The draw was at 08:00 at the Widden Rugby Club in Gloucester with breakfast from 07:00.
Steve did his best to get a decent turnout and at one stage he had around 40 but on the day 27 actually fished. Some were probably put off by the weather but I was determined to attend.
When I got in the van at around 06:20 the temperature gauge indicated it was -3 and as I travelled through the estate the roads were sparking like a night sky full of stars due to the frost. Once I got on the main road it was fine and had been treated with salt. The M5 was also fine but as I came off at junction 12 there appeared to be a lot more snow about. I pulled into the Rugby Club car park and it was like an ice skating rink but I stayed upright. As I entered the Club I could see some familiar faces from the Gloucester based teams, Diawa Gorden League and Sensas Lobby's who I fish alongside in the Gloucester Canal Spring League and the SW Super League. There were also a few hardened Gloucester Canal anglers that help teams out now and then. Breakfast obtained I sat with Phil Bendall and his dad for company and then Alan Jones picking their brains on the venues current form.
Due to the no shows Steve had to change things around a bit to make it as fair as possible and called the draw at 08:30 with fishing 10:00 - 15:00. Not sure how I ended up near the back of the que but I did. Not to worry I pulled out peg 52 with the scales and section board. This was the end peg and according to Alan Jones worth a few fish on the pole to my right short. I followed Dave Clapton to the parking area as I was unsure how to get there from the Rugby Club.
I parked up tight to brambles and my slightly larger belly due to all the Christmas food and drink caught a few of the thorns. I was soon loaded up and slowly shuffling down the icy lane towards the canal and a short walk to peg 52 under the swing bridge.
Steve Long came walking along and also put me right where to fish.
Very simple set up today.....
20 grm cage feeder across to the tins and a 2 grm float to fish at 2 o'clock where it was top 5 deep at 9 metres.
I had some of the new F1 Worm ground bait, liquidised bread, bread, dead pinkie, maggot, caster and worm.
All set up on Peg 52 upstream of the swing bridge just where the canal starts to narrow.
On the next peg I had Sensas Lobby's Jon Tocknell who had set up the same as me (I think all the anglers in the section did the same).
It was a bright sunny day as you can see from the photo's and comfortable enough temperature wise due to no wind.
I was just about ready when the ''all in'' was shouted and I cupped in 3 medium sized balls on the pole line with a few dead pinkies and casters.
Starting off with the liquidised bread and punch on the tip I had a little knock on my 4th cast put nothing positive. I stuck with the bread for the first 45 minutes without success. I wasn't feeling it with the bread so filed the feeder with neat ground bait and put on a dead red and a pinkie on the hook. I had a proper bite but did not connect on the strike and the bait was missing from the hook when I reeled in....bugger.
I put a few small offerings in the feeder but did not have another touch, it was now 90 mins into the match.
I had a look on the pole line with double dead fluro pinkie on the hook and after 10 mins or so the float dipped but did not totally submerge but I struck anyway and was pleased to see the hollow 5 -8 elastic come out with a small bream on the end. I love fishing the pole in deep water. It was carefully played and was landed without any problem and around 1lb 8oz.
Most of the anglers I could see kept looking up and down to see if anyone was catching and bites seemed to be a premium. Jon shouted down to me asking what I had. He said he had 2 bream (didn't see him catch them) and an angler a couple up from him had 1.
I kept plugging away on the two lines during the remainder of the match. No sign of any more on the pole line but I was getting little twitches now and again on the tip. I did hit a few of them but nothing materialised.
At 14:25 I had a proper slow pull around (more like it) and was soon playing a proper bream. I landed it just as another angler who had packed up walked by. Just the job on a slow day and though I was still in it.
I had one more twitch with 5 mins to go but nothing on the other end and bait was in tact.
Dave Micklewright who was not fishing walked down and said the angler in the middle of the old bend had around 12lb.
That was it so I packed up and headed up to weigh in.
The first peg in the section (47) did not weigh and then it was Andy Richings on 48. Andy had fished the tip all day 30 metres out for a few decent bream and smaller samples for 12lb 7oz.
Andy with his catch
Jon immediately above me managed a 3rd bream 5 mins from the end and done well to weigh 7lb 13oz.
My 2 fish went 5lb 5oz
A hard day, but we knew it would be
This is how my section looked
Back at the Rugby Club I bought a few raffle tickets for the sponsored prizes.
There was a peg draw for a bucket of ground bait and Andy Jayne won that.
Steve paid out the Section Winners first and I got mine by double default (£30).
Overall (paying top 3)
1st Andy Richings Sensas Lobbys 12lb 7oz
2nd Jon Tocknell Sensas Lobbys 7lb 13oz
3rd Phil Bendall Diawa Gordon League 6lb 6oz
Andy with the Roy Carter Memorial Cup
I ended up 4th so pleased with that.
£204 was raised for the Stroke Association so well done to all.
Next up for me is my Clubs Blind Pairs Match on Saturday.30th Dec .....on a Commercial (oh dear, best start watching You Tube again).