Checking the records, the first match of the year was supposed to be on the Isle but was cancelled due to the river being flooded (sound familiar?). The next few matches were nothing to write home about either (also sounding very familiar!!!) and I seemed to be losing a lot of fish that were costing me framing places and section wins (also not unusual, have I learnt nothing in 22 years!). Then on 15th Feb I was on peg 17 at Coxes (it was a decent draw back then) and had five chub for 8lb 12oz and third place but lost one which would have seen me beat Fred Brown who had 9lb 3oz for second from peg 24 (another great peg at the time), Malcom Levy won on the day but I didn’t record what weight he had.
A few weeks later I fished an interesting Chard teams of three match where each team was drawn out of a hat and I ended up with two of the clubs most consistent performers, Steve Bishop and Brian Netherway. Each trio would have an angler on a different pond and we had Bish at Howley, Brian at Perry St (although neither on great pegs) and I was at Sadborow on peg 5 (good peg) and had a nice day to finish second on the pond with 38lb 14oz of carp but the other two struggled and we finished well down.
A rare midweek match on April 1st, saw a win at Sadborow with nine carp for 27lb 8oz from peg 7 before the pairs league kicked off the following Sunday. I was on peg 5 in the Perry Low section while regular partner, Andy Saunders was down the resi. I had a few small fish in the first hour, four small tench over my hemp line but then struggled and only added three little eels to weigh 3lb 15oz for 6 points. Andy came back with the same points while the winners for the previous two years, Rixon and Sivell, continued where they left off and were top of the leader board once again.
For round two I was at Sadborow on peg 3 and had a nice day catching eleven carp and three roach to win the section with 30lb 1oz, Andy couldn’t fish so I had Dunner as a supersub and he came back with 6 points which put us in fourth place, a first and second for the nearly invincibles, Rixon and Sivell, meant they were still on course to defend their title.
Our wheels fell right off in round three, I was on the resi low numbers and was blanking until the last hour when I had a few small fish for a lowly 15oz and three points, Andy had four points and we dropped right down the leaderboard. Not much to write about for a few weeks and then me, Arf, Andy Langdon and Rich White went down and fished the top lake at West Pitt Farm and had a cracking days fishing, I had nine bream to 5lb, golden tench to a 1lb, a couple of crucians plus roach for probably 40lb+.
The following day, a few of us had a knock up on a mates pond that I’d never fished before, it was stocked with mainly carp and to this day I’ve never known carp fight as hard, I fished a waggler shallow and lost the first one before landing the next five. I thought I had it sorted but then lost the next six!!! My five carp along with an eel and few small fish went 22lb 6oz which was top on the day followed by Andy L and Nick Saunders who both had three carp.
If I thought the last pairs match was tough the next one was worse, I drew peg 20 in the resi high section and blanked, only had one damaged maggot all day, I had no idea who won as I wheelspinned out of the carpark and went straight home! Round five was better at Perry St, I was on peg 14 in the high numbers and had a couple of nice roach before starting to catch some big 1lb+ eels, I weighed 7lb 3oz for second in the section but lost/bumped several eels which cost me as 9lb was top.
The final round saw me at Howley and I drew peg 6 which was in the middle, started at five metres and was catching lots of roach with a couple around 10-12oz along with the odd skimmer and hybrid. Came on my inside line and had four carp along with more roach, skimmers and some nice perch. A really nice day’s fishing to weigh 19lb 14oz and third in the section behind weights of 29lb and 38lb which I should have been closer to as I lost five carp and a big perch! Andy and me finished tenth overall in the pairs, Sivell and Rixon jointly won the league with Kev Rowles and Rob Kepner.
A few weeks later the Drennan Superleague got underway and after promotion last year, we were now up against the big boys. The first round was on the K & A canal and I drew right outside a pub, a really good peg apparently but with it being a gorgeous sunny day I knew I wouldn’t get much peace. A chap and his three kids talked to me for ages before the start and that set the scene for the day.
I caught a few small fish down the middle but when I went across over my chopped worm line, it just didn’t happen, my peg was like Piccadilly Circus with loads of people stopping to talk on their way to or from the pub, dogs fighting, joggers, bikes and numerous narrow boats trying to moor up in my peg with every one churning the bottom up. Several of the part time boaters took exception when I said they couldn’t park in my peg and all in all it was very frustrating and difficult day.
My 1lb 11oz was last in the section and most of the team had struggled, a rather ‘Rude Awakening’ against the likes of Des Shipp, Steve Mayo, Mark Harper, Tony Rixon and Pete Sivell to name a few!
Next – Part two and the Drennan Superleague campaign continues.