As I mentioned last time I put myself forward for a rest to avoid another soaking, but of course it didn't rain this time! Nevertheless the rest was a good idea, after a few days working in Munich I was knackered and had a heavy cold. I felt a lot better on Saturday and ended up having a few jars down the Queens Head pub with Warren Bates. I awoke Sunday morning with a bit of a thick head, but having woke up without an alarm was very nice!
I arrived at the canal at Darlington Wharf about 20 mins after the match had started. I was armed with a Ginster Pasty, crisps, chocolate and lucozade sport, that would keep me going, but I wish I took my beanie hat as the wind was very cold in places! Bathampton angler Andy Ottoway was on A1, and he had already taken 5 small skimmers when I arrived, but the next 3 anglers had very little. I wasn't surprised to see how coloured the canal was here, and I thought some decent fish would show. A couple of pegs past the bay was Thatchers piggy bank Nick Chedzoy. Nick had taken 2 skimmers on the punch but just a few small roach since. He decided to feed some more punch and was rewarded with 2 more skimmers and then nothing again, still 4lb 8oz after 40 mins aint bad! Next to Nick was Andy Floyd, he had also taken 2 decent skimmers but was now getting the odd small roach on pinkie. Once I got onto to the bend the skimmers had not showed for Glenn Bailey and he was already onto the bloodworm line.
I walked up to the wooden bridge and on the first peg past it (last weeks winning draw) I found another team mate Andy Powers. Andy had only had 1 bite on punch from a 1lb skimmer, but he could not catch fish unless he went right across the canal. He was getting the odd bite on caster and so was at least catching some reasonable fish. Walking on it became apparent that there were obviously some pegs which seemed to hold less fish than others, as some anglers caught very little on punch whilst others caught for 3 hours. When I could I looked at peoples rigs, every float pattern you could think of was on display, which basically proves that you use what works for you.
Eventually I'd walked all the way up to just shy of the George pub to see our last angler in this stretch Gary O'Shea. Gary was not catching regularly and when he did catch it was only bleak. Mark Leader, next to Gary, had taken a couple of skimmers and then landed a 1lb+ perch to be way ahead of Gary, Bathampton runner Nathan Hawke told me that the section was fishing well and we knew Gary was struggling. On the way up to Gary I had spoken to many anglers, and all had seemed to happy to have a quick chat, all that is except for one. Dave Wride of Thyers didn't like the fact that I was stood behind him on the towpath despite all the bikes, walkers etc. I did call him a moaning old c... which he didn't like very much. Then his bites stopped which he blamed on me so I left him to it! Shame that Dave lost his section by 1/2oz in the end, but that was nothing to do with Kev Dicks weighing him in of course!
Walking back down the canal I thought most of our anglers were either very close to their Bathampton angler or beating them. Martin Barrett was getting roach on caster and he ended with 9lb+, but could not beat his neighbour Andy Pritchard who had sacked on bread (skimmers and Roach to 1lb) and taken 2 big roach and perch on lobworm. Andy Power was really bagging on the caster, and he easily won the section and was 3rd in the match with 13lb 10oz, he caught most of the roach over his chopped worm line. However, to really see some bagging Glenn said I needed to see Chedz as he had been netting fish all day! It turned out that Chedz had bagged on skimmers from ounces to 2lb, all taken right across the canal (it is 4ft deep here) on red maggot over worm and caster. He easily won the match with 30lb, a great bag of fish. Either side of Chedz had weighed 9lb+ and 11lb 12oz, with the latter having a 3lb bream, 2lb hybrid and 2lb eel in the net.
Back at the results (well I wanted to get a free beer from Chedz) it turned sour for Thatchers, Gary O'Shea had come last in his section, and up at Limpley Stoke, where the canal fished abysmal for most, we had Tucks and Guy Manton both on 2 points. We couldn't carry that many bad un's and Bathampton beat us again on the day to tie the league on points. However, they won the league by virtue of more match wins and so can take the local semi on the canal, whilst we have to go to Monk Lakes in Kent.....
A few notable mentions; Vincent Lunn must wish he could fish canals all year round, as he drew the end peg at Limpley and came 2nd with 13lb 11oz of roach. Bathampton's Paul Isaac won the league individually just beating Thatchers Nicky Ewers, and Andy Floyd had won the knockout, but if Andy had weighed in what he estimated he would have not won it! All in all I enjoyed having a walk and chatting to the lads on the bank, and it was interesting to see how the canal fished.
I'm not sure if I will venture out this Sunday as I'm very busy again Friday and Saturday, if the weather is nice I might have a go on the river if I can find a bit of slack.