Southern Dealer Day at Gold Valley

Despite a crispy ground frost early in the morning the sun broke through often, lifting temperatures enough to allow Gold Valley’s recent good form to continue. A chilly northerly breeze however would have a bearing on how the fishing would unfold.

There were excellent tackle prizes for the top three, every ten peg section and the biggest fish.

Bacon butties and cuppas consumed the draw got started. Many of the anglers on the day had travelled far and for a few it was their first visit to a match never mind Gold Valley. The group from Tackle Fanatics took some assurance that weighty match carp would form the bulk of all the catches; this might just suit them.

Bags of fishery pellets were issued at the draw and choosing the size mix for either The Method or Pellet Waggler was the first gamble of the day. When the 8mm ones ran out it became obvious what the main approach was likely to be.

Will Raison offered quick pointers on tactics and pegs to those who asked and starting on The Method with a view to the straight lead or Pellet Waggler seemed a common guide. However thanks to the generous pegging on Gold and Middle lakes every angler would have at least one empty peg, so down the edge late on for some bigger fish was a definite option too.

For anyone away from the carp or bang on the skimmers there would £100 from the pools for the top Silver Fish catch. Not a bad fallback option.

At 10.30 the air horn signal was soon followed by splashing Methods. Some fed a pole line and there was the tell tale dribble of 8mm pellets for those who already had an eye on the Pellet Waggler.

Watching from the clubhouse we were soon treated to some early action from Paul Dicks of Bristol Angling Centre. Paul appeared to be the first to connect with the target carp and had been putting his feeder closer to the rope than others; a good start that he soon backed up with a couple more.

To his left Tom Morretti from Crowthorne Angling also began to connect with a carp or two. Unexpected really considering it was noticeably calmer at the clubhouse end of the lake. However on the canal bank side of Gold there was frequent early action too for three or four. All in all a very promising start to the match.

With much more space for each angler on Middle the pegs at the windward end soon showed promise. Clad in a repertoire of red was one of our younger guests, Matt Barnett from Borden Angling Centre. Putting his draw to good effect, was he starting to build a match winning challenge?

Across the lake, also at the windward end, Nina Morretti from Crowthorne Angling was beginning to put down a marker with some promising fish.

Back on Gold the talk was that Daiwa Dorking captain and owner of KC Angling had ‘nailed a few’ and if he could keep them coming then a big weight could be on the cards. Steve was pegged one third of the way down Gold on the canal bank and as the days wind prevailed down the lake he would unfortunately see those carp follow.

Nearby, on the same bank Scott Geens from Fosters of Birmingham was also noticed to be ‘sneaking a few in’ and his neighbour Duncan Hayward of Tackle Fanatics who was a geared up for carp and admittedly not a match angler was still scoring through the day. Unfortunately his 42” net made his fish look substantially smaller than they would actually turn out to be.

Across Gold on the middle of the causeway bank Steve Fenton of Angling Direct had been consistently taking carp albeit of mixed sizes. He certainly seemed the busiest of the anglers around him and only the weigh in would really tell what kind of weight he had been amassing.

However as expected this match would be won in the second half as the water warmed and the carp would become concentrated at the windy end. Who was there to take full advantage towards the bottom of Gold on the canal bank but Bristol Angling Centre’s Callum Dicks, the son of Paul who had got off to a quick start at the other end of the lake.

Callum was feeding a sprinkle of large pellets at about 30m and casting the Pellet Waggler over the top. Set at about 2.5’ deep he was looking to catch fish as they intercepted the dropping hookbait. Making up for what appeared to a quieter start Callum had put his net under a few carp and soon was connected with fish in quick succession. The fact however is that 8 to 10lb carp force you to fight and balanced gear is a must to ensure the right presentation but have the control to get them in. Anxious about how long was left Callum worried that it was not going to be long enough to push for the win. His peg was now capable of delivering the win and he knew it. Every fish would prove critical.

Accepting that the carp had moved Steve Sanders used his experience of the venue and his match prowess to switch to attacking silvers at short range. Feeding casters by hand Steve presented a light rig taking mostly roach and perch. Certainly worth catching could Steve add enough to win or indeed sneak the top Silvers weight prize?

Despite calmer water back up the lake Scott Geens and Duncan Hayward were still getting signals of fish in their area. However the stand out news was that Barry Parker of Fishermans cabin had just put the net under a monster fish that would not only boost his earlier catch but definitely put him in the running for the biggest fish.

Back on Middle the bottom far corner continued to prove productive for young Matt Barnett. However some bigger fish were being connected with on the causeway bank too. Mark Jones from Tredegar Angling Centre had began to successfully target roach with a lighter set up only to end up playing a carp on seven sections. Several attempts to net it proved too much and Mark had to resort to holding the elastic to gain some control. As the fish was steered closer and closer Mark knew he was substantially increasing tension on the set up. The fish was nearing netting distance but in a split second the rig snapped and the pole float shot straight into his hand….ouch!

Now sporting a float with half a bristle the other part remained lodged in his hand under the skin. But Mark is made of tougher stuff and continued fishing, eventually winkling the offending part out and scorning the missed fish.

The five hours eventually ticked by and as the air horn sounded some were still connected to some big last minute fish. With many of these in double figures they could have a big say on how the prizes and pools would be shared.

At the weigh in Barry Parker scored a fantastic 77lbs 8oz but crowned it with that remarkable big common which weighed in at 22lbs.

With bigger weights expected Steve Sanders soon led the way 86lbs 10oz boosted by 19lbs of silvers that he caught in one hour. If not the main prizes would he sneak the Silver Fish?

Over on Middle the unsurprising result of Matt Barnett being in the running proved true with him registering an impressive 87lbs 6oz. This just shaded Steve Sanders by a mere 12oz and just shows the value of that switch to silvers by Steve; if only!

Further on Steve’s silvers net was edged out with a tidy 20lbs 12oz by Phil Worrel of Apollo Angling.

Back in the race for main honours and to his own surprise Callum Dicks edged ahead by just 2.5lbs with a whopping 89lbs 14oz. Callum wouldn’t know if it was all too little too late as Steve Fenton on the other bank had more than a dozen carp and with plenty of fish around the 7-8lbs mark he may have enough to snatch the lead.

The scales made their way round and it was soon obvious that the few smaller carp amongst Steve’s catch would bring this average down. Sure enough the tally came out at 75lbs 8ozs; disappointing for him but an excellent performance all the same.

Back at the clubhouse Angie had prepared an excellent buffet spread and everyone set about a well earned top up.

Robin Morley thanked everyone for supporting the Dealer Day and presented the pools and prizes to the fifteen winners.

In the round up KC Anglings Steve Sanders was third, a place less than last year and another 80lbs + weight. This saw him go home with £60 plus a Team Daiwa 11’ waggler rod and Team Daiwa Match reel.

Second went to Matt Barnett of Borden Angling Centre with 87lbs 6oz. Matt earned himself a handy £90 plus a Tournament Pro 10’ 11’ Quiver rod.

Top honours however went to Bristol Angling Centres Callum Dicks. His 89lbs 14ozs helped him pocket £150 and a fantastic Connoisseur G20 16m pole.

Silverfish winner Phil Worrel of Apollo Angling gained a £100 for his 20lbs 12oz.

The biggest fish prized deservedly went to the 22lber landed by Barry Parker of Fishermans Cabin.

The winner of every five pegs won £50 pools and the best of every ten pegs got the bonus of a Tournament keepnet too.

Robin finished off with a mention of best wishes to Daiwa Dorking in their forthcoming World Club Championship in Portugal and everyone offered a resounded applause of support.

Special thanks were also extended to Will, Angie and John at Gold Valley for another excellent day.