I got to the pub and had a pleasant surprise when Rob said we'd be fishing the canal today, the weather was certainly mild enough and I expected it to fish quite well. I drew peg 5 which put me near the end where we park the cars. Justin had drawn the end peg (although he was quite a way from the end!), Heardy had peg 3 and was moaning that the end pegs always win. There has been a lot of work done on the far bank and it was looking a bit bare and there weren't many reeds on the far bank either. On the plus side there were quite a few small fish topping.
I set up a light rig for down the middle (Drennan Squatt float with 0.08mm bottom and size 20 B511) and a 0.4 gram for across with 0.12mm bottom and size 18 B611. I chopped up some worm and caster and on the whistle cupped it in at 11.5 metres where there was a tiny bit of cover before starting down the middle at 8.5 metres with single red maggot on the hook. I was feeding a few maggots and casters here and my first bite saw me net a decent roach of 6oz or so. I missed a bite next chuck before catching two small perch. At this stage nobody else seemed to be catching much so I decided to try a caster and my next fish was a good perch of 8oz and I was really enjoying it.
Next put in I missed a bite on caster and then couldn't buy a bite, even on maggot. By this stage both Neil Dring on my left and Justin had caught a few small fish but from what I could see nobody was running away with it. After an hour I went across for the first time with caster and the rig settled and just kept going!, I struck and a decent fish was on and I soon netted another stripy, this one was around 10oz. Then I missed a bite on caster and couldn't buy a bite again but I wasn't panicking yet, there was plenty of time to go.
Neil and Justin were both scratching their heads like I was and Rob on peg one was walking so it looked like bites were at a premium. There were several squirrels playing about in the few remaining trees on the far bank so at least I had something to watch! I kept trying both my lines with caster and maggot and even tried fishing off the duck weed on the inside but couldn't get a bite anywhere. Justin had a decent perch and shortly after had another and we were neck and neck, the trouble was, he was getting the odd small fish as well. I decided to put some more chopped worm across and have a quick walk while I left it to settle.
Neil said he'd had seven small fish and then I got to Heardy and he was catching roach and skimmers quite regularly, while I was there he had a 6oz skimmer, missed a bite and bumped a fish and I reckoned he was already in the lead by quite some way. Steve Parker had a few small fish as did Rob but his cause wasn't helped by several dogs jumping in!, so much for a quiet days fishing! I went back and tried my light rig over the chopped worm but still nothing doing and I just couldn't see where my next bite was coming from. Martin was fishing down the middle and catching and I wondered if it was because he'd fed some micros, mind you he also had a decent reed bed across, which I think helped.
It was still close between me and Justin but he was still getting the odd small fish and I needed a fish from somewhere. I tried fishing at 11.5 metres to my left between me and Neil and laying the rig in feeding hardly anything when out of the blue the float started gliding along the top and I struck and quite a bit of number four elastic streamed out of the pole tip, I gently played and landed another 8oz perch and thought this put me ahead of Justin. Next put in the float slid away and a small roach was on but it came off on the way in - bugger. Then I couldn't get a bite again. Justin had a few fish from his inside line to his right so I chopped up some maggot and cupped it in on my inside line but never had a bite there all match.
With an hour to go, it was obvious Martin would win yet again but as for second and third place, it was anybodies. Neil packed up and had an early bath, Rob said Steve was catching a few small fish and Justin was still catching odd small fish but he hadn't had anymore decent perch. With the light fading I did manage four small roach, all caught on the drop from different spots and I was praying my extra perch would cancel out Justin's small fish, we would soon find out!
I packed up before starting the weigh in at peg one where Rob had 4oz, Steve had 1lb 11oz and I wasn't sure I had that, Martin had a nice net of roach and skimmers weighing 6lb 10oz and nobody else would come close to that. My ten fish went 2lb 11oz and when Justin pulled his net out I knew it would be close, the needle settled on 2lb 14oz and I'd have to settle for third place. He said he'd caught his small fish on half a maggot on a 24 hook and I was left wishing I'd had some pinkies with me! Still I picked up £15 and gained a point on Rob to put me second in the league, behind Martin who has a perfect five point score.
1 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 6lb 10oz
2 - Justin Charles (Ilminster) - 2lb 14oz
3 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 2lb 11oz
So Heardy continues where he left off in 2011 by winning again, can anybody stop him?, tune in next week to find out.