Happy New Year everyone! Personally I'm glad to see the back of 2012, it decided to kick me in the teeth at the end by giving me and the wife the flu all over Christmas. 2013 though has started much better, a trip to the BRI was rewarding as the consultant advised that on the latest scan they could find no traces of cancer, yay! Hope it stays away for good now!
Getting onto the fishing and I was well chuffed to walk out the door at 7:30am and feel the mildness in the air, not like recent January's that's for sure! Onto the draw and it was good to meet up again with the team and all the lads that fish this league, a few ringers were on show today with Richard Chave, Jon Atkins and Kev Abigail among the canal slayers! The talk at the draw was mostly about how well the canal would fish with the weather being so mild, some people suggesting 15lb would be needed to win. I managed to spill tomato sauce down me again as I munched on some rolls and I'd just finished eating when Martin Barrett came up with the team draw. We had peg 10 which was one off the end peg but still a very good draw we thought, I was more than happy with being one past the wires at Meadow Farm (just before the recycle tree) as I would have some extra space. Last time I was in the section it was hard with 4lb a good weight, but in past years it has been a very good area.
Getting to the canal there was a very noticeable smell of diesel in the air, and in fact the whole of this side of the canal was covered in it. On end peg 11 on the bridge side of the wires (and pleasure fishing lol) was Paul Purchase and I knew he would do well off that peg for skimmers. I was setting up and realised that peg 9 had not been drawn, there was one team short and that missing angler was next to me, NICE! Rigs today were the usual 4x14 punch rig with 18 B511 to 0.07, a 0.4grm bloodworm rig for the deep water, a bloodworm rig for across a Preston Silvers PB5 strung shotted with no 11's ending with 0.07 to 20 PR311. A caster rig and a chopped worm rig were assembled but they did not work.
On the whistle I cupped the usual decent amount of liquidized bread in at 5mtrs and dropped in with a big piece of punch. I had to wait a minute for a bite but it was a nice 6oz roach, but by this stage Paul had taken 2 skimmers! I picked up some 1 to 2oz roach before I latched into an 8oz roach and soon after an 8oz hybrid. Thirty minutes in and I had nearly 3lb when some boats went through, it went a bit slow but I was still getting bites but on the hour I fed some more crumb. The punch was slowing now and so I fed some other lines, with joker and casters across at 12m to my left, gbait and joker in the deep water. Back on the punch and couple of small roach and then the float shot under and I landed a 10oz skimmer, 15 mins later a 12oz skimmer obliged. The bread line was now shot but I was confident of catching on the other lines. An early look on worm was no good, and the bloodworm lines were not producing, I thought this might be because of the busy boat traffic, and Paul was also struggling. Through the middle hours of the match I just took the odd small fish on bloodworm, but I did try bunches of bloodworm, lobworm and my caster rigs all to no avail.
It wasn't until an hour and 15mins to go that my across joker line came to life, and all of sudden I was catching roach on single bloodworm. The bites were coming quite quickly after the float had settled and if I didn't get a bite within 5 secs I lifted the float out and dropped the rig in again and this seemed to work. The roach were from 1/2 to 2oz. I really had no idea what was being caught in my section so I just kept going for the roach, topping up with the occasional marble of joker. As the match finished Paul landed a skimmer, but was not admitting to much more than 5lb, I reckoned I might have 8lb. I had the scales today so wandered down with Steve Hutchinson to end peg 1 to find Jerry Pocock who had some skimmers and weighed 6lb 8oz. Kev Abigal had 6lb 3oz and on the bend a lad had 6lb 1oz these were the best weights until I poured 7lb 15oz on the scales. Paul then pushed me close when he weighed 7lb 7oz off the end peg, and I had to say "let that be a lesson!" I then had the most exercise I have had for a while walking back up the hill at Meadow Farm, thankfully Leon Hubbard helped me on the last few yards as my leg muscles had given up!
I was gobsmacked when I got back to the results to hear that my weight was good enough for 2nd overall, the big weights had not transpired but there had been lots of 5lb and 6lb weights. Framing in this league is well worthwhile and I picked up £150 for coming 2nd.
1st Shaun Townsend 8lb 9oz (in the tunnels at Sydney Gardens) with lots of skimmers on punch and bloodworm.
2nd me 7lb 15oz
3rd Paul Purchase 7lb 7oz let that be a lesson!
4th I think was Nick Chedzoy 6lb 12oz from the brambles at the George
My team won on the day with 27 out of 30 points, and in fact we have now won the league already! At the other end of the scale Bathampton Invincible with one match left are so far back they are already relegated to the B div!
Three matches on the trot now I've framed and that is rare for me in the winter so let the good times (and draws!) roll. Perhaps 2013 is going to be a better year, now let's see if I can get my house move soon without any problems this time!