More awful weather in the week and much of the country had snow so I was pleasantly surprised when I woke up and it was mild and we hadn't even had a frost. Quite a bit of rain yesterday would hopefully put some colour in the river too. At the draw there were the usual suspects and I was quite surprised to see Heardy as he said he wouldn't be fishing this one. It turned out the pond he was supposed to fish was frozen over so he was here to take another pound off me!
Rob had done the right thing by using the top end of the river this week and I fancied pegs 14 or 27. Rob's drawing hand is on fire at the moment as he pulled out 14, mind you as I had the choice of 27 or 28 I wasn't too upset. I've been dying to fish 27 as it's been really good to me in the past and as Martin was on 29 I would be able to keep an eye on my pound. I arrived at the river and it looked gorgeous, a nice pace and a lovely tinge of colour, the best it's looked all season and I really fancied it to fish well today. My peg certainly looked the part as well with a nice slack opposite and a branch hanging in the water about 10 metres down the peg.
I set up a 1 gram Drennan Trio with 0.12mm bottom and size 18 B611 and was ready for the start after a quick coffee. I just couldn't believe what a lovely day it was after the crap weather in the week. I fully expected to catch straight away and baited up with double bronze maggot. I started just off the slack in the flow but no bites soon saw me searching down the peg. After ten biteless minutes it was obvious it just wasn't going to be the bagging session I'd hoped for. I'd also been feeding upstream in some slacker water as I've caught well there on previous visits but ten minutes trying there resulted in no action either. I just couldn't believe I couldn't catch a minnow.
After a biteless hour and a half, I decided to walk down and see if Martin had caught, I passed peg 28 which also looked really good and when I got to Heardy I asked how he was getting on, he replied he hadn't had a bite either! He said he'd spoke to Rob in 14 and he was blanking too, I just couldn't understand it, I'd have put money on it fishing well today. Martin reckoned perhaps salt and grit washed into the river might have buggered it or that the prolonged cold snap had put the fish off. I went back and tried single maggot all over the peg to try and catch a minnow and while fishing 11.5 metres towards the far bank downstream I was sure I'd had a slight judder on the float. Inspection of the maggot revealed it had been nipped! I knew it was only minnows but one would avoid the dreaded blank and guarantee me two section points.
Next put in I had a minuscule minnow and five minutes later I had another and that was enough of that! Running out of ideas I tried shallowing right up and fishing in the shallows below the branch in the water, first put in with caster the float buried and I had a 7oz trout to get me interested again. Just after I landed it, Heardy turned up and said he'd caught a minnow but just couldn't buy a bite from a proper fish. I stuck with fishing the shallows but never had another bite there. I went through the motions for the rest of the match, trying maggot, caster worm but never had another fish - great.
I packed up and went down to weigh Martin in, sure he'd have caught a couple of late chub but when I saw his gear packed up I guessed he hadn't found any. In fact he had a bait box of water containing his solitary minnow and I awarded him the obligatory ounce. Any hope I had of sneaking into the frame evaporated when he said that although Rob had blanked, both Steve and Neil had caught trout. My trout and two minnows weighed a mighty 7oz which meant I took another squid off Martin which was the only high point of the day. Steve Parker won with four trout for 2lb and Neil was second with 1lb although he did lost two big spotties which would have seen him win easily.
With one match to go, Martin has already won this league as his dropped result is a two pointer and he's on nine points meaning his worst total would be eleven, I'm on eleven so even if I win my section in the last match I can't catch him.
1 - Steve Parker (Ilton) - 2lb
2 - Neil Dring (Ilminster) - 1lb
What a disappointing day, well lets hope the weather stays mild and we have some more rain for the open next week.