On Sunday we were back on the Parrett for the J. Irish trophy which was also the culmination of the Memorial Shield (six river matches with the best five results to count). This was my fourth year fishing it and since finishing second to Bob Newbury three years ago, I’ve been in the mix right up until the penultimate rounds when my challenge has faltered with Russ Hilton and Nick Payne being the next two names on the trophy.
This years campaign got off to a great start when I won the Evening Cup and over the next few rounds it was nip and tuck between me, Nick and Derek Goad. Going into the last match I was in pole position but only had a slender one point lead over Nick with Derek just four points adrift.
There were only nine of us fishing today and I was hoping we’d be on all the good pegs but due to a problem with the lock on the gate, we could only use the first field (not that I’ve been through that gate this year anyway!). Looking at the pegs being used, I felt to stand any chance, you’d need to draw 8, 1 or 9 (in that order), then probably 5 was the best of the rest and I really didn’t fancy 3, 7, 10, 13 or 15.
Dave announced the draw and Nick went in early and only pulled out peg 8 which pretty much meant it was game over for me, especially when I drew 5 (for the third time in four matches at Parrett Works!). After all the rain yesterday and through the night, the river looked perfect with pace and colour, probably the most I’ve ever seen at PW.
I set up a 1 gram bodied float to fish down the middle and a 0.5 gram DH16 for fishing across and further downstream where it was a bit shallower. Both rigs had size 18 Guru Match Specials to 0.10mm and number 5 Dura Slip elastic through the top kits.
On the whistle I just fed a little hemp and caster slightly upstream and then chopped worm 11.5 metres down the peg. Starting with single maggot, the first hour was fairly steady with several small roach, a decent dace plus gudgeon and a few minnows. The weather was pretty miserable and absolutely chucking it down with no signs of relenting.
Going into the second hour, I added a few more fish including a nice roach on caster but bites were already dwindling so I had my first look on the worm line. After a few minutes, the float dipped before sliding away only for me to strike into thin air. I missed a few more positive indications but I think minnows were responsible so I fed it again and went back to fishing maggot and caster down the middle and towards the far bank.
With only a pound or so in the net, I was struggling and hoped it was the same for everyone, I heard Dave Pope below me on peg 7 say to Nick that he’d only had a few gudgeon and minnows but Nick replied saying he’d just caught a decent chub so I really needed a bonus from somewhere.
The heavy rain was beginning to take its toll with the river rising and getting pacier, I did hook a slightly better fish that turned out to be a 4oz trout which didn’t help my cause. Then just to further chuck a spanner in the works, I missed a bite and the rig went round a branch, I had to grab the elastic and pull, the float flew back at warp speed and smashed into two pieces. With the lighter rig now useless in the flow, I set up another 1 gram rig but with a size 16 B611 to 0.14mm and black hydro, if I hooked a big fish, I wanted to make sure I got it out!
The next hour or so was a non-event apart from a couple of willow branches that put up a good fight in the increasing flow. I also heard Nick say he’d caught a second chub and time was running out for me. Priv turned up to see how we were doing and said it looked like Terry on peg 1 and Parker ‘The Pole’ on 3 were only catching minnows.
With about ten minutes to go, I’ve finally hooked a fish on worm but a 6-8oz chublet wasn’t the bonus I needed, just before the all out I heard Nick shout he’d just landed his third chub and I knew my race was run this year.
After packing away my drenched kit, I walked up to watch the weigh in and get some photos, Terry ‘The Toast’ on peg 1 did well with 2lb 2oz of dace, roach, gudgeon and loads of minnows, Parker ‘The Pole’ was on 3 which hasn’t done anything this year and weighed in a brilliant 4lb 2oz which included a 2lb+ chub. My meagre tally of fish went 1lb 11oz and then Dave P had 4oz on peg 7.
Nick was next and his three chub and a few bits went 4lb 12oz, Derek had loads of small fish for 1lb 8oz on peg 9, the Grand Wiz on peg 10 weighed 11oz, Cliffy had 2lb on 13 and last to weigh was Fieldy on 15 who had 3lb 13oz which included a nice chub.
1 – Nick Payne (Ilminster) – 4lb 12oz
2 – Steve Parker (Ilton) – 4lb 2oz
3 – Graham Field (Taunton) – 3lb 13oz
4 – Terry Morgan (Ilminster) – 2lb 2oz
Nick’s win ensured he won the Memorial Shield for the second year running which is no mean feat considering he blew out in the first two rounds but he then finished second, third, first and first in the next four matches to score 60 points (dropping his worst score of 1 point).
Memorial Shield top three
1 – Nick Payne – 60 pts (dropping 1 pt)
2 – Jamie Rich – 56 pts (dropping 5 pts)
3 – Derek Goad – 51 pts (dropping 1 pt)
So a disastrous weekend all around for me and I have to admit I was gutted to fall at the last hurdle but I did the right thing by trying to catch a chub because even if I’d scratched around and caught 2lb or so, it wouldn’t have been enough. Looking back at my results, the match where I drew peg 8 and lost two chub and bumped one was massive, if I’d landed one I’d have finished second on the day, scoring 14 points which would have tied with Nick on 59 and I would have won on weight. Also drawing my least favourite peg at Kingsbury and catching 9oz for 5 points didn’t help but that’s all if’s, but’s and maybe’s.
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Next up – Acorn Fishery
Coming soon – Lots more match reports
Check Out – My last match