Viaduct Yam Yam Special 26.07.2019 - 02.08.2019


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Sep 29, 2001
Tired is not the word for it, I am absolutely knackered. My body aches with laughter and some great memories of another week away with the lads from the Black Country.
It all started a few years back with a group of lads from the West Midlands who decided to arrange their own festival ensuring a more representative payouts and a compulsory wind up. The venues at the time were not very helpful in allowing us to book matches on the lakes during our stays with them, so forced us to search elsewhere. Viaduct Fishery in Somerton kindly agreed to take us on board and worked with us to have a great week. Steve and Helen have been great in all our dealings with them, sorting out the draws, weighing in and even creating a shoulder to cry on when things do not go to plan.
We had booked matches for each day and the lads had come up a day early to fish the Thursday Cost Cutter prior to our festival, what started as a week, was now nine days. Paul Davis winning the match with 115lb and Cottie coming in fourth with 92lb amongst the 32 anglers competing.
My plan was to travel down on the Friday early morning, meeting up with Vic at silly o'clock to travel the 2hr 45 minutes to the venue.Derek Smith, the only other angler from out of the area, Hemel Hempstead had said we needed to be there for 8 o'clock and as we rolled into the car park, the only car we saw was his. A good chat and a cup of tea with Steve and Helen passed the time until slowly the cars and vans arrived. It was as if a load of gypsies had arrived. Arriving in the car park en masse, dropping everything in their wake coming to greet us. It was great to catch and reminisce, meet old friends and some new.
Friday 26.07.2019 Cary Lake
Our festival was not going to start until the Saturday, so we had a chance for a practice on Cary Lake, the fiish in this lake can run very large, well into the 20lb mark and scrap all the way to the net. We had 15 of us in attendance with Tim Kibble arriving on the Sunday after attending his daughters wedding, I was not bothered where I was pegged as I wanted to fish the pole. It was something I had only played with during our previous stays and as this was a bit of fun, why not. At the draw I pulled out peg 90, not the best but I had some lily pads to my left and a nice right hand edge to go at. I also set up to fish 11m both up and down. A bomb rod was my get out of jail card, if I was struggling and needed a fish. Needless to say, I fished a tidy match on the pole, only throwing the bomb a couple of times. Shame the fish ignored all my efforts, 3 carp for 27lb and a couple of skimmers, still saw me beat a few but way behind Cottie's 176 and Paul Davis's 175. Vic came second in his section and picked up,whilst Del won his section to boost our pot.
And Six of these later, 176lb win for Cottie
With the match out of the way, we had booked into a small hotel/pub The Old Pound Inn 20 minutes away in Aller. Great for an overnight stay, clean rooms, good food and excellent service throughout. Unfortunately, I never made breakfast, I was still in the bar at 2am and had a headache next morning. I should have known really, it happens every year. I do not drink properly throughout the year and apart from family occasions where two or three pints is the norm, have not had a drink since last years event.
Saturday 27.07.2019 Campbell Lake
At the draw I was feeling a little worse for wear, yet with great expectations when peg 114 stuck to my hands, I have always fancied it for a few fish over the years and with the way the sections are planned, felt it could work in my favour. I was in with 112, which at the draw was Tim's peg when he arrives after his wedding duties. Peg 129 with Cottie on it and 128 with Gongo. Both excellent bomb anglers but either side of the spit. I set up the bomb and pole to fish top four and both edges with corn. I had Frenchy for company on 115. Starting off on the bomb and nothing, not even a liner, tried smaller hooks and a variety of hook baits and nothing. I decided to fish positively on the pole lines feeding a large pot of corn and fishing it out. I started to pick up a few skimmers, but never enough to compete, the spit pegs were catching carp. Tim had arrived mid match and on his first five chucks on the bomb put 45lb in the net. I ended up with 3 carp again for 19lb and 14lb of skimmers, best weight of skimmers on the day, but last in section for me. Cottie winning it and Gongo second with 127lb and 126 respectively. Del won the match with 165lb from peg 110, with Bob and Fred having a peg to peg battle on 118-119 with Bob edging it 154-15 to 154-00. Seven ton up weights overall. Vic had a day's fishing with 97lb and 3rd in section. So, not the ideal start to the festival for me, last in section but still all to play for as they are only 4 peg sections and anything could happen. I did learn something though about feeding for carp and the skimmers. For the start of the match, I would fish for carp and hope to have a couple of early fish on the bomb. Mid match I could catch skimmers and try again for odd carp on the bomb. Late on switch feed to pellets and cut out the corn and carp would move in after 4pm. The edges also came into play late on., You just need a peg to do it on. Getting those early bomb fish were proving difficult.
At least tonight we could get into the lodges and we all settled for a Chinese and a few beers in. A welcome relief from the previous nights exertions.
Sunday 28.07.2019 Lodge Lake
This lake was my down fall last year, two pegs on the shop bank ruined my festival. It was very hard fishing two matches, a total of 5 carp and little else. I was just hoping for a peg away from those. Any one. The draw gods must have felt some compassion for me as they gave me peg 71, A decent peg with a chance. Peg 73 and 70 were better with good features, yet I still felt good.
Paul Davis on his way to 33lb and 2nd in section
I planned to flick rig and try to mug a cruising fish for the first hour before going down the edge to my right with corn hook baits. I also set up the bomb but only gave it ten minutes throughout the match. The draw for the pairs was taken the previous night and I had been drawn with Steve "Soupy" King who incidently had drawn next to me, strange when you want someone to catch to help in the pairs but he is in your section and want him to fail. Weird felling!!!!Vic had drawn Bob with Del being paired with Fred.
" There was a bubble down the edge" says Nobby
Bob was on the screamer by the tree 73, with Mark Chard making up the section. Vic was happy with his draw on 67 towards the top of the lake, It just depended on whether he could get them out, proper animal country. Derek meanwhile was on the opposite bank, peg 60.
I started off on the flick rig and although I had a couple of bites the winds and slack long lines proved difficult to connect. Like most things it takes practice and I must admit it os something we do not do regularly enough. A good angler would have done better. However after a look down the edge and getting smashed to bits, I stuck another section on and changed my feeding to a toss pot every put in rather than the pole cup and lots of feed. This seemed to work as I stopped getting silly bites and instead got proper pulls. I was a few fish behind Bob who had landed 4 carp and lost as many, I was plugging away, getting odd fish. Soupy had started catching down his edge, late on and I reckoned on it being close between us at the end. Chardy weighed in 40lb with Soupy going in with 62lb I put 65 on the scales with Bob not having anymore fish and 44lb. This left me winning the section and getting my festival back on track. Vic had struggled to land fish, hooking 14 and only landing 3 for 25lb whilst Del sneaked in a section 2nd behind Cottie', 89lb.
Frenchy on form
Frenchy winning the match from the "Monk" peg 64 with 123lb on the bomb to the far bank.Dave Walters had done well to catch 52lb from one of the pegs mentioned above but unfortunately Simmo had suffered a similar fate to me with 10lb. Nobby had indeed caught his bubble, first put in but despite calling Yippee he failed to land it. You shouldn't laugh, but we did. Soupy and I managed to stay in the pairs with our weight on 128lb with the Chard Brothers going out.
A few beers out and about in Somerton followed with everyone catching up with all the latest news and chat.
Cottie and Fred
Gongo, Soupy, Tim and Paul D
Monday 29.07.2019 Campbell Lake
Back onto Campbell Lake and a chance to try out the master plan learnt on day one, Bomb for first hour and a couple of fish, pole and bomb for a few more before catching late on on the pole line with corn.
I had drawn peg 111, a good peg but in with 132, 130 and 110 for the section. In truth 130 and 111 are fighting it out for 3rd in section. Simmo and Neal Chard had drawn 110 and 132 with my pairs partner opposite me on 130. On my next peg was Vic who was hopeful of a few pulls.
Vic prepping the bomb line
At the start I went out on the bomb, one bite on the bomb just off the aerator which pulled the hook and nothing else. Onto the pole line and skimmer heaven. Plenty of bites and good skimmers, if these kept coming a good weight could be had of them, especially if the carp showed early. In this case it did not, but it could. Sticking to the plan I switched between pole and bomb just adding a few skimmers at a time and a quick couple of chucks on the bomb. Vic and Simmo were both catching well, Neal opposite was getting amongst them but Soupy and I were just trickling over. Into the last two hours I still had not caught a carp, Soupy had a couple now on the bomb, but i needed to prove whether the plan would work. At 1714 I had my first carp, two more followed before the 1730 all out. I was last in the match but proved the theory I put 19lb of carp on the board and 21lb of skimmers but had kept busy all day. Simmo had won the section and had bettered his personal best match weight with 159lb, Neal was second in section with Soupy 3rd.
Simmo with part of his PB weight of 159lb.
Fred won the match with 164lb from 126, pipping Gongo's 161lb from 128. Nobby was only a couple of fish away with 151lb. In total 10 weights over the ton.
Mark Chard with part of his catch
Soupy and I went out of the pairs event. It was also great to see our good friend Pete Thompson who had come down for the day,
Still we went out and celebrated something.
Tuesday 30.07.2019 Campbell Lake
We had planned to fish Cary Lake today, but at the request of Steve, the fishery owner, we moved onto Campbell Lake.
Slowly I was getting to grips with the "master plan" and although there were flaws in it, I could not just sit it out on the bomb all day. The Pellet Waggler was slow and it seemed everyone had given up on it. So the pole was the only option. I was determined to keep going, regardless. Today's draw saw me pull out peg 115. The weather was about to turn with thunderstorms and plenty of rain according to Carole from the BBC.
Again I set up the bomb, I had only had one fish on it all week so far, the pole for the skimmers and an edge rig. Paul D was next door on 116 and fancied it for a few fish, whilst over on the opposite bank we had Simmo and Vic on 125 and 1126 to complete the section. I was well adrift in the overall points race so it was about trying to gain some respectability. I did not mind getting battered by people fishing the bomb, it was just something I did not enjoy. It is fine if it goes round, and I needed it to start working early on. Another 30 minutes on the bomb and it didn't. Paul Davis's tip never moved and we were both on the pole lines earlier than expected. Paul getting a carp, whilst I attracted skimmers, feeding all the time kept skimmers coming, Paul matching me fish for fish.Every now and again I would throw the bomb, and still it would not go round. I needed to change things around and after this match would strip it down and start again. All around me, I could see people catching, Simmo was getting a few on the bomb, as was Gongo. Paul D was now down the edges and catching carp. I could not get a bite but at 4pm the carp came in again as in previous matches.Four small carp in the last 90 minutes to go with my skimmers(30lb) would see me register 53lb and 3rd in section. Simmo winning the section and the match with 161lb, Del had won his section with 138lb to put a few more nuggets into the pot. Dave Walters secured second overall with 149lb.
Paul D with part of his 132lb catch
30lb of skimmers for yours truly
Bag up Bob in confident mood prior to 132lb and section 2nd.
And Gongo loses another "pound " to Paul D
Out for an Indian,
Wednesday 31.07.2019 Cary Lake
With Cary Lake benefiting from an additional day's rest the 16 anglers were looking forward to it,

The draw bag placed me on peg 74. My mate Pete had fished it during the week with expanders and had caught well so I was hopeful of a few pulls. Frenchy, Nobby and Mark Chard made up the section. I could also see Simmo , Fred and Bob on the far bank to gauge how its fishing. Del was on 97 with Vic on 81.Neal Chard misplaced his pole sections and needed to go in the lake to fetch them, much to the delight of his fellow anglers nearby.
I had a fallen down willow tree in the water and this provides excellent cover for carp. The fish live in there and down the edges towards the corner of the lake. I started off as usual on the bomb after having fed the pole lines with big pots of corn. A couple of chucks and the tip goes round and straight into the tree and snagged. A hook pull and a new attempt a bit further away. Same again. Try the pole at 10m with double corn and a small carp around 3lb and in the net. Out again and the next three fish smash everything up ,rigs ,elastic and one top kit. Simmo on the far bank was getting a few pulls on the bomb towards the back of the tree, Fred looked as if he was struggling and Bob was getting a couple of fish in bursts. Frenchy had nicked one about 13lb Mark Chard had caught 30lb in the first 30 minutes and then came off the bomb to fish the pole. Nobby was also struggling but had caught a good fish, just off his PB at 18lb.
Carrying on I made the switch to the margins, a couple of 3lb fish were followed up with a couple of 10lb commons in amongst losing plenty of carp in the trees and brambles. The skimmers and Tench moved in. I tried to feed them off but odd fish kept coming. It was a strange match for me. I thoroughly enjoyed it. A sense of achievement was reward for landing a fish. Simmo opposite was too polite yo laugh at me but must have been roaring inside.Come the all out it was clear the lake had benefited from the rest, Cottie and Gongo both recording over a ton with Cottie coming out on top 159 to 106 from 85 and 86. Vic, Bob and Simmo all having 90lb plus weights. My section was the worst with yours truly sneaking it from Frenchy by 5lb. Those skimmers and Tench getting me over the line.
Thursday 01.08.2019 Costcutter Open
Thirteen of us had booked into the regular open. A couple of the lads fancied a rest from fishing and another decided on a day on Spring Lake. With 53 anglers on, three lakes were in use and a good draw required. Pete had come down again for the match and we had a good chat before hand. By the time, we got to draw, people were going off to there pegs and it was hard to gauge where people were. My hand went in and 126, Pete goes in a 125, strange the amount of times this happens. We had Cottie opposite and he would be a threat. Nobby had drawn well on 132, whilst Gongo was on 111. Due to the high number of anglers today even the end pegs on Campbell well in use, Mark Chard and Simmo bagging them.Bob had drawn 85 on Cary with Fred also on 109 Cary. Paul D and Vic were on Lodge Lake.
I set up a new bomb rod with 6lb Daiwa ST line to a size 12 QM1 hook. Just using a bomb which would put a bend in the tip I could see any drop back bites. I also set up a couple of top four rigs, one heavy .5 the other a lighter .2 rig, hoping for skimmers in between the bomb work. A cheeky side bet with Pete for best carp weight and best silvers weight was struck.
I started off on the bomb fishing a 10mm skretting pellet or a couple of 8mm coppins pellet and miraculously it went round after 10 minutes. Out again and the same happened, two in two chucks, then nothing. A couple of pole skimmers kept my skimmers match open and honest. Another look on the bomb and a couple of carp. Cottie opposite was bagging on the bomb, Gongo was also getting amongst them further down the lake. My plan was working, a few early fish on the bomb and when it went quiet catch a few skimmers, just 6 or 7 of these fish were equivalent to a carp, so they were worth targeting. By the last two hours the carp had moved onto the pole line and I was able to pull further ahead of Pete. I was way off Cottie. but had the comfort of my two side bets coming in. A good laugh with Pete, made my day. Mark Chard had struggled throughout the match, Gongo had a few, whilst Nobby threw back 80lb. My weight of 97lb was my best of the week but it gave me confidence and got me into the top ten in the match. Cottie won the match by a long margin recording 279lb on the scales for the best weight of the week. Gongo was second in the Match with 176lb with Bag Up Bob third from Cary 85 and 173lb. Overall our thirteen anglers filled in 6 of the top 10 places. We also had a ninth place in the Silvers match with Neal Chard putting 30lb 7oz..
Friday 02.08.2019 Campbell Lake
Last day of our festival and it was Cottie's to lose. Bob and Dave Walters were still in the frame but needed a complete failure of others to really get close. My master plan was improving each time out,. After fishing for seven days straight I was starting to feel the strain, I was knackered, You wake up and get ready, fish all day, have a beer afterwards before showering and going out for a meal and a few more beers, getting home in the early hours before doing it again after a couple of hours sleep.
Del managed to get some sleep this week.
I had drawn 111 again and felt the best I could achieve was third in section. 110 and 132 were good pegs and with good anglers on then Tim Kibble on 132 and Bob on 110. Del was on 130.who was in the pairs final with Fred against Cottie and Paul D.
Again I was going with my plan and started off on the bomb but fed my pole lines early just in case. Bob and Tim were as expected off to flyers, catching well in the first hour with around 10 fish each. My efforts on the bomb was 3 fish but good size fish. The pole line was beckoning and a couple of quick skimmers and an unexpected carp of around 6lb. Fred and Del were both struggling throughout the match and Cottie and Paul D were both catching.
A couple more on the bomb before settling in on the pole for the last 90 minutes. A change to feeding more 4mm pellets and less corn but still fishing corn on the hook was working and I was getting a mix of carp and skimmers.At the all out I had 11 carp for 87lb and 24lb of skimmers for 113-14oz. Tim winning the match from 132 sticking 219 onto the board. Paul D was second with 184 with Bob and Soupy both recording 15o's. Vic ended his weight with 77lb and another 3rd place in section.
Fred with his catch
Soupy on peg 129
I am thinking that in the opens, maybe fish for the carp in the first hour but if nothing then switch to silver's. A good weight could easily be had if you targeted them steadily throughout the match.
I secured the 3rd spot in the section to end my week on two fourth in section, 2 thirds and 2 wins for a total of 16 points and 10th overall. Certainly room for improvement.My week has improved each day throughout the week and I am sure it would have improved more if I had stayed on the bomb more, but I needed to be doing something.
Section Points
It must be a sign of my ageing years but two days on I am still getting over the sleep deprivation but it was definitely worth it. I had done around 5 or 6 of these and each year it gets better, the lads are great and will help out with anything. The fishery have been good to us, Steve, Helen and Matt do a sterling job keeping on top of things, ensuring water quality, fish care and the paying customer has everything they need. That is why we keep coming back. Many thanks go to all the lads, old and new friends have been made or renewed. Also a special mention to Soupy, well organised and run to perfection, a great effort.
Well my name is down for next year, which is already being planned.