17 May 2009

Who Dares Wins

Woke up early yesterday morning and after picking up a fishing buddy we both set off to the Gloucester canal to fish the eagerly awaited Zandermania 2009. The sun was out when we arrived but it certainly never remained that way. The wind soon turned to gale force and for once was nothing to do with a prawn vindaloo. The huge turnout of anglers were burnt, battered and soaked on what turned out to be an incredibly hard days fishing. My heart wasn't in it from the start and I spent most of the 1st two hours chatting to fellow competitors and putting names to faces. Reading the signals sent to my rod tip was impossible as the high winds did their best to rip my expensive gear from my hands but eventually I settled into routine and focused my concentration on the job in hand. After spending a couple of hours fishing soft shads with no success I broke from my normal attack and attached a crankbait to my line. Normally fishing a crankbait is a recipe for disaster due to the snaggy bottom but I had modernised my lure so that I had a fighting chance and was rewarded almost immediately with a sharp rap on the line. I played the fish carefully knowing that a lost fish at this stage could leave me with the unwanted tag of "Billy Blanker" and after a couple of minutes a 4lb zander lay in my arms, was quickly weighed and photographed and returned to the murky depths back to its home of discarded shopping trolleys and and car wrecks. Inner city fishing certainly has its attractions. My car partner, Michael, then landed a small fish of 2lb 5oz and it made his day as most anglers seemed to be blanking. I then fished as hard as I could but was rewarded with absolutely nothing until with half an hour to go I made my way back to the wharf. I'd been keeping my eye on the sun, waiting for it to start sinking down to the west. I settled in next to a young lad who was completely drenched and my heart went out to him as I did my best Mr Crabtree impression and explained that sometimes shadows can become fish attracting features. I dropped a small shad into the shadow directly in front of me to demonstrate and was instantly rewarded with a 10oz perch. Unfortunately they don't count in a zander match and I returned the small stripey as the heavens opened emptying a deluge of rain upon the already battered congregation. Full time and I made my way to the results area and handed in my weigh card. A few fish had been caught against all the odds and I stood among a dripping mob of anglers waiting to see who had won the generous prizes. In 4th place.........me. I was genuinely shocked as I collected the prize of a Spro rod and even more shocked at the huge cheer that went up. The "bonus" perch had done it as I had tied with another angler and the tie-breaker had tipped the scales. I nearly didn't put the fish on my card thinking it would be no good. Well done to everybody who had taken part especially the few lads for the junior event, thanks also to Gary for organising another Zandermania. I got back into the car glowing partly to the wind burn and partly with the shock. Happy Days

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