River Isle – Chris Patten Xmas Fayre – 3rd December 2023

I haven’t fished the river since 29th Jan when I blanked at Hambridge and I must admit I was hoping for rain so we’d be on the pond which has been fishing well. Alas my prayers weren’t answered and the river it was. As always there was a great turnout with lots of faces I haven’t seen since last year including George Perkins, Paul Adams and Freddy among others.

In the morning we were well looked after by Charlotte and Drew at the bowling club and were also joined for breakfast by the Grand Wiz and Chanter who were on their way to fish Chard’s winter league. With 23 anglers fishing, there were only a few pegs I fancied (14, 108, 122 and 123) and I desperately wanted to avoid Coxes (17-24) and Hambridge.

The draw was announced and Les was in front of me in the queue and pulled out 23 which I really wouldn’t have wanted although I was also relieved that I couldn’t draw it, I was next and my ping pong ball had the numbers 2 and 4 on it and despite me searching for a 1 in front, poxy Coxes was where I’d drawn! I honestly thought about not fishing and maybe trying to get in at Summerhayes or something but decided to give it a go but in my heart of hearts, I knew a struggle was on the cards.

After popping back to Chard (and avoiding the temptation to stay there!), I headed back to Coxes and prepared myself for the route march to the peg. I know we all take too much kit with us these days and with hindsight I probably could have lightened the load considerably by leaving non-essential items in the car, things like my keepnet, landing net, disgorger, bait….. well you get the picture!

It took me several trips to get all my gear to the peg and I was knackered when I got there, it looked really nice with a tinge of colour and pace although as I got ready I didn’t see any fish top and I was already fearing the worst. Plumbing up, it was a lot shallower than I remember at about 2.5ft and I only got one rig out, a 0.6 gram DH16 with a size 18 B611 to 0.12mm. On the side tray I had red maggots, casters and Bait-Tech Super Seed hemp.

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I shouted the all in at 10:00 and started down the middle with double red maggot on the hook while feeding casters and hemp. No bites so I started edging further across and also holding back by the branches on the left. I did have one little dig on the float but that was it, Les shouted down he’d caught a minnow so at least he hadn’t blanked.

After around an hour I shipped the pole back so I could put my coat on and pour a coffee and while the rig was just holding back in the flow, the float went under and the tip of the pole rattled but I missed it! That got me interested again but no more indications had me searching further down the swim and then the float buried and a decent fish was on! Straight away a trout jumped out the water so I quickly shipped back and it was around 12oz but came off at the net anyway!

I tried going 14.5 metres down the peg but no more indications and I was bored already so decided to go for a walk, Les had a couple of gudgeon and a few minnows, Neil P on 22 had minnows and had chucked back a trout, Dave P on 21 had minnows, Leighton on 17 was struggling, Andy W (peg 15) had caught a chublet and trout and then I walked up to see Jake in the weir pool.

To be fair it didn’t look as great as I thought it would and it was hammering through, Jake said he’d caught well early on but it had slowed up a bit, while I was there he had two nice chub around a pound apiece and lost two. As I walked back, Andy had caught a nice chub of 1.5lb and lost one, I got to the bridge and then decided to pop home for an hour as I had something I needed to do!

On my return, I hadn’t missed much below the bridge and went back to peg and continued going through the motions, I tried upping the feed in the last hour (mainly just to get rid of my bait) but never had another indication, bizarrely when I shouted the all out, a little fish topped right in the back to my right so there’s obviously the odd fish there. That’s my second blank on the river this year (and I’ve only fished it twice) so I don’t think I’ll be rushing back.

Les had a little chublet late on to weigh 6oz, Neil had six chublets, a rudd plus minnows for 14oz, Dave had six minnows, Leighton blanked, Andy had caught another chub to weigh 3lb something and then Jake had a brilliant 17lb 8oz of chub and a single roach.

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Neil weighed 14oz from peg 22

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Andy on peg 15 had two chub for 3lb+*

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Jake had an excellent 17lb 8oz of chub to win the Xmas Fayre for the fourth time*

Back at the results and apart from the leading weights which were all chub, the river had fished poorly. Jake was confirmed as the winner to continue his excellent record in this match (he’s now won it four times since 2017), Bish was second with five chub for 14lb+ from 123 at Isle Brewers, Simon Garbutt was third with four chub for 12lb 8oz from peg 128 and Phil H had 6lb 2oz (two chub) from 122. Thanks to Jake Woodard*, George Perkins**, Simon Garbutt*** and Chris Haines^ for the photos.

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Bish was second with five chub for 14lb+**

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Simon had four cracking chub for 12lb 8oz from peg 128***

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Fred had 3lb+ of roach from Hambridge^

1 – Jake Woodard (Ilminster) – 17lb 8oz
2 – Steve Bishop (Sharp MG) – 14lb+
3 – Simon Garbutt (Colmic Somerset) – 12lb 8oz

The anglers all enjoyed a lovely buffet at the bowling club before it was time for the prize giving, I made myself comfortable as it would be a while before me and the other blankers (no that’s not a spelling mistake!) would be called up. When it was my turn I picked up four nice bottles of wine. One of the prizes Chris Haines donated was a feeder rod, a peg was drawn out to decide the lucky winner and it was only peg 14 which finished the day off nicely for Jake!

The club would like to thank Max for organising, Chris Haines (Haines Angling) for his kind prize donations, Baz Morgan for sponsoring the event and Drew and Charlotte (Ilminster Bowling Club) for looking after us before and after the match.

Rob Cox donated £2 and with pounds from the Grand Wiz and Chanter, the Nugget-O-Meter rose to £15, thanks chaps.

There’s still a great offer running if you fancy treating yourself to some new fishing gear, use the exclusive discount code AgainstMenandFish10 to get 10% off when you shop online at Somerset Angling
Xmas is coming so if you’re stuck for present ideas, I still have copies of my book available from eBay here or Amazon here


And if you could spare five minutes to leave a nice review on Amazon, it would be very much appreciated.

Next up – White Springs

Coming soon – Lots more match reports

Check Out – My last match

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Posted by Jamie Rich

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