After last weeks lesson in not catching anything I was desperate to put it behind me and hopefully continue my good form in this league, especially as going into this match I was top. We were also fishing two stretches of the Isle that we haven't fished for ages, the Donyatt and Horlicks sections. The Horlicks section is actually controlled by Chard AA but they said we could use it for the day (cheers Les).
Everybody wanted to draw pegs 19 or 20 at Horlicks as the winner was predicted to come from here, although when I drew peg 1 at Donyatt I wasn't too upset as it's usually a fair section and good section points were what I was after. We allow trout to count in our matches and there are usually loads to be had at Donyatt. One of my nearest rivals in the league Martin Heard drew the weirpool (peg 23) at Horlicks and did his usual 'It's not worth going to my peg' bit. I got to my peg and it looked nice with a decent depth under my feet and two areas of cover across. Also in my section were Barney (on the next peg), along with Robin Cox and John Coxen on pegs 3 and 4.
I set up a gram and a half Drennan Carbo with a size 18 B611 and on the whistle started across by the cover to my left while feeding caster, maggot and hemp. My start bait was double red maggot although if I got plagued by minnows I would change to caster. After ten minutes biteless I was by the cover to my right and and still there was no sign of anything remotely fishy. After trying in the flow and tucked right into the cover I was still fishless and starting to worry. I shouted down to Barney who replied he hadn't had any bites either, although Robin had landed a trout.
I was by now fishing behind the cover to my right and at last a bite, although tiny the resulting minnow was welcomed with a sigh of relief, I had avoided the dreaded DNW. A couple more followed before I got fed up with that and put a caster on. This turned out to be a complete waste of time and I never had a bite on it. I looked down to see Barney's yellow elastic coming out and he was soon netting a small trout. This wasn't good news for me and when he netted a second I picked up my flask and wandered down. He'd caught one on maggot and one on worm, Robin hadn't added to his earlier fish although he had lost a good fish and John below him was struggling.
I went back to my peg and put half a lobbie on, but again this provoked no response at all, I kept thinking if only I could get a couple of trout it would give me really good section points. The trouble was, time was ebbing away and I was running out of ideas. I heard Barney shout down to Robin that he'd caught a gudgeon in the flow and then he netted a chublet. I added some extra sections and fished downstream at 13 metres in the flow, all of a sudden the float just shot under and reappeared before I had chance to strike, bugger. Barney had added a couple more chublets and was comfortably winning the section.
A chap called Ned turned up to see how we were getting on and to compound my woes he reported that Martin was doing well in the weirpool and my nightmare was becoming reality, my two nearest rivals were winning their sections while I was probably bottom of mine! Despite trying every bait I had and searching every inch of my peg all I could muster were a couple more minnows. As Barney had caught another chublet in the flow I decided to concentrate my efforts there, the rig hadn't been in the water long when it disappeared from view and the tip started to go as well and I still missed it!!!!
I knew it wasn't going to be my day and after another brief flirt to my left I had another minnow bite only to strike and see a small roach or gudgeon come to the surface before dropping off!!! This about summed my day up and I'm sure before it disappeared into the depths that it winked at me! I couldn't wait for the all out and when it came I was packed up in double quick time. Barney came up with the scales and my 'haul' of six minnows barely registered on the scales and I was given an ounce. Barney weighed 2lb 3oz to win the section by a mile, Robin had 14oz and John also had an ounce. I ended with three points so Barney had pulled back a couple on me.
Back at the results Martin had won his second match on the trot with 5lb odd, both times from apparently crap swims, in that case I wouldn't mind drawing some rubbish pegs too! Overall Neil Dring was second with 2lb 10oz and Barney third. For me it was a day to forget, next week it's the annual 'Open' match so lets hope my fortune changes for the better. My Nemesis Janders also had a bad day, drawing one of the fancied pegs, sitting in the wrong place and not weighing in. Apparently he did catch a roach of around a pound but put it back without troubling the scalesman, he could have at least let me have it!
In the league stakes, I still hold a slender lead but things are tight.
Crown league after 8 matches dropping your two worst results
Jamie Rich - 8 pts
Barney Crockett - 10 pts
Martin Heard - 10 pts