This was more like it, no frost for a couple of mornings and I notice a bit more daylight around! I was up at 6:30am keen to get to the draw early for a cooked breakfast, I was amazed at the amount of birds singing at this hour, perhaps spring is around the corner....
Well, that's the last breakfast I shall be having at the Beefeater, £8.22 for 2 pieces of toast, 1.5 sausages, 2 eggs, 2 rashers of bacon and a cup of coffee. What a price, and no beans! Back to the usual gaffs for breakfast, for lots more at a sensible price. Anyway, despite the wallet weighing lighter (and after paying for B&J and the £20 pools the wallet was anorexic) I was enjoying the company, with my old (very old) friend Dave "Diddly Bonk" Haines usual banter, and the dry wit of Glen Bailey, Eddie Wynne and Steve Hutchinson. These lads were not practising for the semi but taking advantage of a good open match. Once we'd got our B&J from Steve Tucker (and he provides fantastic quality bait week in week out) I was in the draw queue. I drew peg 36 which put me a few pegs short of Bathampton bend, Glen drew one past the bend on the exact same peg I had fished 2 weeks ago, and he was in my section. For company I had Steve Hutchinson on the right (spooky I drew so near these two!) and Thatchers team mate Nick Chedzoy on my left. Chedz was put out by the fact that Tony Rixon had asked me to pass on a message to him that he was c*ap! The canal was a horrid reddy brown colour ("cold tea mate" according to Guy Manton) and I was now very unsure as to how it would fish.
I started the match on the standard breadpunch approach and the float was unmoved for 5 or 6 minutes but then a 2oz roach put in an appearance. I was expecting the float to bury as soon as I went back in, but it took a few minutes to get another bite, but a 4oz skimmer was the result. This was the pattern, wait for bites but the fish were a good stamp, completely different from my last match. In the first hour, I had my best fish a 1 1/2lb skimmer which was a real bonus! I was still eeking out fish on the bread when disaster, I got double boated and never had another bite on the bread. From there on it was tough with very tiny roach on bloodworm, but I did manage to snare 2 more 8oz skimmers. I weighed 6lb 4oz which one the section, Glen was 2nd with 5lb 1oz but admitted he had struggled and had 2 big perch that would have been half this weight.
As it turned out the canal fished well and in particular the section from Darlington to Meadow Farm was great. Mark Harper had 6lb 4oz from peg 2 and he was last but one in the ten peg section! Thatchers had Andy Power 1st 16lb, Mark Brennan 2nd 13lb and Martin Barrett 4th 10lb. A great result for Andy who is showing that he has more strings to his bow than simply bagging carp! Again bread brought him decent skimmers as it did all of the framers, but I noted that Darren "I've drawn another flyer" Gillman also managed a good run of skimmers on bloodworm.
I hope the visiting teams enjoyed the sport on offer, there were some poor areas but overall the weights were good. Well done Vincent Lunn and Andy Britt on running a good match, it went smoothly and I'm looking forward to this Sunday, and for the 6th time of asking to draw a flyer!! How does Gillman do it?