The second round of the Tusses Spro Freestyle was soon upon us and considering I had made the decision that I couldn't commit to fishing as part of a dedicated team, I was still fishing. At the end of the first match where I had filled in for Greg Bafia on the Realistic Shad team I was recruited to fill in for Bethan Sedgewick Miles on the Lure Witches team fishing with Joanna Davies, AKA Asia. I have met Asia here and there on a couple of other matches but had never fished with her as a partner though she seemed over the moon to have someone along to help her compete on this unfamiliar venue. Saying that, my experience of this stretch was limited to a single practice session where the canal became very murky quickly once the boats began moving.
After meeting up with Asia in the Pub car park and discussing a rough plan of action we were keen to get going. With Asia pulling the number two card out at registration we were buoyed up with our early position and once the off was sounded we went with our plan to do a decent walk out to an area which had fished well in practice, then work our way back and things went very well indeed!
After missing a couple of early fish Asia scored first with a small perch to take away the early jitters. After getting hit hard and my lure losing its tail to a good pike, I too put some points on paper with a nice sized zander from exactly the same spot.
With more competitors now flooding past us we actually went against the tide and began moving back along the stretch; running a lure close to the edge I found a bonus baby pike which although diminutive added vital species bonus points.
Our next flurry of action came when Asia hooked a very nice perch close to some cover whilst we were touching base with my good friends, Dave Mutton and Ian Whittaker, from Specimen fishing UK team who had just had a small zander. A few moments after releasing Asia's perch I nabbed us another small zander before Asia lost a similar one.
By late morning things were dire all round. The boat had churned up the silt and any early clarity was long gone. Add to that the now hot sun and most people were struggling. The news on the grapevine was that a couple of teams were building up some better lengths targeting small fish for our part we agreed to just grind it out and push on back towards the start. Somewhere in amongst the thousands of casts we made, Asia hooked and landed a computer tower and I heaved out an old portable TV both of which validated our excellent knot tying skills.
With an hour to go we headed down into the other half of the stretch to fish water that we were convinced had already been thrashed senseless. Knowing what had already been chucked at any fish in the area, I opted for a big change and began casting a creature bait tight into any cover I could find and BOOM! My gamble paid off when I hooked a powerful and very angry zander which turned out to be our biggest fish of the day, much to Asia's joy.
Total 205cm + 3 x species bonus @ 25cm per species = 280cm
|1st Place = 'No Wasps Here' Steve Wilson/Derek Holmes (435cm)|
|2nd Place = 'Lures and Oatcakes' Chris Milllward/Mark carter (306cm)|
|3rd Place 'Lure Witches' Joanna Davies/Daniel Everitt (280cm)|
|Biggest pike = Silviu Stoica (56cm)|
|Biggest Zander = Daniel Everitt (55cm)|
|Biggest Perch = Stenescu Cristian/Greg Bafia (38cm)|
"Who needs a substitute for round three"