I got to the 37 club near Puriton where the draw was to take place, we weren't in the club of course just using their car park as we needed a big space for the 72 anglers that turned up. The draw was done well, If your name was called out, you walked up chucked your pools money in a big bucket and then the organiser drew a peg for you. When it got to my turn I was given peg 58 which put me at Bradney, I had an end peg in my section 53 and that was going to be favourite, I think Nigel Baker was on that one. I was quite happy though as a couple of the lads had fished on about peg 66 and had lots on the whip so fish in the area I hoped.
After loading the shuttle it was a nice easy walk along a cycle path, I could have walked miles on a surface like that! I was a little disappointed when I saw my peg as it was not at all conducive to fishing a whip, and anything would need some care due to trees either side. I lopped a few branches off, but it was still very narrow and with the wind getting up it would be very problematic.
In the water I had plenty of lillies growing up and a little hole about 6 metres out where I found a weed free area, although the bottom was a bit uneven. The anglers around me all had the same problem with the bottom all over the place. Still the depth was nice here with about 7 feet, and I set up a 1.5g pencil float with 20 N40 to 0.09 to fish here. I toyed with making up other lighter rigs but the wind was killing the peg and in the event I even struggled to hold on to the 1.5g rig at times. I set up a chopped worm rig for fishing at 12m to the edge of the pads to my left, I thought this would give me half a chance to get a decent fish out of I hooked one. A waggler was also set up but I never had a bite on this!
Before the match started I had two visitors, one was Gary Etheridge who sneaked up on me filming for his facebook post, the other visitor was in the water, see video.
The match started at 11am and I began by feeding some Sonubaits Black Roach and lake on the short line, and some worm and caster further out. I began on the short line and it was a very quiet start with just two tiny perch in the first ten minutes, but finally I caught a 1oz roach. It was very slow, but I could get the odd bite but it was hard work indeed, odd little roach but more often 1/2oz pommies. After about an hour Graham Hunt had sat behind me for a chat, he saw me catch a couple of fish short but this really died off and it was time to try to my worm line. I had a very fast bite almost immediately but I reckon this was a rudd grabbing the worm on the drop. Dropped it back in and waited for a few minutes and a bite, struck and this was no rudd, a large fish was hooked and lucky for me it swam straight out into the middle of the river where I kind of hung on as it thumped hard and pulled a fair bit of 15 hollo out! But then it was gone, damn! I'd simply pulled out of it, gutted was an understatement. I wondered if it was a tench, and Graham reckoned it most likely was, certainly was a big un. Sadly after this the worm line only produced 4 small perch all of which were swung.
As mentioned earlier, the waggler was a waste and I was surprised this was so poor. I had a visit from team mate Nick Ewers who was two pegs above me. He had a mare when his shuttle blew from the top of the bank straight into his rig roost and smashed a number of number 4 sections, he had also caught very little, as had the anglers around us. I could get the odd bite short but then would try the worm, but this just wasn't working. Graham came back to say the anglers on the last 3 pegs of my section had a few fish with Nick Collins catching best of all it seemed. My chances of coin were already gone it seemed and the wind which had been difficult just got worse, at times I was leaning back 45 degrees to try to catch my rig, luckily I managed to avoid the trees.
I won't bore you with the details, well there aren't many really, I just caught the odd little fish now and again and it was not easy and the last hour was very quiet. I thought I had about 3lb.
The scales revealed a 12lb Nigel Baker end peg, 11lb Nick Collins end peg but one and 8lb Tony Goodland on the well you can guess.. A few skimmers and some small fish for those guys. Gary on 56 had 4lb+, Ben Matthews next to me 1lb 4oz, then me 3lb 8oz. Ade McTiffin had 4lb+ then the next two were DNW. The next section up was won on the end peg with 9lb Gary Webber, and 5lb was second and not much else was caught.
A difficult match and once again I find myself not getting much of a chance thanks to the drawbag, but such is life. Top 3 today were Steve Long with 21lb 11oz Parchey, 2nd Andrew Cranston 21lb 20z (next to Steve), 3rd Andy Power who was on an end peg down past me a long way, he had 17lb. All those weights were bream.
My lost tench didn't cost me anything in the end, though it would have been nice to have landed it, nobody else hooked one in the 20 pegs up by me. Next week it is the superleague on this venue, how will fish next week? Better or worse? More small fish or more big fish? Think anglers will need to cover all eventualities!