It was finally back down to Somerset for 3 days for us after Covid lockdowns and a couple of local festivals closer to home in Worcestershire we finally got back down there for 3 days fishing on 3 different venues and of course the sadly missed banter in the evening back at the digs.
We changed the format this year with total weight over the 3 days deciding the final standings. No sections this year. You just had the catch as much as you could over the 3 days. There was a daily pool winner and a Silvers pool to fish for each day though.
Day 1 – The Sedges – Tile Pool
So it was a very early start on the Friday, up at 5.00am for the drive down to Somerset. We all met for Breakfast at the Sedges, the venue for the first match before fishing the Tile pool and we all hoped for a good start to our long weekend. The Weather forecast wasn’t that good for the weekend with showers forecasted. We just hoped we could avoid the rain. But we were lucky with the weather, just a couple of showers on the first day. A wet start on the 2nd day at Trinity Waters but it brightened up after the first hour and the final day at Landsend was Sunny and warm all day. So no smelly cars and vans in the car park back at the digs this year.
My first day was OK, I weighed in a total weight of 61lb 2oz which was 4th on the day and I also won the Silvers pool with 22lb of Skimmers which was good. I caught my biggest fish of the weekend here, a Common weighing in a 13lb 8oz. I caught this on the Method, throwing over to the Island.
But my feeder fishing was short lived. I snagged up by the island and when pulling for a break I lost my ICS stem. Luckily I had other rod set up with an ICS system so you would think all is OK but no I did exactly the same with the other rod, loosing my ICS stem again. So with no spare stems in my seat box I had to rely on the pole for the rest of the match. This wasn’t great but a did foul hook a large eel around 3lb in the fin with a banded pellet which helped my silvers pool!! The pole didn’t really fish well for carp but my short meat line woke up for the last hour. I didn’t catch many but they were a good stamp and some of the Silvers were also a good stamp of fish. So I good start to the festival. I would have won my 3 man section had we being doing sections this week. Dougie Smith to my left struggled for 25lb 5oz and Pete Dutton to my right weighed in 51lb 6oz. The match was won by Rob Butcher off an end peg (sorry Rob had to mention that) with 90lb 7oz with Derek Silk 2nd with 75lb and Ben Strong in 3rd with 64lb 5oz.
So we all then headed off to the Premier Inn in Bridgewater for the night for some food, drink and plenty of banter. (It’s the banter that makes these away trips) This was a huge upgrade to us as in the past we have stayed at Laburnum Lodge at Highbridge which wasn’t the best of places to stay but it was cheap. But by doubling up and sharing rooms at the Premier Inn the cost was about the same anyway and with a Pub and restaurant on site there was no need to drive elsewhere for food and drink.
Day 2 – Trinity Waters – Woodland pool
We woke up to rain on the 2nd day as we walked out of the Premier Inn and over to the pub/Restaurant for breakie. We’d all done the meal deal. a 2 course evening meal, a pint and an all you can eat Breakie for £25.00. Which was a no brainer. So no trips to Maccy D’s this time before we headed off to Trinity Waters which was just 10 minutes away. We fished the Woodland pool and with 11 of us fishing we all had plenty of room. Thankfully the rain stopped as we were setting up and that was the last of the rain for the rest of the weekend. We had got away with it again. it was a slow start but as the match progressed some big carp were caught. There were some big carp caught and boy do they fight in this deep pool. Getting them off bottom is hard work. (I broke a top kit and Rob broke a no.3)
I drew right up the top end of the Woodland pool. A peg with staging. One of only 4 now on the pool with the staging removed on the far bank. I’ve fished on these stages before and these big carp on really like to dive under these stages in this deep water. This time I lost two big carp due to this and I broke a Top Kit trying to keep them away from the staging. So at least 20lb lost!! I managed to catch a few though and I weighed in 68lb 8oz which was 7th on the day so not very good. Andy Mitchell won the match with 155lb 12oz, 2nd was Rob Butcher 98lb and 3rd was Dougie Smith with 89lb 2oz. The Silver pool was won by Robin Ballard with a nice bag of Bream going 31lb.
The Standings after 2 matches
Then its was back to the Premier Inn for another evening and food, drink and Banter!! So going into the final day Andy Mitchell with his tonne+ today was topping the standings with 193lb 12oz. He’s pulled it back after a disappointing 38lb on day 1. (Andy always does well at The Sedges!!) Close behind Andy was Rob Butcher on 188lb 7oz and 3rd placed was Ben Strong on 150lb 7oz.
All to play for going into the 3rd day with the big hitters right up there. Could anyone spoil the party for them with. Only 1lb separating Ben from Derek Silk on 149lb 2oz and with Phil Seedhouse 129lb, Kevin Parry 119lb 5oz Doug Smith on 114lb 7oz and Stu Thomson 114lb 2oz it was all to be decided on the final day at Landsend fishery.
Day 3 Landsend Fishery
So after Breakie we travelled 20 minutes down the road across country to Landsend Fishery. All following Kev’s ‘What three words’ location mapping. Well we did arrive OK and finally Kev showed up following up the rear! (Sorry Kev) A nice days fishing was on the cards today the Sun was out and its was warming up nicely. The last thing you want is a 2 hour drive back home with wet gear!
I draw a great looking end peg. The first peg on the pool so a nice short walk. I really fancied it with plenty of options to fish. Just look at those margin options. I started out over to the island at 14.5m with banded pellet and I began to catch fish from the off. The only problem was these were all tiny Tench and I soon binned that off, especially with than margin! So into the margins early. It was OK and I caught well for a couple of hours but it died on me and I really stayed on it for to long. I ended up filling it in and waiting for them to turn up, which they didn’t. In desperation I went out shallow long with banded pellets in the last half hour and began to catch straight away added several before the all out. I should have done this earlier but that margin was to big a drew for me. I got it wrong! Weighing in 55lb. So my total festival weight was 174lb 10z giving me a mid table finish.
Derek Silk won the match with an excellent 131lb, Andy was 2nd with his 2nd tonne of the weekend with 128lb and Kev Parry fished his ‘what three words’ in the right place for 3rd with 91lb. Stu Thomson picked up the Silvers pool with 14lb. The rest of the weights were very close Pete Dutton 65lb, Doug Smith 63lb and then everybody else weighing in 50+ nets.
The final standings.
Andy Mitchell won the festival with a total weight of 321lb 12oz, Well done Andy. Derek Silk’s tonne today saw him claim 2nd position with 282lb 2oz and 3rd was ‘Mr Framer’ Rob Butcher with 244lb 7oz. Well done boys.
So another excellent festival. It was great to finally get back down to Somerset. 11 of us caught 2190lb of fish between us over the 3 days which is great fishing and staying at the Premier Inn in Bridgewater was the perfect location with all the venues on the door step. Well done on the win Andy and also for organizing the festival. I think we all enjoyed it. I definitely did and I can’t wait to do it all again in September.