A Tough Day – Jamie Rich

After some wicked cold frosts in the week and the river back to being very low and clear, it was always going to be difficult for the penultimate V.E.S. Precision match. Going into this match I was lying in joint fourth place with ten points, three off the lead and nothing but a section win would do if I was to stand any chance of a top three finish and a really good draw would be essential. I woke up and it was actually not too bad temperature wise and I didn’t even need to defrost the car, I met a few of the others at the Little Chef for breakfast before heading to the river to do the draw.

The draw was announced and by the time I got near the bucket there were only a couple of balls left, I went for it and pulled out H4 above the road at Hambridge, a decent draw and one that should see me get a few bites although after winning several matches on the trot, it had gone off the boil somewhat in recent weeks. It was also a golden peg today so would be worth a nice bonus if I could win off it.

The river was really low and clear with hardly any pace on it and as I was setting up I never saw a single fish top which was a tad worrying. Rigs for today were a 0.6 gram DH16 for down the middle and a little Drennan 0.2 gram AS1 for fishing three sections to hand, both had size 18 B611’s to 0.10mm. On the side tray I had the usual maggots, casters and Bait-Tech Super Seed Hemp. I started off trying to catch to hand with two red maggots on the hook, but after running the rig through a few times, it just wasn’t happening. Next I tried down the middle where it was a similar story and already the signs were there that it was going to be rock hard today.

I hadn’t seen the angler below the bridge catch yet either so in a bid to just try and put something in the net, I put a single maggot on the long line rig and shipped out to 11.5 metres and swung the rig under the bridge, I’d just picked the catapult up to feed when the float went under and my first fish was a miniscule roach but I had saved the blank at least. A few more small roach and dace followed and I was getting regular bites but most of the fish were tiny.

I did manage a couple of slightly better 2-3oz roach but the majority were on the small side so I tried caster but had to wait ages for a bite, which of course I missed. After about an hour I had another go down the middle with the other rig but didn’t have a touch there. Back on the long line rig and I started getting the odd fish on caster but it was slow going, I was also having to chase them around a bit, I’d get a couple of fish right across by the bridge and then the next one would come by the stick ups mid channel. The sun came out and it was actually turning into a lovely day, I thought perhaps sport might improve as it warmed up but if anything my bites started to tail off.

A chap turned up on the bridge and asked how I was doing and during the day, I had four people in total lean over the bridge which probably didn’t do me any favours but they were all nice enough and I was still putting odd fish in the net. After four hours, the angler on the peg below walked up and asked how I was doing, I told him I had 30 odd fish but only had about a pound and a half, he said he hadn’t had a bite yet!

Odd fish had been topping down under the bridge, including a good fish which I think might have been a pike having a go at something, then with fifteen minutes to go, something which looked very otter like went in the water below the bridge and swam up on the opposite side of the river before climbing out on the far side and I’m sure it gave me a wink before disappearing again. My last fish was a bleak which I had just before the end, my clicker was reading 48 but I didn’t think they even averaged an ounce apiece.

The lad below actually started getting bites in the last half an hour and had eight fish for 6oz and then my fish went 2lb 11oz which I was sure wouldn’t be any good today. Arriving back at the results and the guys from the Redbridge section were already there, it had been awful with everyone blanking, not so much as a bite! Then the anglers from Isle Brewers started arriving back and that hadn’t been much better, the top weight there was 2lb 13oz!, yes you read that right, I was 2oz off winning the golden peg. To make matters worse, there was also a 2lb 12oz which pushed me down into third place and stopped me from getting that all important single section point in the process.

Still an envelope is always welcome and I actually moved up into third place in the league although I’m too far behind the top two to challenge them but third place is still up for grabs with just one round in this league to go.

We desperately need some rain and warmer temperatures before next week or another tough match could be on the cards.

Follow my weekly exploits at http://www.againstmenandfish.blogspot.co.uk

Tight Lines

Jamie Rich

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