Back to the canal today, first time for a while for me and so I spent most of Saturday tying rigs, hooks and putting some sensible elastic in my match top kits. The match was pegged from Darlington to Bathampton bend, so there were plenty of decent pegs in the draw. When captain Martin Barrett came back with peg 1 I was looking forward to being on an end peg. However, I was to face 5 hours on peg F1, this was the barren area just before the brambles with the bay in my section (get the excuses in now!). To my left was Gary O'Shea on the start of the brambles and to my right on E9 was Andy Britt. The canal was ice free, except for my section, and the ice started on my peg. I managed to break up a fair bit of ice with my pole and cupping kit, and so did Gary until his cupping kit came off (lol), but fair play he managed to reconnect it and got it back!
Rigs for today were a 4x14 Drennan Roach with 20 B511 to 0.07 for punch, a 0.4grm wire bristle job with 0.06 to 20 PR333 for bloodworm deep, and a 0.3grm for up the shelf with same gear. A 4x12 Preston Chianti for caster on 0.08 to 18 PR334 and a 4x12 Drennan choppa for my worm rig with a 15 B711 to 0.13.
I started on the punch at 4 metres, all I could get was very timid bites from roach of less than an ounce, but the ice (which had been broken up by a boat) kept floating over where I was fishing. Meanwhile Andy Britt had a couple of decent skimmers and a 12oz roach, oh well at least he's in the next section! Both Gary and myself struggled for the first hour on the punch, we were moving ice and catching eyes. I tried my chopped worm line but this only gave up a couple of perch no bigger than the hook bait, onto the bloodworm and I could catch a small roach every chuck at 10 metres. I stuck with this for quite a while, but it was tricky, the ice had gone only to be replaced by lots of debris on the surface which blew and stayed in mine and Gary's pegs for the rest of the match. You had to ship out keeping the hook off the water, not easy when your shipping at an angle and trying to avoid the M25 behind you (it was solid today, ramblers, kids, bikes, dogs the lot). Andy Britt had a dog pee on his rod holdall, I didn't laugh to much!
Rumour had it with an hour to go about 3lb was winning the section and I thought I had close to that. As I could not catch on caster or worm I stuck to the small roach ob bloodworm, but then Gary started catching caster roach more regularly and I had to try and catch these better samples. In the last 20 mins I took 5 roach on caster, incredibly these came over my chopped worm line, not my caster line! I guessed I had 4lb and my guess was close for a change as I weighed 4lb 4oz. This was enough to win the B div, only trouble I'm in the A div and I only beat one of them (cheers Eddie Wynne)! Graham Hunt, (on the end peg in the bay) won the section and the match with 7lb+ mainly 4 perch on the wag. Shaun Townsend a couple of pegs away from Graham snared a 2.5lb perch and with his bits and weighed 6lb+ for 2nd in match. Gary's caster fish did me and he weighed 5lb 5oz, and Andy's bonus bread fish did me as he weighed 5lb 7oz, bitter and twisted....
The canal was a tough nut today, with many people pestered by pairs of eyes and some very good canal anglers struggled for a 1lb, but I enjoyed myself and kept busy all day. Bathampton won the A div and with one round left they are tied on points with Thatchers A.