For weeks I have been taking my reels in the hope I draw peg 125 at Isle Brewers, one of the few pegs where the waggler is number one choice. While waiting for the draw I could see peg 125 was in but there were also a couple of pegs I really didn't want, 82 and 39. I stuck my hand in the bucket and pulled out a peg, before looking I asked a couple others what they'd drawn and when Janders said he had peg 82 I felt safe enough to open my hand. When I did, peg 125 was staring back at me! I couldn't believe it, the trouble is, just drawing the peg isn't good enough, I now had to do the business off it.
After a short drive I was at my peg, the river had a nice tinge of colour, if a little pacy. Graham Field was above me on 124 and Barney was the other side of the bridge on 126 (also a very good peg). Peg 125 is a nice run down to a roadbridge, there are no real features and its only a foot and a half deep but at this time of the year the roach are here in abundance. In recent matches there have been weights of 26lb and 19lb and with the weather being quite mild I really fancied catching a few.
I set up a 13ft Daiwa Whisker waggler rod with a TD-R reel loaded with 4lb line and a Drennan 2AAA crystal waggler with just three no 10's down the line and a 0.12mm hooklength and an 18 B611. I also set up a pole rig with a gram and a half rig but didn't expect to use it. The swim was around a foot and a half deep but was shallower across with the deeper water on the inside, there was also a bay about half way down the swim.
On the whistle I dropped the float in about half way across and as I went to feed the float dragged under, I struck and was soon swinging in a 4oz roach, a better one followed and third put in I netted a 10oz roach, this was heaven! I then bumped a good fish before I hooked decent fish well down the swim, I never got to see it though as a large pike snaffled it! Oh God, I thought, was it all going to go pear shaped? My nerves were calmed when the next cast I caught another roach. Feeding hemp, caster and maggot I was getting a bite most casts and by the end of the first hour I had twenty fish for around 5lb, they were averaging 4oz apiece with odd fish up to 12oz.
I was bumping the odd fish and catching in spells but after the second hour I was up to 40 fish, some of the fish were coming at the top of the swim but occasionally I was having to trot nearly down to the bridge. Graham had caught a good chub early on but didn't have much to go with it. With three hours gone I was up to 6o fish, nearly all roach apart from a couple of dace and I reckoned if I could carry on catching at this rate I would do around 27lb. The trouble was that to do a really big weight I needed to catch closer to me without the long trots.
Most of my fish were coming to double bronze or red maggot, I did try caster briefly but had no bites on it. I had upped my feed somewhat but during hour four the bites began to slow and I didn't make it to 80 fish. I now realised any chance of a really big weight had gone but I still had to get my head down and see what I could do. I was still catching well and going into the last half hour I knew I had over twenty pounds in the net. The fish had by now backed off and I was having to cast down towards the bay to catch and when the whistle blew I ended with 96 fish (all roach apart from 4 dace).
As I had drawn the scales yet again I packed up and walked down to weigh Barney in, he said he'd done ok and after two weighs his total weight was 15lb 14oz, again nearly all roach. Graham's chub weighed 3lb 3oz although he didn't have a lot to go with it and his total weight was 4lb 1oz. Then it was my turn, my first weigh went 11lb 6oz and with the second weigh of 13lb 9oz my total was 24lb 15oz (my biggest Isle weight ever). That's twice this year I've bested my biggest weight and it was my best roach weight on the river. For all that I was slightly disappointed I hadn't done a really big weight (ungrateful sod!).
Back at the Crown, Robin read out the results and I had won and picked up £65, but more importantly I had another section win. The river had fished really well, Barney was 2nd, Digger was 3rd with an all chub 14lb 14oz (and he lost one) and Martin 4th with 12lb 2oz. Although I had pulled a point on Barney, Martin was still sticking to me like glue as he'd also won his section. Janders didn't weigh yet again. With two matches to go I still need two more decent results.
Crown League after 9 matches, dropping your two worst results.
Jamie Rich - 9 points
Martin Heard - 11 points
Barney Crockett - 12 points
It's the Hollowlegs league on the Isle again next week, peg 125 again would be nice!!
P.S. he wouldn't forgive me if I didn't give him a mention, so well done Andy on winning your match at Sadborow pond with 35lb of carp.