The last match arrived and I had been dreaming about drawing peg 125 for weeks and I only went and drew it!!! and it was a golden peg too! Driving to the river I kept thinking this was my best chance of winning a golden peg for years and I actually had butterflies! The peg itself is nothing special to look at, a shallow run leading upto a bridge but for some reason the roach shoal up here and the last time I drew it I had just under 25lb. As I made myself comfortable I noticed the river was a lot clearer than I expected but still expected to do ok.
I was lying in third place in the league and although I couldn't win it as Justin Charles was too far ahead, second place was achievable if I could do well and Martin Heard had a bad match. The trouble was he'd drawn peg 74 again and he'd won off it the last time. I only set up a waggler rod with a short and stumpy 2BB Drennan peacock waggler with a couple of number tens down the line and a 0.12 mm bottom and size 18 Kamazan B611 at the business end. I set the float at a foot deep and even then it was dragging bottom!
On the whistle I baited up with double bronze maggot and away we went, on the first two put ins the float buried and I had two nice roach in the net. This was going to be easy! I mentally set my target at ten fish an hour and hopefully would be able to exceed that. Anyway the third cast was biteless, as was the fourth and fifth and all of a sudden I wasn't so sure. I then hooked a good ten ounce roach and as I went to net it a pike swirled for it, maybe he was the reason for the sudden downturn in sport. Feeding bronze maggots, casters and hemp I had eight roach after the first hour for about 2lb and was a little short of my target.
Hour two was much the same and the pike kept putting in an appearance, which didn't help. I was having to cast further and further down the swim to get bites and a fairly strong wind was doing its best to blow the float into the near bank. I was still getting the odd fish and enjoyed a purple patch catching four fish directly under where I was putting the feed, but it didn't last long. With a couple hours to go I knew I'd be well short of my target and the golden ball was slipping away. A fish topped above me so I cast upstream and had a small roach straight away but it was a loner.
Casting as far down as I could I also started catapulting some feed down the swim to see if I could bring the fish up, I did hook two good roach in successive chucks only for the pike to nab one and the other snagged me up. I then had a roach and a chublet about half a pound and thought I might enjoy some late frantic action but I only had one more roach to end with 28 fish (26 roach and 2 chublets) plus a couple of minnows. I had the scales yet again so I packed up and went down to weigh Justin in who was on peg 126, he'd caught loads of fish to weigh 6lb 5oz and I reckoned on having about 7lb (four fish to the pound). In fact I weighed 7lb 10oz and knew it wouldn't be enough for a bumper payday.
There was one glimmer of hope, apparently Martin had been struggling so could I sneak second in the league? Back at the results and Roger Russell had won from peg 85 with four chub for 9lb 13oz, bugger! I was second and picked up £31, Martin had found some late chub and was third with 7lb 6oz. So my second in section meant I kept hold of third place in the league and picked up £40. Maybe next year eh? I also had another squid of Janders who had struggled for 7oz.
I can't sign off without saying a big thankyou to V.E.S. Precision for their sponsership and to Pete Lonton once again for his fantastic organisation.
Final league standings
1 - Justin Charles - 8 points (superior overall weight)
2 - Martin Heard - 8 points
3 - Jamie Rich - 11 points
Next week is the last Crown league match where I'm currently second so a good result could see me pick up some more money, wish me luck.