We all met out the pond to be told the match was on the river! Everybody really wanted to draw the ‘Tank Traps’ swim and the lucky angler was Martin Heard and he would be very hard to beat off it. For my sins I drew peg 16 which is just below a sewage outlet, it used to be a very good roach peg but in recent years is rarely used in matches. The river was very low and clear and as I took my kit to the peg small chublets and dace could be seen in the flow.
I only set one rig up, a gram and a half Drennan Carbo with 0.12 mm bottom and size 18 Kamazan B611. This was coupled with white hydro through the top two sections. I started off just running the rig down in the flow and started catching small chublets and dace on caster. I was getting the odd better fish around 4oz but in the main they were only just bigger than minnows. I was loose feeding casters and hemp and after half an hour I had 15 fish. Then I started catching minnows so I added a section and went into the slacker water on the other side of the flow. This resulted in a nice little run of three or four roach which at around 6oz apiece were very welcome.
With the river being very clear and my swim not having a huge amount of cover I knew it would only be a matter of time before bites started to dry up. The roach disappeared and I carried on catching small dace and chublets along with the inevitable minnows. Big Frank was below me on the other side of the bridge and before the start his swim looked nice and several big chub could be seen swimming around. After a couple of hours I heard a loud crack followed by Frank stomping over the bridge to get another pole section from his van. I asked how he was getting on and he said he’d just lost a big chub (and snapped his number four section) trying to bully it away from the farside cover.
I was still catching the odd small fish by trying different spots all over the swim but was now really starting to struggle. Several people were bank walking and reports suggested that apart from Martin Heard, who was bagging, nobody was really setting the world alight. I heard two more loud cracks from below the bridge and I think Frank was running out of pole sections fast! I wasn’t sorry to hear the whistle go as the last couple of hours had been really hard and I ended with 42 fish (plus a few minnows) which I guessed would give me a couple of pound.
After packing up I walked down to watch Frank weigh in, in the end he’d managed to land three chub and along with a few bits weighed 6lb 3oz and I said I reckoned he’d definately frame with that. Malcolm Levy only weighed 14oz and John Coxon didn’t bother weighing. Martin Heard had an amazing 16lb 8oz and would win by a country mile with that. Digger Denslow had 3lb exactly and I was suprised to weigh 4lb 1oz. So with the bottom section to come back I was in third place, would I sneak into the frame?
It wasn’t to be though as both Justin Charles and my nemesis Janders weighed 5lb 15oz for third place and to rub salt into the wound, Janders took a pound off me. I had to settle for a section win and picked up £20.
Next week sees the start of the Crown league on the river and I would dearly love to pull the Tank Traps swim out of that draw bag, wish me luck.