Monday, December 11, 2006

Xmas Fayre - River Isle - 10th December 2006

Twenty eager anglers awaited the draw for this prize bonanza but with rain forecast the outlook was fairly bleak (pun intended) and there was a chance this match could be a washout. I really fancied a chub peg as for most of the matches I have drawn Isle Brewers and where did I draw? Isle Brewers of course. I had the choice of peg 133 or peg 127, now 133 is a pretty consistent peg and capable of double figures but it is also a mega walk. So I chose 127 as it's a short walk and apparently there have been chub seen recently. Was this to be my first mistake?

On arrival the river wasn't carrying as much colour as I expected although it was very pacy, my peg had a nice slack under my feet and a smaller one on the other side of the flow. Both slacks still boiled up on occasion though and if the river came up I was hopeful I would at least still have some slack water somewhere. It was a rush job to set up and I only managed to set up my usual 1.5 gram carbo with an olivette and 0.12 bottom to a size 18 B611. I had intended to set a whip up but there wasn't time.

On the whistle I started in the slack under my feet, feeding bronze maggots, casters and hemp, after ten minutes all I had to show for my efforts was a microscopic minnow! and I was now glad there wasn't time for that whip! I added a section to fish just on the crease and had my first proper bite and a 3oz roach was swung to hand. At least I had now found them, wrong!, after another fruitless half an hour I tried another spot and had a dace straight away but once again this proved to be a false dawn.

Then the rain started and this was turning into a miserable day, the slack opposite kept inviting me over so across I went at 13 metres. The slack was boilier than I thought and the float kept getting dragged under, I was just about to give it up when the float went and another roach was soon in the net. The next put in and I had another, 'Here we go?' I thought but again I was left scratching my head. A brief look on the inside only produced minnows and another quick flurry across only produced another dace.

Leighton Cox on peg 126 poked his head up over the bank to set his brolley up and asked how I was getting on, when I told him I only had five fish he was suprised as he was getting a small fish every chuck. By this stage with over three hours gone I was in real trouble and going nowhere and my chances of a decent prize were disappearing fast. I did manage two gudgeon and a tiny dace, again on the crease. I even had a go with a lobbie for those chub but never had a touch on it.

Leighton wandered down and asked if he could borrow a rig as he had smashed all his up, he was still catching well and looking good for a frame place. By now I had drunk all my coffee and ran out of ideas. With half an hour to go I was back on the maggot holding the float back under my feet in the slack. The light had started to go and as so often happens the fish decided to feed, there was the odd fish topping and my float went under. I had a small roach and next put in dropped off the best fish of the day, a roach of around 6oz. At ten past three Leighton appeared again to let me have my rig back, I asked if he was still catching and he said he was but had packed up as the match finished at three! I told him it was three-thirty and, after poncing half my maggots because he thrown all his bait in, he rushed back to bag up again. At least somebody would make good use of my bait!

I did catch another three roach before the all out to give me a grand total of seven roach, three dace and two gudgeon plus a few minnows. I packed up and walked above the bridge to watch the weigh in. Barney had a respectable 3lb 4oz and then Alan Dunn, following on from his victory last week, plonked an amazing 26lb 13oz of quality roach on the scales. It was the best roach net I've ever witnessed on the river, well done Alan. After that anything else was to be an anti climax, Leighton weighed 7lb 1oz and would have been more if he hadn't packed up early. My 'haul' went 1lb 2oz and I was left wishing I'd fished 133.

After a really nice buffet lunch at the Crown it was time for the prizegiving. Alan, as expected, won followed by Pete Lonton who had three chub for 7lb 12oz and Leighton was third. It was quite a while before I was called up to chose my prize but still ended up with a crate of Stella. Andy took a pound off me with 5lb 12oz although he lost two chub which would have put him second.

With only two matches left in 2006, will I be able to add this years tally? See you next week.

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