I was eligible to fish the Viaduct Silvers Final Saturday, but with me working very long days at present I was really in no position to get my gear and bait together for that match, so I bowed out. Instead after some other activity that needed doing Saturday am, I then went to watch Rovers in the afternoon with the wife, daughter Lucy as well as Benz, Glenn and Podge. It was a poor game and we let in a soft goal and with 10 mins left it really didn't look like being our day. This group pf players though are used to coming back from a goal down, and in the last 8 minutes scored twice to win 2-1. Never give in attitude and superior fitness told, UTG.
Sunday morning and I was feeling OK even if a few Jamesons whiskeys still lingered in my head somewhere. I got to the rugby club about 5 mins before the draw, a couple of sausage and egg baps were quickly devoured as we discussed the pegging. I wanted to avoid the two sections up the crane, but Luck Liam Braddell did the team draw and put me back up in the long ash tip field in Pike Alley.
I walked up the river with Nathan Hawke who was going to be a couple of pegs above me, and Mike Kent who was end peg in the section, just above the bay in the Little Ashtip. It was a refreshing walk, at least it was dry after the early rain, just two bloody stiles to contend with. As I walked to my peg I found I had Andy Britt on the peg below me, and above me was Glenn. I went to have a walk down my peg to see if I would be in or off the water when my feet went from under me and I slipped all the way down the bank and into the river above my waders. I grabbed handfuls of stinging nettles and tried to keep my waist above water whilst shouting out to Glenn to help me. After about the 4th shout he realised and came to my aid and pulled me out, thanks very much mate I was stuck! Didn't look that bad but the top of the earth was wet and slippery and I should have known better.
Recovered from my fall I set about making the bank safe and getting my gear in place, my hands and arms were numb from the nettles, but it was just annoying rather than causing any problems. The river had a bit of flow but was still clear and also had a a few leaves on it, a sign of things to come over the next month for sure. I was opposite a blue boat and everything looked quite nice. That is except for the tree branches above me which were a pain all day and I hit them every time I swung a fish or struck on the rod and line, how I did not break anything is amazing.
With plenty of time to set up I gave myself plenty of options, a 1gm pencil rig, 2gm rig, 4gm, a 1gm rig for chopped worm, plus a crowquill, waggler and a feeder. This area is usually OK for roach and dace, but with a bit of colour in it there is a chance of bream and skimmers. I couldn't see any of the latter being caught here today. I was ready bang on time and on the all in I let fly with 12 balls of gbait at 13m which contained plenty of hemp and caster. Out with the 2g rig and bites straight away from 2oz roach and dace, but after 5 fish a pike took a definite better roach and bit me off. Picked up the pencil rig and this went under but the fish were a lot smaller, then I hit a better roach and the pike took that one. I put new hooks on both rigs and went out again in the 2g rig but it was much slower and I missed a few bites, so back to the pencil rig but it was tricky with odd bites from small dace and roach but I was missing a lot of bites. I tried the crowquill and this worked as I hit a few more fish until a pike snapped me up on this too.
In the second hour I mainly caught on the crowquill, but the wind was now getting up, and with the sun out it made seeing my float very hard. Then all of a sudden it was very quiet, I tried the 4g rig and held back looking for a bonus. I hooked what I think was a decent roach but I'll never know as the pike took that one too..... I was feeding hemp and caster over the pole line and thought things might get better as the day went on, but after a reasonable second hour the pole got very hard. I tried the worm line and had 4 perch here for about 12oz and that was all I had here. The waggler was a no no at this stage as there were too many leaves on the water. The light was really bad now and seeing any of my floats was a miracle, the wind was also blowing my loose feed all over the place. I was also having a lot of fish coming off the hook both on pole and crowquill, no idea why as it is not something I've suffered with for a while. To be honest I was not really enjoying my day at all, fishing in wet trousers, hitting branches, the bad light and pike doing my head in too!
I had spoken to Glenn and Andy and both of them had more than me, and both had not had pike trouble, jammy buggers lol! I took the odd fish by alternating pole and crowquill, but the peg was getting worse, and with 90 mins to go I took the decision to reball it. It didn't work for me initially but I could catch the odd small fish on the crowquill a few metres past the gbait. Until of course a pike turned up again. Darren Gillman walked along and he saw me pull out of a fish on the waggler, and I may have told him I was cheesed off lol. In the time he was gone I think I caught one little roach and he turned back up behind me with about 5 mins to go. I tried the pencil rig which I had on a 22 to 0.09 and bugger me if it didn't go under and I had a 3oz roach. Next tun through and I missed a bite, and then I hooked another bite which then went heavy, pike grrrr... Hang on though, not so sure, Darren and myself wondered if it might not be a pike. As the fish came in close I tried to get it off the bottom as I knew there were lots of snags in close, but with only 0.09 on it was tough. As the fish came up I just could not see what it was because of the damn light, but then it swam into my bank and I saw it was a chub. Before I could do anything it was under my bank and out of sight, I went to gran the landing net which then slipped into the river, FFS! I had no choice but to put my pole down and grab the net, as I got things together I just prayed the chub had not snagged me solid. I gingerly pushed the pole out from the bank a little further and saw the water move, and then the chub kindly swam out from the bank. I dropped the net in close to it and as I hoped it would it swam straight into it thinking it was a snag. Lucky last fish about 2lb right on the whistle, never give up right till the end!
When the scales came down from peg 1 I wasn't the only one to suffer with pike trouble, Luke Sorokin lost close to 30 hooks on peg 1. Glenn did well with his small fish and had 8lb 11oz, which was more than I thought I had. However, the last gasp chub swung the needle in my favour and I had 9lb 1 1/2oz, not really a good way to thank him for pulling me out of the drink! My weight got me 2nd in the section beaten off the next peg by Andy who had 10lb 5oz. Andy had no trees to hamper him and fished an 8m whip. Ivan Currie was once again in my section and kindly took a photo of my fish again.
The section fished quite fairly really with quite a few 6 and 7lb weights. Of course in the overall stakes the crane never made the frame...
1st Dean Harvey with 40lb of Bream from about peg 6 at Swineford on the feeder, well done Deano!
2nd Nick Coles with 18lb from the Beach at Swineford, he had 4 or 5 skimmers plus roach
3rd Graham Hunt with 17lb of roach and dace from the Steps at Jack Whites, that twice he's drawn this in two matches.
4th Tom Moretti 16lb including two 5lb bream on the pole from Frys.
Thatchers B won the day toed with Bathampton, but the B team lead the league now. Lucky Liam was next to the winner, but he blew out today. As I reflected on my day I was very frustrated and had not really enjoyed it that much. However, there is always someone worse of than you, and today there were a few... 1) Shaun Townsend, threw his net back in and had no landing let or keepnet, had to wait till 35 mins in the match for replacements. 2) Mike Davies, drew the deep peg at the crane and managed to snap two rods, 3) Rich Candy walked up the ccyle track but went a bit wrong, he got back after the money had been paid out, nice walk then lol!
Finally courtesy of Darren Gillman, a shot of Dean landing a bream. Weekend of next week see you soon.