So on with this little update:
Being a person who watches fisho mania on sky most years it was on i was really excited when asked to join my Mate Garry and a few of his work mates on a trip down to the Fisho Mania finals. It was decided to go down on the Sunday for the International finals and to be honest i was made up about this as the two anglers fishing, Des Shipp and Will Raison, are both anglers i like and always take time to listen to their hints and tips on line.
The evening before the trip and with a day chilling out the next day planned and the weather cracking the slates outside i decided to pick up a few beers on the way home from our fishing trip to the river and chill out in the garden. Waking up the next morning i instantly regretted the decision to have a few beers as with a pounding head i struggled to wake up. The noise of rain on the window initially had me wondering if the trip was still on at all, a quick text and it was all go for the day ahead.
Meeting up at 8.45am with Garry and his mates it was a quick trip to McDonald's for breakie before heading off down the M6. A nice chat about all things fishing confirmed there was plenty of common ground amongst us all and shows really how angling can being people together to share experiences and tactics. Baring a holiday to devon and the odd trip to Stapley Water Gardens this was a rare visit for me below the holmes chapel junction of the M6 and having only ever fishing Flushing Meadows Fishery i was intrigued to what a high end commercial fishery on a huge scale would look like.
Arriving at Cudmore Fisheries i was first intrigued by the little river leading alongside the path to this place and then we pulled into the main field to park, £10.00 parking fee was paid and we began our walk. The first lake we saw must have been a new enterprise as it was very much in the construction stage with little bank side natural cover.
As we moved further into the venue so the pools seemed more natural and developed with some lovely looking pools hidden away like this one behind the main company tents.
The commercial area held a few tents loaded with angling tackle all displaying their items very well and i was really impressed with the range of items available from poles to seatboxes you could pick them all up if you so wished and some had a really good deal on them. I had recently had a pike at my net on the river so i was in the market for a new keep net so a bargain of a keep net for £12.00 was a must buy for me, i decided to return at dinner time and pick it up,lesson learnt. Other stalls where selling items such s long river rods up to 17ft, ground bait bulk buy deals and there was also a Womens international stall where Tommy Pickering had taken time out of his busy schedule with Sky to talk to anglers.
Moving further down the commercial area we came to a set up by the environment agency that had a aerated tank full of all fresh water fish this attracted a lot of attention during the day and was a really interesting addition to the section and i thought a good touch to show people who don't fish just what fish are in our waters.
We then decided to have a walk round and there where loads of little events and tutorials going on from Carp fishing and Pole fishing tips to fly fishing and i think in total it covered all aspects of fishing and there was also places to have a go yourself. We spent a bit of time on the lure fishing but when Garry spotted an angler who he follows closely called Sam Edmond's. I must say i recognised his face off TV but not an angler i follow week to week but after speaking to him for a good 20 minutes it was obvious he knew his stuff and i must say he was great to talk too and learn about a type of fishing i knew little about in drop shotting. He took time to go over all his lures and like any angler who loves his sport he had plenty of stories to share, great guy.
We then moved onto the main Arena lake, walking up the hill and then looking down over the lake my first impression was how big the venue was, it looked a lot smaller on TV. There was plenty going on and when we arrived there was around a 45 minutes till the all in and already anglers where busy pluming up and preparing bait. We settled in behind Des Shipp and our plan was to spend most of our time watching him and then move around to Will Raison later on. Rumours going round where Des was on a bad peg and i overheard someone saying he had been quoted as saying as much to someone as he went for a toilet break.
Des is an angler i have plenty of time for and always watch his tutorials on Youtube and i have noticed he always replies to comments on facebook after he posts with nearly all getting some kind of reply and i think that is fantastic to see. This was evident as he took time to sign caps and speak to anglers over the rope barrier and had a laugh and a joke with the crowd as he got wired up for the sky cameras. It was during this time a man appeared beside me and Garry with a pair of binoculars, at first i thought nothing of it till i noticed he was part of the Holland team. As the time came near for the anglers to bait up fro 10 minutes they became fixated on Des's side tray obviously trying to work out what bait he was using and where he was putting it.
It really shocked me and really hit home how serious of a competition this is. i am not saying for one second the England team where not up to the same tactics, i didn't see any evidence of it, but to be sat so obvious right behind an angler did shock me. To the fishing and Des got of to a slow start as cheers came up from the other side of the lake as Will landed a fish. It seemed an age before the first fish came to des but as it did so did one or two more and then it seemed the bites died before the shoal moved back in again and this continued for the first two weigh in its seemed.
Watching it live really was enjoyable and it showed me just how much time and effort goes into their preparation as not only did Des have a few top kits but he also had two waggler rods set up and a feeder rod to cover all eventualities, preparation is the key. The guy next to Des was having a terrible time with a duck that would not leave his float alone and he also lost a nice fish due to a hook pull while we watched.
It was great to hear all the banter on the bank and listen to anglers suggesting what he should do to catch more fish or what they would do, i was thinking about how nervous i would be with all these people behind me. After the forth weigh in England had started to build a bit of a gap on the opposition and with no carp in the lake over 7lb it was not going to be possible for one big fish to see one of the nations come right back at the England team. We decided at this point to go and get a bite to eat.
A tasty Hot dog with plenty of refreshing raw onion filled a hole if leaving me a little eye watered. A quick check in for the keep net and all had be sold so a lesson learnt there. We had another good look around the lakes before heading back to the main arena where we decided to move round and sit behind Will Raison who was catching plenty of fish but was actually being beaten weight wise by the angler next to him. Settling in it was clear the England team where working to a set plan where they knew bites would come over time to win the match. even at this point.
Then a weigh in was set up right in font of us and i with the Sky Camera looking straight down the lens at us i knew we just had to have been on sky Tv. Getting home it was clear we was right in shot for this weigh in haha.
I think not long after this the Belgium team i think it was made a mistake in their plan as with loads of fish showing over the far side towards the island the angler decided to go over to the waggler. Fish where all over his area but the float did not move. During this next hour Will decided to stay close in on his pole line and picked up fish steadily whilst still feeding his margin line, a line the Belgium angler never once fed. During this hour Will caught steady and the Belgium angler seemed to grow in frustration at missed bites and the swirls around his float but no bites.
In that half hour he weighed in no fish while Will put a few kilo on the scales and this half hour followed by Will then going down the edge and catching steady for the next half hour ended Belgium's chances in my opinion, a crucial part of the match and great to see in action. Watching will i was amazed how fast he worked, shipping in and out and feeding at speed he was catching fish quicker than most could ship out!!
We watched Will till the penultimate weigh In before moving round to the main stage to get a decent view of the ceremony at the end. Right at the front we had a great view of the teams as England collected their prize money and trophy.
This rounded off a fantastic trip to Fishomania finals, a day i really enjoyed and to be honest a lot more than i thought i would do. It was certainly better than watching it on TV although being there you do lose that knowledge of knowing who is catching where and whats going on with the rest of the lake. I do think the lack of big fish ruined the event though as i think seeing some big lumps come in the margin would have added more excitement to the event as with a number of weigh in's to go both Will and Des knew all they had to do was keep catching steady and there was no way of being caught as there was little chance of them going half a hour without a fish and a nation adding 5-6 kilo to go into the lead.
A fantastic day and i can not wait for next years final!!
till next time