I really needed a good result in this match as another blow out would say goodbye to any chance of a league placing. With the weather fairly mild and the river fishable for once, I was suprised to see only ten other anglers at the draw. I really fancied a peg at Isle Brewers as the roach have shoaled up really tightly and some fantastic bags of fish had been caught on this stretch. My hand went in the bucket and out came peg 52, about 70 pegs away from Isle Brewers! I wasn't too upset as I have won off this peg before and Justin had some chub off it a couple of weeks ago.
Martin Heard (now known as the man with the golden arm) drew 124 at Isle Brewers which was also a golden peg, although this was only worth an extra £11 since Baz mugged us a couple of weeks ago. He had his usual moan about it being a crap peg even though there were fish topping there last match, the other two fliers were drawn by Pete Lonton on 126 and John Coxon on 125. I got to my peg at Ilford and the river was even lower than I expected, but on the plus side this meant I could get right down to the water and not be sat on top of the high bank exposed to the elements.
The peg is on a bend and from when I fished it last time I knew there was a deep hole to my right, there was also some cover across and Justin had told me he caught one of his chub from the tail of the swim. I set up a gram and a half Drennan Carbo to fish in the hole and another rig but this time two grams to fish in the flow, by the cover and in the tail. Both rigs had 18 B611's to 0.12mm bottoms. On the whistle I started in the deep hole, no response so I tried in the slack water, again nothing. I was loose feeding maggot, caster and hemp with single caster on the hook.
After about half an hour I had my first bite in the deeper water, which turned out to be a minnow, still at least I hadn't blanked. Next put in I missed a bite on double caster before I went back to catching not a lot. Mindful of what Justin had told me I put half a lobbie on and tried in the tail of the swim, nothing here either. I tried to my right again and before the rig had time to settle properly, the float went and I was into a good fish. In the painfully clear water I could make out a long, lean fish which I thought was a jack pike but turned out to be a trout which, thankfully, count in these matches. Now all I needed was the three chub Justin had caught and I would have double figures.
I really did think I might get a couple more but despite trying all over the swim with both rigs and a variety of baits I didn't have another bite until two minutes from the end when just the end of the caster was nipped, which I suspect was a minnow. I didn't need to look at my clicker to know the score was one trout and one minnow which equals BLOW OUT!!. As I had the scales yet again I walked down to weigh Graham Field in and was suprised when he only had 4oz. My trout (plus minnow) only weighed 1lb 13oz which I was disappointed with as I thought it was much bigger.
While we were packing up two cars from the South Bradon section pulled up, one containing my nemesis, Janders. He hadn't weighed in and Digger also had one trout, his weighing 1lb 4oz. I was beginning to think I might sneak decent points in my section. When I got back for the results the rest of the river had fished well. Martin struggled!! from his crap peg to win with 15lb 4oz of roach, Pete was second with 11lb 14oz, Barney was third with five chub for 11lb 1oz from peg 24 (and he lost two!) and Justin was fourth from the ever reliable tank traps swim with 10lb 14oz despite dropping enough fish off for second place.
Normally the points are decided over three sections but because of the low turnout, today there were to be only two sections which meant I scored three points and with both Barney and Martin winning their sections, any chance of a league placing for me had now gone. I really hope this isn't the start of a barren patch for me as I need a couple more good results in the Crown league. Next week we are hopefully fishing a stretch of river that hasn't been fished for a while so it could be interesting.