Carp match expert and Fox-sponsored angler, Neil Rivers, returns for the 5th instalment of his blog series, sadly things have not gone his way of late...

I've been trying to get out and do a little bit of my own fishing whilst working away in Plymouth after a friend of mine put me in touch with a lovely little estate lake not far from site, which would be perfect for my overnighters. A visit to the lake and a quick walk round and I was really taken by the place. I was shown pictures of the stock with 80% of it being commons with a few mirrors and ghosties mixed in. After a few baiting up trips and trying to get to grips with this place I managed to snare a couple after my 6th overnighter, they were not massive by modern standards but they were a more than welcome start to my time on the lake. 

Whilst doing my overnighters during the week I had also been prepping for the BCAC Semi-Final on Brasenose 1 at Linear. The weekend of the semi came flying round and it was the morning of the draw before we knew it! We managed to come 7th out of the hat and get our 5th choice swim so we were happy bunnies. It was forecast to be warm all weekend with temperatures of 23 degrees so the plan was to spod slop over Zigs, find out what depth they were confident feeding at and then go from there. From the start of the match it was apparent that the fish were up in the water, some of the pairs were spodding floaters and the fish were taking the odd 1 or 2. We went for a whole 18 hours without a bite, after searching the water columns trying to find where they were happy. We eventually found them at 12ft and managed to put a run of fish together with multiple takes throughout the Saturday morning and going into the Saturday night we were in 5th place. 

The fish had moved across to the shallows for a while in the evening and a great display of surface fishing saw Bob Anderson and Adan Highley take a big lead at the top of the leader board.

The Saturday night was quiet for us, and we were up at first light 4am to start to work our swim and we managed another 3 fish to push us up.  However, the fish did not want to stay in front of us and instead moved down in front of Sean Dulson and Lee Simms, who with some fantastic angling banked 26 fish to jump from 5th place to 1st!  The hooter went at midday, which signalled the end of the match. A massive amount of fish were caught and the places changed all over the on the Sunday morning. My congratulations to all who qualified and commiserations to all who didn’t, it was a great Semi Final and can't wait to enter again next year.

 We couldn’t afford to dwell too long on the defeat as the following weekend was another Semi Final this time down at Orchard Place Farm in Kent. The pegging this time around was going to be in sections, which made the draw a bit easier and gave more of a chance of qualification, as the winner of each section would go through.   Sadly the draw wasn’t kind to us and we came out last! We set camp up for the weekend knowing it was going to be hard as the swim we had didn't usually have that much form. However, we would of course try our best right up until the final whistle.

 Maggots are usually the winning tactic on Orchard but we found from the start that we were going to have to try and change things around as we were being plagued by catfish! We made changes throughout the match and managed to bag 3 carp, which did put us into contention for a while.

But with the quality of the anglers on the other pegs it wasn't meant to be again for this match and so for the second weekend in a row we came up short. Congratulations for all who qualified it was a great match and all was to play for throughout the match. Unfortunately that's it for my domestic matches this season, I've now got a practice session coming up for the England carp team in Hungary next month to look forward in readiness for the World Champs in September…