I was thinking I should have been on the river this weekend, but with ATWL semi-final next weekend I thought I'd better get on the canal again. Oh boy did I make the wrong decision!
Kevin Dicks was running this open, and with 45 pegs spread from the disabled stretch, Limpley and down to Diggers there was plenty of space for all, for some loads! I drew 44 one off the end peg down at Diggers (just bast the wide bay peg) for company I had Nicky Goodhind on the end peg, and Nicky Ewers in the bay. The canal was painfully clear here and I could see 3ft down, where had all the colour gone from last week? The level was also down by about 1ft, and dropped some more during the day, is there a leak? It didn't look for me, but I was cheered up by Frys supremo Nigel Wyatt who told me he had 20lb a few pegs away on Friday. However, my instincts were right and after 30 minutes on the bread I was without a bite. I had to go onto bloodworm far ealier than expected, but again was without a bite until I went across the canal next to a moored boat. I took a few perch from two swims, before the first boat of the day coloured the canal up. I returned across the canal and it took 10 minutes to get a bite, then the fun started! First the breakfast washing up water went into my peg about 2ft from float (this happened at least 6 times during the match) then the owner of the boat then went walkabout and was literally inches from my float, more boats passed up and down sending plumes of mud into the swim. The boat moored just downstream of me moved off and did some more damage, then the owner opposite stated his engine...
After 2 hours I had managed just 15 perch, Nicky G had 2 small fish and Nicky Ewers a bit more than me. I then heard that Thatchers team mate Guy Manton was catching in the basin by the aqueduct, so myself and Mr Ewers went to watch him. At this stage Guy was admitting to 15lb and losing 25lb off the hook, he had already won the match! In 20 minutes I saw him land 5 skimmers / bream and lose 4. There were bubbles coming up and his float was being dragged about by the amount of fish! We tried to give Guy some advice (I think he would call it winding him up) but he didn't listen to a word we said!
I came back to my peg from the walk and just before I went in on my primed lines (I'd fed before I went for a walk) a very large barge with a learner driver zig zagged through my peg and that was the straw that broke the camels back for me!
Guy ended the match match with a new match record weight of 46lbs and had probably lost nearly the same. Fair play ! Guy fed jokers and casters, but I think realistically a lot of methods would have worked. Closely following the winner in 2nd place (ahem) was Richard (Lace the Ace) Lacey with 7lb 8oz. Also well done to Dave Haines who won his section from end peg 1, that must have been his first pick up for 10 years!
To be fair the canal had fished poor for most, with some anglers struggling for ounces and many packing up early, including me! Fish were tightly shoaled today I hope they are more spread out on the semi next week.
I heard later that 58lb of Chub had won a match on the Bristol Avon at Kelston, and a similar weight at the Crane stretch, arrgh!
Heard as I walked back to my peg "I don't know why they have such long poles, why don't they go round the other side and fish with short rods." I wonder why...