I was back on the river today after quite an absence, and what a day to return with -5C greeting me on the car dashboard. The car park at the rugby club was very quiet and it seemed there were a few anglers short, obviously some don't like the cold. Captain Martin Barrett drew team peg 4, and this gave us 3 dodgy pegs and 3 OK, I drew one of the dodgy ones with an effing long walk. I was 3 pegs below the New Fence peg, that's a walk of 3 1/2 fields..... When I did arrive at my peg it gave me hope as there was a very large tree across laying in the water, my expectations raised and I thought I might scrape a chub or two. Lee Trivett drew probably the worst peg in the match (peg 8 Swineford) and did well in the end to catch 10oz off it, I thought I should say something nice cos he bought me a beer!
I set up 2 feeder rods, both on 0.16 one with a size 17 B711 hook and the other an 11 B711 for bread / lobworm. I also set up a crowquill with 0.12 to a 18 B611. I started the match on the big hook and a lump of bread chucked just above the tree so the bait would be resting under it. I was amazed when on my 3rd chuck the tip trembled and then tapped, the result was a 6oz chublet, whoopee! A couple more casts on the bread were unproductive so I swapped to an open feeder with crushed hemp groundbait and casters. After about 6 casts I had a proper rap but nothing was hooked and the maggots were untouched. A couple of casts later and a 10oz chublet was in the net before all went quiet. I had been feeding maggots down the middle and tried the float to give the feeder a bit of a rest. Despite my best efforts I could not raise a bite on the float, in fact despite feeding it all day I never had a bite on the float.
Back on the feeder and I had two unseen bites (it's annoying when you reel in to find two smashed maggots!) so I shortened the hook length. This produced me a third chublet of around 10oz but then it went very quiet again. It really was very cold on the bank with the rod rings continually freezing up and the maggots hardly moving! I tried lobworm and bread on the big hook without any joy and decided to switch to a maggot feeder for the remainder of the match. Unfortunately this did not help, and although I did have a good rap on one cast the hook bait was again untouched. That was the end of my action.
My 3 fish went 1lb 9 1/2oz, this was joint with 2 other anglers and 1oz less than another, so it was a bit tight! Nigel Evans below me did well to catch 7 chublets for 4lb, he had all his fish on the float and not a bite on the feeder. I was actually joint 2nd in the A division, but on the end peg in my section B div angler Kev Boltz weighed 11lb of Roach. From Kevin down to the bottom of the crane everyone caught roach and the odd chub, it was like a different river. I was fed up after a long walk to just a few fish when I saw people complaining they had only caught 6lb of roach! To coin a phrase, bitter and twisted I was! My drawing of pegs in this w/l has been shite and I need to forget it now and move on.
The match was won by Nicky Johns from Bitton Brook with 12 chub for 23lb on the waggler, in 2nd place was reborn match angler Andy Bush with 4 bream for 20lb from one below the outfall. Third place was an angler who was having a little moan about his peg before the match (one below Kev Boltz), but ended up with 17lb 4oz of roach on the pole... well done Glenn Bailey. Nigel Barlett had 17lb of roach from the little ashtip and Shaun (or is it Sean) Townsend had 15lb from the cattle grid (a peg he thinks ain't that good!). To give you some idea how good the bottom of the Crane fished Martin Barrett was last but one in section with 9lb+.
Swineford fished very hard today for most, the cornfield produced roach (very strange) and it was strange how my section was devoid of roach although Andy Ottoway had 3 in the last 30 mins which was in fact all he had.
On the team front 1st Thatchers A, 2nd Karaoke nights (1 man short), 3rd Thatchers B. I did not get the overall standings. Funny thing about Karoke Nights is that team Captain Andy Britt was a tad upset by the no show of Leon Hubbard. Apparently Andy tried calling Leon about 20 times, and was still trying to call him during the match! Eventually Leon answered and advised Andy he was not fishing cos he was in NEW YORK! Communications let me down.....