I turned up for the final fixture, knowing that realistically I couldn't win the league but second and third places were up for grabs, I just needed to beat Martin and Alvin (which is a lot easier said than done!). There were only five of us fishing tonight so at least we should have plenty of room. I drew the disabled platform (peg 21), a swim I've never fished before and it has been a fairly decent peg.
I decided I was just going to set the whip up and get my head down and see what I could do. I mixed up some Sensas Roach and was ready in plenty of time, in fact everyone was set up early so Robin blew the whistle quarter of an hour early. I flicked my little waggler out, followed by a small ball of groundbait and waited for the float to disappear. It did eventually but it wasn't fast and furious and I was missing/bumping loads of fish again. After an hour I'd only had 27 fish and already Martin on peg 18 was miles ahead. I couldn't see Alvin, Robin or Moses on the opposite bank catching much but then I've said that before!
Hour two saw my catch rate improve slightly but I still wasn't getting much in the way of quality and was catching too many tiny perch and roach. I was still missing more bites than I was hitting and caster only saw me catch a couple of fish and I had to wait ages for the bites. I struggled on and what kept my interest was that I really hadn't seen Alvin catch much at all. I was sure that Martin would frame tonight (they were paying two) and clinch second in the league and that Moses would win it but I just needed to beat Alvin as I had a superior weight going into this match, in case of a points tie.
In the last hour my catch rate improved a little bit more and I had a nice rudd (where had they all disappeared too?) but lost two decent roach that took the bait on the drop. I ended with 95 fish and had no idea what they weighed (just for a change!) as I had quite a few tiny fish. I spoke to Martin who had 155 fish and I reckoned he'd win it with that, he also said he thought that Alvin had struggled and I convinced myself I'd sneaked third place in the league. Alvin and Moses came round to weigh me in first and Alvin said Moses had bagged up on eels, big roach and rudd (so that's where they all were!). My fish weighed a disappointing 6lb 12oz but Alvin said he had around the same so it was going down to the wire for third place.
Martin had 9lb 6oz and then Moses stuck a fantastic 13lb 15oz on the scales (for which he also picked up £25 for the top weight in the league), Robin had 4lb 5oz and then Alvin had 7lb 2oz to pip me - bugger. Those two lost roach would have done it, but then I missed/bumped so many fish and others said the same too.
1 - Moses Holbrook (Ilminster) - 13lb 15oz
2 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 9lb 6oz
3 - Alvin Jones (Enterprise Angling) - 7lb 2oz
Final league positions
1 - Moses Holbrook - 9 points
2 - Martin Heard - 11 points
3 - Alvin Jones - 12 points
I finished with 14 points and after such a strong start to the league, I faded badly and need to sort this whip fishing out. Much like last year the fishing got better as the league went on and there were some cracking weights topped off my Moses final match weight. After a bad start, Moses went on to win three matches on his way to victory, Martin won two and I won the other one. Thanks must go to Alvin for organising a good little league and sorting the bait out. I'm at Chris Haine's pond next Sunday so hopefully I should see some elastic come out (same peg as last time please!).