The laws of the fore gone conclusion was thrown out the window and was replaced by the laws of fluke when at Kia Ora lakes near Cullumpton on April 23rd the Watchet Red team managed one of the biggest sporting upsets of all time by beating the mighty Exeter AC on their own ground in the Angling Times super cup.
After a period of post match trauma and denial, members of the Exeter team regained their senses to congratulate the victors and to inform us that the next round, the semi finals, would be held at Gold Valley Lakes on July 30th.
Gold valley lakes to the members of Watchet Red team had the hall marks of that famous speech to the nation by the then prime minister in 1938 Neville Chamberlain when referring to the Sudeten land as a faraway place of which we Know little or nothing about. The only information that we could gather was from the Gold Valley web page which was some what derisory for an event of this nature. I did ring up the venue and the advice that was given was that the bait was pellet or maggot and keep it simple. OKAY.
Our Herr Kapitan of the team Dave Nash did a splendid job arranging the hiring of transport and the pick up points for the team. The transport in question was a 5 seater van with a storage compartment at the back which in theory would be ample. The plan was that team member Mike Griffiths would do the driving, picking up first Tony Richards in the wee small hours then on to pick up Herr Kapitan, Me at my place at 6:40 am and on to Bawdrip to collect Bob Pascoe. The other member of the team our NHS hero Dave Coley who resides in Bristol made his own way to the venue. So the last to be pick up as mention was Mr Pascoe, but a problem arose, although Bob had the least amount of gear the snag was would we be able to fit it in the back of the van. Well by hook or by crook we managed to achieve it. Although we had to take one of Bobs rods in to the passenger section and I ended up carrying my bait bucket loaded with bags of ground bait and pellets on my lap.
So all loaded up and every one collected it was of we go to the land of our terra incognito, to the land marked on the map of beware here be dragons.
On entering the complex and walking around Gold Valley one had a sense of seriousness and preoccupation. Where us the Watchet team have the mantra “it’s the taking part that counts” one could sense that the other 11 teams taking part had the attitude it’s the win or nothing. Our team was the last to draw. All 6 of us piled in to the on site tackle shop and approached the desk where the match organiser from the Angling times was situated. After checking every ones EA license he looked down at the piece of paper in front of him which had a list of all our names on. What happened next took most of us by surprise he simply went down the list and just wrote the peg numbers next to our names. This was far from what we were used to by drawing peg numbers out from the bag. We presumed that the draw was done before hand and that the guy had a good memory!
Well next to my name he wrote the number 69, so that was my home for the day. On arriving at my peg I was greeted by a concrete slab instead of the normal grassy bank or wooden pallet. This kind of summed it up really, To be perfectly honest I did not know what to expect visiting Gold Valley for the first time. I would say it was more urban than rustic than I expected. We had the joy of 2 hours of set up time, which was ample. The team had in mind that according to the information obtained that the depth would be depending where you were pegged would be between 4 and 8 foot. On plumbing I just managed about 2 and 1/2 foot. Talking to the guys either side the conversation was basically the same.
Me “fish this place often ?”
Other angler “yea on average twice a week”
So was up against it then.
20 minutes before the start I got a visit from Mike Griffiths. “you wouldn’t believe it there’s a guy up from you who got 8 nets ready and there another bloke whose got one of them 4 grand poles from Diawa”. Well that just confirmed it That Watchet Red Team were the humble pond dwellers amid the ocean titans of the angling world.
The hooter sounded the start and within a few minutes some anglers on the far bank was having their pole elastics tested. I did not have my first fish until 25 minutes in which was a chunky F1. But I must admit this was followed by much splashing from the pegs on either side. I was definitely on the slippery slope to a right old tonking. Well to use a phrase “to cut a long story short” come the weigh in the anglers each side of me both had 30 lb each and yours truly weighed in 15 lb 09 oz.
The results of the other members were
Bob Pascoe 51 lb
Dave Coley 39 lb
Tony Richards 20 lb
Dave Nash 14 lb
Mike Griffiths 9 lb
The only placing in a section we know off was Bob who thought he had 6th section.
Once we were all weighed in and made our way back to the car park it was decided to pack the van and depart the place as quickly as possible to spare our blushes. Surprisingly there was no mention anywhere in the angling press or indeed on social media of the match results. Which seemed odd seeing it was the Angling Times Super cup semi final south. But still do the members of Watchet Red team care. “I think not”. It was the taking part that counted.
Summerhayes Saturday August 6th.
Saturday 6th August saw the gang back in action, this time Summerhayes was the place of contest and it is great to report that the fish on Sellecks lake was on the whole most obliging.
Champion for the day was Nigel Coram on peg 5. Good old Nige amassed a very impressive weight indeed of 125 lb 04 oz. Now when asked about the bait which was responsible for this haul. The answer was “paste, banana and strawberry” However it wasn’t all plain sailing as poor Mr Coram broke his number 5 section on his pole. Ouch expensive.
Another fine weight was obtained for 2nd place. Ian Grabham managed to put on the scales 122 lb 06 oz. Young Grabham mostly fished the margins with paste, corn and meat . Fishing top 2 plus 2 also. So it a well done to Ian who had peg 18.
Fishing corner peg 23 Spielsekretärin fuhrer Alan Bland broke the ton barrier with 102 lb. This was achieved by paste fishing four plus two.
Eric Searle found himself in 4th with another cracking weight of 93lb 02 oz from peg 15. Method feeder with pellet was mostly used.
On peg 2 we find Dave Nash who normally bags up on silvers but today was different as the vast bulk of his catch was Carp. His total weight was a not to be sniffed at 73 lb 07 oz. All down the edge with sweetcorn and maggot for 5th.
Good old Bob Pascoe was in at number 6 from peg 12 for a bag of 48 lb 12 oz. Bob as usual kept things simple, maggot and not far out was the tactics.
Yours truly had a good day on peg 14 for an outstanding weight of 48 lb 11 oz. (well for me it is). Method feeder with pellet and pole with corn and meat in the margins gave me 7th spot.
In the life of Rob Dodd he had a shite day as this match fishing guru normally dwells in the top four of the results table. But this time he had to mingle with us also rans. Finishing in at number 8 Rob just used the maggot and pole. His haul was 44 lb 10 oz from peg 13.
Mike Griffiths drew out peg 5 and ended in 9th position with a weight of 44 lb. Bait was maggot and corn on the pole.
10th placing was Tony Richards on peg 21. Tony used top 2 with maggot for a catch of 33 lb 04 oz.
Alan Jenkins was in the position of 11th from peg 11. Alan used maggot and pole and complained of the amount of carp he had hooked but lost. If only mate. His weight was 25 lb 02 oz.
The next match for the Watchet is next week August 13th at Avalon on the roadside bank.