River Isle - the main species are chub, roach, dace, trout and minnows.
This was really a non starter, as next weeks Dillington match was cancelled due to people going on holiday etc I had been badgering the organiser, Robin Cox, to hold a match somewhere. The turnout was never going to be huge with maybe half a dozen expected to show. We met at the Crown in Ilminster and four! arrived. The intrepid quartet were myself, Robin, Barney Crockett and Neil Dring. Oh well there were still fish to be had and money to be won.
Robin decided that this match would indeed count towards the Dillington league, I had won the previous three matches but due to missing a couple when I was on Langport league duty, any chance of winning this league had disappeared. The Isle, being a tributary of the River Parrett is really small, you could even leap across it in places but I love the place. Over the years I have had some cracking results on the river with the highlights probably being catching thirty roach for 21lb+ and seven chub for 18lb+. Most matches are won with double figures but with the river so low and clear a recent match was won with just under 5lbs.
I drew peg 15 which is known locally as the 'swimming pool', it's a decent peg and in the last match of the season last year I was second with over 13lbs of small chub. When I got there the river was painfully low and clear and very weedy. The peg is very deep for this river with a hole in front with a depth of around six to seven feet. There is also an inviting tree/bush in the water to the left that stretches right across the peg.
I set up a gram and a half Drennan Carbo with a 0.12mm hooklength and a size 18 B611 hook, blue hydrolastic completed my set up. I also set up a very light rig for fishing tight across against the weed on the far bank. The match kicked off at ten and I started in the deep water with single caster on the hook. The float buried straight away and a minnow was the culprit, at least I hadn't blanked! A repeat performance on the next two put ins and it was time to try something else, double caster and the float wouldn't stay still. I opened a tin of corn and tried that, this solved the problem of the minnows but I wasn't getting any bites at all now. I tried worm but the minnows were just nipping the end and I was starting to get frustrated.
I decided to up the feed and try and feed the little blighters off, feeding hemp, casters, maggots and the odd few grains of corn. By this stage, a couple of hours into the match, Robin wandered up from the peg below to report he had only had a few very small chublets and that Barney on peg 23 had snared a decent perch. He walked up to see Neil above me in the tank traps peg, he wasn't there long and said that Neil was having minnow problems although he had managed a couple of very small chublets.
I decided to stick at it as one decent fish could be worth some money, I tried across for nothing and reverted to fishing against the bush, the heavy feeding seemed to have worked and I hadn't added anymore minnows to the three already in my keepnet. The bottom was very weedy and most times the hook would come back with some strands of streamer weed on. The river was really in need of a flush through. On around the three and a half hour mark I've gone back out with double caster and held the float back against the trailing branches for the umpteenth time when the float sailed away. I struck but missed the bite, was it minnows?, the bait wasn't touched. Next put in the same thing happened but this time the fish was on, after a spirited battle I slipped the net under a chub of around 2lbs and was a very relived man!
I now fancied the peg for a few more but for the next couple of hours I remained biteless, on another wander Robin said the situation was much the same for the rest of the anglers although Barney had lost a monster perch. Coming up to the last hour of the allotted six, which in my experience is often the best as the light starts to fade and I've hooked another good chub. After beating its initial run I thought I had got the better of it as it started to plod around, then it shot off again and there was the sickening sight of the elastic returning to the pole tip at great speed. Bugger, it had obviously dived into some of the dense weed on the bottom and snapped me as there was a big clump wrapped around the olivette and dropper shot.
That was it and I had no more bites, as I was packing my gear away I kept thinking that it could have been a match winning fish. I wandered up to weigh Neil in and he had loads of minnows and a few small chublets for 1lb 4oz, I knew I had that but was worried in case Barney had managed to add anything to his perch. My chub and three minnows weighed 2lbs exactly, Robin weighed 13oz and Barney didn't have anymore and his perch went 1lb 2oz. I'd won again and picked up £35.
I'm in the middle of a really good run and I hope it doesn't end next week during round five of the Langport league. Already this year I have broken several of my own records, I've won six matches beating my best of five and I've won more money already this year with £646 compared to 2005 (£535) and 2004 (£626).