Winter League Round 2 River Nene, Oundle
I was in France for the practice match at Oundle so it was straight into round 2 on a low and stale river Nene. A hot and sunny day did not make it any easier so we didn't expect anything special. I drew in the middle of the section below the old town bridge in an area where 3lb won the section on the previous weeks practice, not exactly inspiring, but at least the area seemed reasonably fair.
I decided on a positive approach with 9 balls of groundbait cupped in with hardly any feed in it at 11m, the basis of the mix was my favourite Noire and Canal black, with some black lake added to give some activity. A few red and white squatts were added just as I made up the balls and at the off they all went in about 1m downstream of me.
I also cupped four with some chopped lobbies and dendras at 16m in case there were some skimmers.
Starting at 11m it was soon apparent that it was going to be a hard match but a 1 gram Sensas Jean Francoise bulked with an olivatte abd four no 11 droppers was picking off odd roach where others just could not catch. In fact Liam Daler of Hotrods below me had a very slow start but gradually began to catch small roach consistently. A quick chuck on a bomb over the 16m line gave no indications so I decided to get my head down and began feeding a few flouro pinkies at 6m for bleak. My bleak rig was a simple homemade waggler taking 0.4g and three no.7 styls down the line, I make these by turning a carbon stemmed polefloat upside down, glueing an appropriately sized hollow bristle to the carbon stem, and cropping down the original tip to take a small silicon and swivel adaptor. locking with no.4 shot on very thin silicon. This is usually fished on a 5m whip with a fine flick tip.
I was able to catch half a dozen bleak quite quickly and then a couple more by chucking around, my peg, before dropping back in on 11m to take a couple more roach. Loosefeeding hemp over the top of my 11m line didn't seem to do any harm, but as the match progressed I realized that the key was cupping in more groundbait to bring back a few more bites. So this became the pattern that I settled into for the rest of the match, apart from deciding to baitdropper worms on 16m and have a couple of looks for a big fish late on. I had the feeling that Liam and I were quite close in weight so I didn't want to put 16m across all my lines too often as I felt it wouldn't help. I caught one two ounce perch on this line, and probably gave it 20 mins to half an hour total.
At the end of the match it was obvious that the section had fished hard and I thought I might have about 3 1/2lbs which is exactly what Liam weighed, fortunately the bleak were the difference and I won the section with 4-8-0 which surprised me a bit, proved the decision to catch 6 or 7 bleak at a time was addding very positively to my final score I probably had about 60 for just over a pound in the end.
Team wise Bait Tech beat us into 2nd by one point, and with Hotrods fourth the league is very close going onto the Cam......could be interesting.