This match was round 5 of the 6 match series and being on the canal meant a lot of new rigs, elastics and hooks. That wasn't easy since I was in the middle of moving out of my house and moving in with the in-laws. Waking up Sunday morning in Kingswood I had to scrape the ice off the car, then drive home to get my gear and bait before getting to the draw. It all felt a little hurried and as it turned out I left all my bloodworm stuff (leams etc) on the floor at home!
The draw was done and I was pegged in B section at Darlington Wharf, that meant I would be a few pegs past the bay in an area that skimmers can show. I walked up to C section with team mate Colin Dance and he gave me some leam for my joker. Walking back Roy Carter on B4 offered me a pike bung float, can't think why, lol? To my left was Leon Hubbard, he seems to be in my section quite often, and on my right but in A section was Nigel Wyatt. Setting up between two boats I was not afforded much room and shipping back would be very difficult. I set up a 4x14 rig for punch with an 18B511 to to 0.07, a couple of bloodworm rigs with 0.4grm and 20 PR311 to 0.07, a Chianti with a 18 to 0.08 for across, and a 4x12 cane bristle job with 0.10 to 16 also for across for worm. Just before the start, which I was just about ready for this week, Nigel let his 11m and 13m sections slip into the canal never to be seen again... To start I decided not to feed pole sections, and instead liquidized bread went in at 5mtr, but nothing else as my far bank was being washed away by boats at this stage. Dropping a 6mm punch in the float did not move, in fact it took a few minutes before my first bite and a 4oz roach obliged. Next drop in and a longish wait again for a bite, but the float then went under very positively and plenty of no3 elastic came out, a 1lb skimmer was a nice bonus this early! Twenty five minutes in and I had taken a few more roach (all swingers) before I was attached to another skimmer, this one fought harder and when I netted it I thought that's nearly 2lb. At this stage the boat owner to my right got out his generator and started it up 5mtr away from me (my right ear is still throbbing!).
By the end of the first hour I had taken only small roach after the 2nd skimmer and I was really struggling to get a bite. I decided to feed some joker by the boat to my left and then some chopped worm and caster across and on another line across some joker and caster. Twenty minutes later I picked up the chianti rig and shipped out a single rd maggot over the worm line. Normally you can get some small fish action to start, but I had nothing which either meant there were no fish there or a lump was in there. Five minutes later the answer was provided in the shape of a near 1lb perch. Strangely no more bites came from here despite trying various hookbaits, and so I fed a bit more bait and rested it. The next hour was a real struggle with just the odd small fish on bloodworm, but Leon Hubbard had been for a walk and said I was winning the section easily.
The small fish action was very poor and I decided to set my stall out for better fish for the last half the match. I never did get anything decent across over the joker line, but on the choppy line I managed another 3 skimmers, two on worm and one on double pinkie. These fish came well spread out during this second half, but I was not helped by a barge selling wood and coal that reversed just past me causing the whole far bank to be washed out just after the first skimmer. It was a difficult match to fish with all the walkers, bikers and then the leaves covering the surface of the canal. I had to break my pole down three times when fishing across, but I never lost a fish on the day so can't complain really. The scales had weighed from peg 6 down to me and Leon was top with 5lb 2oz, I weighed 8lb 4oz to win the section and felt I had done the right things today.
The match was won by Thyers Paul Purchase with 12lb of good skimmers, Ian Pauley had 11lb of skimmers on the waggler in Darlington bay and just out of the bay Andy Power had 8 skimmers for 10lb, Mark Harper was last in the money with 10lb, Shaun Townsend was 5th and I was 6th.
Thatchers had a good day on the canal and won with 46 points, Bathampton had 43 also a good return. With one match remaining Bathampton are 2 points in front of Thatchers, so it is odds on the Bristol boys will win the league. Next week is the last match on the river for a while, Commercial House at Keynsham, at least my ears will have a rest and I won't be questioned every 15 mins "Are there any fish in the canal then?" or "What a long rod that is, where is your reel?" pmsl!