Having applied for 12 fisho tickets I was very happy to receive 5 and to find Viaduct was in that list of 5, I have never fished the place but I can honestly say I have never heard a bad word said about it.

My intentions were to spend a few days down there so I got up at 4am on the wednesday and loaded the van and off I went I didnt hit the sack untill about 1.30am so I was very tired and its about 140 miles from me.

The Wednesday open

I arrived at the venue for 8 am just enough time to grab a cup of tea and a pasty from the bakers and get my money paid for the wednesday open.

9 oclock soon came and it was draw time I drew peg 102 on Cary It didnt mean a lot to me but apparently I had a bit of room and was on the aireator peg one good thing was it was extremly close to the van, armed with all my kit including the kitchen sink I made my way to the peg.

It didnt look anything special apart from this aireator which was 2 thirds across, Paul the fishery manager came along and I asked him a few questions he told me my boundary was 5 metres short of the paddles so I launched a waggler out with an ssg pinched on the bend of the hook and got an idea for the depth, there seemed to be a slight drop off around that area and could see why everyone fishes to it maybe the silt is kept away from that area by the aireator, the only problem I could see was its about 40yds and to feed it in the wind was going to be difficult.

I set up a pellet waggler a bomb and an up in the water rig for the long pole

at the whistle I held back for a minute or two just to see what everyone else was doing and it was bomb city everyone chucked out a bomb followed by pouches of large pellets, next to me was one of the locals a guy called Mash i noticed he was packing up and he hadnt even casr out, later on that day I found out his mother in law had sadly passed away, i got to meet up with him later on in the day and what a cracking guy.

it wasnt long before the rod was wrenched off the rest and I had a carp around 12 pound I continued with the bomb for about an hour I had quite a few liners kept dropping short but no solid bites, the cross wind was making pellets very difficult to feed so I changed tact and set my stool out to fish shorter on a line I could feed
all I seem to be fetting was knock and twitches so I swapped out for the waggler, I tend to feed quite well and never slack off and my first cast was rewarded with another 12 pounder folowed by a skimmer about 2lb
the day wasnt going to well for me I noticed people dotted about catching odd fish and I wasnt, I percivered with the waggler and startted to get bitesm the problem was I couldnt connect no matter how I hooked the pellet I was fishing a banded pellet I put the band up the shankl and finally I connected only to loose it at the net, I was having a dreadfull day and it got worse I lost 7
they just seemed to keep pulling out.

I went on to weight in 26lb needless to say I didnt win a penny

Thursday practice day

I went into the on site shop to talk to Steve and Paul about by bad day the previous day and they suggested the non use of a hair rig with these old wise fish was the problem, so needing to get rid of some demons I decided to fish the same peg, the conditions were identicle and there were enough pleasure anglers and guys practising to make it near match conditions only this time fishing the hair.

I started off quite slow on the bomb with a few liners I soon located a few fish, the rod was wrenched off the rest with amazing force and its fish on this happened maybe a dozen times and along came a guy that was 3 or 4 pegs from me the day before we got chatting and he dropped in behind me on Lodge lake

I changed to the waggler to see if the same effect would be had with the hair and low and behold it was the same most bites resulting in fish, I ended up the session with 23 fish to around 16lb I didnt have a fish under 7lb apart from a couple of large skimmers around 2lb a piece, I was the only one on the lake that really sacked up everything was caught on an 8.5 hard banded pellet

I packed up and sat behind the guy who was fishing lodge, his name was Brendon Curry he suggested he could show me the whole complex and all the pegs so he packed up and we walked the venue, his knowledge was very good he fishes Viaduct 3 or 4 times a week and pointed me in the right direction with methods and lakes and drove home the importance of the hair on this venue

I went back to the hotel brimming with confidence and Brendon tagged along and we had a few beers, after an hour Mash the guy who packed up next to me on the wednesday turned up we had a good chat a few beers then had a chinese delivered to the pub. the landlord and landlady of the Somerton Hotel were fantastic hosts and would reccomend that place to stay its was very good and very clean and great people.

Friday practice

I wanted more of the same so I went and fished a good peg in the 80,s almost identicle response only not quite as many fish I had 13 and some skimmers and a tench, there were lots fishing and bank walkers everywhere,
I got chatting to a guy from chester named Mick he seemed very knowledgable about the venue and a few laughs were had, I noticed a couple of Welsh lads came down late for a fish and got straight into them.

I was very coinfident with the methods for the main lakes I just needed to draw one of them, I packed up and went to my hotel,

Its funny how things pan out

I get to the hotel car park sort my kit out on the van put all the bait into the fridge and plug it in grab my phone and into the bar.

The first person I see is Mick the guy from Chester shortly followed by Mash then the two welsh guys turn up shortly followed by Nige Smith after an hour or so the drinks are flowing and Matt the owner of viaducts son turns up two Taffies two Scousers two Dorset boys and a Londener, Im sure you can imagine the taking that went on sheep jokes car radios getting stolen jokes interbreeding and all that, it was one hell of a great night and to finish it off the guvnor Pete cooked us all a chicken curry with all the trimmings,

I was keen for this match so slipped away unusually about 11pm, thats not really me im typically the last one up but I wanted a clear head for the morning.

The Big Day

I was the first down for brekkie all packed loaded and ready to go, we all left about 7.30 and arrived at viaduct 5 minutes later and to my suprise it was already full and parking was very tight, I have fished big matches over the years been involved in division 1 nationals when they were a 1000 strong but there was something about this, maybe it was the 25k maybe the fact sky tv were there or just the prestige, Im not sure what it was but there was a big buzz unlike anything I have expierenced on a fishing competition. every face seemed to be from a photo out of the fishing press, it all felt a little strange.

lots of chatting and lots of tea past by and its draw time
its been commoin knowledge that you want either Cambell Cary or Spring lake to win, and its my turn peg 73 Lodge, my heart sank and my hopes died all down to a peice of cardboard with a name and a number.

I talked to Mash and Matt, Mash suggested I had an outside chance and Matt said the peg could throw up 80lb on a very good day I had drawn in a corner but the wind was blowing out of it not ideal, they also pointed out that the peg has had no real form, I aso got a phone call from Brendon who confirmed what the other two had said and insisted I feed carefully.

I got to my peg a little later than others as I had a small hike the peg looked fishy I had a tree 14 metres down to my right, and the peg directly opposite me was empty and had been left out.

I fancied this big time, when I got to my peg I realised there was going to be a few problems the causeway I was on was only about 10 ft wide shipping back was going to send the bottom of the pole over the Cary the lake behind. with the amount of rollers already set up it was going to be awkward.

I sat my box on the pallet facing the tree, but it kept going through my mind that the fish last time caught of this peg were indeed caught in open water at 12metres I moved my box 4 times finally to settle with it pointing to open water conventional style, this proved to be a big mistake and I should have fished facing the tree.

I set up 3 margin rigs and 1 open water rig, the plan was to fish a metre short of the tree and a metre from the back and not go in too early catch as many away from it as possible, two of the margin rigs had hairs and one without for fishing a soft hooker

I would also feed halfway down the margin as well hoping to pick up the odd roamer or two

the long pole line in front would have a good pot of micro pellet with some corn.

thje whistle goes and in with a good pot at 12 metres a few grains of corn halfway down the margin and about 30 6mm pellets and half a dozen 8.5's down by the tree. I was told to not dump in, as dumping just pushes the fish away and feed little and often, so I decided to feed with a large cup so people presumed I was feeding heavy, the plan was to innitially fish for bites only feeding once i get a bite or a fish,

I get my first bite on a banded 8mm pellet after 5 minutes the float buried and went right out of sight I hit it hard as my peg consisted of some serious tree roots I had felt them plumbing up and a skimmer about a pound launched itself out of the water and I was greated with a few laughs and had a chuckle myself , in with another pot of pellet about 30 and 6 and another bite only this time a 10 pounder is placed in the office, I continued with this pattern for a couple of hours adding 9 more carp just little lifts oif the float and regular topping up with pellet. every now and then I would try the long pole infront but never had a bite on it,

I had heard a runour that someone near the car park in one of the corner pegs had got 100 pound after 2.5 hrs the next thing I see was the sky cameras had been watching me for a while and the spectators were getting more in numbers. I then realised it was me and Rhino opposite everyone was talking about although it was more like half that weight and we were fish to fish with each other.

by the end of the third hour im slowing up the foot traffic was heavy and im now right under the tree the short margin line had failed to produce a bite and the long line in front was the same. I get another bite I hit it hard and give as much stick as I could to get the fish out, it was one of those backside tingling moments the fish wants to go through the tree my pole is at maximum bend the tip is buried deep under the water and into the silt in front of me and something has to give I could see the boiling under the tree and the fish was close to freedom then it give and came out, this was a great relief as my tackle was at its limit the purple hydro didnt have a lot left, viaduct carp fight hard harder than most I have encountered so far and I was relived to see this one scopped into the landing net, the bank walkers and spectators are killing mine and Rhino's pegs

2 hours to go and I cant buy a bite

Despite anything I do I cant get a bite, Im now wishing I had got a tin of catmeat from the on site shop as an alternative bait as the peg was one of them pegs it would probably worked in.

20 minutes to go and its still dead I decide to start spraying pellets as a last attempt to get a couple more I can see the fish on the other side of the tree but they are not playing ball 5 minutes left I get a sail away and miss it, I go back in and get another fish this time the fish gets me through the tree I felt it snag but to my suprise it give in once again to the purple hydro in the office it goes a nice 8 pounder, two more pouches of 6mm followed by my hook bait the float burioed again and I missed it as im about to lay the float back on the water the whistle goes

I went on to weigh 75lb 3oz I was 7th on the day and second on the lake, Mick Bull won the lake and the match from the monk peg with 126lb its a good well known peg but again with no recent form the wind however had been blowing in there all night and day and Im sure thats why a few settled in that corner, he has won from an unfancied lake to boot.

I more fish for me and I could have squeezed third

I made a few mistakes on the day, I should have had cat meat with me. but most importantly I should have positioned my box to point to the tree, I could have fed with the catty easier when it all went quiet, and when I did start I was uncomfortable, lessons learnt thats for sure, but the biggest factor on the day was the spectators and bank walkers despite being told before the start, I even had my pole kicked twice and some idiot hang over the bank and say to his mate look how far under the tree he is fishing, and to think these guys were anglers, me or Rhino on 54 could have both framed if it was roped off on the day or maybe even better.

All in all it was a very enjoyable few days I met some great people some new freinds and it was a great experience.

Edit I will sort the spelling mistakes later lol