A cold start to Sunday morning with some ice scraping of the car required, but I didn't spill any ketchup down me this week! Talk at the draw was of how hard some venues had fished on Saturday and fish seemed to have shoaled up again. Fair play to Lee Trivett who won the Gold Valley round of the CIPS league on Saturday with 20lb of skimmers on the waggler, and to Andy Power who was 3rd with 18lb of roach. Many anglers blanked though including Des Shipp.
Today's match had been pegged in the town, at Darlington, at the George and up at Limpley, Gary O'Shea said he did not want the bay! The draw was being done once again by Captain Martin Barrett and we asked him not to come back unless he drew end peg 11, and he did! This put me smack back in the middle of Beeches Bay, a place that used to be solid with fish but not the last couple of years. I drove off quickly to get a parking space and got in thankfully when many struggled, some parking in the bus stop! I got to my peg and found I was next to Diawa Gordon League angler Steve Ford (no relation) he was to left of the bay and my section went back to the first peg over the Aqueduct. This bit of canal is deeper and some of my usual rigs would not be deep or heavy enough, the punch rig would be OK, but I fished it at 6mtr as the peg was flatter here, a 4x14 bloodworm for 3 mtrs, 0.5grm bloodworm rig for 6m and 13mtr, and a 4x16 chopped worm rig for 14 mtrs to my right. I also set a 3AAA waggler up.
Ten minutes before the all in a barge came down and turned around in the peg, so I ended up fishing 10 minutes after the start time although the swim was now very coloured. Starting on bread I gave it 30 minutes and never had a bite, I fed some joker and chopped worm out at 14mtr, and joker at 13mtr to my left, as well as some joker at 3mtr and 6mtr.
An hour into the match I caught a micro perch at 3mtr, and that was my only fish until 2 hours later when another micro perch from 3mtr joined it. It was quite obvious today was not going to be my day as I couldn't buy a bite on any of my swims, Steve Ford had taken about 7 little fish but was going nowhere, below him Roy Carter and Colin Dance had caught some roach on bread and as you went further down to peg 1 it just got better. I caught a ruffe out at 13mtr and then after another 30 mins got off my box and walked until the end of the match! In the next section going back up to Limpley the same was happening, the further you got from the bay the better the fishing. Nathaniel Johnson had some nice skimmers, Graham Hunt had a couple of skimmers and 2 big perch, but on the end peg team mate Nick Chedzoy had some decent skimmers, an eel and a 2lb perch. I walked back to my peg just as the whistle went and chucked my 3 tiddlers back to dry the net, I only did this of course cos the team had already won the league and as I knew I was last it would not mess anything up. Anyway I have no complaints as I have either been a shedful of fish or nowt this winter and the good days have more than made for the bad, and that sums up winter fishing.
My section was won on peg 1 with 6lb, and peg 2 had 5lb for 2nd. Steve Ford came last but one next to me with 13oz.
Chedz won the match easily with 16lb, a good weight on the canal. He caught on bits of dendra after a few early bread fish. Gary O'Shea was second from the end peg above the swing bridge at Bathampton with 8lb 15oz of roach. Martin Reyatt had 8lb for 3rd from the peg by the wires just past Bathampton bend.
Bathampton Elite won on the day beating my team by 1 point (Martin Barrett moaned A LOT at me, but most laughed as it meant nothing) but as I said we'd already won the league, in fact that is the third year on the trot I'd been in the winning team.
Neil Mercer won the knockout and Jerry Pocock came second.
In the individual overall stakes it was close, with Nick Chedzoy winning with 54 points but he didn't go in the pool (lol) so the money went to Martin Reyatt with 53 points and a better weight than Kev Dicks who also had 53 points. Well done those three, as it was a difficult league this year with flooded rivers and the canal has been up and down.