At the beginning of the week we were one angler short but Sam managed to convince Mark Thorne to come along and help us out. Mark is primarily a commercial angler and had not fished the river before. After captain Chris Hook sent the team sheet out in the latter part of the week it was quickly followed by another amendment with Steve Hutchinson replacing Sean Partridge. At least we had a full team of 6.
I did fancy the Norfolk Reeds area but Chris came back with the team draw and I found myself on F3 which is about halfway along in the section know as ''the trees'' at Salford and walkable from the Rugby Club where the draw was. Not too bad an area and usually plenty of roach.
When I saw the river for the first time I was pleasantly surprised. It looked very fishable and the pole would be an option depending on my peg.
Space between the pegs appeared to be quite generous although Thatchers Tony Gilbert was not that far away on F4 (I do seem to be drawing the same section as Tony, 3 times in the last 4 matches).
My peg was fine as far as pace of the river was concerned and a 3.5 gram float was able to cope along a crease on the bank side of the main flow at 11 meters. Depth was just over top 4 so I set two identical rigs up top 5. Yellow and red tipped float and a 5 and a 6 elastic. Two feeder rods also set up, dutch master with a 40 gram and my trusty drennan with a 30 gram. Both had wide gap 14 hooks to 0.15 power line.
At 10:00 5 balls laced with chopped worm, caster, hemp and squats went in on the pole line. I decided not to put any feed in on the feeder line (halfway across) until I saw how the pole line went.
After a couple of trots down I had a 4 oz roach on double red maggot which was encouraging. I added a few more roach over the next half an hour and then topped the line up with another small ball of ground bait. A few better roach were caught and worth netting. Tony came up to see if I was catching and said he only had a couple of small roach so I knew I was ahead of him at this point anyway. Soon after the angler upstream of me came down for a walk and was admitting to around 2lbs. I think we were about 2 hours into the match. The fish seemed to be a little bit further out and down the peg more so topped up again with two small balls. I caught a few more decent roach on pinkie but it was painfully slow.
I guess it was around 13:00 when I picked the tip rod up and filled there feeder with plenty of worm and caster and half a lob worm on the hook. I was re-casting every 5 minutes or so and missed a drop back bite after 20 minutes. Another bite came next cast and I connected with a solid force that slowly started to move. It turned out to be a decent skimmer bream about 2lbs or slightly less.
Regular casting and lots of chopped worm brought me two perch around a pound each over the next 11/2 hours. I did miss another rattle of the tip due to being distracted by a dog walker behind me.
I did have a look now and again on the pole line but decided to finish the rest of the match on the tip.
5 minutes before the ''all out'' at 15:00 i had what looked like a slow pull on the tip. I hit it on the second indication and thought I had a bream but it turned out to be a tidy eel of a 1lb plus.
After packing the gear up I walked downstream to meet the scales. Lance Tucker had just weighed 7lb 9oz and the next best with 4 anglers still to weigh was 4lbs odd. I wasn't sure I could beat Lance.
Tony was next to weigh and had 2lb 12oz. I knew he had had a bit of a mare today as he kept swapping methods all day trying to find some fish.
When I pulled my net out I knew it would be close between Lance and I. It was, my net went 8lbs 3ozs.
Those feeder caught fish gave me the edge in a tough section
I caught up with the scales for the last two anglers who had struggled so my section win was confirmed.
F Section weigh board
Back at the Rugby Club the rest of the team met up. Chris won his section up at Newbridge with 13lbs of bream, Lewis was second in his section as was Steve. Sam and Mark had barely a pound each and finished bottom in theirs.
There were a couple of decent bream weights up the Newbridge end as I expected.
1st Rob Mann 60lb 13oz
2nd Rich Lacey 35lbs 01oz
3rd Paul Purchase 30lbs 12oz
1st Thatchers B
2nd equal...M&N, Mosella A, Mosella B
5th Thatchers A
1st Sensas Nomads
Not sure about 3rd and 4th places
Next Sunday back on the canal in Bath for the Commercial House Christmas match.