With overnight temperatures plummeting to -6 degrees, and as expected all the lakes were frozen solid. On our arrival, Steve Long was out rocking his boat breaking the ice. No one wanted to draw Middle - particularly the "bowl". This area can be devoid of fish at this time of year, you are also up against some good Silvers pegs on Spring. I wanted to draw any peg on Spring. Thanks to team captain Charlie he pulled out Spring 15. I spoke to Paul Garrett, who suggested that as the peg was in the far left corner, that I would catch Carp down the right hand margin. He suggested that I drop in for the Carp every 15 minutes or so. In terms of Silver fish and section points I fancied the peg. On arrival I was greeted with a small ice free hole (bring back the boat Steve!). However, Mark Broomsgrove lent me his old pole with a weed cutter attached, which, allowed me to clear the swim of ice out to 10 metres (this, proved, not to be far enough). As the swim would not see any sun (nor me) I was concerned that it might refreeze. I set up a rig for the margin (TBF cult) with 0.18 straight through, backed up with 22 elastic. I also set up my usual modified Preston PB14 with 0.14 bottom and 16 Tubertini 808 (I chose 0.14 bottom because of the icy conditions and the expectation of one or two large Carp - always best to scale down rather than up (they go to 20lb in Spring))! For the first time I tried the Vespe yellow hollow elastic which is about a number 8, with a pull-a-bung. I was impressed with it's performance - it's got good memory. The next dilemma was what to fed (if anything) . I decided on one testicle size ball of Sensas Black Lake with four maggots. On my first put in with single red maggot I landed a 1lb Roach on my landing net - which had become an iced up tennis racket (always helps to get a good fish "on top" of the net early). I decide then to put a Clementine (it's Christmas) size ball in - without any maggot. I then had a run of decent Skimmers. I then fed again, which resulted in some more Skimmers and an out of season Tench. I kept the odd ball going in until the last hour and half when the fished back off - FRUSTRATING - as I couldn't follow them out, due to the ice. Throughout, I fed about one pint of Lake and finished with 23lb 1oz. This gave me third in section and 13 points. I was one out of the Silvers pool with fifth, but won my five peg section for a pick up of £40.
I did try down the right hand margin with treble maggot for about three minutes! Surprisingly - nothing!
Team mate Rich Coles fished the Middle "Bowl of Death" and blanked along with I think, seven others. Despite this, Charlies Angels managed to retain third spot overall. Tom Thick had good points on Campbell 123 fishing double caster on the waggler.
The match and Carp weight was won by Andy Lloyd (pictured right) with 94lb from Spring Lake peg 8. Andy landed nine Carp and lost fourteen! Andy fished treble red maggot at 14 metres down his right hand edge into the end margin. Andy did well to land nine, as he had to guide the Carp down a channel two foot wide (two foot deep) between the bank and a large weed bed of lilly's.
Runner up was Steve Mayo (pictured below right - apologies for the poor quality - my range finder condensated) from Spring peg 18. Steve was the first angler this series to pick up in both the Silvers and Carp, with second Carp 46lb and fourth Silvers weight with 28lb 8oz. Steve caught quality Carp on the straight lead using "popped-up bread.
The Silvers was won by Matt Parsons with 34lb 13oz from Spring 19
1. Andy Lloyd 94-0-0 Spring 8
2. Steve Mayo 46-0-0 Spring 18
3. Eric Fouracres 28-13-0 Spring 6
4. Vince Brown 17-4-0 Campbell 110
1. Matt Parsons 34-13-0 Spring 19
2. Dave Roper 34-11-0 Spring 24
3. Chris Davis 30-9-0 Spring 20
4. Steve Mayo 28-8-0 Spring 18
Top teams overall:
1. Westerleigh - 91
2. Sedges Mosella - 77.5
3. Charlies Angels - 67.5
4. Avon Angling - 67
1. Mike Nicholls Charlies Angels - 87
2. Chris Davis Westerleigh - 85
3. Ryan Shipp Westerleigh - 77
4. Vince Brown Sedges Mosella - 77
10. Tony Rixon Avon Angling 71