Sunday, February 24, 2013

River Isle - V.E.S. Precision League 7 - 24th February 2013

The weather had been bitterly cold all week and the final V.E.S. match was looking like another grueller. Rob had done the right thing by putting us all down the bottom end at Redbridge and Isle Brewers and hopefully we should get a few bites. Martin had already secured the league title once again and as Justin wasn't fishing today, my second place was safe too. I couldn't catch Martin as the worst points total he could finish with was eight and even if I won my section today I'd finish on the same points and he has a far superior total weight. There were still several anglers fighting it out for the third spot though. Also there were three golden pegs today so it was odds on somebody would be in for a bumper payday.

My day started nicely when Rob handed me £30 for winning the league last week and then got even better when I drew peg 126 (Barney's Bend) which has been one of the most consistent pegs on the river, a quick check of the weigh board revealed it was a golden peg too! The pressure was on and it's probably my best chance of a golden peg win for a long time (I've only ever won one). Heardy had drawn 124 which can be a very good chub peg and Steve Parker had the choice of 123 or 129, he elected to fish 129 and would be an unknown quantity as it hasn't been in so far this year. Bob Hammond had 108 at Redbridge and Rob had 109 where I won a few weeks back and Fieldy had the weirpool at Isle Brewers which has been pretty consistent.

I got to the river and it was painfully low and clear and you could see the bottom in a lot of my peg, I still fancied it for a few fish though. With it being cold and crisp I'd brought some liquidised bread and intended to start on punch. The main flow in my peg was down the middle and I set up a 1 gram Top bodied float to run through and a 1.5 gram Drennan Trio to inch through overdepth, both rigs had 0.12mm bottoms and size 18 B611's. It really was very cold and it kept trying to snow as well, us anglers must be mad! I had a coffee to warm my hands and then it was time to start, I cupped in a small ball of liquidised to my right just off the main flow at 11.5 metres and started on the lighter rig with punch on the hook.

Normally this pegs holds a good head of small fish so I was slightly perturbed when I'd only had one small dig (minnow?) after ten minutes. A switch to double red maggot saw me catch a tiny minnow and I was off the mark but I wouldn't be winning the match with them! I switched to caster and started running it through the peg to where it shallows up to my left but not a touch! Next I went 13 metres to my right to the head of the swim where there were some dead branches in the water and the float sort of dragged under and a half hearted strike saw a fair bit of my elastic come out of the pole tip and I saw a good roach flash in the shallow water. I slipped the net under a beautiful 8oz roach which was freezing cold to the touch when I unhooked it.

Next put in I've had a more positive bite and netted a 10-12oz chublet and I was on my way, or so I thought! Then I couldn't get a bite and I felt there were fish there but reckoned they were spooking in the clear, fairly shallow water. I tried poking the pole as far to the right as I could and ran the flloat through the swim in the main flow, another quality roach responded and I probably had getting on for 2lb and felt if I could keep putting the odd quality fish in the net I would do a respectable weight. But then I couldn't buy a bite again, a quick try with the heavier rig and maggot just resulted in another tiny minnow. Thinking my 0.12 hooklength might be too beefy for the finicky roach, I tied on another of 0.08mm with a size 20 B511 but this didn't seem to make any difference.

We were now two hours into the match and then Fieldy walked down from weirpool, he said I was easily winning the match as nobody else had managed a bite yet! After watching me for ten minutes he said he was going down to see Steve in 129, on his return he said I needed some more fish as Steve had landed a 2.5lb chub and as he was also on a golden peg he was now in the lead for a very nice pay day. Fieldy stayed for a bit during which time I only added another miniscule minnow before he headed off for an early bath. With half the match gone I still felt I'd get some more fish and I also thought Heardy would get a chub or two in 124.

I kept alternating between running the float through, holding it back by the branches to my right and also against the far bank opposite me but just couldn't get a bite, where had those fish gone? My next visitor was Rob and as he sat behind me I was fishing caster against the far bank and getting minnow knocks when all of a sudden I had a better bite and the strike saw a little bit of elastic come out, this wasn't a minnow but a tiny roach of less than an ounce and my interest was renewed somewhat. I had two more quite quickly and although I wasn't adding much weight to my net, I hoped some better roach might put in an appearance.

Rob went down to see if Steve had added to his chub and while he was gone all I could catch was a couple of tiny minnows and I could feel the match slipping away. I kept trying by the branches where I'd had those quality fish but apart from a minnow on maggot I never had another bite there. Rob came back and said Steve was still on one chub so if I could find a few more roach I would still be in with a shout. Rob also left for home and left me with the pools money to pay out as there was only me, Heardy and Steve left.

With around an hour left I was back across with caster and getting indications which I'm sure were minnows so I tried double maggot and hooked a small roach which came off on the way in - great! Then, with the light starting to fade a roach topped right where I had been fishing and I started getting proper bites again, I had a couple more tiny roach and lost another, then I had one of 2oz and right on the whistle another of a similar size which I netted to be safe. Why couldn't they have fed an hour earlier? I still felt it might be quite tight between me and Steve providing he hadn't caught anymore and I hoped the two small fish I lost wouldn't cost me.

Martin turned up with Steve to weigh me in and although Heardy hadn't had a bite, Steve had found another, slightly smaller chub and thought he had 4lb or so which I knew would be enough today. My fish weighed 2lb 3oz and I just needed a few more of those clonking roach. We got to Steve and out of interest I weighed his first chub which went 2lb 7oz so it would have been quite tight if I hadn't lost those two small fish so I was fairly relieved when he weighed 4lb 4oz in total to win on the day. Steve had a nice payout as he won £125 with the golden peg and also finished third in the league and should have some more money to come from Pete next week. I had £30 for second on the day and hopefully should pick up some more next week for finishing second in the league.

Steve went home a lot better off than when he turned up this morning!

1 - Steve Parker (Ilton Superstars) - 4lb 4oz
2 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 2lb 3oz

Final league positions

1 - Martin Heard - 8 pts
2 - Jamie Rich - 9 pts
3 - Steve Parker - 14 pts

So a pretty disappointing end to the league really and the V.E.S. title stills eludes me with along with a second golden peg win. Next week is Barney's Pairs Open and I think Rob has made the right decision to swap it from the river to the canal and the pond, unless the weather warms up it might still be hard going but everybody should get a few bites. After a great start, the fishing on the Isle went downhill after Xmas as it always seems to do, I don't think there's a lack of fish (as the early results show) but the extreme conditions were against us. If we'd had some mild weather and some colour in the river, it might have been a different story.

I can't finish without saying a massive thankyou to V.E.S. Precision for their very generous, continued support and also to Rob for organising the league, it's a thankless task and he does a great job walking the river and cutting out swims and I just want to say a huge thankyou from Ilminster AA and all the competitors who fished this year.

Right that's it from me this week, come back next week to see how me and Justin get on in the pairs.

Ilminster AA's AGM is this Friday 1st March at the Royal Oak, Ilminster

Sunday, February 17, 2013

River Isle - Royal Oak Winter League 9 - 17th February 2013

I should have known better than to post an update yesterday on how well the fishing was holding up on the Isle (but more of that later). I awoke this morning and was greeted with a frost but the outlook for the day was still quite bright and it looked like being a lovely day. I got to the pub and the first person I saw was Fred Brown who was fishing his first match of the campaign and it was lovely to see him for the first time in ages. With Rob not fishing today it was left to us to sort out the pegging, after Redbridge and Isle Brewers hadn't fished great last time out we decided to use the top end and Ashford.

We put in all good pegs and gave people choices on several as well, I didn't really mind where I drew and when I pulled out the choice of 82 or 84 at Ashford I was pretty happy. Bob Hammond pulled out the big bend (peg 85) and asked if he could follow me to the river. On arrival I walked up to look at 82 and it looked that good I didn't even bother going to look at 84, the river had a tinge of colour although it did look a tad pacy. I pointed Bob in the direction of his peg and off he went. I set up a 1.5 gram Drennan Carbo and plumbed up round the peg. You normally catch either in the deep hole in front of you or in the shallower water towards the tail of the swim. The deep hole was very boily and the flow was all over the place so I would start running the float through in the shallows (where I had caught the last time I fished the peg).

The start time arrived and first run through I snagged up and lost my hooklength - good start! Next put in and it was obvious the river had a lot more pace than I first thought and I suspected our friend the ranger at Chard resi was letting water out again and this would mean very cold water and it wouldn't help our chances much. After an hour of trying all over the shallows with double maggot, caster and lobbie I was still biteless and in trouble. Next I plumbed up again and tried the deeper water with the same result - nothing. With not even a minnow bite on maggot I just knew I was going to blank, the river had a strange 'dead' look to it, which is hard to describe. Malcolm 'The Old Fossil' Levy and one of his mates turned up, they were going to fish at the bottom end of the river but wanted to see how we were getting on. They didn't hang around watching me catch nothing for long and I hoped they would have a better day than I was having.

At the halfway point and no sign of a fish I was nearly out of coffee and very bored, I decided to have a walk upstream to a little peg that's never used in matches but has always looked very chubby and see if I could get a bite. There was a lovely depth and far bank cover but after 15 mins and no indications I was back on my box and scratching my head. Then my phone rang, I never normally take my phone with me but wanted to keep an eye on the footy which stood at Chelsea 0 Brentford 0 at half time, it was Justin and he called me all sorts of names for the pegging! He was in 15 which I really fancied but had only had a couple of minnows, Steve Parker had left for an early bath and Freddy in the tank traps was the only one who'd caught a proper fish with a couple of dace and a trout.

When Justin ran out of names to call me we finished our rather one sided conversation and I got back to my blanking. Bob hadn't been for a walk so I reckoned he must have caught and there was also Tony Newman in 27 and Fieldy in 28 that I didn't know about but one fish was looking like it could be a money fish today. The trouble was, I just couldn't see how I was going to catch one, out of boredom I walked down to peg 83 just to see if I could get a bite and convince myself something was feeding today. The peg used to be really good for small fish but after the floods the bank had washed away leaving a sheer drop and a barbed wire fence to fish over which is why it's not pegged any more. I had a go for 15 mins but not a touch and something was really wrong with the river today.

I went back and tried upping the feed to see if I could tempt a chub in the golden last hour but it was futile and I blanked for the second time this year, the only good news was that Chelsea beat Brentford 4-0. I packed up and walked down to weigh Bob in, I passed peg 84 and had a quick look and it looked awful and I don't think I'd have fished it even if I had looked at it this morning. Bob said he'd had two chub and normally the chub in this peg are 2-3lb apiece but his two weighed 1lb 1oz although he did say he missed a bite on the tip as well, I said he'd frame with that today.

Back at the results and the river had fished terribly, Freddy won with 1lb 2oz which meant Bob was second and Justin was third with eight minnows for 2oz and nobody else weighed in! Serves me right for praising it up yesterday, in all seriousness I don't think I can recall a match when over half the field have blanked, you can normally catch some minnows. Luckily today's disaster didn't affect the league as I couldn't be caught anyway (thank God!) and hopefully there will be some money to come next week when Rob is back.

The top three on the day (from left to right), Bob, Freddy and Justin

1 - Fred Brown (Ilminster) - 1lb 2oz
2 - Bob Hammond (Ilminster) - 1lb 1oz
3 - Justin Charles (Ilminster) - 2oz

Final League Positions

1 - Jamie Rich - 80 pts
2 - Graham Field - 74 pts
3 - Robin Cox - 68 pts

Next week is the final V.E.S. league match and I'm currently lying in second place and I need a decent result to make sure Justin doesn't overtake me at the death. I know one thing for sure, I won't be doing an update on the Isle next Saturday!! Be sure to come back next Sunday to see how things pan out.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

An update on the Isle

Towards the end of last year I did a little piece about how the Isle was fishing, since then the weather has been awful and most of our matches have been switched to the pond or the canal, we did manage one match at the start of the year where I blanked and another two weeks ago which I won. I've been dying to get back on the river and now the temperature is up a few degrees and we've not had too much rain so hopefully we should be on it tomorrow. It will be interesting to see how it fishes after the floods and cold weather.

Here are the pegs and the winning weights so far,

Match 1 - 7th Oct - Peg 15 - 17lb 5oz
Match 2 - 14th Oct - Peg 27 - 14lb 12oz
Match 3 - 21st Oct - Peg 123 - 12lb 2oz
Match 4 - 28th Oct - Peg 28 - 20lb 9oz
Match 5 - 11th Nov - Peg 23 - 19lb 3oz
Match 6 - 18th Nov - Peg 28 - 5lb 6oz
Match 7 - 2nd Dec - Peg 126 - 8lb 2oz
Match 8 - 9th Dec - Peg 109 - 16lb 8oz
Match 9 - 16th Dec - Peg 106 - 8lb 8oz
Match 10 - 6th Jan - Peg 126 - 9lb 13oz
Match 11 - 3rd Feb - Peg 109 - 9lb 12oz

The winning weights have dropped off a little since the early matches but are still hovering around double figures. As I suspected chub have started to win a few matches after the first frosts but small fish nets are still featuring in the frame from certain pegs.

I'm still doing okay and since the last update I've had a second with 5lb 9oz and a win with 9lb 12oz, the match in between I blanked but did lose a chub first chuck which would have go me second place. Below are my pegs and results so far (wins in red, framing places in bold)

Match 1 - 7th Oct - Peg 15 - 17lb 5oz
Match 2 - 14th Oct - Peg 28 - 8lb 14oz
Match 3 - 21st Oct - Peg 123 - 12lb 2oz
Match 4 - 28th Oct - Peg 124 - 4lb 3oz
Match 5 - 11th Nov - Peg 27 - 2lb 15oz
Match 6 - 18th Nov - Peg 28 - 5lb 6oz
Match 7 - 2nd Dec - Peg 15 - 6lb 8oz
Match 8 - 9th Dec - Peg 79 - 3oz
Match 9 - 16th Dec - Peg 120 - 5lb 9oz
Match 10 - 6th Jan - Peg 122 - Blank
Match 11 - 3rd Feb - Peg 109 - 9lb 12oz

We've still only really used a few sections of the Isle but I'm not fussed where we are tomorrow, it'll just be nice to get back on the river. Come back tomorrow to see how we get on, it should fish well or will it be a massive let down?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Ilminster Canal - Open - 10th February 2013

With the amount of rain we had on Saturday and throughout the night I knew we wouldn't be on the river today, after my recent run of decent results I was hoping we'd be out the pond today. The first surprise of the day was when I got to the pub and Matt Pang from work was there, the second surprise was when Pete told me we were down the canal today. I felt a little sorry for Matt as he'd only brought river rigs with him but I said I'd lend him anything he needed. I drew peg 5 which would put roughly in the middle of the canal and Matt drew next door.

It was still raining and the third surprise of the day was when we got down the canal and it was gin clear! There are several feeder streams and they were starting to colour the canal a little on the far bank and as we were setting up that colour was starting to spread along the canal. I had Fieldy on my left with Heardy next to him and along from Matt was Andy Welch who always fishes the Xmas Fayre and the Open every year. I set up a light Drennan Squatt with size 20 B511 and 0.08mm bottom for down the middle and a Drennan Choppie with 0.10mm bottom and size 20 B611 for fishing across to the far bank.

I finely chopped some worm and caster and was just about ready when Pete blew for the all in, I cupped in some choppie at 11.5 metres before starting down the middle with double pinkie on the hook. I was feeding a pinch of maggots via a toss pot every put in and flicking a few casters across as well. I intended to leave the far bank as long as possible especially as I never had a bite across the last time we were down here. After 20 minutes the float hadn't even flickered and when I asked Matt he said he hadn't had a bite either. I shouted up to Fieldy who said he'd had a small roach so it looked like it was going to be fairly hard.

I had my first bite and fish (a small roach) after 25 minutes to get me off the mark, I thought a few more might follow but it was painfully slow. I did notice Heardy was getting a few and so was Andy Welch, why couldn't we catch? Pete came for a walk and said he'd had five fish, I was now on three roach and after an hour I was trying across with caster for the first time. Matt had got off the mark as well with a couple of perch. No bites across saw me back down the middle, it was still raining and a gusty wind was being a pain as well and I wasn't really enjoying myself very much.

Pete came back from his walk and said Andy had around a dozen fish and Steve Parker was getting a few although Tony Newman on the end peg was still dry netting. Martin seemed to be the only one catching consistently. Things were still slow down the middle so I went across with single red maggot and had a couple of quick roach before the bites stopped. Me and Matt were neck and neck, I looked up to see Fieldy netting a decent perch which I reckoned would put him up around the frame places and I was going nowhere fast.

Around half way through the match, the wind dropped and the rain eased off and I could actually present the rig a bit better. I was now feeding a pinch of chopped worm down the middle and started getting a few bites, I had a roach and next chuck hooked a decent fish which turned out to be a decent perch of 8-10oz and I felt I wasn't too far off the pace now. It seemed to be a case of chasing the fish around and getting a fish of two from each line. I had lost a couple of small roach on the way in and done a fair bit of swim clearing along the way with all the weed that was there.

Fieldy lost a carp fishing tight across between the two tree stumps he had in front of him and looked to be sitting out for big fish. With nobody apart from Heardy really catching I thought there was still a good chance of framing but then I looked round to see Matt netting a good skimmer of a pound or so to put a spanner in the works. I still thought I might sneak third until I looked the other way and Fieldy was playing another carp which looked to be around 3lb and I was now in real trouble.

I had another roach and missed a bite across before coming back down the middle for the last half an hour. I had two roach quite quickly from here before hooking a slightly better 3-4oz roach which came off at the net and my day was going from bad to worse. I just had time to ship back out when Pete blew to signal the end and I must admit I wasn't too upset to hear the whistle. We all packed up quickly as it had started to get cold again and went to watch the weigh in which started with Pete.

Pete weighed 13oz and had enjoyed it about as much as I had, Martin had a lovely net of skimmers weighing 7lb 12oz and had only fished at 7 metres all day. He must be doing something different because in the last match he was the only angler to catch skimmers in numbers as well. Fieldy weighed a carp assisted 4lb 8oz before I had slightly more than I thought with 2lb 6oz. Matt beat me on his first visit here with 2lb 11oz and I thought he might frame with that. But then both Andy and Steve weighed 3lb 3oz to tie for third place as poor Tony Newman never had a bite on the end peg.

Martin 'The Skimmer King' won his second match on the canal this year

1 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 7lb 12oz
2 - Graham Field (Taunton) - 4lb 8oz
3 - Steve Parker (Ilton) - 3lb 3oz
3 - Andy Welch (Ilminster) - 3lb 3oz

A really disappointing day for me as I normally do well on the canal and had framed in my last eight matches here. Still it was nice to see Matt and I hope he fishes some more of our matches. Next week is the last Royal Oak match so come back next Sunday to see how I get on and if we manage to get back on the river.

Friday, February 08, 2013

The Best Of Barlow - A Review

For me, the next best thing to actually going fishing, is reading about fishing! I get all the monthly mags as well as the Angling Times but I also read a lot of books about angling (this might surprise some of my readers who thought I just liked looking at the pictures!). I ordered the Best Of Barlow recently and I must admit I wasn't too sure what to expect, I used to get the Angler's Mail years ago and can recall Frank's weekly column and I really thought this would just be a collection of the most memorable musings from that period. Well it arrived and to a certain extent I was right but what Greg Meenehan has done is go through all of Frank's columns and pull out all the funny anecdotes and compile them into sections, for example Frank Barlow On Bad Draws, On The Weather, On Lost Fish and so on. This works really well and I found myself laughing out loud and I finished the book in no time.

I found I could relate to lots of Frank's stories (if not his angling ability) and it really was a window into a time when match angling was very different to what it is today (and some would say a better time!). I didn't know Frank personally but I have sat behind his son, Dean, at the John Smith's festival at Evesham and many of the other greats mentioned in the book. I remember me and my mate Andy sitting behind Steve 'Rip Off' Toone (now also sadly gone) when he was on one of the famous boards pegs when he landed a match winning barbel and it was great to read more about him in this book. He had a nickname for everybody and many of the phrases coined by Frank are still in use today, who hasn't drawn a cess pit or parrot cage?

The Best Of Barlow

He writes about a time when big matches really were big and carp were a relative rarity, he talks about long walks, blanking and framing with weights of less than 100lb, all things that a newcomer today will probably never witness again in this commercial obsessed age. Undoubtedly match angling today is more professional and perhaps a little clinical, there don't seem to be as many characters around now, there are plenty of stars and some of them are really nice blokes but for many, angling is now their living and some of the fun seems to have gone out of it.

When I started fishing many years ago, commercials were virtually unheard of and all my fishing was done on natural venues and I've witnessed the face of match angling change completely. Most of Frank's fishing was done on large rivers and canals and in this book you get to witness his highs and lows. Frank and Dean travelled all over the country fishing big matches and they won more than their fair share which is all a far cry from the ten peg opens and venue experts of today. They used a variety of methods and I can't recall any mention of pellets at all! I'm not knocking today's sport because I still love it and can't wait to get my next fishing fix but this book reminds me of visiting new venues for the first time and the magic of waiting for a first bite. I can't remember the last time I used a rod and reel whereas Frank would have to use pole, lead, feeder, whip, waggler and stick when he fished everywhere from lakes in Cornwall to inner city canals.

It really is a look back at the 'Golden Age' of match fishing (and it's not that long ago!), there are some great black and white and colour photos and it's fantastic that Dean is carrying on in his Dad's footsteps as a really talented angler in his own right. The only criticism I would make is that the book was a little pricey at £20, I'm not sure if a softback version is planned but I think it would sell well. I heartily recommend this book to any anyone who likes fishing and smiling (which I found myself doing at numerous points all the way through).

I said at the start that I thought it would be just a collection of Frank's columns and after finishing the book I found myself wanting more, I would love to see all his columns published from start to finish so I can relive them in their entirety.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

River Isle - Royal Oak Winter League 8 - 3rd February 2013

No rain on Saturday and although some was forecast for Sunday, it was all looking good for us to actually get on the river today. Loading the car up, there hadn't been a frost overnight and the dashboard display was reading five degrees so hopefully we should be in for a few fish today. I got to the pub hoping we'd be on the top end but the general consensus was for us to head to the lower end. Rob decided to use Redbridge and Isle Brewers and with all the pegs being possible winners I wasn't too bothered where I drew. I pulled out 109 at Redbridge and was happy with that as Heardy had done 16lb 8oz of roach off it in the Xmas Fayre.

On arriving at the river it had quite a bit of pace and a tinge of colour and things looked all set for a roach fest. My peg was pretty featureless, just a long straight leading up to some overhead wires, I was a little concerned while setting up that I hadn't seen a fish top which I thought might be a bad sign. With (hopefully) roach on the agenda I set up a 1.5 gram Drennan Trio to inch through overdepth in the flow and a 1 gram Top bodied float to run it through just off bottom. Both rigs had 0.12mm bottoms and size 18 B611's (a little heavy for roach I know but I could always scale down if I wasn't getting bites) with light elastic through the top twos. Bait was the usual maggots, casters and hemp.

I was just about ready and Fieldy wandered down from peg 108 and said he was getting small fish scattering which was probably a jack pike lurking about, still at least he knew there were some fish in his swim. He went back to his peg and it was time for us to start, I baited up with double red maggot and shipped out to the middle and fed some maggots and casters upstream and some hemp straight out in front of me. Normally if you are in for a good day's roach fishing, you'll catch quite quickly, I was inching the float through but after 20 minutes I hadn't had a single indication and was starting to worry.

Then I've had a bite and the strike saw loads of my light elastic come streaming out of the pole, this was no roach! I was thankful I'd started with the heavier hooklength and with no real snags about I was soon netting a chub of around a pound and a quarter - bonus! Next put in I missed a bite and then I had chub number two, this one was about 1.5lbs and I'd got off to a great start. Chub number three soon followed and then number four and number five!!!! The biggest one was nudging 2lb and after an hour I'd already had five chub for probably 7.5lb. I was sure this couldn't last but hopefully I'd start getting a few roach as well.

Going into hour two, the float went again and chub number six was on, this was another around the 2lb mark and I just couldn't believe what was happening. The swim didn't look chubby at all and it was a little concerning that I couldn't catch a roach. Then I saw Justin (who was down in the weirpool on peg 120) on top the bank with his landing net running downstream and I was guessing he'd dropped something in the river! Fieldy walked down to see what I'd been netting and when I told him I'd been catching chub he seemed a tad surprised too. He said he'd had a couple of roach but it was a bit of a struggle so for whatever reason the roach seemed to have shut up shop today. I now couldn't buy a bite and was pinning my hopes on getting a few as the light started to fade in the last hour or so.

Just after Graham walked back to his peg I brought the rig in to discover one of the two red maggots was ragged right out and this renewed my interest somewhat. Then Justin came up and said he was struggling too with just a few small fish in the net and his cause wasn't helped by dropping a pole section in the river - whoops! While he was with me I had another sucked maggot where I hadn't seen a bite and I felt sure it was only a matter of time before I added to my six fish. I tried caster and double bronze maggot with no response and went 13 metres down the swim but nothing.

I kept going through the motions waiting for the 'golden' last hour, I guessed Fieldy was getting odd fish as he hadn't been back down and I also felt the pegs at Isle Brewers would do a weight as well. I still hadn't seen a fish top and just couldn't buy a bite anywhere. The last hour arrived and went without incident and I ended up with just the six chub, I couldn't believe I hadn't caught a roach or even a minnow! I had the scales yet again so packed up and walked down to weigh Justin in, he started getting odd small fish near the end and weighed 1lb 11oz.

Me and Fieldy helped Justin with his gear back to my peg and then they weighed me in, my six fish went 9lb 12oz so I wasn't too far out with my estimate for once. We then walked up to weigh Fieldy in and he had found a few more roach to finish with 1lb 14oz and just pip Justin. I still felt pegs 124 or 126 could beat me but hopefully I'd done enough to frame. Back at the results and Steve Parker had blanked in 124 and Rob had 5lb 13oz from 126 so I'd won my second match of the year. With the depleted turn out I picked up £30 but it all helps my holiday fund!

My six chub, caught in just over an hour!

1 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 9lb 12oz
2 - Robin Cox (Ilminster) - 5lb 13oz
3 - Graham Field (Taunton) - 1lb 14oz

Well an enjoyable day although some roach to top my net up would have been nice, in the league I'm still leading with 79 points followed by Rob and Graham who are both on 67. With one match to go, I don't think I can be caught. Next week it's the open so come back next week to see if I can keep this good run going.