The road to the D2 Nationals

Fishing as member of the Colmic Soar Fishing, 2018 see’s myself and fellow team mates entering the Angling Trust Division 2 nationals on the river Nene’s North bank at Peterborough.

‘With 30 teams totaling 300 anglers we will be up against it but you’ve got to be in it to win it!’

As you can imagine there’s a lot of preparation to be done both as a team and as an individual.

All of which started back in May with a road trip to see the venue to get an idea of the what the river was like. It was not quite as we thought nor was it like what some people had been told us. Oh!.

Being a little like our home stretch of the river Soar at Sutton Bonington’s Soar Lane.

The North bank is around 20 – 30 mtrs wide gin clear full of weed and from the Sluice to Millennium bridge a platform is a must. The good thing though is being able to park right behind your peg so no worries about carrying extra kit like platforms.

With our initial reccy done it was just a matter of waiting for the river season to open again so we good get out and start to practice as a team.

Soar lane being very similar we split the practices between here and Peterborough. Soar lane would prove valuable to get in to the habit of working together and learning our own kit.  Practicing balling in groundbait at range being smooth with shipping the pole and netting fish as well passing on information to each other. It would also give us a chance to find out any problems with our kit, the last thing we would need is a team member with a cracked pole section on the big day.

Between June 16th and Sept 2nd (final practice on the Nene) the team had various practices on both waters fishing open matches and individual pleasure sessions.  A long the way the results were good for us with some brown envelopes being picked up by a couple of the team.

With the 8th Sept looming big it was time to start pooling information together. This was done over a few beers and food all of which helped formulate a plan.

Going on what we had learn’t we knew it would be hard going even though there would be some big weights the actual average weight would be low. We also predicted that there would be some anglers that wouldn’t catch at all.

‘It was going to be tough but boy we could never of predicted just how tough it was going to be’

Being team fishing the scores are built up out of accumulated points across your fielded anglers this being ten.  Winning your section is great but your actually looking as a team to have a good average preferably with in the top 5. First in section would see you with 30 points and last in section would see you with 1, Where’s a DNW (no fish weighed in) would see you with zero. The team with the highest score wins.

Taking the above in to account a target weight was set of 1 1/2 lbs of fish per team member. With a team plan to fish a maggot over groundbait line at a round 11mtrs, a bomb / feeder line with worm at the bottom of the far shelf, a worm line at around 6mtr and an OMG it’s all going pear shaped squat line at our feet.

1 1/2 lbs pr angler would see us very well placed.

7am Saturday 8th Sept saw Colmic Soar fishing team at the Division 2 Nationals HQ at Whittlesey just outside Peterborough. All booked in it seemed like an age until the draw at 8am.

Being team captain it was my job to draw the pegs for the team, how I wished for a good draw. Opening the envelope the draw gods were not quite on our side with nearly all the team being placed half way in the sections. Our work was going to be cut out to do well.

A short drive to North bank the wind had got up with rain in the air and the temperatures lower than they had been my head was spinning with the idea of having to scratch about for a bite.

My peg H18 was above millennium bridge so a platform was not needed making setting up easy but these pegs had not shown form in practices.

Game head on I started to plumb up at 10 mtrs finding a drop off at 10 1/2 mtrs but the peg was full of streamer weed, Nightmare!. Dragging the plummet around I found a small clear run where I could fish. A plum up at 8 mtrs for the worm line was really a no go as the weed was so thick. To my left an angler was chucking a weed rake for all his might, hmmm with that amount of weed I’m pretty sure he was wasting his time.

11am the all in was called. I really couldn’t see the point in putting in a lot of groundbait even though it had worked in practice. All I would of done was to put any fish in the swim straight in to the weed, 4 jaffer sized balls were cupped in then left while I had a cast on the bomb line. Feeling the lead down all I could find was weed, Jesus this is not good!. Again I could see anglers to my left and right casting out and bringing back lumps of weed on the feeder, clearly this was not the way to go so I ditched this line of attack. My options were now very narrow with the wind gusting more and more holding the pole on line at any distance was getting really tough even stepping up to a 4 gr Jolly float fished over depth the sudden gusts would bend the pole enough to drag the float slightly off line, What were we doing here when there’s a perfectly good pub down the road?.

I had to start to think on my feet no one seemed to be catching around me, I did have my get out of jail card ‘Squats’ A quick set up of a 4×10 Carrera canal rig on a flick tip (just the top two sections!) I started to plug away at my feet and caught a bleak, fhew first fish in the net. But then nothing! dripping a few squats in I watched them fall and nothing followed them OMG!. What now. Time ticked by and a few looks on my groundbait line and nothing. “PERCH” that was a perch at my feet. A quick change of rig on the flick tip to a canal Perch rig. I flicked this out with a tiny bit of worm on the hook and trickle a small amount of fine choppy over the top in hope that Mr Perch would come back. I lifted and lowered the rig watching the rig fall though the 3ft of clear water before it disappeared in behind the margin weed. This has got to work surely? the Perch must of been listening and planted its self right on the end of my rig. A short flurry of these tiny Perch came then nothing. By now time was really getting on but right down to the 4pm whistle I had nothing more.

The wait for 17 other anglers before me to be weighed I could only hope those little Perch would save my team effort. The scales came to me “I hope them scales weigh small weights mate” The lad on the scales laughed and came back with “mate looking at what you’ve got there you’ve done well”. “What!” I quick look at the weights so far and I had done ok, my 140 grams saw me 11th in a section of 28 anglers. I knew it had been hard but didn’t expect it to of been that hard.

The word started going round that the whole field of 28 teams had struggled with a lot of DNW and weights of 500grams doing well!.

Back at HQ and getting back to rest of the team we had all knuckled down and not given up scratching about to but together what we could.

So to the results

There was a few big weights. A Notts AA angler had an impressive weight of 25.210 kilo winning as an individual but that big weight still only gave his team 11th overall with 141 points.

What we predicted couldn’t of been further from it with the average being hugely lower than anyone had thought.

Well done to Sensas Mark one for winning over all with 201 points, and a big well done to our friends over at Matrix Dynamite for getting promoted in to Division 1 next year as well with 198 points.

We didn’t do to bad either finishing 19th over all with 129 points in our first ever national team event.

Big thank you to Johnserv Ltd for helping towards our division 2 campaign.

A bad picture of a few of us from the team.

So off to the Shropie next year then, looking forward to it already.

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