I had not fished the K & A Canal for 2 years or more and never fished the Sections for the 5th Round Match. The guys in the Team gave me some idea of the rigs to set up but I felt more info was needed so contacted Diawa Gordon Leagues Shaun Bryan who had been fishing an adjacent section in the Upper Thames Div Winter league and won his Section the previous week.
I had a good chat with Shaun who gave me some pointers and much needed advise which was greatly appreciated and gave me a bit of extra confidence.
The draw was at Spencers Club in Melksham and the Upper Thames Div were drawing there as well so it was a bit busy in the car park.
Mike Withey was captain today and came back with the draw showing me on D4 with parking at the Chicken Farm (so Currie goes to the Chicken)....not a clue where that was but followed team mate Rich Whitmarsh who was in F Section.
We travelled out of Melksham towards Trowbridge and the fields were still white with frost, temperature gauge on the car was showing -1 and it was a bright morning so going to be rock hard. Rich informed me I was in a good Section but the wrong end.
It was a fairly easy walk to the peg but the gap between the waters edge and the hedge behind was more or less the width of the tow path which is not good due to the runners, walkers and cyclists.
To be fair my peg looked ok when I arrived and I was able to set up using my large Rigger Platform with the long legs out into the water a bit giving me more room behind, this platform has been invaluable.
I set up 3 rigs...2 for down the track at 14:00 and 10:00 where there was around 3 foot of water, top kits had No.4 and No.3 elastic with a 4 x 14 and a 0.75 gram float, hook lengths were 0.08 and 0.09 to size 20 and 18 hooks. A small choppy float (0.5 gram) was set up on the third rig for fishing across in 18 inches of water with a 5 elastic to an 18 to target perch. I was ready about 5 mins after the all in.
On D5 I had Jerry Pocock and on D3 Nicola Goodhind who was right beside a barge. Upstream from Nicola was Tony Gilbert on D2 who I had just pipped the previous week and on D1 Shaun Townsend.
My bait tray had ...bread, caster, squats, pinkie, maggot and worm.
When I started the canal was towing left to right and I started on the 4 x 14 rig down the track and it wasn't long before I had a bite from a see through roach. I looked down to Nicola and she had her landing net out but could not see what she had. Jerry below me was catching the odd small fish 3/4 the way across as well so at least something was feeding.
45 mins into the match I lost a decent fish with the No. 4 elastic out about 18 inches, I thought it was a perch so feed a little worm (not too much). 10 minutes later I did have a perch around 8 oz which was very welcome and felt at this stage I was ahead of Nicola and Jerry. I rested my two lines down the track every 20 minutes or so and kept the small fish coming along with a few 4 oz skimmers. The line across on the far side produced nothing although in hindsight I probably did not give it long enough but that's Team fishing, I felt the risk of just sitting there watching a motionless float was not worth it.
During the day the canal towed quite hard at times in either direction and in a very cold spell when the sun went in it switched off completely. Jerry walked the bank a bit and made a few phone calls and told me everyone was struggling and I seemed to be doing ok but D1 and D2 had a couple of better fish and were admitting to around 3lbs.
I managed a run of small fish in the last hour on various baits fishing over depth and holding back hard and I was fairly confident I had more than Nicola and Jerry.
I had the board today and Jerry had the scales. Shaun had a net of small fish but a decent perch and his net went 3lb 3oz, Tony had less fish but better quality and weighed 3lb 13oz (bigger perch), Nicola weighed 9oz, her peg was a bit of a nightmare as she had to ship back over the tow path and more or less straight up into a high hedge. When I lifted my net out I thought i had the most fish so far and they went 2lb 14oz, Jerrys went 1lb 2oz.
So a third in section, not a disaster and I thought nothing more of it.
my Section board.
Back at Spencers Club the team met up and were in jubilant mood. We had 3 win their Sections, 2 Section seconds, 2 Section 3rd and a 1 point for bottom (to be fair Brian Melksham should not have fished due to his injured back). It also turned out Jeff Sibley had won the match with 4lb 1oz and I was just last in the money with 4th picking up £70.
I have calculated that as a Team we picked up £330!
We also won as a Team on the day..... get in.
Our Team sheet
Results as follows:
Individuals on the day.....
1st Jeff Sibley (Sensas Nomads) 4lbs 1oz
2nd Tony Gilbert (Preston Thatchers) 3lbs 13oz
3rd Shaun Townsend (Mosella Bathampton) 3lbs 3oz
4th Ivan Currie (Sensas Nomads) 2lbs 14oz
Teams on the day.....
1st Sensas Nomads
2nd Preston Thatchers
4th Mosella Bathampton
1st Preston Thatchers
2nd Mosella Bathampton
3rd Sensas Nomads
Oh and by the way......Shaun (Bryan) won his section again on another part of the canal...brilliant.
Poppy Match next Sunday so back on the Bristol Avon which will be low and clear.