The draw wasn't overly kind to the team, a few good pegs, a few bad. I had drawn peg 220 on the Pilot stretch. After a mammoth walk to my peg, I saw I was the end peg, with Paul Isaacs of Maver Bathampton to my left. Our team had discussed a few tactics prior to the match and I was planning on implementing some of them in this peg.
I plumed a line at around 6m and found it to be a full top 5 deep. I also plumed a 12m line, both of which I was going to cup groundbait over and top-up if need be. As the call of "all in" rang out I could see some anglers in my section had opted to ball in, I stuck with my gut instinct and cupped in, 4 large balls of groundbait/leam/caster/chopped worm and squat over both the 6m and 12m lines. I was going to let this settle and check the lines for signs of life throughout the first hour. I also had setup my feeder rod for fishing 3/4 of the way across the canal. I starting fishing liquidised bread with a punched bread hookbait.
After regularly recasting and not having any luck, I checked up on my shorter pole line.....nothing. So it was back on the tip! After nearly an hour I had a positive pull round which sprung right back. I lifted into it and it felt like a decent fish. It thudded its way to the net and it was a good 1 1/2lb skimmer. A few more casts and more more sign of life!
Paul, in the peg next to me was already catching a good stamp of skimmers on the pole. I checked my short line once again, I had 3 very small skimmers followed by a slightly better sized hybrid. This run of small fish prompted me to cup in a few more balls. I left that line for 15mins and checked my longer line, where I promptly foul hooked a carp and was left with just a scale! I went back over my 6m line and immediately had a sail away bite which came off almost straightaway, it felt like a better fish. I went over again and this time a got a ripper of a lift bite and after a good fight a 4lb bream was in the net. I had the hook pull out at the net on the next skimmer then put two more in the net. The bites dried up then so I topped up the groundbait again. Still no more bites on my longer pole line or the tip. Paul was still catching steadily and I thought his weight could win the whole match!!
Into the last hour of the match and I started to see signs of life again on my 6m line this resulted in 2 more decent skimmers and a few more baby skimmers.
I weighed 14lb 12oz of my bream and skimmers which was good enough for 5th overall on the day and 3rd in my section, Paul Isaacs won the section and was second overall with an impressive 30lb bag.
Our team had faired pretty well too, Sam Johnson had won his section and came 3rd overall with 19lb. Gary Cross had also won his section and the rest of the team had all chipped in with some good points to leave us with 42 points on the day, tied joint 4th overall with Daiwa Gordon League.
1st. Rob Skellet (Nomads) 36-7-0, bream and skimmers, groundbait feeder with maggot
2nd. Paul Isaacs (Maver Bathampton) 30-14-0
3rd. Sam Johnson (Maver Cadbury Angling) 19-5-0
4th. Dave Micklewright (Daiwa Gordon League) 17-4-0
5th. Toby Parker (Maver Cadbury Angling) 14-2-0
6th. Gary Webber (Preston Innovations Thatchers) 12-13-0