First Win Of 2018 – Jamie Rich

The arrival of October signals the start of our winter leagues on the river Isle and after spending most of the spring and summer on commercials, it makes for a refreshing change. An intimate little venue that can be a joy to fish and very frustrating in equal measure. Since the start of the year, I’ve had three very enjoyable matches.

In the first match, I drew a decent peg that I’d finished second from before Xmas with 5lb 12oz, this time around there was a little extra water on the river and I had a really nice day catching three chub and some quality roach for 8lb 10oz and third place. The following week I was third again but this time with 10lb 5oz of roach, dace, chublets and gudgeon and the river fished really well with the top four all recording double figures with 15lb 3oz leading the way.

For my latest match the river looked perfect but with heavy rain forecast, I should have switched the match to the pond! I drew peg 125, which is a shallow little run that can be brilliant when there’s extra water on the river.

I set up a 0.2 gram Drennan AS1 to fish three sections to hand running the rig through and a 1 gram bodied float for holding back and also in case the river came up and I had to go across where there was some steadier water. On the side tray I had bronze and red maggots, casters and Bait-Tech Super Seed Hemp. The match got underway and I started at three sections to hand with double bronze maggot on the hook, I had a gudgeon second run through then a dace before I had to use the landing net for a 10oz chublet. The next couple of fish were minnows so I switched to caster and the next fish was a good roach and it was a bite a chuck.

I carried on catching and had a brilliant first hour, putting 32 roach, dace, chublets and gudgeon in the net for probably 4-5lb. It was still chucking it down and I was soaked already as was all my kit. I was feeding casters and hemp upstream in the middle and also flicking a few across to the far side. There were obviously loads of fish in the peg and I always find it amazing that as soon as the river has some colour in it, quality roach start to show in numbers, they’re obviously there but just don’t show when the river is low and clear.

After 90 minutes I was up to 48 fish for probably 7-8lb and I started to think a really big weight was on the cards but I was also concerned that the rain wasn’t letting up and if anything it was getting heavier! I had a couple more nice chublets but I’d also bumped two or three better fish and going into the third hour, it was noticeable that the flow was picking up. I started catching fish just off my keepnet but bites were slowing up, I stuck the plummet on and the swim was now six inches deeper than when I started! I deepened up and went back to fishing double bronze maggot and had another run of fish but the river was now rising at an alarming rate.

With the middle of the peg now unfishable, it was time to try across, I went over with the lighter rig, the float buried and what felt like a good roach, shook it’s head before the hook pulled out, I had a small roach next chuck but the light rig wasn’t right so I went over with the heavier float and had a nice roach quite quickly. I then missed a good bite on caster but that turned out to be the last of the action as the river rose even more and some big branches and other debris started coming down in the flow.

I gave it another half an hour before packing up, the two anglers above me weighed 1lb 9oz and 1lb 15oz before my 86 roach, dace, chublets and gudgeon (plus minnows) went 11lb 10oz although I’m sure if we hadn’t had all that rain, 30lb was possible from my peg today. The top weight below the bridge was 7lb 6oz so I’d have to wait to see how the other section had fished.

The other anglers started arriving back and the top weight in the bottom section was 6lb 13oz so I’d won my first match of the year.

I do love fishing at this time of year, it can be challenging, unpredictable and hard going but that makes it all the more satisfying when you do well.

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Tight Lines

Jamie Rich

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