After a very wet week it was a very wet start to Sunday at Malcolm Barker Lake. Today was going to be a bit of an unknown as last Summer's weed explosion meant it had been a while since most of us had fished MBL. Out of the bag came peg 27 for me, a very short walk to an OK peg.
With no lilly pads to fish to it was going to be long pole and waggler. With wind forecast for later, on top of the rain, I kept to 11m and groundbait and maggots. A skimmer mix to the left and a traditional hemp/roach mix to the right.
A try on waggler at the start (thanks Mark for the lone of a waggler, I had brought my rod but not any wagglers) got me a small roach and the blank was avoided. That was it though on the waggler with a facing wind picking up meaning I could not fire maggots much beyond my pole lines anyway.
Mark started picking up a steady run of roach on the pole so time for a switch. I had a good start with half a dozen roach quite quickly but then the right hand swim died. A try to the left got me a roach first drop in and then nothing more. Mark was still catching regularly and then new boy Steve on peg 3 suddenly had 5m of elastic stretching out of his pole and a tench in his net. I was falling behind.
The top end of the lake was fishing hard and seeing Rob on 15 netting something that looked like a small roach spoke volumes.
At our end the bites slowly came back for me: feed the right swim; fish the left to rest the right and maybe get 1 roach; feed the left; then back to the right for 2 or 3 roach; and repeat. Mark was still catching and then his elastic shot out and a decent fish was on. This one though went straight into weeds and, on a 1.5lb hooklength, it was only ending one way. 10 mins later the same thing happened for Mark with the fish getting the upper hand. I was still in the running.
The middle of the match was tough for all with more heavy rain showers and gusty wind not helping as the bites dried up. Into the final hour things were getting desperate. The left swim slowly started coming more to life and Mark's had slowed after a pike took a roach on the way in. I was slowly making an inroad on Steve and Mark ... and then Steve had another tench and it was game over for the match. At the end it was going to be tight between me and Mark for second. Had my late run of fish been enough?
At the weigh in it was 1st Steve Lucas with 7lbs 12oz, second Mark Halverson with 5lbs 8oz and third Gary Pickard with 5lbs 3oz.
Pic today is looking down the lake from my peg during one of the dry spells.