We were 2 anglers short for this final round so drafted in my good friend Steve Vernon and Richard Candy from Sensas Nomads along with Chris and myself.
Steve had never fished the Glossy before and was using it as a practice session for a Feeder Master qualifier on the venue in June. I met him in Michaelwood Services, handed over some tied hooks dead reds, pinkie and worm and he followed me up to the Gordon League Rugby Club in Hempstead.
Arriving nice and early for a breakfast roll and tea I done the Team Sheet ahead of Chris arriving to save a bit of time as the Team Draw is done in order of submission of names and money.
Chris went up and done the draw and came back showing himself in A section, Richard in B, me in C and Steve in D. I can't remember Chris and Richards actual peg numbers but I was on 49 just off centre on the famous Hempstead Bend and Steve on 215 just out of the favoured big bend area in-between Rea Bridge and Pilot.
Here are the details / locations of the Sections (in case anyone wants to know where / how to get to them).
I had never been on any of the Hempstead Bend pegs before, the nearest I got was peg 51 in the Roy Carter Memorial Match just after Christmas but I had read enough about the pegs 46 -50 to have some idea what to do. Martin Bendall told me 49 had been fishing better than the few pegs above it but also said the Canal could be difficult today due to a lot of rain going in 24 hours earlier. It didn't take long to get there and it took me longer to unload the van than walk to the peg.
Arriving at the peg I found there was a lot of water to have a go at and where do you start, there was also a pleasure angler over on the opposite bank (the old bend bank).
Here are some photo's of the peg and immediate area.......
It resembled a small lake rather than a Canal. You can just about see the pleasure angler across.
Rain, thunder and sunshine was forecast and it was a very warm muggy day.
I sorted out my 2 Feeder Rods first and picked a long chuck around 40 - 45 metres out in front of me picking a tree as my marker for my main line of attack with a drennan wide gape 16 to 0.11 50 cm hook length in conjunction with a 25 gram plastic cage feeder. Main line was sinking braid to a 8lb shock leader. Tip was 2oz glass. The second Feeder Rod had a similar set up and same distance to a line as far to my left as I dared to go. It had an ordinary 25 gram open end Feeder in case they wanted the ground bait in a lesser cloud form as the feeder hit the bottom.
Two pole rigs were also set up. One at 14 metres, top 5 deep, 2 gram float, 18 hook to 0.12 fluro. The other rig was at 5 metres where it was also almost top 5 deep, 1 gram float to same hook and hook length.
I had premixed my ground bait the night before so it only needed a little bit of attention by adding more water and a bit of leam. Feeder GB was Dark F1 mixed to a nice fluffy consistency. For the pole lines the mix was Lake, Epicene and a little leam. I had some liquidised bread with me but decided to leave it in the bag due to the peg. I had some pinkie, maggot (in dead form as well), worm and caster.
I was set up with almost 40 minutes to go which was really nice and I was able to watch the pleasure angler opposite. I did see him net 2 bream and wonder if he had drawn them away from my area.
I had 10 balls made up ready to cup in and I did put quite a bit of feed in them, 5 for each line.
The ''all in'' was called and I didn't rush the cupping in. After that operation I put 2 feeder fulls to my left line and then went out on my straight in front line with a dead red and a live pinkie on the hook. It is quite funny as in the early stages anglers look up and down to see if anyone is catching early. I was hitting the clip each time and dipping the rod immediately in the water slightly tighting up at the same time to sink the line which took a while due to distance. 3rd cast I had a positive pull and soon netted a 1lb plus skimmer. I was only putting about 4 casters, a couple of dead pinkie and a couple of pieces of chopped worm in the feeder each time. Around the next 15 minutes I had 2 more skimmers of the same size, and yes I looked up and down and couldn't see anything else being caught. I put on a 2'' tail of a worm tipped with a live pinkie for a change. After a while the tip sort of jerked a bit and I hit it, solid thud the other end and proper bream on. I love playing bream in deep water especially when its snag free. I took my time and it was carefully netted, a nice fish of around 4lb. Before the first hour was up I had another but around 2.5 lbs. To say I was pretty chuffed was an understatement.
I decided to step up to a 14 hook to 0.13 and put on a whole worm. After 20 minutes no indications at all. During this time the angler on 48 had a bream. Not feeling confident I scaled down again. A load of big boats then started to que up for the main road swing bridge to open to let them through so I had a n early look on the pole. at 14 metres. I did have a bite but did not connect. after 15 minutes no further indications and by now the boats had gone through so it was back out on the feeder. I had a liner almost straight away and left it as I thought the boats might have put fish on the move. After around 10 minutes the tip flew round and bream number 3 was on, not big at around 2lbs but very welcome. I did see the anglers on 46 and 47 net fish but unsure how big they were.
A 20 minute look on my left hand feeder line produced nothing so it was back out straight in front and this is where I decided to stay for the rest of the match as the pleasure angler opposite had now gone.
I kept varying the density and firmness of the ground bait in my feeder to try and induce a bite as well as mix and match my hook bait to get another 3 proper bream and a couple of skimmers. On peg 48 he managed a couple of bream on his near pole line as well as loose a couple in the latter stages of the match.
On the ''all out'' I thought I had around 20lb and guessed that would be nowhere near enough overall but good in the section of 25.
Scales arrived and they were only weighing part of the section as it was split.
I ended up with 22lb 4oz which was the best from the bottom end up to me and with another 3 anglers to weigh.
Peg 48 weighed just over 13lb and was the nearest one to me.
This is how the board looked with another one covering the other 10 pegs below Rea Bridge
I phone Chris to see how he got on and he weighed 5lb 6oz for good points, I also spoke to Steve who hadn't had a bite all match.
I went back to the Rugby Club to meet up with Chris and Richard as Steve went straight home.
I was only just through the door when Phil Bendall approached me and asked what I had. I told him and he said he had 22lb something as well but not sure about the ounces! Strange I thought, I know him but why would he make a point of coming up and asking me. I got a beer and it soon became clear I might have framed. The League pays top 3 in the Sections (by default if appropriate) plus top 4 overall.
I was on the same table as Liz Grant who does the Super Pools and he found out I was 2nd overall with Phil beating me by 8 ozs!
Section results as follows (some names may be slightly incorrect but not many, weights are spot on)...
1st A Patchet 9-2
2nd E Dryon 6-9
3rd C Hook 5-6
1st P Golding 13 - 14 (next to me)
2nd G Webber 10-11
3rd D Cox 10-1
1st N Harris 13-3
2nd M Brush 11-6
3rd C Vallender 10-4
1st T Weaver 9-15
2nd N Baker 9-14
3rd L Tucker 8-9
1st P Bendall 22-12
2nd I Currie 22-4
3rd Liz Grant 17-12
4th K Perry 16-0
Teams on the day - top 3
2nd Sensas 88 Silver
3rd DGL Red
we finished 8th on the day
Overall League - top 5 paid out
1st DGL Gold
2nd Sensas 88 Silver
3rd Stroud AC
4th Sensas Lobbys Green
5th DGL Black
Some other pics from todays match....
1st - Phil Bendall
3rd - Liz Grant
League winners - DGL Gold
I picked up £110 in the Super Pool and had an envelope marked up as £110 for 2nd in the main prize money but when I got home there was £170 in it. I phone Mark Treasure to check that no one else had lost out but he confirmed my payout was correct and that he had put the money in the wrong envelope so happy days.
A big thank you to all the organisers, the car park attendants and Gordon League Rugby Club for a well run League.
Back on the Glossy again this Sunday for the 1st Round of the SW Super League for Sensas Nomadsbut will it be hero to zero.....usually is on the venue!