Well a new year has arrived but the weather hasn’t changed as it’s still very wet and windy, I turned up at the Crown fully expecting another match at Dillington only to be told the river was fishable. I drew peg 14 (the tank traps, where I won the first Hollowlegs match with over 18lb) and wasn’t too upset although I was a little worried about how much extra water would be on it.
On driving over the river I was suprised how nice it looked with a bit of extra water and a touch of colour. My mood changed somewhat on reaching my peg, it was a boiling mess! Basically there are two main areas to catch the fish, by the tank traps where the flow goes after coming off the weir and just off the main flow in a deeper hole. Both these areas were really boily and virtually unfishable, below the traps is a little cutback where the fish sometimes can be found and this looked like my best bet.
I set up my usual 1.5 gram Drennan Carbo with 0.12mm bottom and size 18 B611 hook, plumbed up and then tried the rig to see how it would do against the flow. In the cutback it wasn’t too bad although at 13 metres it would be hard work and to my left, just off the flow I could run the float through but trying to hold back and the float would just ride up. On the whistle I started to my left feeding maggot, caster and hemp and fully expected to catch straight away. When this didn’t happen I tried in the cutback and again this was unsuccessful. I was beginning to think my only hope would be for the river to drop a foot or so but with rain forecast this was unlikely.
To my left there is also a small grass island behind which there is a small slack, I know from experience that it is really shallow but out of desperation decided to give it a go. The float had only been there a few seconds when it slowly submerged and after a brief struggle a decent dace was netted. I was somewhat relieved as I had avoided the dreaded blank, next put in and the same thing happened, had I found them? I thought I’d better plumb the depth and yep, even with the extra water it was only about a foot deep. I adjusted the rig and next put in I bumped a fish and the next one I had on briefly before it got into the fast flow this side of the little island and came off.
I still hadn’t fed anything here but was catching well and after the first hour had over twenty fish, all dace. I was still bumping quite a few and I think a lighter float might have been the answer but I’m a lazy bugger and anyhow I was quite pleased with my catch rate. I kept waiting for sport to slow but it didn’t and I had over forty fish after two hours. By now I had started to feed a pouch every other cast if I hadn’t had a bite quite quickly and this seemed to do the trick. Justin wandered up from peg 23 halfway through the match, by which time I was on fifty fish (49 dace and 1 roach). He reported he’d had a chub and Digger on peg 15 had caught two, while he was there I caught a couple and lost a couple in the flow. He suggested I try double maggot instead of caster as that might help to keep them on the hook.
I tried it and did catch quite well, it also meant I didn’t have to keep shipping back in after a missed bite unlike fishing with casters as I had been doing. After several fish he said he’d seen enough and walked off. I continued to catch at a rate of twenty fish per hour but in amongst the dace I started to catch the odd roach and chublet, with these averaging about 12oz. I was still having too many coming off for my liking but even changing the hook didn’t stop this. I think there must have been hell of a lot of fish there and I ended up just short of the hundred with ninety-seven fish (80 dace, 10 roach and 7 chublets) plus 2 minnows which I don’t count.
The last time I had this peg I weighed 18lb odd with 100 fish and although I had some bigger fish then, I also had quite a few small chublets so I really had no idea what weight I’d done this time around. Digger walked up with the scales and after two weighs my final weight was 24lb 4oz (my biggest Isle match weight ever). Digger hadn’t added to his two chub and weighed 3lb 15oz. When I got back to the pub and all the results were in, I had won again and picked up another £65. As well as being my heaviest match weight on the Isle another landmark was reached as this was the first time I’d ever won three matches on the trot.
The river had fished pretty well with Martin Heard second with over 12lb from peg 85 and Roger Russell continuing his good form with over 9lb and third from peg 55. I just can’t believe what an amazing run of form I’m having, it has to end soon. Next weekend, weather permitting we are on the river again for the Hollowlegs league, I would love to win this league but will need several good section placings in the remaining few matches to do well. Oh and I promise more photos soon.