Everything looked in place for a good match on the river this week, the weather was gorgeous and with no rain the river was in perfect nick. The anglers were split into two sections per usual and this week the sections were at South Bradon and Redbridge, the latter section hadn't been fished for a while and was expected to be hard but fair. South Bradon had a couple of decent pegs, one of which is number 72 (hellhole) and this was also the golden peg for the day.
Graham Field was first in the draw bag and pulled out 72!, I went in shortly afterwards and got peg 74 at South Bradon, a good peg that I've always done well off. Janders also drew in the same section and with the top three in the league, Janders, me and Graham, all in the same section, something had to give. I got to my peg and it looked lovely, there is a bush opposite and two lots of branches come off it in a 'v' shape. I quickly set up my usual 1.5 gram Drennan Carbo with 0.12 mm bottom and size 18 B611.
On the whistle I tried above the branches to my left with single caster on the hook, I hadn't even fed anything when the float went under and after a short tussle a two and a half pound chub was in the net. Next put in and I landed a slightly smaller one, what a start! After another five minutes I hadn't added anymore so I started feeding casters, maggots and hemp. No more bites so it was time to look elsewhere, I went into the 'v' between the branches and had chub number three, again on caster, and was now starting to think about doing a really big weight.
No more bites here so I went to the branches to my right, a bite nearly straight away saw loads of white hydro stream out before returning at the same rate, the hooklength had gone and the chub had obviously found some snags. Next chuck saw another bite and the same result, it was time for action so I tied on a new hooklength but this time 0.14 mm (4.6lb). The next chub I hooked didn't snap me but snagged me solid and I was soon tying on yet another hooklength and the score was 3-3 and things were going horribly wrong. The next chub I hooked I actually got out and it had one of my lost hooks in it's mouth. I reckoned I now had about 8lb in the net and one more would give me double figures. I didn't have long to wait and was soon playing another, I did all the hard work and got the fish away from the snags when the hook pulled out and the scores were level again at 4-4.
No more bites for a while so I put a lobbie on and went back above the bush to my left, I stuck the pole between my legs and had a cup of coffee, the float lazily dragged under and I thought I was dragging bottom, I lifted the pole and after a lengthy battle netted another good chub which also had one of my hooks in. I tried double red maggot and after what looked like a couple of minnow bites the float buried and I landed my sixth chub. The score now stood at 6-4 to me and with a couple of hours left I fancied a few more. Double maggot resulted in a couple of minnows so I kept swopping between caster, double caster and lobworm but despite trying all over the swim I couldn't get a bite.
With an hour to go I upped the feed and with a lobbie on the hook tried inching the float down in the flow above the tree, it went under and I hooked a really good fish, I applied as much pressure as I could but with the pole parallel to my bank the fish kept dragging the pole round and it snagged me solid and I had to pull for a break. I did miss a bite right near the end on caster and the match finished with the final score being 6-5 to me. I just knew it wouldn't be enough and for the second week running I'd had enough fish on the hook to win the match.
Graham walked down to weigh me in and he'd struggled so at least the golden ball was safe, my six chub and two minnows went 13lb 2oz and Graham reckoned I'd win it with that as the other two anglers in my section, Janders and Martin Heard had struggled. Graham had two fish for 6oz, Heardy had indeed blanked but Janders, after blanking for half the match, plonked eight chub on the scales for 20lb 1oz and I couldn't see Redbridge competing with that!
Back at the results Janders was announced the clear winner so I handed over my pound before collecting £36 for second. Justin Charles was third from Redbridge with three chub for 7lb 11oz .
With three matches to go Janders has extended his lead over me to two points, Justin has leapfrogged Graham and now sits in third place with ten points.
Next week is the penultimate round of the V.E.S. Precision league and I would dearly love a good result as I'm currently lying in second place and it's a league I would love to win.