After last weeks freezing minnow-fest, the weather had warmed up considerably although strong winds could make presentation a nightmare. There were nine of us today and Robin had put some cracking pegs in, including Redbridge, pegs 55, 66 and 125. I pulled out peg 122 but actually had the choice of 122 or 120, although a mega walk I decided to fish the weirpool (120). Neil Dring had 125 and I thought he'd be there or thereabouts, Fieldy had peg 126 but fished 123 because of horses in the field! (I reckon he just wanted to fish 123).
Leighton, Rob, Freddy and Martin had drawn Redbridge with Heardy on a new peg that looked really chubby. Steve Parker and Graham Bulgin had pegs 55 and 66 and both of them can throw up huge chub weights. I started the long trek to my peg and stopped at 122 to have a look, it looked nice but as I've always wanted to fish the weirpool I dropped some of my kit off there before carrying on. I eventually got all my kit to my peg with only 20 minutes before the start and I was puffing like a good-un (I really must invest in a trolley). With my peg being low down I was hoping I might be sheltered from the wind a little bit but it was blowing right across the peg and already staring to become quite fierce.
I only had time to set a single rig up (a deepish Carbo) and plumbed up to find a nice depth in the pool, shallowing up a little towards the tail. There was also some far bank cover in the tail so I decided to fish two lines, the deep water and the tail. I started off at about 9 metres in the deep water, feeding hemp, casters and maggots and expected to catch quite quickly. This didn't happen (not even a minnow!), so after ten minutes I tried by the tail. The flow was actually going back the other way with all the main flow under my feet, the rig settled and then slid away and I swung in a small roach.
I was getting a bite every chuck on double bronze maggot and was catching mainly small roach with the odd chublet and dace and thoroughly enjoying myself (especially after last week). After the first hour I had 21 fish which I thought must go about 2lb and if I could keep this up for the whole match I would do low double figures. The second hour was slightly better with 25 fish including a couple of better roach and chublets and a small trout (which count). The poxy wind was getting stronger though and I had to stake my keepnet out as it kept blowing out of the water! (and in the process discovered my wellies leak).
Things started to slow up in hour three, I was now catching on double red maggot and a quick try with caster just saw a couple of missed bites. I was still getting fish from the tail but was catching a lot of gudgeon with the odd minnow. I did hook a big fish which I had under control but the hook pulled out shipping back and I was sure it was a good chub - bugger. Fieldy turned up and said he'd had a good chub plus a few minnows for about 3lb, I told him I thought I had about 4-5lb. I caught a roach while he was there before he walked up to see how the pegs at Redbridge were doing.
The wind was now horrendous and it was really hard work trying to hold the pole, I added a couple of tiny trout plus more gudgeon and the odd minnow and caught a decent roach on caster (the only fish I had on it). I did try going to 10 metres tight against the far bank but got snagged and lost a hooklength. I was getting really frustrated with the wind and swearing like a tourette's sufferer at it but it wasn't taking any notice! I'm sure I'd have caught a lot more if it had been calmer but I kept reminding myself everyone was in the same boat.
The last hour was really slow but I was still getting gudgeon but knew I wasn't going to reach my 110 fish target. I finished with exactly 90 fish (plus a few minnows) and I thought I might have close to double figures. I packed up and started to take some of my kit back, I met Fieldy coming up with the scales and he said he hadn't caught any more chub and that Neil had really struggled on 125. He also reported that Leighton had four chub early on plus roach from 110 but the others at Redbridge were struggling.
My fish actually went 7lb 9oz so I'd under estimated for once! and I was a little disappointed but had been catching too many gobies and not enough silvers. Graham weighed 3lb 5oz and Neil on 125 only had 6oz! Since Graham broke the match record from it the catches have steadily decreased and Neil said there were loads of fish topping above him so maybe in the shallow water they've moved up.
Back at the results and Leighton had added another chub to win comfortably with 12lb 10oz and I was second and picked up £27 plus I beat Heardy so he can give me back my pound next week! The other pegs at Redbridge had fished poorly with Fred not weighing and Rob and Martin only catching minnows. Graham Bulgin didn't weigh from 66 and Steve Parker only had minnows from 55 but apparently they both fished the wrong pegs!
I'd had a good days fishing apart from the wind (grrr) and as I won my section I'm now leading the league with 12 points followed by Fieldy on 13 and Neil and Leighton both with 15.
1 - Leighton Cox (Ilminster) - 12lb 10oz
2 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 7lb 9oz
3 - Graham Field (Taunton) - 3lb 5oz
A - Steve Parker (Ilton) - 10oz
B - Neil Dring (Ilminster) - 6oz
Next week is the Open and I hope we have some rain before then or it could be hard going yet again.