Martin Aris arrives early and is confident of a good day. His recent hard work practising is beginning to bear fruit with some better match weights. Confident to go two quid with Brian Shutler.
Its all gonna be on the draw today. Milk house is fishing well. Pegs 1,2, and 3. 14, 15 look the pegs although I fancy 9 its got some lovely features, and looks full of fish. The draw begins and we all dive in with Steve Dean getting the prize peg 1 and Marc Kay getting the equal prize of peg 15. Me well I was left with the blandest peg on the stretch peg 10. My run of bad draws continues.
Still no use bitchin, just tackle up and get on with it. Start plumbing around for some sort of feature. The recent canal trust dredging
and bank repairs has left a uniform 4 feet across to two thirds with a foot deep far shelf. Not good, but set up the 3 mtr whip. Two track swims and one across , although I would have preferred the shelf to be 2 feet as opposed to a foot deep.
God its bloody hot.
I must be going through the change or something but its like a summer day. we are two days away from October and in the field opposite they are collecting hay!!!
The match starts at 9.30 and almost immediately the boats come out of hiding and within 45 minutes we have had 8 boats two canoes and a Kayak; plus I have been double boated. Not impressed. High footfall on the towpath added to cyclists (middle aged men in lycra) mamils.
Its all going on. The caw of a grey Heron opposite and the blue flash and high peep peep of the King Fisher as it skims the surface at light speed as it passes by. The canal silt and reeds etc settle and the first bite for nearly an hour is a fat gudgeon. Fifteen more before the monotony is broken by a Roach. Not big but still a fish. I can hear Si Irwin getting arse'y with a boater who was going way to fast.
As normal Si had done the polite thing by using words like PLEASE and the normal pleasantries; but this idiot was I am a boater and anglers are not wanted. Despite our best efforts to share the facility of the canal in a responsible way some idiots just don't care.
Sign language settled the passing argument and I knew the boat was near to me as the bow wave that preceded it was making its way past like the Severn Bore. I expected a surfer on its front edge.
More wildlife interspersed my few bites. With for the second week in a row a grass snake swims by. On the river last week and this week the canal. Don't think its the same one though.
The match move on quickly and I am grinding out the micro fish. Si Burden on the peg I wanted (9) was flashing his pole in and out to the overhanging tree opposite, and I knew I was getting beat. Derrick (on my left) then hooked a flying roach and he struggled to get it into his net. Tried to get an idea of its size but it looked a pound easy. News that Martin had one too and Spanners was getting one a chuck pushed my enthusiasm for the day even lower.
Good news on Spanners though, got his mojo back. Section on the river last week; coming good at the right time for winter league. Good for Pewsey.
Seriously though with Steve Dean Chris Rushton and Paul Giddings on the fliers in the low numbered section one and Leo , Spanners , and Marc Kay on the fliers in my section I needed to work harder.
Championship leader Brian Shutler ( well hes tied with me at the start of the month, but has his nose in front now I'm sure) bagging with Skimmers and Si Irwin getting a big Hybrid; I really am being taken to the cleaners.
The 2.30 finish comes way to soon and although I have had a good last hour with a fish a chuck its not going to be enough. Rumour has it Marc Kay on peg 15 has enough "slabs" to lay a patio. My meagre scratched out bag is not going to be enough, just needed a bonus fish....again! Bad draws and no bonus fish will be on my headstone I am sure.
Marc has had a bag full on the end peg 15 , over 9lb not slabs as I would know but certainly some lovely skimmers and Spanners has 7 lb +(below) good to get the bonus skimmer/hybrids. Martin has a pound and 3/4 Roach and Derrick too has one of similar size.
The weigh in continues, and amazingly my weight clocks in at 4 lb, gotta be happy with that from a bad draw and featureless swim
Brian's done me by 6 ounces though and Si Irwin is close with his lovely Hybrid (below) boosting his bag.
Pegs one to 8 to go and it can only get worse. These are the fliers, and with Chris Rushton Paul Giddings and Danny Jones in with Si, then its goodnight sweetheart for me.
To top it Steve Dean is on peg one and that is stacked with fish, the dredging barge is only 3 feet on the towpath bank to his right; and the fish hole up under it.. The weights are taken and only Danny has shone to tie with Brian Shutler for third leaving Si Irwin section by default.
So its Marc Kay 1st, Spanners 2nd, and Danny tied with Brian for third. Si section by default and me section by default........ result! Never would have guessed it from that peg.
So on the points front, I think (to be confirmed by Leo the Match Sec) its as follows with Brian sneaking another couple points on me in the joint Lake / Canal Champs.
Mark Kay 15
Spanners 14 - running away with individual Canal champs
Danny / Brian 12.5 each
Si Irwin 11
Steve Dean 9
Leo Pocock 8
Derrick Hillier 7
Paul Giddings 6
Martin Aris 5 on the rise getting better
Si Burden 4
Chris Rushton and Chris Glover 2.5 each
Steve Hiscock 1
So to the money winners (Left to right Marc Kay, Brian Shutler,Me, Danny Jones, Ian Spanners Spanswick and the joker on the end Si Irwin)
Back on the winter league next week at Clanfield