Back on the river today and not a pellet in sight! I had walked up the Crane on Friday watching Paul Staite and Alan Jones catching the odd fish but having a lot of pike problems. As far as I was concerned I wanted to draw at Swineford, but once again I was up the Crane! It was difficult to know exactly where I was as the pegging was ass about face and it didn't look right. I ended up on peg 81 in the Long Ashtip Field with my 9 peg section starting 1 below the high wall and ending up towards the end of the long ashtip, yep they were very well spread out! I don't mind admitting I was a tad annoyed with my peg after walking past lots of unpegged good pegs.
Time was short for setting up and I did something today I have never done before on a river match just set up a pole. I reckoned that I was only going to catch roach and perch and with a nasty downstream in your face wind and very little flow a pole would be the only way to present a bait. I went for the standard 1grm pencil rig with 0.08 to 18 B611, 2 grm 0.1 to to 16 B611 (never used) a chopped worm rig (to weed to use it!) and I also got out my little used 4x16 PB15 float with spread shot again with 0.08 to an 18. Just setting up these rigs (and getting my box and gear into the river and silt) only gave me a few minutes rest before the start.
On the whistle in went 12 jaffas at 11 metres, that was far enough out today as there was some flow there and it would make shipping back a bit easier. It was my usual slow start (why can't I catch to start!) with just the odd dace and small perch in the first hour and I lost 3 fish to pike. Into the 2nd hour and I was now picking up the odd roach but still losing some to the pike and I was getting pretty cheesed off especially as was it raining heavily! The middle of the match was very difficult indeed and I reckon I would get 1 bite in about 7 runs through, and if i did hit the bite I then had to hope the pike didn't snaffle the fish or the fish didn't weed itself, I had realised there was a weedbed out to 9 metres!
I got up and went for a walk to try and clear my thoughts, Nathan Hawke below was struggling like me but above me Steve Priddle said he 80 small roach. Glenn Bailey on peg 1 in my section was also finding it tough, so I went back to my peg and tried to winkle out some more roach. I kept swapping between the 1 grm and 4x16 rigs (although this one was unusable at times of high wind) and maggot was the best hookbait up till now. With 45 mins to go I was contemplating reballing it (well it worked last match!) when I suddenly started getting a bite every cast on the 1grm rig from 4oz roach. Then I lost the rig to Mr Pike and went out with the 4x16 rig with caster and took a roach evey chuck to the end. Why had the fish switched on, I don't know, but those roach were obviously there all day and once they went on the feed it was easy. Nathan also had a good last 45 mins.
I weighed in 10lb 8oz which was 2nd in the whole section but 1st in the A div so job done for the team. The section money will come in handy replacing all the hooklengths I lost to the pike! I think I took nearly 5lb in the last 45 mins, and that took me right up the section. Barny had top weight with 11lb, this was from the peg that had 40lb of bream the previous match, and Steve Priddle's tiddlers weighed 9lb 10oz. Nathan ended with 8lb+ so as you can see it was a tight section.
Liam Braddell won the match from up in the Cornfield with 31lb, he had some bream and skimmers and about 7lb of roach all on the pole / feeder over the pole line. There was a 28lb of bream at Swineford and Lee Trivett had a nice 22lb from peg 17 on the waggler. Overall good weights again but pike caused havoc for most anglers. I don't know the team result so far but I do know my team won on the day.
A double header next week with the County Champs final on Saturday and the first Winter League round on Sunday.