Saturday the 4th of November saw me back on Thatchers team duty at Moorlands Farm winter league. I drew on Bank Pool peg 11. I started on the pole feeding casters fishing with a single red maggot on a 20 hook to 0.12. Immediately I caught a few small carp and skimmers but it went dead on this line, I assumed I'd caught the resident fish. I then fished a maggot feeder, casting it as far as I dared without encroaching on anyone else, and this method rewarded me with another 3 small carp then nothing. My last hope was chopped worms, I put a pot in and had 2 skimmers and a big roach, but I caught nothing the last 90 mins. My final weight of 23lb 5oz was worth 15 points from 22 and the team came 6th on the day.
The following day I fished an open match on the K&A at Seend which was a practise match for the winter league next week. The canal was clear after a few frosts and expected to be a small fish match. I started down the middle fishing pinkie over gbait, it was slow with just very small fish, and so I tried a bit of liquidizied bread 3/4 across but the size of fish was no different. Back on the middle and I hooked a tench which was going all over the place on number 3 elastic, sadly for me just when I thought I had done the hard part the fish found a snag bang in the middle of the canal. The 0.07 hook length never stood a chance and a section win was lost. Going nowhere and no bites across either I put a pot of liquidized in right over with a few casters in. I fished a rig with an 18 to 0.10 over here, and after an hour I had a bite and a fish tore off down the canal and snapped me up. I chucked back 2 1/2lb of bits, and was gutted to hear 6lb won the match as the two lost fish would have beat that, doh!
The following weekend and the ATWL on the K&A was going to be a much different affair as we had enjoyed a week of mild wet weather, in fact the weather on this day was lovely I recall. I found myself pegged at Bowerhill Lane on a peg / area not known to me really. I started fishing at 10m with gbait and squatt and pinkie on the hook and caught a small fish every cast. I fed the odd small ball of gbait on this line all the time. After an hour I was doing well in the section, but the angler on my right had 3 tench on the waggler! I'd fed two line right across by the reeds, one just with caster, and one with liquidized bread (very much my own thing after the week before). I just couldn't get any bites let alone any tench, but with about 90 mins to go I saw a tail near the bread line. I went out with double caster and within seconds black no8 elastic was pouring out of the pole, I played this fish for a while and a narrow boat was coming down the canal but decided to let me land the fish, which turned out to be a 6lb carp. No more bites over but the 10m line came good with 5 late skimmers on double red pinkie. After a thoroughly enjoyable match I was pleased to weigh 14lb 4 1/2oz and win the section. My then team mate Des Shipp came walking down the canal advising he'd won his section, and said rather tersely that he'd heard some spawny bastard had caught a carp, when I told him it was me he laughed his cock off! We laughed even more back at the results, as the canal had fished really well with two 40lb weights winning. I think Ian Parsons came 2nd but picked up the super pool as the winner didn't do it, I came 7th overall, but due to other people not doing the super pool I picked up 2nd place and won £110, Des came 10th and picked up 3rd, it was so funny at the time. The team won the day by a fair way as many teams did not think it would fish so well and fished negatively.
I was at Moorlands Farm again on Sat 18th, but with more frosts and night time temps down to -5C I was expecting a harder match. Once again I drew Bank pool, and this time peg 3 in a bloody corner again and really cut off this time. I fished the pole at 9m (bottom of shelf) all match due to being cut off and fed 10 casters every now and then all day. I landed 5 carp using a 20 to 0.12, but lost 4 foulers, weighing 17lb 12oz for another 15 points. The team were now in 3rd place overall. I fished at Limpley Stoke the next day but never had a bite.
Sunday 26th November saw me fishing the ATWL on the Bristol Avon above Bath, the frosts had gone to be replaced with rain and the river was now coloured and pacey. I drew Bathford, and couldn't believe it when I drew the funnel peg, a known chub haunt, trouble was it was far from chub conditions! I decided to fish to right over where there was some steady water, using a heavy maggot feeder. After 2 hours a gudgeon and tiny roach were all I had and I was bombing out. I switched to a gbait feeder with lobworm tail with a 14 to 3lb hook length, and first cast on this I hooked a chub. I couldn't give this fish any quarter due to all the reeds and weed in the peg and I bullied it in to the net. Even so as I unhooked the fish I noticed the hook length was heavily damaged as the chub had obviously got into some weeds, that was lucky! Sadly that was my match over with only one missed bite for the remainder of the day. The chub was 3lb 14oz and my total weight of 4lb 1oz won the section, much to the disgust of the Celtic Bait lad above me who had winkled out 4lb of roach down the inside, lol! The team came 2nd on the day but overall we were leading by 46 points.