I was really looking forward to getting back on the river and the weather was bright and sunny which isn't ideal for fishing but the river looked in good nick. There was a decent turnout of 12 (including me), I just needed to draw peg 14 or 27 now! After a quick coffee it was time to draw and I managed to pull out peg 24, it used to be a proper flier but has dropped off the last couple of years.
I got to the river and surveyed my peg, there was loads of far bank cover and it looked really chubby, Heardy was above me on 23 and his peg looked nice too and he was soon asking if I wanted a £1 side bet! I accepted after checking I had enough change to pay him. I only set up 'old faithful' and set about plumbing the swim, there was a decent depth all along the middle and far bank. 10:30 arrived and we were off, I baited the size 18 hook with single caster and started inching it through just past the middle. while feeding casters, maggots and hemp.
I had my first bite holding back by an overhanging branch to my left and was soon swinging in a 3oz chublet, blank avoided. I then had two perch about 8oz apiece and another small chublet, all on single caster. Martin had a perch about 10oz and then I had another, this time about a pound and a quarter. With only an hour gone, I was pleased with my start and fancied a few more. I had another chublet about 4oz and then couldn't get a bite! Martin was getting minnowed out and all of a sudden it was looking bleak.
In fact apart from the odd dig from minnows I only had one more decent bite, on lobbie, which I bumped when the worm went over the point of the hook. Robin wandered down from peg 22 and said he'd lost two big chub and that Fieldy and Graham Bulgin were catching small fish on pegs 18 and 21. He'd also phoned Leighton on 85 and he'd had a decent chub and some smaller fish.
I went through the motions for the latter part of the match, hoping for a couple of fish in the 'golden' last hour but it didn't happen. Martin packed up with half an hour to go (so he is human!) and promised to pay me the pound next week. His travelling partner, Malcolm, had also packed up and chucked back a couple of pound of fish.
I packed up, a little disappointed after such a good start and walked up to see Robin, he'd lost four chub in the end which could prove costly. The scales reached Robin and he had 2oz, Justin had 10lb 12oz from 14, Steve Parker had 4lb 12oz from 15, Fieldy had 5lb 10oz from 18 and Graham Bulgin had 2lb 3oz from peg 22. I thought I had about 2lb or so but my section was in with the pegs below the bridge and at Ashford and apparently Bob Hammond had caught a few on peg 27. My fish actually went 2lb 15oz (yep, underestimated again!) so I would have to wait to see how the rest of my section had got on.
Back at the pub and Leighton was top at Ashford with 7lb 15oz, which meant he'd frame and then the next best was Tony Newman with 2lb 9oz and Bob with 2lb 4oz, which meant I'd won my section and picked up £15, so not too bad a day and a good start to the league with two points (and I've got a £1 off Martin to look forward to).
1 - Justin Charles (Ilminster) - 10lb 12oz
2 - Leighton Cox (Ilminster) - 7lb 15oz
3 - Graham Field (Taunton) - 5lb 10oz
A - Steve Parker (Ilton) - 4lb 12oz
B - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 2lb 15oz
Next week is the first match of the V.E.S. and it's a league I'd love to win (I know I say it every year!) and a good start is vital so wish me luck.