After all the rain we had on Friday I was surprised to see the river looking in perfect trim on Saturday. However, the deluge on Sat evening / Sun morning was bound to worsen things during the match. I reckoned you'd need to catch well early on. 6 teams of 10 are fishing the league this year, so the pegging was pretty much the same as last week, except a group of anglers had been out swim clearing and did a fantastic job.
Team draw was made and I was handed F4 which I hoped would put me on the first peg in the long ash tip, but it was not to be and I was one past the peg as Andy Britt was sitting on it for the 2nd week in succession. I doubted I could beat Andy as his peg holds resident bream and skimmers. With the colour in the water I knew bream were going to feed and said to my upstream neighbour Jerry Pocock that 20lb+ would be needed to win our section. With this in mind I decided I was going to ball in plenty of groundbait with casters and worms in. A 4 grm flat float was set up along with 2 feeder rods, one with a 13B711 and one with a 11 B711. Plumbing up on the pole I found nearly 10ft of water (peg below is 14ft deep) but would have liked more. It was also a bit snaggy and I had to change my position to find what seemed to be a snag free area.
Unfortunately I was late starting because the walk had knackered me out (I am fit but have no energy at the mo) and then when I did drop the flat float in, disaster, I snagged up and snapped the hooklength. I chucked the feeder out with 3 red maggs on while I attached another hooklength, the tip never moved. I picked the rod up and was snagged up and lost the lot! I now needed to set this feeder rod up again because I expected this set up to be the best, so I cast out the feeder on the other rod (with the tail of a lob on) this time a bit further downstream to hopefully avoid the snag. As I was just finishing setting up the first rod I saw the tip bang round twice on the lobworm and I thought that's a bream! I lifted the rod and felt something and then it all went solid, bollocks another feeder set up trashed. To say I was now a tad cheesed off would be an understatement.......
I realised I now had no choice, I had to fish further out past where I had balled it, I cast the feeder about 1.5 to 2 metres furthert and crossed my fingers. A bite resulted and an 8oz roach was netted, at last a fish, but I was now 40 mins into the match and others had already taken the odd bream or skimmers.
Up until the middle of the match I had the odd bite, and took 3 skimmers, a few roach and 2 perch. However, I definitely had liners as the rod tip took off and dropped back but the hook bait was untouched, most likely this was from the fish feeding over my balls of gbait next to the snag! The 2nd half of the match never produced a fish for me, despite trying various baits, as the river rose and coloured heavily, and it seemed the river switched off for lots of people. I reckoned to have 6lb and weighed 6lb 8oz which only beat 2 people, I was soundly beaten by Paul Faires with 27lb, Andy Britt 25lb and Jerry Pocock 17lb. I would have put money on me being up with those weights, but seems at the moment things aren't going my way and I'm making mistakes.
The river had fished really well with 28 double figure weights (would have been 40 if we'd fished the river as it was on Saturday) and Paul Isaacs had a great match to weigh 70lb of bream, half on the pole, half on the feeder. I heard that Paul fed 28 balls of gbait to start! Steve Tucker was 2nd (next peg to Paul) with 30lb+ and Thyers anglers filled the next 3 places. On the team front Thyers won by a single point from Thatchers, whilst Bathampton came 3rd.
I was very tired afterwards and realised that at present I cannot cope with the chance of long walks and I was going to pack in the leagues. Thankfully the captains have agreed that in future I can take the section with the shortest walk (organiser determines the section not me), so they obviously know I can't catch anything at the moment and it doesn't matter where I draw lol! Seriously I am chuffed to be able to carry on, but do need to catch some fish for my own sanity.