I didn't get off to the best of starts when I overslept, things got worse when I got to the pub and Robin Cox had drawn for me and told me I was on peg 123 at Isle Brewers. The peg is on a fence leading up to a bend and I have drawn it a couple of times over the years and never done more than 6lb off it. I reckoned I was up against it as there are many better pegs than this in the section. As I trudged to my peg I passed match organiser, Justin Charles, who was on peg 124 which again hasn't got much form and he apologised saying we were guinea pigs trying out the pegs for the first time this year - great!
I settled in and the first thing I noticed was how low and clear the river was, there were some small fish topping so I was hopeful that I might get a few bites. I set up a 1.5 gram Drennan Carbo (which in hindsight was way too heavy!) with 0.12 mm bottom and size 18 B611 combined with blue hydro elastic. I also set up a two and a half AA Kamazan insert waggler with the bulk around the float and three no 11 Preston Stotz down the line, hook and hooklength were the same as the pole rig.
I started off on the waggler with two bronze maggots on the hook while feeding maggots, casters and hemp, I was fully expecting to catch small fish straight away and was suprised when this didn't happen. After quarter of an hour I had my first fish, a small chublet, which a pike had a go at on the way in, still at least I was off the mark. By trotting right down the swim I had another tiny chublet and a couple of minnows but was going nowhere fast. I tried the pole but never had a bite on it. After an hour and a half and fearing the worst I picked up my sandwiches and wandered down to see Justin. Asking him how he was getting on I was suprised when he said he was bagging! He'd caught a decent chub plus quality roach for around 6lb already, he also reported that Pete Lonton had phoned from below the bridge and that the favoured pegs there were all struggling. As I watched he had several small fish, a quality roach and was missing loads of bites, I'd seen enough and walked back to my peg feeling pretty dejected.
I sat back down and went through the motions, I upped the feed in a vain attempt to make something happen. Fishing the pole at 11.5 metres with caster on the hook I started to get the odd bite but the results were one gudgeon and another that dropped off on the way in! With an hour to go I was just thinking about going for another walk when the float shot away and I was into a fish that definately wasn't a gudgeon! After a spirited scrap I netter a chub that looked to be getting on for 3lb, a couple more of these and I would be back in the hunt. It wasn't to be, although I did miss a bite just before the match ended.
As I'd drawn the scales again I packed up before going to weigh Martyn Brooks in who was on peg 119, he'd caught quite well and weighed 4lb 1oz, my four fish (plus two minnows) weighed 2lb 14oz and I knew I'd be well down in the section. Then it was Justin's turn, he plonked four good chub on the scales for 11lb 8oz plus 14lb 10oz of stonking roach to give him an amazing 26lb 2oz total. Well done mate! The scales came back from below the bridge and although the hot pegs hadn't fished as expected I had only beaten one angler so it was fifth place in the section for me. You can drop two matches in this league so after only two I already needed to drop one!!!!
Apart from Justin's weight the river had fished poorly and Graham Field's 7lb 4oz was good enough for second place from the consistent 'Tank Traps' peg. Martin Heard was third with 6lb from peg 79. My nemesis Janders won his section (and took another squid off me) with 5lb 15oz from peg 85. Mind you, he has drawn it three weeks on the trot so he should know how to fish it by now! After two bad weeks let's hope it's third time lucky for next week.