Final match of a well run series, but sadly my team were only able to field 4 of our Thatchers squad for the 6 man team. We managed to get a super sub in, Dave Johnson but nobody else and so we would be fishing the last round one man short. A shame since we were winning the league narrowly from Bathampton A, but the way the canal has been fishing anything could happen.
I spent Saturday afternoon with my wife pegging the match out, and I was feeling a bit of pressure doing it as the canal had been so bad last week. However, my plan was to put as many pegs in the town as possible and with not too many boats about I was able to do that. I got 8 pegs in Long Pond, 4 pegs in Horseshoe Pond, 10 pegs in Malthouse, 6 pegs in Richardsons, and 4 pegs in the tunnels. The last two sections I put from Meadow Farm to the George, and I hoped I wouldn't draw them!
Sunday morning and I handed in the pegging sheets to Mike Goodhind, paid my pools and got a little bit of joker and some good bloodworm. I had loads of joker left from the week before, and by keeping it in black leam in newspaper it was all alive. Liam Braddel did the team draw and drew middle peg 4, and my team were pegged as follows:-
A section - the missing person! Bah best section and we don't get it!
B section - Jack Jones last peg in Horseshoe (good)
C section - Dave Johnson
D section - Tony Gilbert (good)
E section - Liam (shite)
F section - me (shite)
I was gutted but half expected it, just cos you peg a match out doesn't mean you are owed a flyer. Still at least I had been able to see the pegs I fancied lol!
I parked up by the Church and walked past the George pub to my peg, just about the worst peg / area but you've just got to get on with it. At least the owners of the lawn didn't come out and cut the grass opposite. My view for the day.
More in hope than expectation I set up a bread rig, also some rigs for bloodworm, one .25g for fishing in close and across, a .4g for fishing at 5m, and a rig for chopped worm down the middle. If I started to catch a lot of fish on bread I would set up a caster rig for over, but I wasn't confident. My section was always going to be tough to win with Neil Mercer sat on the end peg not far from the white gate just below the George, but I had to beat Mat Challenger of Bathampton A who was on peg 6 with 7 empty, Neil on 8 was pleasure fishing! Either side of me today were Jeff Surmon and Mike Goodhind.
The match started at 10am, I tried the bread for 10 minutes and no bites, then a boat comes down and the captain manages to steer it into my far bank and churns that up did the same to the 3 anglers below me, twat. I came off the bread as nobody had caught on it. I went out 11.5m of at 11 o'clock with the light bloodworm rig where I had fed a small amount of joker. It was very hard to present the rig, the wind was now howling from right, and the canal towing the opposite way (why does the wind always get up when the match starts!). It was difficult to see the float tip, but I was sure I saw a positive dip as I lowered the rig in for the third time and yes a fish on. I was quite surprised when I swung a 1oz roach in, no blank. Back out over the same line and I caught two more fish in two drops, perch, sadly these were not much bigger than the bloodworm. I caught another two micro perch from here and never had another bite on this line all match.
An hour gone, and Jeff and Mike were blanking as was Mike Withey, Matt had 1perch, Mike Martin had a couple of perch, and Neil Mercer had a few small perch. The writing was of course on the wall another struggle and ounces likely. Another boat came down and the bloke operating this one thought he had to avoid the anglers poles and was aiming for the far side, I told him to stick to the middle but again my far side got churned up. Mind you I was hoping the colour might switch a few fish on, but it didn't. I caught a perch from right across straight in front of me, and caught another on top set plus one down my left margin. But it was taking longer to get a bite and I couldn't see how I could improve things. I had fed a bit of chopped worm down the middle at 13m, never had a bite, and fed a bit more positive with joker at 11m to my right just past the middle , never had a bite.
Neil had come down for a walk and with 8oz he was easily winning the section. He went back to his peg and then began to catch some roach and skimmers that had probably dropped down from the George. I had spoken to Jack Jones and he had a few roach in the town, and Tony Gilbert had started well at Richardsons but a boat killed his swim stone dead. Tony told me that Jerry Pocock had walked up from the section below, he had managed to catch a small fish and decided to go for a mid match pie and pint, what a legend!
Mike Goodhind managed a ruffe to break the blank, he dropped off two more fish and later when he hooked another at 11m he simply swung his pole out onto the towpath and picked the perch up off the bank, lol!
I was still rotating all my swims the same as last week, and managed another perch from the margin and one at 5m. About an hour and 15 mins to go I went out to 13m down the far side, the light was terrible and I thought the float went under so struck, but I had hooked a snag, probably a trailing reed. But then the float moved, and moved again, my god a lump, but on 0.07. Well it was very heavy and hardly moved and before I had put any real pressure on the fish it came off, aargh! I guessed I had pulled out of big perch, but the hooklength was snapped. I hadn't put anywhere near enough pressure on the fish to snap me, so either the line hit a snag, or it was a pike. Basically that was match over.
Another stunning 5 hours of intense concentration looking at dimples and fighting the wind. Still as far as I could tell I had not missed a bite and lost only the lump, so at least that ration was OK again. Everyone in the section had managed to catch,with Jeff Surmon getting a little perch very late on. The scales started with Mike Martin on peg 1, a few perch and ruffe for 6oz, see his blog (26 year itch for the intimate details). Mike Withey had 4 1/2oz, Mike Goodhind 1 1/2oz, me next 7oz, Jeff 1oz, Matt had about 2oz I think, and then Neil spoiled it all with 8lb 6oz. A lovely net of decent quality fish as you can see.
Overall it was no surprise that for the third match on the trot the tunnels provided the winner, this time Kev Dicks had 17lb of roach, skimmers and some perch over a pound. He fished positive with worm and caster best.
2nd K Morris 12lb 8oz (peg A2 long Pond)
3rd Paul Purchase 8lb 14oz (middle of Horsehoe Pond) This man is drawing so many flyers he is starting to annoy his fellow competitors!! lol fair play Paul you are catching loads.
4th Kev Boltz 8lb 11oz (stiff neck next to Kev Dicks)
5th Sam Johnson 8lb 10oz (A3 long pond)
Thatchers A came last on the day, we had 3 second in sections, but two poor scores and the missing person were costly. Bathampton A only just beat us though, and we ended up tying the league on points, but on weight Bathampton won, so well done lads.
Stand and Deliver won the B Div
Kev Dicks was top individual with 38 points, pipping Darren Gillman by one point after Darren had his worst result of the league.
Sam Johnson won the knockout beating Darrent Gillman, after Darren had his.......
Congratulations to all the winners, I had only fished 3 of the 6 rounds so was never in the frame this year, I ended with 20 points.
I think the thing that most pleased me today was that nobody moaned about my pegging (that's a first lol), well if they did they never told me. I crammed the pegs in tight in the town to get as many in as I could, and I think it was right as there were certainly more fish caught than last week. Interestingly there were quite a few chublets caught in the ponds, nice fish to catch.
Well done, Mike and Vince for running the league, and Andy and Nicola. It's a great little league with friendly rivalry and great banter.
I am not sure when I will be fishing next now, depends on the weather and if there is something that takes my fancy.