Stathe Drain - The main species are roach, skimmers, hybrids, perch, bream and tench.
I arrived at the Langport Arms for the fourth round of this five a side league. My team, Chard Remains, are currently lying in joint second place quite a way behind the leaders, Team Focus.
Doing the team draw I once again managed not to get any end pegs for us, my drawing hand must improve soon! My destination for the next five hours was to be C section, peg 4.
After quite a lengthy walk I got to my peg, the drain looked ok but very weedy, the four pegs to my right all had bushes opposite and on the peg to my left I had Ashley from Team Focus, I was going to have my work cut out. On the whistle I cupped in some Roach groundbait at seven metres in front of me and some chopped worm to my right, also at seven metres, in a channel in the weed. A potful of 'choppie' also went in right across against the weed at eleven and a half metres.
My plan was to fish for bits on a light rig and every hour have a look on the chopped worm lines for a bonus bream. Started catching quite well with twenty roach, rudd, skimmers and small hybrids in the first thirty minutes. I was a least keeping pace with Ashley although next to him Butch Baker from the Herons team kept putting the net under some better skimmers. The anglers on the bush pegs seemed to be sitting it out for lumps, I was happy to keep putting small fish in the net.
After an hour I had a quick look on my worm lines but no bites were forthcoming, by this time the chap on my right had had a decent skimmer. I kept plugging away feeding hemp and pinkies but things were slowing, a couple more bonus fish had shown on the bush pegs and I was pretty sure Ashley had gone ahead of me. I tried hemp on the hook and only had one small hybrid, I also tried my far line again but to no avail.
With an hour and a half left I had 58 fish for around 2lb's and I was pretty sure I was heading for last in the section and the dreaded two points. It was reaching the stage where I was being forced to go across and sit it out for a 'get out of jail' bonus. A family of swans, around six in total were now right across opposite me foraging with their necks submerged stirring up the bottom. The colour they created had by now spread to my far chopped worm line, with a hour to go and bites non existent on my seven metre line I decided to stick it out for big fish.
My worm rig was a 0.4 gramme float shotted with a bulk and a couple of droppers to a 0.12mm hooklength and a size 18 B611. Blue hydrolastic through my top two completed the set up. I put half a worm on and shipped out and waited, as I hadn't had a bite on worm yet I wasn't too optimistic. After about ten minutes the float slid away and a strike met firm resistance, I started shipping back and apart from a brief panic when the bream got caught around some weed, I netted it without too much grief. At around 3lb it was a welcome bonus and I reckoned worth good points.
I rebaited and went out again, after a short wait the float disappeared, but this time whatever I had hooked had shot off at a rate of knots and weeded me. I kept applying gentle pressure and I heard Ashley say "You'll need to pull harder than that". Slowly but surely I could feel it coming and then it was free, kept shipping back and could see a good tench (around 5lbs) with weed covering its head. I reached for the net all the while expecting the fish to go ballistic, but it didn't until I'd got it in the net. I think the weed covering it's eyes had calmed it as it thought it was safe.
I was now pretty sure I would be top three in the section, I had no more bites and then the all out sounded. People kept saying I would win the section but I wasn't so sure as I'd seen several good fish netted through the match. Followed the scales down to the end peg (C8), the chap had a good tench and loads of bits for 9lb 14oz and I really didn't think I had that. Surprisingly there were no more bream in the section, Jack Warner from the Nomads weighed 6lb+ of roach but the 9lb weight was still top when the scales reached my peg. Even after I'd put my fish on the scales I still didn't think I would top that, the needle settled on 10lb 12oz and I was well chuffed.
The only other scare being Butch plonking a good silverfish weight of nearly 8lbs on the scales.
As Ashley from Team Focus was last I was hoping the rest of the team had also done well. Back at the pub we had mixed results, Alan Dunn had also won his section and Nicky Collins was third in his. My mate Andy was last in his section from a very weedy peg and Dave Lawrence had 3 points, the goods news being he had beaten the Focus angler in his section. After a quick tot up we had 30 points, a fairly good score. The results were read out and not only had I won the section (and £40) I had also won the match, as a team we came joint third on the day and remain joint second in the league. Team Focus finished seventh (out of eight) and stay top but their lead has been cut to three points with two matches to go.
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
The team for the next match is