Felt a little rough this morning as I'd been to Dunner's wedding reception the night before. When I got to the draw I was greeted by several other rather sickly looking individuals who had also been there. Andy not only looked rough but the clutch had gone on his van so he was not in the best of moods. As I've mentioned previously this is a league I've never won and would really like to, my win in the first match had got me off to a great start but could I keep it going?
Pete Lonton announced the draw and Andy pulled out peg 126 at Isle Brewers which is not only a good peg but a golden peg on the day, I went next and the result for me was peg 123, not good. This peg is on the fence at Isle Brewers and I've drawn it several times in the past and my top weight has only been 4lb odd. Still I'd have to make the best of it and try and get good section points. The Isle Brewers stretch is mainly roach fishing and some good weights are possible, the trouble is where there are roach there are usually pike and these can be a pain when the rivers low and clear.
When I got there it looked nice and there were lots of very small fish topping, I set up the usual 1.5 gram Drennan Carbo which had a size 18 Kamasan B611 to 0.12mm bottom. Also with the river being low and clear I thought the pole might spook the fish in the fairly shallow water so I set up a small balsa waggler, again with a B611 at the business end. Started on the pole feeding hemp, caster and bronze maggots and had a 4oz roach straight away on double bronze. Thoughts of bagging soon disappeared as no more bites were forthcoming and it was time to try the waggler.
Maggot just produced a couple of very small roach and the usual minnows so I switched to caster and this produced a couple of slightly better roach. After an hour I had eight fish (roach and chublets) for about a 1lb or so. I now realised that any chance of money was slipping away but if I could catch a pound an hour this would give me 5-6lb and in previous matches this sort of weight was worth good section points.
Hour two was very slow and I'd get a couple of fish on the waggler and then switch to the pole and get the odd fish. I felt there were quite a few fish in the swim but I was chasing them all over the place. Back on the waggler I had a couple of net roach on the caster but from well down the swim. I then hooked a better fish which after some hairy moments with the weed I netted, at a pound and a half this chub was very welcome. So after around three hours I probably had 4lb which wasn't too bad.
Max wandered up from peg 124 and after catching a fish a chuck the pike moved in and he now couldn't buy a bite, he said the pike were even having a go at his keepnet! I missed several bites while he was there and he called me a wanker before going back to his peg. I hadn't had any pike problems which quite suprised me as I have here in the past. I was still getting the odd roach and chublet but it was hard work and I was missing quite a few bites and had bumped several fish.
With an hour to go I had another chub, this one about a pound, I started to think if I could get another one I might have an outside chance of winning the section. With the clocks going back the night before I also thought that as the light stared to fade the roach might get their heads down. A couple of times a decent fish had rolled on the far side and I reckoned it might be the chub I needed. On went double caster and I shipped the pole over but it wasn't to be and I never had a bite.
I spent the last quarter of an hour on the waggler and had my first dace and a couple more roach, Max had packed up and walked past with the scales to weigh in Graham Field in the weirpool (peg 117), I fancied that peg and was suprised when Max reported that Graham had only weighed 2lb 2oz. My 36 fish weighed 5lb 10oz which I was quite pleased with and when Max only weighed 1lb 10oz I started to think I could get good points. After packing up and loading my car the pegs below the bridge started filtering back and all my hopes of a decent placing faded away. Digger weighed 10lb 9oz from 133, Martin Heard had 6lb odd from 129, Pete Lonton had 5lb 15oz and Andy beat me by 2oz, which put me 5th at Isle Brewers! Andy's day got slightly better when he took a pound off me.
My thoughts turned to the fish I'd bumped as another half a pound would have given me three points instead of the five I got. But then the anglers below the bridge had pike trouble with Andy having trashed fifteen rigs because of them! Back at the results and the river had fished well again, Neil Dring won with over 16lb from the big bend at Ashford, Barney Crockett was second with 12lb 5oz of chub from peg 24 and Digger was third. Martin won our section and Les Braunton who had finally sobered up won the top section with 10lb 3oz from peg 28. I did beat Janders for yet another fiver.
In this league six from the seven matches count so with only two gone I could not afford any more slip ups, things arn't looking good. We're back on the river for a sweep next week so maybe I can get back to winning ways then, still need to win £27 for that elusive grand.