This was the first round of the formerly sponsored Angling Times winter league, and it was at Swineford, Crane and Jack Whites. I had gone to bed the night before dreaming of a peg at Swineford or Jack Whites as I expected the crane to be tough with lots of pike. Breakfast in the rugby club and a chat with Kev Boltz and Shane Caswell before the draw was done. Oh fer fecks sake, the Crane again, only this time on the little wall just past the gantry. This area has been poor so far this year with 5lb being a good weight, my peg produced 2lb for Dave Haines the week before.
This is a shallow peg, and I think that this is the problem, the roach are there but the bright sunshine is penetrating the peg and putting the roach off. Still you have to make do and try to enjoy a day in the sun! Below me was Bathampton's and and good friend Darren Gillman, above me was the son of a millionaire Andy Bush. (Andy had to borrow some float rubbers from me for his topper float, don't Mosella do them lol!)
So what to do today then... First the boring bit, 1grm pencil rig, 4x16 strung out rig as usual. Then a waggler shallow (possible chublets I hoped by the boats) and a 4mtr whip (borrowed off team mate Andy Ottaway). The whip was set up as I had seen a few small fish swimming in close and I thought I would start on this whilst feeding caster and hemp at 13 mtr, no balling in today for me! On the whip I think I had about 1lb 12oz in the first hour, small roach and perch mainly and I was happy with this start. I picked up the pencil rig and started to get bites straight away but they were off the bottom and I bumped a couple so went onto the strung out rig. I picked up the odd roach but the bites were very iffy and when I did get one I often missed it. So far no pike trouble (in fact none all match) but then bleak appeared and they were mopping up every caster I fed and I couldn't get a bait to the bottom.
Onto the wag from id match and I caught bleak and the odd small dace on maggot, I hoped could draw the bleak away from the pole line but despite feeding maggot right across they stayed on the pole line. I got a bit cheesed off with this and went mad and cupped in a pot of caster and a pot of hemp on the pole line to get some bait down. Eventually the bleak left the wag line and disappeared altogether. Onto the pole line and no bleak and no bites, shit I think I messed this up! I set up a maggot feeder but to be honest I doubted it would work as opposite me the boat owners were building a new walkway and patio and I had a headache from them using pick axe, sledgehammers etc. Oh yeah and I could hear a baby crying all day from the boat down by Darren, add to this all the boaters and walkers enjoying the sun and it was truly wonderful. With 20 mins to go I had a roach on the pole and then 5 more, my first roach for 2 1/2 hours. Usual late arrivals!
Darren below me had struggled for 3lb and last in the section, I don't know why, maybe it was the people fishing for pike opposite him, or the boat turning round in his peg, or the two lumps he hooked on the roach rig that snapped him, or the pike he lost..... you get the picture! My section was won by Gary Cross off the high wall with 10lb of roach (it must have been solid) and my 6lb 11oz was 2nd in the section. Young (!) Andy had 4lb+ above me.
On the day Bathampton did very well and won, and also had the top 3 individuals, Graham Hunt 18lb of roach from peg above railway bridge, Martin Rayett 18lb of chub from peg 18, and Sean Townsend 14lb of dace from Jack Whites steps. Good pegs but they did the biz. Wiltshire angling came 2nd with Thatchers (ahem) 3rd, Thyers 4th and Amalgamation last.
Sorry if there are a few grammar issues in my two posts, but I'm to knackered to bother to check! Time for bed!