After their first poor performance against the USA then the absolutely crap performance against Algeria I really could not force myself to watch England put us all through it again. So instead I dealt with this awkward situation as best I could and booked a day off work with the intention of placing myself in a self imposed exile on the tree shrouded hill's of the Warwickshire countryside until the England match was over. Where upon when I returned we would either be in or out of the world cup.
Not too dissimilar to the England sides last two results, I had fished Snitterfeild reservoir on two previous occasions and both time my tactics and formation had let me down. This fixture was to be decidedly different as since my last last attempts I have recalled my pole into my squad after three years in the tackle wilderness of the shed.
Since rediscovering my old pole fishing days I have been surprised at how many fishing situations I find myself considering using it in, largely due to it's effectiveness. I set up in a swim I know to be reliable for crucians and before doing anything spent a good ten minutes plumbing up the swim and adjusting the depth of my preprepared pole rig. Once satisfied I mixed up a sloppy batch of Bait tech super G gold fish meal ground bait and cupped in five cupfuls which as I expected formed a nice cloud as it slowly settled. This was followed by two potfuls of micro fish meal pellets plus a few grains of sweetcorn which were sprinkled from height to give a good spread over the top of the ground bait.
Whilst this settled I spent some time finishing off my rig. The rig itself was simple four feet of 3.5lb line with a drennan 4x no12 carp float dotted down so it just sank. To keep the tip of the float just a pinprick on the surface I dipped the last five millimetres in bristle grease to repel it against the water film. Most of the shot was set just above the hook link apart from two tiny dust shot six inches from the hook. The hook link was a pre bought Kamasan x strong wide gape barbless size 16 tied onto 18" of 2.12oz mono.
I was expecting to be pestered by Roach or Rudd so the maggots were left in the bag and instead soft hooker pellets or paste were to be the hook bait of choice in this crucial grudge match. First put in the float dipped under after only seconds, my instant strike was met with good resistance as the no7 elastic shot from the top kit.
Crucian 1 lb 10oz
Quickly the score was Dan 1 Snit 0 A quick snap and I was back out again. Immediately I was in again.
Dan 2 Snit 0
I could only hope it would go this well for England later today. Pushing on in the hope of an easy point my next two shots produced two roach of 5 and 2oz which was followed by a very familiar fish.
Remember me Andy! 1lb 2oz
Dan 3 snit 0
After this I went on a bit of a roach streak adding fish of 3, 2, 3, 4oz then again the slight dip of the float tip produced another crucian.
One eyed willy here may have been a little disabled but at 1lb 14oz it was the biggest so far.
Dan 4 Snit 0
This last fish pushed me well over the record weight but with some thoroughbred roach having the pellet I continued as before knowing it would only be a matter of time before I got the roach point to.
Next I hooked into something a bit bigger. At first I suspected a sneaky bream that hadn't got the memo informing them to stay away, but after steering the unseen fish around the weed beds a flash of gold caught my eye...
2lb a Snitterfield PB (Thanks to Dave for taking the Pic)
Dan 5 Snit 0
With over 8lb of crucians in under three hours I made the choice to try and pick the roach out instead by dropping the float four inches to bring the bait of the bottom out the way of the feeding crucians.
This quick change in tactics had an instant result when this nice roach took a liking to the soft pellet hook bait.
At just under a pound in weight I knew it wouldn't take many to get over the roach record weight, and I was not wrong as it only took four more of a similar weight and a few bits to bag a confident four pounds fourteen ounces.
After filling my weigh sling with a few essentials and dumping all the rest of the kit back in the car I wandered off with a single rod to shaded spot near the giant weed bed to begin the second half.
My managerial decision turned out to be as ill founded as not playing Joe Cole in either of the first two England matches. Every time a bait was cast in or any freebies hit the water the flock of ever present ducks slowly crept in and mullered the effin lot. After this dark shapes would appear under the surface attracted by all the commotion.
A second change in approach saw me putting individual baits just onto the weed line near moving fish but still the duckies kept seeing the bread. About this time out of nowhere something swooped down at he unsuspecting ducks sending them in all directions. I only just managed to spot it as it pulled up from the water then circled round the lake. At first I thought it was a crow or buzzard but it was far too small for both, but then I realised exactly what it was, as I had seen something similar on a nature programme. A peregrine falcon!
Later at home I checked the silhouette against a reference book and it was definitely that and not a sparrow hawk which was the another possible candidate.
Throughout the afternoon the carp withdrew further into the weed bed and my only option was to risk all and cast further into the weed; this yielded only two successes, both of which ended with me reeling in masses of weed where the carp had pulled that ingenious trick of removing the hook, and attaching it to the largest amount of weed possible.
After a poor second half the score stood at Dan 2 points Snitterfield 1.
On the way back from the wilderness the radio revealed that yes, the England team had obviously heard that somewhere back in old Blighty a jaded supporter was so disheartened by their previous performances that he had gone into exile. So upon hearing this they pulled their fingers out of their arses past their bulging wallets and bleeding well did the honourable thing and won in what was rumoured to be a convincing performance.