It was a cold wet windy start when I met up with Simon and Malcolm at 05:45 hrs on the M54 services. After a quick meet and greet we were off to Drayton. Jim couldn’t join me for this trip as he was on an extended Christmas break and wouldn’t be back until later that day. As the journey progress I was hoping the weather would get better…but it didn’t. We arrived about 07:30, even though still dark, head touches on we had a walk around with the bailiff Mark. The water was well up and still rising, not surprising with all the rain we have had of late. We walked the boards first, they we a few spaces left, they were very slippery and the water was lapping through them. So it was decided to look elsewhere, even though a prime spot to fish, we weren’t going to fit 12 more anglers on them. It left the dam wall which is very exposed or a sheltered stretch to the left. Mark stated that fish had only come out during the night or early morning on the sheltered part, so for us three only staying the day it was a no brainer, the dam wall for us. We opted for 3 pegs in the middle of the dam and set up. It was still bucketing down with rain and the wind hadn’t abated, it may even have got stronger. Day shelters up, the ground on the wall was rock hard and the pegs had to be hammered in, something I usually try to avoid. However when needs must. It wasn’t long before we were in the water, more people were arriving as the morning light broke, total of 12 in all, more were expected. The stands on the dam are more designed for match fisherman, by the time you setup your rods, weigh slings/mats and net there is little room for much else, mind with the weather as it was it was back to the brolley and wait it out. Brew on and a little breaky and see what the day will bring. Drayton is full of fish and I have been told in the warmer months it is none stop fishing….a fish today would be very welcome. I met some new people from the Carpbait Solutions crew (CBS) Richie, Nick, Sam, Cieron, Curtis, Andy and others I had met before. Some joined us on the dam and some went for the sheltered side..it did cross my mind had I made the right choice..time will tell. There is a boat in the centre of the lake ish surrounded by bouys, I had decided to fish just inside the ring. 2 hours pasted and nothing…decided to put some bait in, scattering bollies with my throwing stick. I was fishing 16mm Entice and Lo30 topped white entice with a small stick mix bag. What I hadn’t accounted for was the seagulls, as I soon found out, masters at catching flying boillies, if I got 1 in 5 to the fish I was lucky. They must be able to spot a throwing stick from 200 yds …lol. After a couple of attempts I gave it up as a bad job. Plan b, Simon had brought 10 kg of spod mix so up with the spod rod and between us we started to fill it in. I got the easy job, filling the spod. I must add here he woke up with a sore back the day after, bless him. Job done, and within half an hour I had my first run. A lovely 17lb mirror graced my net, one for the team. 1-0 to England, but it was still early days…
It wasn’t long after when one of Malcolms (Muggs) rods screamed off and he landed a cracking 12lb mirror, caught on a 18mm Entice bollie topped with a light pink banoffee pop-up with a stick mix. The Welsh were back in the game 1-1. Time passed and the rain finally stopped, however the wind had picked up and was battering our bivvies and day shelters. We had only seen one other fish caught today from another group so it certainly wasn’t fishing its head off. Simon persevered with his pop-ups and I stuck to bottom fishing until hopefully we found the right combination. We put out some more spod and at about 2 ish I had my second run and landed a 12lb mirror, and very welcome too. We showed off out baits to the Mark (Bailiff) who seemed impressed and is considering an order for his next French trip in the forthcoming year and he got to meet the Chef Darren who was fishing with us. Hopefully another lucrative order for CBS. It was now 3 o’clock the light was already drawing in, dark by 4, so time to start to pack up, well for the 3 of us anyway. The weather for the night was not looking too clever, with gail force winds forecast, which for those staying on the dam wall would be a bit tricky. Having said our goodbyes we left about 5, leaving the scores at 2-1 to England with 12 hours to go. Richie kept us updated through out the night, and yes the winds hit them with a vengeance, with one lost bivvy the match was aborted for safety reasons at 11:00 pm. They battened down for the rest of the night and weathered the storm. Andy Dixen. from Cheshire sealed the deal for England with a nice fish early the following morning. Final scores England 3-1 Wales and Round 1 clearly in the bag. Needless to say a good day had by all, and was great meeting old and new people which I am sure some will become life time friends. Looking forward to the next one.
The next round to be held on Winterley, Cheshire sometime in March.