Once again the weather was pretty perfect for this weeks match although some showers were forecast for today. I got to the pub for the draw and all the usual suspects were there plus Leighton Cox had put in an appearance today and it was lovely to see him again. This week Rob had put in Isle Brewers for the first time and also four pegs at Donyatt which we hadn't fished for a couple of years and I fancied them to do well as there are usually loads of trout up there and it would be interesting to see what else would be caught. At Isle Brewers Rob had put in pegs 126, 125, 124 and 123 and I fancied them all apart from 123. I delved into the bucket last and pulled out..., you guessed it, peg 123!!! It can be a good peg and Heardy won a couple of matches off it a few years back but I just can't seem to get on with it and my top weight from it is 6lb something.
I must admit I was feeling a tad dejected and felt sure I would finish well down today, I got to the peg and the river looked perfect with a tinge of colour and a nice bit of pace. The peg looked pretty good too with a bed of stick ups to my right with the flow coming down either side of it, things got even better when a couple of small fish topped and then a chub showed itself in the flow! I made myself comfy and set up the usual 1.5 gram Drennan Trio and plumbed up around the swim to reveal a good depth all over even towards the tail of the swim. I had time for a quick coffee before it was time to start, I baited up with caster and started off in the slacker water at about six metres, I was feeding casters, hemp and maggots there and also flicking some across to the far bank at about 11.5 metres.
Bites came quickly and I had three small roach in the first three chucks and this set the scene for the first hour and I ended up with 15 fish (mainly small roach and the odd chublet) plus a few minnows for about a pound and I felt if I carried on like this I could finish with 5-6lb but I didn't think it would be enough for a brown envelope today. The second hour saw bites start to slow although I did have a slightly better roach of 4oz or so, around the hour and half mark I had a bite which saw my elastic come streaming out of the pole and after a few hairy moments I netted a chub of 3lb+, this was more like it!
I was still fishing at 6 metres and was getting bites from small roach and minnows all over the peg and then I've hooked and landed another chub which was around the same size as the first and after two hours I probably had 7lb in the net! A few more bits followed before I bumped a good fish and I hoped it hadn't spooked them. A 2lb chub a few chucks later settled my nerves and I felt there were a few chub about. After three hours I was still adding small roach and felt it was time to try my far line which I had been feeding from the start. I had a bite first chuck but got snagged and the rig came back a bit of a mess, after sorting it out I was back across but it was pacier over there and there were obviously a few submerged stick ups.
My next fish was a 12oz chub and things were still ticking along nicely, I was getting more minnows now so tried half a lobbie and after a few missed bites I added a 6oz chublet and thought I must have double figures now. No more bites on the worm saw me back on caster and I had a run of roach between 1-4oz inching the float through, I added a couple of gudgeon plus some more minnows but no more chub. I felt there were more in the swim so with my fish counter reading 50 fish, I decided to spend the last half an hour on worm, I missed two really good bites but didn't add any more fish and was hoping I wouldn't get beaten by a few ounces or I'd be cursing not carrying on catching those roach on caster.
As I was packing up, Heardy arrived from the Donyatt section and said it had been hard with just odd trout being caught although Leighton did have a couple of small chub. Tony Newman had the scales in peg 124 and walked up to weigh me in, out of interest I weighed the two biggest chub and the first weighed 3lb 9oz (which is a new pb for me) and the second went 3lb 3oz. I plonked the rest of my fish on the scales and 12lb 2oz was called out. I wasn't sure if it would be enough though as Fieldy had over 130 fish in 125 and was admitting to around 9lb. Tony had struggled for 2lb 8oz although he had a few pike problems. Fieldy was spot on with his estimate and weighed a level 9lb and I was still leading with just Robin in 126 (Barney's bend) to weigh.
Rob said he hadn't had a bite for three hours but then had found some quality roach and he weighed a brilliant 10lb 10oz to finish second. So I'd done it, I picked up £50 to make this my best year ever and beaten my biggest chub in the process. I'd now won two out of two in this league although there's a long way to go. The Donyatt section had fished hard with Leighton the top weight there with 2lb 13oz. It was worth trying as we can't keep fishing the same pegs every week but it was disappointing for the anglers who had struggled.
1 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 12lb 2oz
2 - Robin Cox (Ilminster) - 10lb 10oz
3 - Graham Field (Taunton) - 9lb
The river really is fishing well at the moment with double figures needed to win and good back up weights as well with lots of small fish showing along with some good chub and roach, lets hope the frosts hold off and we keep getting some colour in the river on Sundays.
Next week is round two of the V.E.S. and I'm hoping for another good result then so be sure to come back to see how I get on.