The last match in this league and, wonders will never cease, we were actually able to get on the river. This match was also the last chance we would have of fishing the Isle until October. Twelve of us lined up to await our fate for the next five and a half hours, including Janders who agreed to a side bet as it was the last match. Coming into this matchMartin Heard was the runaway league leader followed by Barney and I had managed to get myself into third position and desperately needed a good result today.
I really fancied pegs 125 or 126 at Isle Brewers but when I drew peg 14 (the tanktraps) I wasn’t too upset as I had already won two matches from here and Digger said he thought I would win from there, I wasn’t so sure. Janders was below me in peg 15, which is also a decent peg and due a good weight. I got to my peg and was suprised to see the river really pacy and the tank traps actually unfishable, below the traps there is a little cutback which sometimes produces but this was very boily. To my left there is a little grass island where I caught last time but this was shallow and you could see the bottom in places. I was starting to fear the worst.
I set up my old faithful gram and a half Drennan Carbo with 0.12 mm hooklength and size 18 B611, for bait I had bronze and red maggots plus hemp and caster. On the whistle I started in the slack by my feet and caught two minnows to avoid the blank. I tried by the traps but it was pointless, and trying the cutback was also fruitless and when no bites were forthcoming from behind the island I thought I was in real trouble. After half an hour I was back down in the cutback but the boily water kept dragging the float under, after the umpteenth time I struck and to my suprise a decent fish was on, after a brief struggle not helped by the strong flow I netted a chub around the two and half pound mark, thats more like it I thought.
No more bites here so I shallowed the rig up and went back behind the island, the float went straight away and a small dace was swung to hand, quickly followed by a chublet. I started to think I might bag up but that was it. Into the cutback again and the float had hardly settled when it shot away and I netted a trout of 8oz, they count in our matches so it was welcome. Back by the island and no more bites so I added a section and started to catch small dace with the odd better one and chublets and some quality roach. It wasn’t ballistic but I was catching steadily.
During quiet spells I would go back to the cutback and this resulted in two more chub around the pound mark and a decent roach. By the half way mark I had around twenty fish and was chugging along nicely. The only down side being Chelsea were down 3-1 to Spurs in the FA cup at half time, this was the first time I had brought a radio with me for years and I was starting to regret it! All of a sudden I noticed the river was colouring up and there was lots of debris coming down, I looked up to the weir and I could see some blokes in the river clearing all the branches that had accumulated, blocking some of the flow. This put paid to my bites as the river came up around a foot.
Janders wandered up and said that after a good start where he had two chub, he couldn’t get a bite now either. He asked how I was getting on and I said I reckoned I had about 5lb. After about an hour the blokes had finished and slowly but surely the river started to return to normal and I started to catch again. Another trout from the cutback of a pound also put in an appearance. Coming into the last hour bites were harder to come by and I was now fishing at 13 metres past the island and still picking up the odd fish. Chelsea fought back to 3-3 to earn a replay so at least I could face Neil Dring back at the pub. During the last hour I had a couple more dace, two chublets and a roach for about a pound or so.
I packed up and took some of my stuff back to the car, I passed Janders and he had only added a perch to his chub. I walked back to my peg with him as he had the scales, Dave Lawrence also turned up, he was on peg 24 and had caught two early chub and then struggled. Janders asked what I had to which I replied about 6lb although I thought I might have 8-10lb. When I pulled my net out I knew it was more and was suprised when the needle settled on 13lb 6oz, they both called me a lying git. Janders weighed 6lb 13oz and Dave, 6lb 4oz.
Back at the results and pegs 125 and 126 had struggled and I was amazed to find out I’d won and picked up £49, better news was to follow as my section win had put me level on points with Barney, who had blown out today, and I beat him on weight so I was second in the league behind Martin and picked up £60 plus a fiver from Janders. Pete Lonton was second from peg 124 with 7lb 6oz and Janders third.
1st – Jamie Rich – 13lb 6oz
2nd – Pete Lonton – 7lb 6oz
3rd – John (Janders) Anderson – 6lb 13oz
Final league positions
1st – Martin Heard – 9 points
2nd(on weight) – Jamie Rich – 13 points
3rd – Barney Crockett – 13 points
Next week we’re on Ilminster Canal for the final Crown league match and I need to beat Martin as I’m currently topping the league by two points, wish me luck.