Ilminster Canal – 25th November 2007

With no official match on this week I organised a fiddle on the canal. It looked nice although very clear and as we walked along there were loads of leaves on the surface. The wind was blowing from left to right so hopefully all the leaves would collect at the opposite end to the one we were fishing. At the other end is a peg with two trees opposite and the last time I was here it was solid with fish and I’ve always wanted to draw it. As match organiser I had the last peg in the bucket which turned out to be peg one, the peg I’ve dreamed about drawing! Was this to be my day?

There had been several frosts in the preceding days but we hadn’t had one this morning and the weather was quite mild for November. There were odd fish topping and all the signs looked good. I set up two rigs, the first was a Drennan Squatt float with 0.08 mm bottom and a size 20 B511, the other had a 0.4 gram Drennan Carp float with 0.10 mm bottom and size 18 Kamazan B611. On the whistle I cupped in some chopped worm and caster tight across under one of the trees at 11.5 metres. I also cupped in some hemp and caster to the tree to my left at 9 metres.

I started off with the light rig in the middle with single red maggot on the hook and feeding maggot and caster. I fully expected to catch small fish straight away but after ten biteless minutes and the news that Graham Field had already caught two, I soon picked up the heavier rig and went to the tree to my left. No bites here either and I shouted down to John Coxon on my right to see if he’d caught, he replied in the negative but said my nemesis Janders was catching next to him. It was time to try swim number three.

I put on two more sections and went over my chopped worm while feeding casters, the float had barely settled before sliding away and I soon netted a decent skimmer of 8oz, next put in I hooked another but it came off. I then had a roach and a couple of perch, a switch from maggot to caster saw me catch a couple of roach but I had to wait ages for the bites. The bites soon slowed so I moved the rig closer to the tree and had a decent rudd straight away and some more roach and perch. Then the wind changed round and all of a sudden my peg was a mass of leaves and virtually unfishable.

The fish were still there but I couldn’t get at them, I was still getting odd roach and perch but more often than not I was coming back with a leaf on the hook. I tried using my landing net to clear the leaves but I was fighting a losing battle. Halfway through the match Janders came up for a chat, he’d had a couple of better fish but things had slowed for him. I even tried using my pole cup to clear a hole but it would disappear as soon as it was cleared.

With ten minutes to go I was on 22 fish and knew I wouldn’t be picking up any dosh today. All of a sudden there was a hole in the leaves by the tree to my left so I slipped on a caster and after a minute the float disappeared and I netted a good roach and was left thinking what could have been. I had the scales again and after packing up I walked down to weigh in Graham on the other end peg, as soon as he pulled his net out I knew he would be the winner, his net of roach, skimmers and perch weighed 6lb 13oz, well done Graham. Two pegs away, Phil Denslow had 4lb 9oz for second place. I had decided to pay only the top two so all that was left was to see who had won the pound sidebet between me and Janders. He weighed 3lb 2oz and I knew it would be close, my fish went 3lb 5oz to take the first pound off him for ages.

All in all quite a disappointing day really, next week is round four of the V.E.S. winter league which I am jointly leading with Justin at the moment so I desperately need a good result.

Posted by Jamie Rich

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