It seemed like an age, but months after originally mooting the idea of a get-together at Drayton, we were finally there: some local experts, some Drayton virgins, and some, like me, previously occasional visitors, just desperate to fish it again. The gaggle which assembled on the Dam Wall ready for the draw was probably the most eclectic bunch you could imagine. All we were missing was a juvenile delinquent, a token homosexual and a midget; but unfortunately Mikey J did a no-show. This was much to Darren (bwfc_01) Cooper’s anguish as the gnome-a-like was supposed to be bringing his groundbait. Rumours that Darren solved his groundbait crisis when he found 5kilos of baggin wag mix in his hair are, as yet, unconfirmed.
So to the draw, which thanks to help from my Dad and Pete White, ran almost perfectly. I imagined Fisky taking notes in preparation for his match at Woodlands on 24th August – I’m sure he would have been, had he not rocked up 40 minutes late. Similarly late was the unfortunately named ‘Don’t Go Enough’, alias Richard Clarke. We know why he doesn’t go enough now, as he seems to struggle finding venues! I forgave Fisky and his chauffeur, Gazmalman, for their poor punctuality on the grounds that Gaz drove all of the way from
The match got under way on time at 11am for everyone except Fisky. Mick ‘209’ Parkinson on peg 32 had spent most of the time before the match writing off his chances, however, his first ever chuck with a baggin wag resulted in the first carp in the net within a few minutes and two more followed soon afterwards. Fisky eventually started at 11:15, or at least he tried to. His first chuck went something like WHOOSH…. CRACK…. SPLOODOOSH!!!! Mick and I nearly fell in as we attempted to watch Fisky removing the bird’s nest from his line through eyes welling up with tears of laughter! “Didn’t I tell you, the ‘unattached method feeder at 20 yards’ was the main part of my match plan,” came the retort from the self-titled ‘Leeds Numpty’. I checked that he still wanted to go ahead with our £1 side bet. In hindsight, he started a trend as several others took to the ‘unattached baggin wag’ method later in the match, not least Mick209 and Roger Parnell on peg 48 who had to resort to borrowing a swivel clip from Symon on the next peg!
After an initial flurry of fish, the match settled down with a few people starting to forge ahead. Every time I looked up, the three lads on the end of the boards seemed to be in to fish. Mick’s fish dried up somewhat, but to his right, I could see a few fish being caught. In particular Jason ‘Power Arm’ Redgrave and to a lesser extent, Phil ‘Pebisit’ Stone seemed to be getting amongst the Drayton carp. It was hard to tell if much was being caught on the wall, not least because I couldn’t see the corner pegs, but landing nets seemed to be going out sporadically in the middle of the ‘wall in the late 40s.
The banter was now in full swing, and I almost lost my rod as a carp took whilst I was laughing at Fisky dropping in one item of tackle after another. “Can I borrow a baiting needle?” followed his earlier request for snap swivels, having seen his own disappear into the drink along with his scissors. Bob ‘Dudd’ Kennedy was hitting fish occasionally on the method at 34B, however he had been forced to step up his gear after being smashed up more than once. A quiet spell prompted him to resort to a secret bait; hair rigged wine gum. A few minutes later, we heard his clutch rattling and looked up in disbelief as a Drayton carp had succumbed to the only yellow wine gum in the packet!
I’m afraid to report, that with just over an hour to go, the clash of the titans at the end of the boards was going all Fisky’s way, as he led with 5 carp to my 2. Desperately trying to catch up, I bombarded the area next to the boards to my left with 8 ‘jaffas’, including 3 tins of cat meat. Many others followed suit, which led me to remark, “the level’s come up 2 feet,”! “Why, has Floatman fallen in?!” quipped one wag. The final hour saw me connect with two carp down the edge, and although my strong carp rod and 15lb Maxima were up to it, my hooks weren’t and I was left with two straightened out Mustad Method Feeder hooks. At least I’ll have plenty of bayonets next time!
The all out was called at 5pm, much to the disappointment of most who wanted “just another half-hour” as the fish seemed to have just started to move on to the feed properly. The weigh-in revealed that it was tough at the top end, with a couple of blanks, but carp angler by trade, Pete White, for once managed to stay at his peg long enough to beat the hardened matchmen surrounding him and win A section with 56lb on straight lead and boilies. Bwfc_01 managed a creditable 53lb from a tough area and was unlucky to just miss out on the section by ‘half a fish’. B section fished much better, and Phil ‘Pebisit’ Stone claimed it by default with an excellent 86lb from peg 24. Jason Redgrave AKA Power Arm deserves maximum respect for his brilliant 186lb on the candle from peg 28, taking full advantage of the three vacant adjacent pegs. The lads on the boards had caught well, but I wasn’t sure if they could beat that. Mick ‘baggin wag expert’ Parkinson weighed in just short of 60lb from peg 32, and comprehensively battered yours truly whose two fish went just 16lb. I blame the ‘match organisers curse’ that always seems to afflict Fisky at Woodlands. Fisky himself managed a respectable 46lb, and I must thank him at this point for rushing off without claiming his £1 – we can go for double or quits at Woodlands, mate! The boards fished OK, with most tempting the odd fish, but Paul K excelled from F with 123lb, enough to claim the section prize. John Unsworth on H was agonisingly one fish short of the ton with 95lb. As expected, Floatman produced a fantastic 191lb from G, relegating Power Arm to second place, despite complaining, “I had a crap first two hours and a crap last hour!”
The Dam wall was patchy, but Mark “One Out of the Frame” Barnes caught 161lb on the baggin wag at LONG range from peg 37 for a well deserved third place. Mark was clearly unaccustomed to this, and at the presentation stepped forward to collect the prize for second as has become his habit in Fish’o’mania qualifiers. Skip McCabe at the next peg was ruing several lost fish, but still managed 62lb. Ianscone managed 26lb from peg 42, largely thanks to extensive coaching from Drayton expert and ‘carp hauler supreme’, Steve ‘Carpmagic’ Ringer. My Dad, JohnH at the next peg must have also suffered from the match orgainsers curse as he managed just one fish for 13lb – at least I beat Dad! The middle of the ‘wall fished well, and Symon, Roger Parnell and Neil ‘Hillbilly’ Powell engaged in a ding-dong battle from pegs 47, 48 and 49, with Roger finally taking the section by default with 108lb thanks to Symon’s swivel clip! Symon and Neil weren’t far behind, with 89lb and 76lb, respectively.
So the day was complete, Mick had taken the winners purse and most of the plaudits, but the day was all about the banter, no doubt helped by some great fishing and the weather which suggested that summer might have actually arrived. I really can’t wait for Woodlands in August now! Incidentally, lots of people were keen for another Drayton get-together, so watch this space.
Summary of results:
TF Screen Name
One Out of the Frame
Baggin wag, boilies
Straight lead, boilies
Baggin wag, boilies
Finally, I’d like to thank everyone who helped out, starting with my Dad – I couldn’t have done it without him! Thanks to Pete White for helping with the draw and Mark Barnes and Nigel Harrhy for helping with the weigh-in! To anyone who I’ve forgotten to mention, your help will have been noted and was much appreciated!