We were back on the Isle for round two of the Royal Oak Winter League but the river was still really low and clear and my rain dance hadn't worked at all! Rob was going to put in some untried pegs at Isle Brewers but with strong winds forecast he switched the pegs to Upper Coxes with a few new pegs in there. I waited until a few pegs had gone before delving in and pulled out the choice of 23 or 24 - great! Heardy had drawn peg 20 and Dringer had 22 which were two of the new pegs and I quite fancied 22. Fieldy had 15 again and Rob had 14 but said he was going to fish from the concrete instead of the usual place. There were two pegs at Isle Brewers, 124 and 126, Steve Parker and Justin drew these and I reckoned both had a good chance of framing.
Heardy looked at 20 and said it was unfishable and with the agreement of Rob fished in peg 17. I got to the river and looked at 24 but decided on 23 as Fieldy had nearly 6lb of small fish in the first match and had plenty of bites. Fieldy had caught by several weed beds at the top of the swim and there was also the option of fishing down towards the top of 24. I set up a 0.75gr Carbo for fishing at the top and another of 1.5gr for fishing down the swim, both had 0.12mm bottoms and size 18 B611's. The start time arrived and I kicked off by starting at the top with a single caster on the hook. I fully expected the action to start straight away but couldn't buy a bite, not even a minnow!
I was feeding both swims with hemp, caster and maggot and eventually started getting the odd dig on the float from minnows and soon caught one. I tried double caster but the minnows were having a go at that too. I did hook a small chublet but it caught round some weed and the hook pulled out, things were not going well! My first chublet came from 11.5 metres down the swim but this action was very short lived. Back to the top and I eventually started getting the odd tiny chublet and dace but I'd get one or two but they would soon spook in the gin clear water. That was to set the scene for the day really, I would get the odd better dace but they were very few and far between.
About half way through the match, Neil Dring arrived from peg 22 and said he'd just had a few small chublets and I was admitting to around a pound. After he left, Ned was the next arrival and said people were getting odd fish but nobody was really bagging. I had an 8oz chublet from down the peg and I then added two more from the top of the swim and thought I was now up to 1lb 8oz and wouldn't be picking up a brown envelope today. I ended with a flourish with another dace from 11.5 metres and another two from the top including my best dace of about 8oz. I thought my 23 fish (plus minnows) might scrape 2lb if I was lucky.
Neil said he'd had a nice spotty (trout) which I thought might do me but as he was in the other section I wasn't too concerned. Heardy arrived with the scales and it seemed like his pick your own peg approach had worked as he had 64 fish and was admitting to 5lb+. My fish went 2lb 14oz and I would have to wait to see how the Isle Brewers pegs had got on for my section points although I fully expected both pegs to beat me. Neil's trout assisted net went 2lb 5oz before Martin had 8lb 15oz and his net included a good chub which he'd forgotten to tell us about! I thought Martin would win with that. Rob had 2lb 11oz from the weirpool but had lost several good fish again and Fieldy had done 5lb 5oz from his favourite peg.
As we arrived back at the pub, Justin turned up from Isle Brewers, he'd had a right bagging day and had weighed a stunning 21lb of mainly dace on the stick float and caster and he'd said he'd had nothing above 6oz, a great days fishing. Steve had managed one chub for 2lb 6oz from 124 so at least I had a respectable two section points. Steve had lost several chub and should have been there or thereabouts. Once again, given the state of the river I was impressed with the number of small dace and chublets showing and if we could just get some rain I think you'll start to see some really good weights.
Justin had a fantastic days fishing
1 - Justin Charles (Ilminster) - 21lb
2 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 8lb 15oz
3 - Graham Field (Taunton) - 5lb 5oz
So after a really good run of picking up in the last seven matches it was back to earth with a bump. At least I had good points for the league, now I just need a good draw for the V.E.S. next week.