Another week of hard work and being kept very busy. Saw an old mate on Friday at Marshfield (where I spotted a rare Marsh Harrier) and then swim clearing Jack Whites Saturday morning to make pegs available for the winter league, then watched Bristol Rovers win in the afternoon. All that meant my prep for this match was in the evening, it was still very warm and hard graft mixing the groundbait.
Up nice and early Sunday for the 8:30 draw and I could tell we'd had a fair bit of rain overnight, how much I did not know but heavy rain during the day would make a difference to the river. Although some people did not agree, I know the streams that flow into the river will get very dirty as a result of torrents of rain, and this will have an affect and I thought some bream would feed if the colour came in. Captain Mark Harper did the team draw and he put me on a roach flyer peg 148, last peg in the trees where Darren Gillman last week had 18lb of roach. As we filed out of the club the rain started, and by the time my shuttle was loaded everything was soaked. After walking by the side of the rugby pitch I went through the arch and past peg 107, only 41 pegs to walk this week! It was like walking in a monsoon, and I slipped and slid my way to my peg, passing Darren on 118 who was kind enough to tell me how he fished the peg last week.
Got to my peg and quickly put my brolley up to get my bait bag and box under, I don't normally get under a brolley but I needed to today, and I could still fish the pole without compromise. I took a little video of the rain, actually this was not when it was at its heaviest!
Knowing how Darren had caught last week only cemented my thoughts, it was really going to be a day on the pole, but I would set up a crowquill and a feeder just in case. I was thinking about my usual pole rigs when Lee Trivett rang me from peg 18 to say the river was colouring up and speeding up and to be prepared for the extra water and use heavier rigs. No pencil float today then, a 2grm and a 4grm both with 18 to 0.10 were assembled as was a 4grm flat float with 0,12 to 16. I added some casters and hemp and a few pinkies to my gbait and soil mix, (no worm as I didn't want perch to upset the roach) and made up 12 big balls. After throwing them in I dropped in with the 2g rig with a maggot on the hook, I was a bit surprised when after 5 runs through I hadn't had a bite, but on the 6th it did dip and a roach of no more than 2oz was swung in. The next few runs through brought the odd small roach and it certainly was not as good as I expected. Then the Lobbys lad Charlie on 146 came down and asked me if I could help him get two pole sections apart, then 10 mins later I walked up to him asking for the same favour lol! Charlie had struggled but he had lost his first three fish to pike. I was soon into a 4oz roach and next chuck the same but a pike grabbed it, we played tug of war and after a minute the roach did an impression of a salmon as the pike let go. Next chuck same thing and I got the roach back, next chuck another pike hook length gone. Back out and I had a couple of small perch and the roach I found had dropped back a little. An hour gone and I had not much more than 2 1/2lb in the net, poor,
The second hour was better in terms of more bites and the roach were more 3 to 4oz. However, the pike came back with vengeance, and at one stage I lost 3 roach on the bounce, and I'm not sure how but on one occasion the main line snapped just below my olivette. This really knocked the peg back and a try on the crowquill was strangely no good. I topped up with a ball of gbait, and after 15 mins of no bites the float went under again. I then had 30 mins of bites as soon as the float settled, I even tried the 4g rig and I was hitting as many bites and it was good. Bites stopped so I topped again, there was just less than two hours to go, this produced another flurry for 15 mins then dead again. Topping up again this time made no difference this time, but by searching the peg I got an odd bite but I was not catching well enough. My feeling was I had to reball it as this often works on this peg or where there are a lot of fish. Sadly for me it only produced another 5 or 6 little roach and a couple of perch. The last hour was dreadful and I couldn't raise a bite on any rig, bait or the crowquill. I tried going down to 22 and 0.09 but as I suspected that made bugger all difference. All I managed was half a dozen little chub when I shallowed up in desperation to catch something.
When the match finished I was thoroughly wet through and I have to admit very disappointed with what I had caught. The rain which had been on and off all day (more on!) returned to monsoon for another 30 minutes as I packed up, great lol! When the scales arrived to weigh me first my net of roach went 10lb 11 1/2oz, a nice bag but no where near what I was looking for. Charlie had 7lb+ which turned out to be last in the section, and then the next three anglers weighed 12lb, 15lb and 15lb, with Mark Bromsgrove winning the section by 1oz over Mark Treasure. I spoke to the Marks and they had both caught well when topping up with a ball of gbait, and they had a couple of skimmers each too. The rest of the river had fished well, and the bream started to show further up as the colour came in, but it seems nearly all were caught on the pole. I didn't get the results as I was chatting to others and never heard the results which were done outside the club. I know there were a couple of 30lb weights and some twenties, one section in the 30's and 40's 9lb was last and Shaun Townsend had 17lb and only beat 2 in his section.
Overall the league was sewn up by Diawa Gordon League again, Thyers had a very good day and took second with Blackmore Vale 3rd. Thatchers could only manage 4th and had struggled after two poor rounds on the Gloucester.
Not sure that my gear will be dry before next Sunday, but maybe all the slugs and snails will have crawled off to the corner of my shed. I have to get everything changed over to carp gear as it is the last round of the float only series which is at Viaduct . I am doing well in that but need a section win and others around me to dip out as I have a poor weight.