I'd been really looking forward to the Tusses warm up friendly for quite a while. These friendly get together club matches have a great vibe about them with anglers of all nationalities that love lure fishing coming together for a good time. The only fly in my ointment was the fact that nine days prior I'd had some long awaited carpel tunnel surgery on my right hand to cut the transverse carpel ligament and release the pressure on the median nerve. Thus I was left with a stitched up wound at the bottom of my right hand and the ligament that helps the thumbs movement severed. Prior to the event I had a little experiment with a super light lure rod and found that although I was able to fish I couldn't really cast as such. A second experiment with my left hand had me casting like a drunken toddler so I concluded that in the approaching match was going to be strictly limited to fishing under the rod tip dibbling style.
Luckily for me I was green lit to drive by the quack a few days prior to the event and after a wary drive through dense fog I arrived early to see plenty of competitors readying rods in the car park near the Greyhound pub at Hawksbury junction.
I think everyone had trepidations about the fishing as the recent wall to wall sunshine and high temperatures had probably had little effect on the water temps, so the fish would probably be quite cagey still. This was even worse for me given my limited range; I would be scrabbling around on the shallower shelf rather than being able to search out the deeper water. With this in mind I opted to travel out a bit to find a spot of unchallenged canal where I knew there was deeper water close in and things initially started very well when I hooked and landed a high scoring jack pike early in the match.
After that things went very sour for me. I was intermittently locating single fish that I was just about persuading to bite. The problem I was having was with my hand strapped up in a brace for protection I was just that bit too slow to connect with these very subtle fast hits. I missed or lost no less than ten small fish, most of which I felt vibrating for a moment before they just disappeared. Psychologically it was very damaging as I knew that in what was going to be a tight match I lost what could have been a metre of fish. Towards the end of the match I finally found a decent perch lingering in a bank side snag which tore so hard into the lure that even I wasn't going to miss it. At 29cm it was a very welcome addition to the score card.
My final hope lay in a bridge at the end of the stretch that I had been fishing. Most of the year you can pick one or two fish up around its deep structured margins and I had saved it deliberately till last just in case. My final half an hour saw me work every reachable inch of it again and again until finally I connected with a small zander which looked no bigger than 20cm when it came up to the surface and let go of the lure in one final insult.
Total = 79cm
Once back at the meet point it became evident things had been hard all round and most people had struggled to return any decent scores. Though a few anglers had done very well and reports of a big pike and a few decent zander helped make the difference between the top three and everyone else when the scores were tallied up.
|1st Place = Stephen Coldicott 261cm + Biggest pike 79cm|
|2nd Place = Cautis Tiberius 215cm|
|3rd Place = Greg Bafia 132cm|
|Biggest zander = Salwomir Mikolajczak 55cm|