. The idea from Sam on this, was that it would give more people the chance of picking up and that can only be a good thing.
The Wednesday match was held on Carey, but it seems that it has not entirely recovered from the issues that stopped us fishing it in the Spring. Not that that held Gary Clifford back in any way as he made the most of his end peg on the nearside at the car park end by fishing meat, mostly on the pole in the margins alongside the adjacent empty pegs, cruising away from the field to finish on 123lb. The only person to threaten his dominance was Bob Docker from half-way up the opposite side where he also found the carp eager to feed in his attractive margin areas. He managed 2nd with 117lb. A long way behind was Docker Junior with just 45lb, just ahead of Dave Hughes on 44lb.
Such was the dominance, the title and team trophy already looked out of reach for the rest, but things turned around somewhat on Day 2. Spring Lake has always been a bit peggy on past visits, but Sam drew well on peg 5 on with a good chuck to the island trees and inviting margins. He doesn't need the help of the drawbag, but when he gets it (which is most of the time) he always makes the most of it and this was no exception. Snaffling a few on the feeder he topped up with some margin lumps to win Day 2 with 112lb. Dave Hughes also made the most of a decent draw behind the island on the opposite bank to help claw his way back with 83lb. Graham Stevens took 3rd with a nice mixed bag of silvers on the feeder plus some late margin carp for 63lb. The Day 1 leaders were down amongst the also-rans.
The scene was set for the Day 3 finale on Campbell. Once again, Sam was blessed at the draw tin, picking out the end peg 123 at the top end of the far bank. From there he could chuck a pellet feeder to the middle of the empty end bank from where he caught carp steadily from the off and throughout the match to totally dominate the result with 224lb. Gary put up a valiant fight back from peg 111 with 115lb on the pole with pellet, but it was just too difficult to compete. Tony Morris finally managed to find some fish for the first time on the trip, to take 3rd on the day with 112lb.
Sam's blitz over the 2nd & 3rd days proved more than enough to take the overall honours by some margin in the end and a total of 380lb. His efforts were also enough to boost the team weights and prize with much thanks but relatively little contribution from team mates Barry Stagg, Brian Beacroft and Paul Oliver. Gary hung on to 2nd place with a decent total 284lb, with Dave Hughes relegated to 3rd place this time on 207lb.
The Silvers match was won by Graham with 38lb, with Barry 2nd on 26lb and Paul Oliver 3rd on 25lb.
Overall, the weights were well down on the May results and whilst still a highly enjoyable trip, most would have liked to catch a few more. Hopefully things will be back to normal for next year.
Full results below - click on the image to enlarge.
Warlingham and District Anglers' Society