Stathe Drain - The main species are roach, skimmers, hybrids, perch, bream and tench.
Round five of the Langport league arrived and I must admit I was a little nervous. We (Chard Remains) really needed a good result to claw back the three point deficit between ourselves and team Focus. As I went in to do the team draw I felt it was about time we were due some end pegs. We only got one!, still we did have another good peg, C7. I got section E, peg 6
I got to my section and my peg and the ones on each side had weed stretching from the far side to about halfway, not good when the bonus fish tend to be caught over. I set up a light Drennan squatt float to 0.08mm bottom and a size 20 B511 hook for my groundbait/hemp line and heavier rig ending in 0.12mm bottom and size 18 B611 for the chopped worm. On the whistle I cupped in a potful of choppie and casters in a little alcove in the weed and then two balls of Sensas Roach at six metres.
I decided to start across as in previous matches the bonus fish seem to get caught in the first or last hours. Started to get bites straight away and had a couple of small skimmers on half a worm, was missing quite a few bites which I think were small fish and hooked two better fish which went straight in the weed and the hook pulled out. Then had a couple of hand sized skimmers and as nobody else seemed to be doing much I decided to stick at it for a while. Then had a bream of around 2lbs and thought there might have been a few more out there. Then it slowed so thought it time to come over my groundbait. I cupped in some more choppie and came in to six metres with red maggot on the hook, feeding hemp and caster.
It wasn't ballistic but was catching the odd small blade and roach, the pegs either side weren't doing a lot, although the end peg E8 had netted a couple of fish. My main worry was Focus's Scott Russell on the other end peg and I knew he'd be tough to beat, along with Baz Morgan on E2, both excellent hemp anglers. I tried the caster but was missing too many bites, tried a grain of hemp but that didn't produce a single bite and as I don't fish the hemp very often I don't have much confidence in it. After two hours I only had around twenty fish, but did have that bonus bream for around 3lbs, in the previous match 4lb odd was good enough for third in the section so I was aiming for that.
Decided to have another go over the worm, I wasn't getting as many bites over there now, then the float went and I hooked a good fish, this was no bream!. I shipped back and broke down at my top three, the fish made a couple of runs up the drain but I had it under control, I was convinced this was a good tench and probably worth top two in the section. The float appeared and I reached for the net, then the fish surfaced, it was a poxy pike (which don't count) of around 3-4lbs, I made a stab of netting it and it spat the hook. Properly deflated I went back across and managed a perch of around 6oz next put in. Fed some more chopped worm and decided to leave it until the last hour.
The fish weren't coming thick and fast at six metres either, I reckoned I was still ahead of the anglers either side but the chap on E8 was still netting the odd better roach (hemp fish I think) and the Weston guy two pegs to my left had landed a tench. I couldn't see what was happening past him but every now and again I could hear Baz Morgan swearing up on E2. I managed a run of slightly better roach on the caster but they disappeared pretty sharpish. The team Amigo's bloke on my right then lost two bream in quick succession whilst fishing tight across in a hole in the weed.
With an hour to go I had around forty fish for 4lbs or so and decided to spend the remaining time over my worm line. My mate Andy and his missus turned up to see how I was getting on, just then the Heron's bloke on my left lost a tench at the net. We really needed to beat the Herons team as well, as coming into this match they were joint second in the league with us on 15 points. As he was swearing and cussing I breathed a sigh of relief. Over my chopped worm line I was getting loads of bites but they were small fish nipping the end of the worm. Did manage four more fish up to the end of the match. In hindsight I should have fished the caster across for that last hour and I might have put another couple of pounds in the net.
After packing up I followed the scales up to Scotty on E1, he plonked 11lb+ of hemp fish on the scales, Baz Morgan weighed 5lb 7oz and he'd done so much swearing as he's been piked out. There were a couple more 5lb+ weights and the Weston bloke with the tench weighed 9lb+, I really thought I was in trouble but my fish went 6lb 2oz for 6 points (fourth in the section) as the other end peg weighed 7lb 9oz.
Back at the results we had a mixed bag of results, Dave Lawrence came back with 2 points, Les Braunton had 12lb odd from C7 for 8 points, Alan Dunn won his section from B1 with 9lb odd of hemp roach and Nicky Collins had 5 points. Our team total was 30 points which was good enough for second on the day, although Focus recorded another win with a fantastic score card of 36 points. We are still second in the league but are now 4 points behind Focus with one match to go, although not impossible it's a big ask, especially with the way they are fishing (and drawing!).
Special mention must also go to Nomad's Jack Warner who won the match with 41lbs of bream and tench, the biggest weight of the league so far.
Results for Chard Remains so far
Round one - River Parrett - 7th on the day - 7th overall
Round two - River Parrett - 3rd on the day - 3rd overall
Round three - River Parrett - jnt 2nd on the day - jnt 2nd overall
Round four - Stathe Drain - jnt 3rd on the day - jnt 2nd overall
Round five - Stathe Drain - 2nd on the day - 2nd overall
The team for the final match is
Well no fishing next week as Andy and me are off up to Evesham for the weekend to watch the Shakespeare festival. I'll let you know how we get on.