The weather had eased a little for this one although we still had a frost. At the draw there were nine of us fishing today and it was lovely to see Rocking Roy Fowler, who had come to give the river a try for the first time in ages.
Rob had decided to give the top end of the river a rest so this week we would be fishing Ashford, North Bradon and Isle Brewers. Of course everyone wanted 125 or 126 at Isle Brewers but I also fancied 85 at Ashford, I came close when I pulled out 82 but not close enough. Rob drew the flier (125) and Neil had 126, Rocking drew 85 and I was sure he'd get a few fish. I got to Ashford and was surprised to see that Rocking's van wasn't there, I unloaded my kit and as I was walking across the road, Roy turned up from the opposite direction!, he'd actually been to North Bradon (I didn't realise it was that long since he'd visited the river!).
My peg actually looked really nice with the mill stream coming in opposite with tree branches in the water to my left and to my right. I set up a Drennan Carbo (but a deeper rig than I normally use!) and after plumbing up had to chop a bit off to make it fishable. I had a nice depth to my left before it started to shallow up, there was also a tinge of colour but I was worried that all the cold water that had gone in might knock sport. Ten-thirty arrived and my opening gambit was to fish caster to the left just past the main flow in the slacker water.
No bites here so I started searching down the swim to my right, still nothing and I thought that it might be as hard as I expected. I tried double maggot to see if I could get a minnow to avoid the blank but no indications at all. With three quarters of an hour gone I decided to have a coffee, a sandwich and a rethink. I laid the rig in downstream in the flow and put the pole down while I had a hot drink. As I was tucking into a packet of crisps and a sandwich I noticed my pole moving and looked up to see elastic being pulled out of the end of my pole! I dropped my breakfast and lifted the pole and there was a decent fish on, as I shipped back carefully I could see the fish twisting in the flow and then the elastic went slack - gutted.
I was desperately hoping that wouldn't be my only bite of the day, but next put in I had a decent roach, followed by three chublets and as the first hour drew to a close I already had 2lb in the net. I was getting quite a few indications but several times I lifted the rig to move it and there would be a fish on! I then had a better chub of a pound and a quarter before losing two fish where I hadn't seen the bites. All my fish had come to double bronze maggot so far. I kept swapping between two places in the flow and added a couple more roach but decided to rest it for a bit as each hooked fish caused quite a commotion in the shallow water.
I came back up the swim and fished against the branches of the tree to my right and my first bite resulted in something much more substantial on the end and after some hairy moments in the strong flow, I safely netted a 3lb+ chub and was probably up to about 8lb with three hours to go! Things got even better when I had a pound and a half chub next put in, although I have to admit I didn't have a bite and the fish was on when I moved the rig. No more fish from here so I went back downstream in the shallows and lost another fish in the flow before catching a 12oz chublet to give me double figures.
Bites were becoming less frequent though and I kept thinking about adding another section to search further downstream. I also reckon if I'd set up a little crystal waggler I might have kept those fish coming for longer. I tried double red maggot and had a couple more chublets to give me around 11lb. With an hour and a half left, Roy turned up and he hadn't had a bite! I then had a spell where I hooked three fish only for all three to come off - bugger. I added a section to search further downstream and missed a bite straight away so I took six inches off the depth as I knew I was well overdepth and had a small chublet.
I was hoping the last hour would be very productive but I only added two more chublets to end with 18 fish for around 12lb. With Roy not weighing, I quickly packed up and he weighed me in, my fish actually went 12lb 4oz with the biggest chub weighing 3lb 2oz. I'd lost/bumped six fish and I was hoping they wouldn't cost me as I was sure pegs 125 and 126 would do good weights. Back at the pub and Leighton was first back and he'd been at North Bradon and done a respectable 5lb 10oz from peg 92 and Steve Parker had 2lb 13oz from peg 96, so far so good.
Then Rob came back from Isle Brewers and he'd had 32lb 2oz from 125 and Justin had caught 22lb 8oz from 124! At this rate I wouldn't even frame but luckily Graham had done 9lb 3oz from 123 and Neil 9lb 2oz from 126, Heardy didn't weigh from 128 so I actually stayed in third place and picked up £20 (plus I've got a £1 to come from him next week). The river had fished really well and this was my best weight so far this river season and I'd really enjoyed it. I also got my first section one pointer to lift me into second place with five points behind Leighton who leads with four.
It was lovely to have a good old natter with Roy and I hope his blank today doesn't put him off (you might draw 125 next time mate!). It was also nice to see lots of roach and chublets showing up in catches, lets hope it continues. Oh and I had my first proper chub this year!
1 - Robin Cox (Ilminster) - 32lb 2oz
2 - Justin Charles (Ilminster) - 22lb 8oz
3 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 12lb 4oz
4 - Graham Field (Taunton) - 9lb 3oz
5 - Neil Dring (Ilminster) - 9lb 2oz
Next week is the Xmas Fayre, what's the betting I don't draw 125!!!!!