River Isle – Xmas Fayre – 13th December 2009

Finally we were able to get on the river and it was in good nick with a tinge of colour and plenty of pace. We’d had a couple of frosts in the week but it was actually quite mild in the morning, all I needed now was to draw a good peg! There was a good turnout of twenty anglers, including my nemesis Janders, at the pub. After a quick coffee it was time to see what my destination would be for the next five hours. Janders drew just before me and pulled out peg 95, a peg I really didn’t want! I stuck my hand in and pulled out 82 which is a decent peg and one I have done well off in the past. Everybody wanted to draw 125, an out and out flier which has won more matches than any other peg, that honour fell to Robin Cox.

Ashley Tomkins and Steve Parker wanted to follow me to the river as they don’t fish the Isle that much, so off we went in convoy. Ash had drawn peg 85 (the big bend) and as it’s a consistent peg I fancied he’d do well, Steve had 83 (the bridge) and although not a great peg, Graham Field had won off it earlier in the year. My peg looked lovely with a deep hole by some trailing tree branches to the left and plenty of cover across as it shallowed off to the right. I set up two gram and a half Carbo’s, one for the deep hole and the other for the shallows. Both rigs had 0.12mm bottoms and size 18 B611’s.

I started off in the deep hole with caster on the hook, I was feeding both the hole and the flow to my right. It was a bit boily here and presentation wasn’t great so I added another section and went nearer to the branches where there was slacker water and the float held nicely. The float had been there a few minutes and I just picked the catapult up when the float dipped before sliding away. I struck and a decent amount of blue hydro came out of the pole tip and after a brief struggle I netted a chub around the pound mark. Great start and I really fancied I might get a few.

No more indications came, despite trying half a lobbie and I noticed it had got really cold all of a sudden. After an hour I wasn’t too perturbed and picked up the shallow rig but couldn’t buy a bite and after two hours I was a little more concerned. Ash suddenly appeared by my shoulder and asked how I was getting on, I told him and asked what he’d had. He replied he’d caught two decent chub and a chublet (and he was walking!). With my lack of action he didn’t stay long, as he said he’d caught his fish on maggot I decided to try double red maggot. This wasn’t too exciting either and I was just about to go back to caster when I had a decent bite, the strike was a bit of an anti climax as a minnow flew out of the water! I was just about to ship back when I saw a good fish flash, followed by it attacking my minnow. It didn’t look like a pike so I quickly unhooked my minnow and went back out with half a lobbie on. My excitement was short lived and I went back to watching a motionless float.

I kept swapping baits and trying my two lines but all I added to my net was another minnow and a tiny dace. Steve wandered up, he hadn’t had a bite and said he was going to pack up which meant I’d be lumbered with the scales. As he was packing up, Scotty Russell turned up to see how we were getting on. While he was stood next to me, another good fish swirled and I was sure I would get another fish, maybe in the last golden hour. Scott said he’d been to Isle Brewers and most people were struggling apart from Robin on 125, who was getting a few. He then went to see how Ash was getting on. The golden hour arrived and went without another bite, so I packed up and went down to weigh Ash in. He hadn’t caught anymore but weighed a respectable 5lb 8oz and I said he might sneak into the frame with that.

My fish went 1lb 5oz and I was really disappointed with that. Back at the pub and the river had fished really hard with not many breaking a pound! Robin had won it with 9lb 6oz followed by Andy Welch with 7lb from peg 28 and Ash did indeed claim third place. The only other decent weights were Tony Newman with two chub for 5lb 6oz and he lost two that could have won it and Fred Brown who had a solitary chub of 3lb 4oz. Janders took a pound off me with 1lb 10oz and I actually finished in seventh place and took home a bottle of whiskey for my prize.

So not a great return to the river, maybe next week will be better. I would like to say a big thankyou to Steve and Cindy at the Crown for laying on a lovely buffet and also to Pete Lonton for organising and getting all the lovely prizes.

1 – Robin Cox (Ilminster) – 9lb 6oz
2 – Andy Welch (Ilminster) – 7lb
3 – Ashley Tomkins (Yeovil and District Angling Centre) – 5lb 8oz
4 – Tony Newman (Ilminster) – 5lb 6oz
5 – Fred Brown (Ilminster) – 3lb 4oz


Posted by Jamie Rich

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