Having entered the Scierra Pairs Blithfield round, I was contemplating whether we had made the right choice as neither of us had fished much thus far but thought it was worth entering anyway. The match briefing was 930am and the match time was 10-5 pm, we decided to travel together as both of us have been isolating rigidity during covid for health reasons. I wore the mask in the car on the drive there and back. It was nice to share a journey with a friend and talk about fishing on the trip.
The pairs have been a tough match for us, I usually fish this with a good friend Rick. We have been close on many occasions, literally ounces or minutes away from qualifying for the final. So we were hoping for a bit of lady luck to smile on us this time. For Information on Scierra Pairs visit :https://www.scierrapairs.co.uk/
On the way down we had time to discuss what I had discovered during my trip on Friday and felt that this was very useful for our day. We talked about the lines and decided that fast glass or DI3 would be our main two lines, the floating line also a consideration as the fish were high. We also talked about the flies and retrieve method, also the areas we favoured and a plan on exactly how we were going to fish the match. We noted that 11-1130 am should be our cut point for getting the bag limit of 10 fish, as after that our chances would be affected. The anglers who had entered this heat were very strong, these matches usually are.
We arrived at Blithfield, the Car park was a hive of activity with anglers, having paid our subscription, we got out kit ready and into the boat. It’s always worth doing this to avoid last-minute panic and helps settle the nerves. As we were waiting we made sure that the boat and kit were ready, always do this too, the drogue was ready, the landing nets ready and got our rod setups done. We agreed that Rick would use a Di3 and me a fast glass, he would fish two flies, one lure and a blob, me I would go for a blob, nymph and booby on the fast glass. As the time approached, it was time to wish good luck to all anglers I knew. I spoke to Rick about our plan, we would fish the sailing club/dam area first for some 20mins and if not productive we would go to Area 2, on the same side but further along with the houses past the sailing club bay to Watery lane.
Once all the anglers were ready, Phil Dixon the organiser signalled the start and we were off. All the boat engines screaming as the mad rush started to get to the fishing points first. We noticed that most were going to the 2nd area we had nominated and that we were the only boat going to area 1. This was worrying as they had practised Saturday and we hadn’t, maybe they knew something we didn’t but we decided to stick with our plan.
As soon as we got to the sailing club area, we decided to free drift without drogue as it meant more ground would be covered and hopefully more fish too. Second drift in, I was onto a fish and landed it, straight to the bag, the bag limit was 10, 9 more to get. We drifted 100yds down, I saw a fish move in the ripple, cast out to it and steady figure of eight, bang it was fish on and I landed it, down to 8 to get. Rick had his first within a few minutes and we had seen no fish caught by the bank anglers or the only other boat that had pulled behind us. Time to make the move to area 2 as there weren’t many fish here and we needed to make sure we were within our target finish time.
Area 2 was further along the bank all up to watery lane had the whole fleet of boats drifting, so we got behind them in an area with no boats. The wind was pushing to the bank, luckily there were no bank anglers where we were fishing, this was good as the fish were close in within 50yds of the bank. As we got to some 100yds, I saw a fish move, covered it and caught it, another landed down to 7 more to get. We did the same drift moving left and right on each drift and both of us managed to catch fish pretty quickly. We noticed several boats had bagged up and were eager not to be too far behind, just as we got our 10fish, two boats were nearing the jetty, they must have got the bag limit. The race was on to get back to the jetty as soon as possible, as we got back around 1112hrs, there were three other pairs who had bagged up but the time was very close to ours so there was no great advantage lost. Now it was down to the weight of our bag and this happens a lot, but we had a good bag that was competitive. It was time to have lunch, relax and head out for some fun fishing.
It’s a very satisfying thing as a match angler to bag up as this gets you in the reckoning, we watched in the distance as the other boats were still fishing. Having had a nice break it was time to go out again for a bit of fun. I changed my set up to a floating line with three flies, as I intended to fish a washing line method, two nymphs and a fab the point. We went out and tried to stay away from the match anglers as this is good etiquette, they are still fishing the match, it’s good to let them have the field.
We fished till about 430pm and the rain clouds were gathering, so we decided to head back and enjoyed the sport, we probably had some had 10 more fish between us all released. It was a good call, just as we got to the jetty the heavens opened up. We emptied the boat and loaded the car to await the results announcement.
We thought it was going to be close and that we may have squeezed into 3rd place to qualify, Phil announced the results. We had not only qualified but won the match, a real surprise but a pleasant one, about time. The margin was slim and there was only 1 oz between the top three pairs. We had a chat with the others and set off home happy that the day had gone to a plan and we had stuck to it.
So now for the final at Rutland in September 2021