Another good turnout for this one, over twenty anglers. As we all waited for the draw I said to Andy that I really hoped I didn't draw the Isle Brewers section. Andy stuck his hand in the bucket and pulled out peg 128 at Isle Brewers, I followed suit and drew poxy peg 124 - bugger! Now the pegs below the bridge, 126 upwards have been fishing quite well and have hammered the pegs above every time and I suspected it would be the same today. The pegs above the bridge, of which 124 is one, can be really good although later in the year. My first match in this league had produced a match and section win followed by a not so good five points in the second match, I really needed good section points today.
I had Digger below me on 125 and Janders above me on the fence swim (where I did 5lb 10oz in the last league match) and I really felt like I was up against it. My swim looked ok and on plumbing up, had a decent depth. Bearing in mind Max had pike problems in the last match here I set up a whip so I could hopefully swing fish straight to hand and a pole, both with 1.5 gram Drennan Carbos, 0.12mm hooklengths and size 18 B611's.
On the whistle I started on the whip, loosefeeding maggots, casters and hemp, after half an hour all I had to show for my efforts were a couple of minnows and a very small roach - not the start I had hoped for! A switch to the pole at 10 metres produced a 4oz roach first put in, great had I found them? No, was the answer as I went the next ten minutes biteless. Digger had only had a couple of fish and it looked like being a real struggle. I tried caster and had a roach and again couldn't buy a bite afterwards. I felt there were quite a few fish there but they wouldn't settle in one place. I kept trying at different places around the swim and after a couple of hours had the grand total of five roach and a couple of minnows for less than a pound.
Digger had started to catch quite regularly on the waggler and Andy wandered up to say he was struggling as were a couple of others below the bridge. As he left I didn't feel quite so bad and thought if I could keep putting odd fish in the net that perhaps half decent section points were obtainable. I tried opposite me where some dead reeds were hanging in the water and the swim started to shallow up and had four roach in four chucks, a real purple patch! It was short lived though and I soon returned to struggling. Janders also paid me a visit, he too was having a hard time and had only had a couple of fish, so maybe I had a chance to take our £5 side bet?
I knew there were several chub that inhabited the swim and earlier a good fish had topped near the far bank and I kept hoping that a couple of these would put in an appearance. I had tried the whip again but this only produced a couple more minnows and time was fast running out. Digger was still catching and I now couldn't buy a bite anywhere. With about half an hour to go, out of the blue the float went and I had another roach. Very often when the light starts to fade the roach will switch on so maybe I could finish with a flourish. I looked up to see Digger net another fish and when I looked back the float had gone!, another decent roach was netted. Next put in and I bumped my first fish of the day, I had time for one last go and had a small roach right on the whistle.
I had the scales as well so after packing up I made the long walk up to Neil Dring in the weirpool, he hadn't bagged either and weighed 2lb 12oz, Janders put 2lb 2oz on the scales and I thought I would be close to that. My twelve roach plus minnows went exactly the same, 2lb 2oz so the £5 side bet was tied. Digger weighed an excellent 8lb odd and if there was such a thing, he would get my man of the match award. Andy weighed 3lb+ and took a squid off me, Barney Crockett had another excellent match winning with 10lb plus from 126, why can't I draw below the bridge!! Elswhere Martin Heard and Justin tied for second with just over 10lb each. The two section winners were Digger and Leighton Cox with 7lb something.
So really that's my league over as although you can drop a match I've already had two bad results of five and six points to go with my section win. With four matches remaining I would need four section wins to stand any chance and the way I'm drawing I can't see that happening. Also I reckon my chance of reaching the grand are slipping away as there are only about six matches before the end of the year.
Join me next week to see if my fortunes change and I promise to actually get some pictures of fish on here soon!