Verulam Angling Club
Commentary by Allan Bayman:
At almost the last minute, due to excessive weed growth in the crystal clear waters, this years' Champion of Champions match was moved from our Bellows Mill fishery to an alternative commericial venue. How End was suggested and we were fortunate to find it available. A very new fishery, just three years old, it has a reputation for producing plenty of fish (of a variety of species) and is thought to be quite even due to the way the fishery was constructed.
Colin is pegged 2nd on left and John is directly opposite
Just after the draw owner Phil Stone, known as Pebs, took our food orders and a while later we had delivery to peg service of bacon or sausage baguettes with tea or coffee so that was a nice start and the weather looked to be abnormally nice for a bank holiday.
At the start of the match I started catching ide from the off in the shallow margins of the far island but John to my left was catching faster than I was. Quite a few fish seemed to be caught and the first hour was pretty hectic then it started to slow down. Roger had had three small carp in his first three put-ins and was picking out the odd fish still.
Switching to worm on the long line Andy Trigg had a burst of barbel and AlanG fishing the middle line was picking out the odd fish also. It seemed everyone was catching to different methods and nobody seemed to be able to catch the same way as their neighbours.
The middle of the match saw Andy catching well. I could also see Stan and Colin opposite me over the top of the island seemed to both be catching in bursts. Colin was catching at 11m using maggot over worm. A switch to paste for me got me a couple of carp but I was getting loads of bites and hitting very few which I suspected to be the barbel. To my left John switched to the inside and started catching a lot of fish including some better carp. Phil Rule was catching plenty of ide continually and Roger was still getting the odd barbel.
The last third of the match was going to be crucial as everyone seemed to have caught fairly similar bags of fish. I decided to sit it out on the paste and had a good last 45 mins using slightly smaller bits and getting a fair few barbel and some small carp. Colin started bagging down the edge whilst we all tried this very few people had much more than the odd fish . Stan seemed to be getting fish too using his knowledge from having fished the odd pairs match and having done well in those. At the end it looked like it was going to be very close.
Colin was the first to weigh in with a good 34lb 2oz, there were plenty of backing weights around 20lb. Roger Smith got close to 30lb with 29lb 1oz. AlanG and Andy were both very close with around 22lb each. I was surprised to have 29lb 4oz just pipping Roger. I was sure John would have more and he did pushing Colinís weight very close with 33lb 10oz, just one ide short. Stan was the last to weigh in and was a fish ahead of me taking third with 30lb 1oz.
Although our weights were a long way of the weights by the regulars in the Opens here it was an enjoyable and challenging match, very fair on the day, and a nice change from an all-out carp 'race'.
Big well done to Colin for winning the championship and the Champion of Champions match, he looks like the man to beat now.