Well the weather gods seem to be doing their best to mess the river up for us winter league anglers, getting late rain the day before a match for the second week running, forcing the river to come up during the match,. I was out with friends on Saturday night, seeing a mate who lost his wife earlier this year to breast cancer, after enough cider the wife took me home and I realised I'd left me coat behind. Later in the night my old mate baggy decided to mess up the new sheets on the bed, sigh.... I know things come in threes but I hoped a bad day on the river was not going to be it!
At the draw Glenn Bailey was back out for his team of all stars "Amalgamation" after a few weeks of doing not a lot. I laughed my socks off when his team mate Shane (or is Shaun) Caswell poured hot chilli sauce over his brekkie thinking it was brown sauce, lol! My team were having a debate as to who should draw and in the end gave the task to me, when I came back with the pegs all some of them did was moan! Granted there were a few pegs I would not have liked, but I thought it was alright. As for me I was in my usual area, on peg 22 behind the pumphouse, on a random draw I just can't believe how often I can be in this same area, weird!
My section ran from peg 14 where my now regular sparring partner Shaun Townsend was, to peg 22A where Craig Pinker was. On 20 was Mike Withey and and on bream peg 16 was Jerry Pocock (with 18 not pegged he was gonna do well). I needed to get into the water to fish this peg, and luckily borrowed Nick Chedzoy's waders. I added my extended legs to my box and set up in the river, 2 pole rigs a 4grm float, a 4 grm flatty and a feeder with a 14 B611 to 0.15 were all I needed I hoped. The river was not that dirty at all but the pace was a bit more than I fancied, and after throwing in 12 balls of gbait on the feeder line it seemed it had gotten faster in the hour since I plumbed up! The 4grm rig threw up one bite and no fish, well I did get 1, a minnow in the edge when I was changing the depth! On with the flatty and 1 bite on this which I missed but it was all wrong and so I put on an 8grm flatty, on this I had nothing!
1 hour and 15 mins into the match and I finally gave the minnow some company in the form of a 3oz roach on the feeder. About 10 mins later I had another, and these had come from over the pole line, but that was the end of that. I had cast the feeder across the river to the boats and now gave it a good try, just as I was talking to Andy Ottoway I had a drop back and landed a 1lb+ chub. Just after 2 hours in I went for a walk and the best was Shaun with 1.5lb which is what I thought I had, so it was fishing hard. The river was rising slightly and the pace picking up more, the pole line became redundant as leaves were coming through really bad, but across on the feeder was much clearer. To be honest I was having a bad day and my phone was red hot as I rang others and many other people rang me, all looking for inspiration. Nathaniel Johnson was on about 4lb and had caught on the pole, so he was looking like knocking me out of the knockout. Glenn had caught a few on the pole and then took 3 bream in 3 casts on the feeder.
My match was fizzling out and I had to abandon ship as the water was now getting to high and I had to get everything out and fish off the bank! I had tried a smaller hook and smaller baits but with no response I went the other way and put on a 13 B711 and tried lobworm tails. This was a good move as I had a perch of 2oz, yay! Shaun then rang me to tell me he had a skimmer and that Jerry had 3 bream, so I was really in the shit now and said to Shaun it wasn't gonna be my day. Mike Withey came down for a walk and I said we were fishing a lottery and needed my bonus ball to come up! It was frustrating that the rowing boats come through very close on this peg forcing me, to reel in the feeder sometimes far too soon. I was now on a 30grm feeder across, and with 30 mins to go I had what looked like a bite, when I reeled in the worm was gone, hmmm. My confidence was ebbing away and I tried to believe that a perch had nicked the worm. With less than 15 mins to go Nathaniel rang me again, I think he didn't really belive how bad I was doing, I then had to cut the call as yet another boat was coming through. I was too late to reel in so I dropped the tip down to the surface downstream and paid out some line to try to keep the feeder in place. The boat went past and the tip stayed bent and then dropped back, must have rolled, I struck and oh flip there's a big fish on!!! I guessed it was a bream and soon it had taken all the line from across the river to downstream on the inside as it had kited across. I can tell you my heart was beating a fair bit as I tried to pump this fish up the river towards me. It was really pulling and fighting well, and eventually after a lot of praying and patience it was in front of me and in the net, I think I shouted "Get the fuck in!" Nothing else happened in the last 10 mins other than my pulse rate reducing to normal and me ring Nathaniel to tell him he was probably going out the knockout! What an end to a torrid match, I was on high and felt like I'd drank 10 cans of red bull.
Jerry won the section (and came 2nd overall, after winning last week) with 12lb which was 3 small bream 2 chub and a couple of nice perch all on the feeder. I weighed 6lb 12oz and would say the slab was 5lb of that! Shaun was next with 3lb 9oz (finally got the better of him), and either side of me Mike had 2lb 3oz and Craig 8oz.
Getting back to the results it soon became clear the team had done really well, we only had one section winner (Andy Ottaway) but 7 second in the section results was enough to win the day, Amalgamation were 2nd, Thyers 3rd, and Bathampton 4th. As a result of this Thatchers and Bathampton are now tied on points after 4 matches, with 2 rounds left on the canal it is all to play for.
Winner on the day was matey Glenn Bailey from peg 49 with 16lb+, he never did get any more bream but the three he had plus 5lb of roach on the pole made him a clear winner, well done on your winning return! Jerry as I have mentioned was 2nd, Martin Barrett was 3rd from peg 50 with 12lb 5oz of roach on the pole, and Dave Wride was 4th with 12lb from down in the trees (in the 130's I think) all roach on the pole. Funny the roach fed in some pegs but in others they were non existent, for example Mark Harper has been on fire catching roach this year but on peg 24 he couldn't catch 2lb.
Well more rain falling now and in the forecast I think, hope we don't get that much as I wouldn't want it to spoil the Poppy match this Sunday. I hear it is a 120 peg sell out which is brilliant.
Just one more thing, and I will be mentioning this regularly until the end of the year, I am raising money for bowel cancer UK charity, by growing a beard in December (I know not that tough, but the wife don't like it!). Around 40,000 people are diagnosed with this every year (as I was) and I want to help raise money and awareness. More info in later blogs but if you have any spare money you can donate at my page here......