Practice Match, March Open November 20th 2011
This practice match always corresponds with a scheduled March open, and as a result a lot more pegs than are going to be used end up in the bag. Forunately I drew peg 101 the first peg on the bypass, and was expecting a struggle as I unloaded the car, as the peg is often right next to the bypass bridge and can be tough.
Imagine my surprise when I found my peg about 200 yds from the bridge and only two pegs before the marina in with a much better chance, especially as I was on the end. Although the pegs the other side of the marina are perhaps the most consistent, especially when it comes to roach fishing.
The biggest problem I had was the same for all the anglers, the sheer amount of "cot" in the peg. It was very hard with this clinging fine weed all over the bottom. In the end I found a reasonably clear area at 10m and at 13m to the right at about 2 o'clock for the worm.
I fed four balls of canal black and black lake at 10m with virtually no loosefeed in it, and my plan was to loosefeed squatt inside this line and hemp beyond, covering my options in case the roach had a go, however, my experience is that on still foggy mornings with high pressure the roach often don't feed.
The worm line was primed with a big pot of chopped Lobs and Dendras, and my plan was to fish this with two rigs, one for perch and one for eels.
The roach line threw up a few early fish, but other than small roach on the drop it was really slow, so within 40 minutes I was dropping in on the perch rig, 0.6g diamond carp float, to 0.12 and a 16 3405 black nickel hook. My first perch was about 8 oz, and I went in and got another of about 6oz's but no thrid bite so I re-fed and went back on my roach line.
This set the pattern for the day, with a few small roach falling to either squatt or pinkie, they would die off and I could then drop in on worm for a perch. After about three hours I had a bite on the eel rig with double maggot laid on top of the weed, the eel was about a pound and a real bonus. I eventually managed three hemp roach in my 9-4-0 catch, but importantly 6lb plus were worm fish. Archie Greenwood won the section with an excellent 12-15-0 of roach from the first peg past the marina, probably half those fish were caught in about an hour on hemp...there were a few there!!
Archie was second overall to my team mate John 118 Taylor who drew the end peg on the famous Nene Parade (lonely again) and had a weight of about 14lb. With Arniie Palmer framing with 11lb and both me and John Price winning our sections (by default) things are looking good for next weekends Winter League Event.
Winter League Round 5 Old Nene at March
The weather for the Winter League was the exact opposite of the practice match with a really strong west or south westerly gale, and if I am honest the one area I didn't want to be was back on the bypass as it is the most exposed section of the river...so guess where good old 118 drew me a peg....on the bypass, in fact I was on the end again (He can draw them) but about 5m from the peg from last week, just onto the first of the two boats before the marina.
I plumbed up and found exactly the same problems as the week before, and pretty much went about the match in the same fashion although I had a boat to fish against, although it wasn't to produce any decent fish, once again I ended up perch fishing and even managed two eels this time to win the section with 7-11-0. Fortunately the wind played havoc with presentation on the roach pegs, but actually the extra movement can help with perch presentation!!!
On returning to the Station Hotel for the results, things were looking good and with Martin Roper winning the match with a brilliant 13-1-0, and John (118) Taylor,Paul Wright and me all winning our sections, we ended our "second on points" run by winning the team event on the day. Rivals Maver Bait-Tech and Browning Hotrods dropped to fourth and third respectively, Stanjay Gold came second. So we are now equal first in the league with Hotrods, and with the last match on the canal at Milton Keynes we are well placed for a semi place but must not be complacent as the other teams are incredibly strong.