Rain, rain, go away.... I am beginning to regret all the times I was asking for it to rain when the rivers were low and clear, it certainly has chucked it down of late.
The draw for this match was at the ever reliable Saltford Rugby Club, more reliable than Tucks who it appeared had left a tray of joker in his garage, for which he blambed Gary O'Shea. That meant the team who turned up last for their bait were going to be short, and this turned out to be Thyers! Was it a ploy to make life hard for our nearest rivals?
I was hoping to be drawn on one of the sections that had not been match fished so far (Darlington Wharf to just below the George), but unfortunately this did not occur and I was instead drawn at Claverton just past the very narrow bit of canal. It seemed we had a good team draw, with Martin Barrett, Nicky Ewers and Mark Brennan all on end pegs, how did I miss them?
Arriving at the peg the first job was to get the brolly up as the rain was coming in virtually horizontal. I assembled rigs exactly as I had the week before, except I had an extra bloodworm rig set up for fishing across in the shallow water. I was set up in plenty of time and considered my section to be fairly fair, other than the end peg where Derek Coles had taken up residence. Mind you the pegging was a bit strange, some pegs had 60 yards either side whilst others a lot, lot less.
I tucked my bread and liquidized bread right under the brolly and started the match, feeding licky at 4 metres, some chopped worm across, and joker inside and across. I had about 2 mins on the bread without a bite when the first boat came through and in the first 30 minutes I did not have a blinking bite! I quickly tried the chopped worm swim but this was also dead, not even a peck from a small perch which you sometimes get. I had to go onto my joker line much sooner than I wanted, but fishing 4 metres down to my inside right I caught 2 tiny perch then nothing. I now decided I had to feed another joker line somewhere else as this was going to be much harder than I thought, so I fed some jokerin the deeper water about 1.5 metres off the far bank.
Well after 2 hours I had managed just 6 small fish and was in trouble, but then I started to get a little more action, swapping between the three joker lines I could get odd small perch, ruffe and a rare roach. It was still hard going, and I wasn't catching fast enough or big enough fish to amass a decent weight. I had no idea how the rest of the section was fishing, apart from Simon from Veals next door who was also struggling, so I carried on catching what I could. With about 90 minutes to go I started to catch 1/2 oz roach right across on bloodworm, I had to work at it, feed it, rest it (try the choppy line) and the fish would stick around. An hour to go and I caught a reed opposite and lost my hook length, not difficult really when you consider the wind and visibility. I then spent 10 minutes trying to attach another hook length, my hands were so cold after being lashed by the wind and rain that I couldn't get the loops open. I very nearly gave it up but I did it in the end, it also meant I could hook a bloodworm easier as I had warmed my hands up a bit. I carried on catching these odd roach across, but the last 30 mins were frustrating as I was struggling to see the bites as it was so dark (we finished at 3:30pm).
Packing up in the rain was no fun, and everything that had been kept dry under the brolly was soon soaked. Paul Purchase of Thyers weighed the section in with darkness approaching. My 62 fish weighed 1lb 13oz, and that was only worth 4 points from 7. I was beaten by an ounce for an extra point, but on the positive side I had also beaten a person by 1oz, and another by 1.5oz. Kev Dicks won the section easily with 3lb 2oz, (although he did admit to me to having about the same as me) and Paul Purchase was 2nd with 2lb which included a 1lb perch. I should have had 5 points, as the wasted time and dropped fish had cost me.
Back at the results it was plain to see that the "virgin" sections had fished well with 5lb being last in B section. The team had some good points scores with 4 section winners, but 3 of us were on 4 points, and, Martyn Reyatt on 1 point (he had 4oz after catching 9lb further up the canal Saturday).
Kev Boltz Bristol Amalgamation 10lb (1 big skimmer, roach and 2 big perch)
Liam Braddel PI Thatchers 9lb (all roach)
Nicky Ewers PI Thatchers 8lb (end peg, aquarium)
Mark Brennan PI Thatchers 7lb (end peg, nice!)
Martin Barrett PI Thatchers 7lb (end peg again, skimmers on crowquill and waggler)
OK maybe I made the last one up but it was 7 skimmers and about 3 roach!
Thatchers had amassed 53 points, but on this occasion it was only good enough for 2nd behind Bathampton who had 57 points. That is some result, I think their lowest points scorer was 5 and that is a great performance, well done lads. It was asked if next week Bathampton would like to order their joker from Tucks instead of Kev Dicks!
Going into the last round this Sunday it is still all to play for with Thatchers 1 point in front of Bathampton, who are in turn 1 point in front of Thyers. I have offered to be dropped as there are a couple of lads who have yet to fish the canal and to be fair I'm fed up sorting out all the wet gear. If that's the case I will go for a walk and see who I can take the pee out of!
One last note, how mad is Dave Haines? Hainer was drawn up at Claverton, but for some reason he decided to walk from the George! I heard he arrived at his peg with only some of his gear, he then walked back to the George for the rest and drove it to Claverton!! He was not happy with his peg being so tight to his neighbours (Bense did tell me it was not good) so asked if he could move down past the end peg. Everyone said yes except for the person on the end peg, (Nick Ewers, and I would have said no too) so Dave fished from the original peg and caught next to nothing!!!