This round goes from 16 down to 8, so things are starting to get serious, with some anglers putting a lot of effort in and others taking the view, this venue doesnt suit them and just turned up on the day.
I decided to go up on the tuesday before the match, have 2 days practice with my good mates Dean Barlow and Adam Wakelyn and hopefully I would learn enough, draw a good enough peg on the day and progress to the next round.
The first practice day went really well, I fished peg 36 in front of the car park, caught about 14lb of good quality roach on hemp plus some perch on the inside,I had a very enjoyable days fishing, learnt all about how important it is to get presentation spot on when using hemp, this boosted my confidence in a bait that I hardly ever catch on, in the venues I fish.
The second practice day I decided to fish a waggler peg with maggot, this was more the style of fishing I was used too, I had a very enjoyable day catching roach and dace and finished up with about 10lb, at times I missed a lot of bites from small dace, but that happens on the waggler.
Match day arrives and I had decided to fish a roach match and hoped that the draw would be kind to me, some areas of the match length were a lot better than others, I drew peg 22, on a straight before a bend, not having a great knowledge of all the pegs, it looked ok with a nice flow. When I plumbed up on the pole line the weed was all over the place and I couldnt find a totally clear run through, good in some ways because the roach seemed to prefer the weedier swims, but hard work and at times frustrating, striking at false bites.
To cut a long story short all I could catch was tiny roach and dace, even on hemp the fish were the same size, I finished with 5lb 4oz and needed 7lb 10oz to go through, It was a long journey home, congratulations to all those who got through, they have a great round ahead of them at marlborough on the kennet and avon canal, they could need 20lb of roach to win the match.
On reflection, I think my tactics were alright, of the 8 anglers who got through, 7 fished for roach, only one angler got through fishing for big fish. Never mind there is always next year to look forward too, its a great competition.
Now Im off to the New Junction canal for 3 days with my Dorking team mates to practice for the Div 1 national, hope it fishes better than some of the recent matches.