I haven't managed to fish this Xmas match for many years, it is always fished on a Saturday and often clashed with a planned hangover, so was pleased to be doing so in 2012. Having had a week off my batteries were fully charged and I was looking forward to getting out, although thinking the fishing would be hard after the ice melt on Friday. The draw was at the White Lion pub in Batheaston, a good venue but I didn't much like the brekkie, especially when carrying it I dripped loads of bean juice all over me. The pegging of this match went from peg 1 above the swingbridge (which is way up past Bathampton bend) down to 6 pegs below the George pub. Listening to how well the canal fished last here week I fancied a low number draw, but instead I pulled 21 which put me the 1st peg past the white gate going out of Bath. Not long after me Andy Power pulled end peg 1 and did his best not to smile!!!
Parking for this match was in the George pub, but this was only because it was Saturday and it seems we've lost the parking for Sunday matches, and so it was not too far to walk for me. I was not convinced I was on a good peg as this area is shallower than the rest of the canal and is often left out as its also very narrow behind you. In my section were two pegs either side of the bay with Vinny Lunn sat on the one which won last week's match. I assembled rigs for today with little difference to recent canal matches, although I went back to my standard bread punch rig a 4x14 Drennan Roach with 0.07 to 18 B511 as I expected more bites than my last time out at Claverton. Two bloodworm rigs one for the middle and one for across with 20 to 0.06 and my caster and chop worm rigs. About 10 mins before the start a boat turned round in the bay stirring up the water on the gate peg, and a dog had a shit 10 mtrs above me creating a lovely smell....
To start the match I fed a ball and some loose liquidized bread at 5mtr and held off from feeding anything else. I was dead chuffed when I had bites straight away on the punch, and after a few roach landed a 10oz skimmer. The wind got really bad all of a sudden (and only in my peg, ask Craig Edmunds who walked along and saw it!) and with the sun in my face it made bait presentation and seeing bites very tricky. Luckily the roach kept feeding and despite missing a few bites I soon had a 1lb+ skimmer although I did pull out of one of similar size too. The first hour had flown by and I was still getting a bite a chuck, and I'd picked up 3 more skimmers around 8oz. I had refed a golf ball of bread to pep things up but bites were now taking longer but as the roach were still a sensible size I kept plugging away until 2 hours in. I had then fed some joker at 8mtr to my left, some next to the boat, and some with caster across (about a metre of the bank as it was too shallow right over. I also fed some lobbies 14mtr to my right. Not long after this I was really pleased to see Guy Manton walking up the bank, I haven't seen him for over a year and he is planning to get back into fishing again which I'm glad to hear.
The bread line was no longer responding to top ups but to be honest I was really happy having caught for 2 hours, and my first change was to look for a big fish. Alas no perch took a fancy to my lobby and never did all match. The bloodworm line against the boat was naff and I only had 1 perch here, but the other two lines were OK, I would get 4 or 5 reasonable roach on one line and then had to switch to the other. During the last half of the match I continually switched lines and tried to catch a better fish, when Guy walked back down I said I had 6lb and he said that was 2nd but I should just keep trying to catch small fish to stay in front, oh and that Andy Power had 15lb!!! I took Guys advice, but did manage a couple of caster roach out of the blue, but it was slow going now. With 20 mins to go I trashed both my bloodworm rigs, first one in the wind, and then when a dog hit my pole as I was shipping back and the rig caught the moored boat and I lost the lot. I fed another ball of bread on my original punch line and took a flurry of small roach to the end. This is a rare occurrence, but when the light fades sometimes the roach will show again.
Trigger walked back down and had a look at my net of fish and said I had 7lb at least, I was hoping he was right. To my left Lee Warden and Steve Skelton both weighed 3lb 12oz (mainly early skimmers on bread) and then I dumped 9lb 4oz on the scales, just 9lb more than my last effort lol! The lad to my right had packed up and DNW, then Vinny had 7lb 15oz which was mainly skimmers as he couldn't catch roach.
Back at the White Lion I soon realised I was 2nd which was a nice surprise as I didn't have any thoughts of framing from my peg, but the fish were there and that's what you need in the winter. Andy Power paralysed the match with 15lb of skimmers, he took 7 of them up to 2lb in the first hour on bread, and some more later over joker along with some roach.Vinny came 3rd and so that peg has framed twice in two weeks. Overall the canal had fished quite well considering how cold the water and the fish were, although some anglers struggled to catch small fish but there were also a few perch up to 2.5lb taken. I didn't win a prize on the raffle but had a nice big bottle of Barcadi for coming 2nd which will come in handy for Xmas.
One thing to mention, I nearly had a dip in the canal today, I somehow got my bib and brace trousers caught in my box and when I went to get up the box slipped forward and I was balanced precariously over the canal! Luckily for me I sat back down quickly and sorted it, but it was a close call, lol! Next Sunday is a Xmas match on the Crane, if you want to fish contact Jerry Pocock, if we get no rain it could be a good roach match.