Finally I got to fish a round of the Commercial House this year, though the number of teams is well down on previous years 42 anglers are still fishing every match. I didn't have a great week as the illness I felt last Sunday on the Thames hit me hard and although I managed work on Monday I was at home sick Tues and Weds. I was still feeling well under the weather, very chesty cough, right up until Saturday, but I did get to watch Rovers and was feeling that I was turning the corner. I spent Saturday evening sorting some canal rigs, hook lengths and liquidised some bread.
I woke up Sunday to the ever present sound of rain, another soaking loading the car then lol. I got mugged off by McDonalds as they never gave me my has brown, but as I did drive thru I realised to late. Got to the Crown pub for the draw and paid my pools to Mark Harper and paid for the bloodworm and joker. The pegging was two sections either side of the George pub at Bath, and four sections up at Claverton. Now Claverton is very hit and miss, usually miss in the winter, but the peggers said they had seen a lot of fish topping. It looked like an end peg would be mega today, but our team got peg 3 and no end pegs for us. I had the end section F at Claverton, not sure I've ever fished that before.
It was a slow drive to the canal due to dawdling truck and many huge puddles on the roads. I parked in the Claverton field car park, and chatted to team mate Guy Manton who I had not seen for quite a while. Guy was C Section to the left of the bridge so not a long walk. Getting to the towpath was hard work, a tight bend on a steep slope through two gates, a lot of team work got us all there. My walk was longer than I thought, it was a big gap to D section, and then I got to Ferry Lane, and had to walk past that, and then past the old lock, and on another couple of hundred yards. I was wet through from sweat as well as the rain I guessed. I have no photos of the peg or fish today as I left my phone in the car to save it from a soaking. I was though pegged tight between two boats and it was very difficult to to ship down the side of the towpath. Both boats were occupied as smoke was coming out of them.
As I began to set up the gear I became aware of the line boats navigating the canal were taking middle to far side. Rig wise I got the 4x14 bread rig out, I plumbed around and went with top set plus one and a bit where there was a good depth. A 4x12 wire stem and tip bloodworm rig for fishing at 11.5m to the left where I found 2 1/2ft, the far bank was inched deep and steeply sloped, so this was as far as I went across. A rig for c/w and caster at top set plus two and a bit to my right, and the same distance for the left for fishing gbait and joker. Across to the right I fed casters but other than a few gudgeon no more of this.
At 10:15 we began, as the canal here was a really dirty colour (like I've never seen before) I was unsure how the bread would go but began on it anyway. It was a bit slow and I caught 3 roach and a 3oz skimmer when I then had a proper fish on, turned out to be a 1.5lb skimmer, the 18 PR311 and 0.08 accu Power line had no issue. I kept getting odd fish, never really bagging but steady, and just on the hour mark I had another skimmer, about a pound this one and it fought like a demon and I was glad to net it. I'd fed some gbait and joker to the left and was about to try this when a women on the boat threw various containers of water straight over that line and made lots of noise, I tried to make conversation but it was clear she didn't want to know me. I fed my c/w line off to the right and kept on the bread line, it would throw up the odd roach and occasional 4oz skimmer. As my other lines were not really producing much just odd small perch I stuck with the bread line, topping up now and then.
From what I could tell Mike Withey to my left was struggling, but Lee Warden way off to my right had some nice skimmers and a chub. There were lots and lots of boats today, not sure I have ever seen so many, but they made no difference to the colour and as I mainly fished away from their engine line they did not seem to cause any issues. The people on the boat started up a chainsaw and cut some branches up, and then started chopping wood. I was convinced I would catch some skimmers again over my other lines and kept trying for them, sadly I never caught a skimmer on these lines, only on the bread line.
The canal was now covered in Ash tree leaves, and shipping in and out was a right a pain, I had a few roach on pinkie over the bread line, but after this it was a real struggle. I had a run of perch and ruffe over my worm line and I took these on worm and some on red maggot. The gbait line was a big disappointment really. I had tried to catch skimmers on my far bloodworm line, but all hookbaits were ignored other then by odd small perch. I shallowed the rig up and went out with a bloodworm and the float buried, small roach, it took me four attempts to ship out again due to the leaves, but another roach. This was how the last 25 minutes of my match went, catching leaves and roach on bloodworm.
Match over I thought I might have 7lb. Mike said he had struggled, but eventually said he might have 5lb, Lee had more than me I was sure with his bonus fish. The scales started on the end peg, Rich Schollar had 7lb 9oz, then young Ryan Kiernan had 9lb 14oz which included a near 1lb roach, a 1.5lb chub and 1.5lb perch. Good young angler, one to watch for the future. Warren Bates had 7lb 1oz, then Mike Withey struggled with 8lb 10oz lol! My turn to weigh, and as I put the fish on the scales the woman in the boat start shouting and screaming about us hurting the fish and them feeling pain, and I finally lost the plot and let her have both barrels, her husband came out and said something whilst she carried on screaming in the boat. During the row my weight was recorded at 8lb 12oz, just beatng Mike. Lee did well with 10lb 8oz, and then last peg Louis Townsend had 6lb 8oz for last in the section. That was a good section, and good news for me the two weights that beat me were in B div so I would pick up the A div section money, at last a bit of coin.
I was glad when I got back to the results and sat down with a pint, I was quite tired and feeling a tad damp. Three of the team had not come back, Mark Harper, Rob Manns and Guy Manton had all come last in section oops! However, Geraint Powell was 2nd in E section and Mat Challenger was second in D section.
The canal fished like this... A section rock hard, B section good, C section rock hard, D section brilliant, E section Hard, F section very good.
D section threw up the top 3..
1st Steve Kedge 15lb 3oz, lots of skimmers and small roach on bread.
2nd Mat Challenger 14lb 4oz. Couple of big skimmers, a chub and some good perch and roach on worm
3rd Sam Johnson 13lb 13oz
4th Nicky Johns 12lb 1oz
5th Jerry Pocock 11lb 5oz (Good luck to Jer who is having an op on his shoulder and will have to give up fishing for about 6 months)
My team was last on the day but are still winning A div. Nomads are winning the B div.
Looks like next weekend I will be up at Newbridge, whilst the river is very high today I hope if we only have showers it will drop. I'm sure it will only be a feeder match but I'm happy with that and look forward to it.
I will try to do a blog this week on some new products Preston Innovations are bringing out, I got to see them at a recent show and there are some nice looking things.