The annual inter service team event was this year hosted by the Royal Mail and saw us heading as far south as I’ve ever been to Monks Lakes in Kent.
As always this event is taken very seriously and those that manage to qualify for the team look forward to representing the service against some top anglers. The team travelled down the day before the match and after 4 ½ hours driving I was glad to arrive and stretch the legs. We had planned to fish lakes 1,2 and 3 in practice and form a team plan. However matches on lakes 2 and 3 meant only 1 could be fished, luckily some of the team had travelled early and had managed to book onto either of the two matches so any information gained would be vital.
Myself and Russ Hall decided to only fish a rod and line approach to get an idea of how this would work whilst George Bullock and John Bushby both tried the pole at varying distances. After a few hours we had learnt a few things and after discussions with the rest of the team we ruled a few things out. During the evening meal and the team meeting, we formed the basis of our team approach and having a line dedicated to silvers with Worm/Caster was definitely going to be a back-up line for us.
At the draw we discovered that we had a favourable draw for a change and walking away I quietly fancied our chances of a decent result.
My draw saw me on Lake 2, peg 49, middle of the section. I thought the end pegs would take care of themselves therefore I was already planning on how to cement a third in section. There were a number of fish topping and shallow tactics were obvious. I had caught on the bomb in practice so this was set up. My ever reliable 9ft precision rod with a free running lead. Pellet wagg was also in my plan and the 10ft 6 precision was unleashed from the holdall. With the running line sorted I assembled an array of top kits for fishing short and shallow.
Baits were simple, 4mm, 6mm and 8mm Dynamite XL pellets along with Ground bait, green Swim stim and marine halibut were mixed 50/50.
As the match got underway I had a slow start and watched those around start short on pole catching skimmers whilst my tip sat motionless. I planned to only give this line the first 10 minutes and with cruising fish in sight I had to reach for the shallow kits and have a go for them. First drop in and the pole tip went south and an angry carp was attached to the other end. One more followed then the remaining fish backed off and proved elusive.
Chopping and changing was the order of the day and mixing between lines brought a couple of fish of each before again they seemed to spook.
Towards the back end of the match and heading into the last hour I had primed the margins, which were deep, with ground bait and dead maggots before lowering a rig with 8 dead maggots on the hook into the lion’s den. I hooked and landed a couple of quality fish towards the end and had it not been for an angry carp making off with my top 4 then I may have had more.
Waiting for the scales I knew it would be close, Jim hall on my right had a really good last hour shallow and put some quality fish in the net, I had seen those on the corner pegs catching also and feared the worse.
As the scales came round 65lb was leading the section, my own guestimate was 90lb, I actually put 87lb onto the scales and was thinking of a second place. As the section was completed I had done enough to win the section and get valuable points for the team.
On the team front we had managed a further 3 section winners and a couple of second places, waiting for the results to come through we were confident of a placing. When the results were completed we had won the event outright, a fantastic achievement and well deserved as the team had put in a fantastic team performance.