VES Precision League, River Isle, Final Round
The final match arrived and it was a glorious sunny day – although not ideal for catching fish on a low, clear river! I got to the pub and things got off to a great start when Rob handed me £20 for coming second in the Tacklebox/Royal Oak League, which finished last week.
The VES league is pretty tight with Martin leading with eight points followed by Rob, Justin and me on 10 with Pete Lonton on 11. Justin couldn't fish today so he was out of it but I still needed a section win to guarantee a league placing – and that's easier said than done with the patchy fishing at the moment. Bob Hammond was also fishing today and it was lovely to see him back on the river.
Rob had done his best to put pegs in that would give people a chance but I didn't really fancy 108 or 92 and really fancied 120 but of course Heardy drew that and would now definitely win the league as it's been a really consistent peg! As for me, I opened my hand to reveal Peg 124 again! I wasn't sure those chub would show and it has been a chub or bust peg of late. Neil had drawn 125, where he won last week, and Steve Parker had 126 again. Poor old Rob drew dreaded 92, although he had the choice of 95 as well, but he didn't fancy either of them!
I got to my peg and managed to get lower to the water than last time and just set up the same rig I'd used the previous time I was here. Would those chub show again?
The 10.15am start arrived and we were off. I started with a single red maggot and caught a tiny minnow after inching the float through in the flow, so I'd at least secured three points. I switched to caster and was surprised when the next chuck resulted in a roach. This set the scene for the first hour and I caught five small roach and a tiny chublet plus a few minnows.
I knew I wouldn't win anything if I carried on catching like this. I tried going further down the peg and holding back in the flow and a good bite resulted in a substantial amount of yellow elastic streaming out of the pole tip. The 0.12mm bottom did its job and a 2lb chub was netted. This was more like it! I was sure this wasn't one of the chub I'd caught two weeks ago and it was bigger than Rob's last week so again it begs the question, how many chub are in this peg?
Next drop I had a gudgeon on caster so thought I'd try half a lobbie to see if I could target another chub. I didn't have to wait long and a savage bite saw me net a second chub of similar size. I thought one more would give me a chance of winning the section but no more bites on the worm from here so I started searching the rest of the swim.
I had some decent bites at the top of the swim (where I caught last time) but I think it might have been small fish attacking the worm as I didn't connect with any. Neil turned up as he was really struggling on 125 and could see every inch of his swim. He phoned Rob who was also struggling and said Pete only had minnows on 96. Neil said he'd give it another 10 minutes but might be back to leave the scales with me (great, even though I didn't draw the scales, I was still going to end up with them!)
After he left I tried caster again but a couple more minnows soon saw me back on the worm. I was fishing at the top of the swim when the float buried and chub number three showed up. This one was bigger at around 3lb. I did miss one more bite here but also snagged up a couple of times.
Back down in the flow I had another gobie on caster but no more bites on worm. Next up was 13 metres to the far bank reeds towards the bottom of the peg, I wasn't hopeful as I've never caught here before, although other people say they have. Imagine my surprise when after just five minutes the float slid away and a good fish was on! this one gave me the run around and tried it's best to bury itself in the reeds, but I eventually netted a good 3lb-plus fish. I decided to leave this area to settle after the disturbance and try elsewhere but after 10 minutes I was back and away the float went again. This was another good fish and put me on about 12lb with two and a half hours to go. I was starting to feel a big weight was on the cards!
Typically, I then couldn't buy a bite and even managed to catch a minnow on lobbie! I was a bit concerned that Neil hadn't come back, so maybe he was also catching now? Going into the last hour I hadn't added any more from down the peg so was back at the top of the swim. A change to caster saw me catch a 4oz dace followed by two small roach and couple more minnows. Another gudgeon down the peg saw me stick it out on worm for the last 15 minutes but I couldn't add any more chub to my net. I think under the right conditions this peg could do hell of a weight but the way things are going we'll never have any rain again!
I packed up and on my way back to the car I asked Neil if he'd caught. He said not really but as Steve Parker had gone from Peg 126, he had to stay to weigh me in. He'd wanted to go and watch his beloved Spurs play – but as they lost 5-2 to Arsenal he's probably glad he didn't!
Neil weighed in 1lb 10oz and had really struggled. My five chub, seven roach, three gudgeon, one dace and a tiny chublet plus minnows weighed 13lb 5oz, so at least I'd won my section which should secure second place in the league. I did weigh the biggest two chub thinking I might beat my personal best of 3lb 5oz but it was exactly the same weight. Maybe next time?
Back at the results and Martin was the next best weight with 5lb 6oz so he secured his second league title, but I'd won my second match in three weeks! I picked up £45 for the win and £60 for second in the league so a good day all round. Pete found a chub of 2lb 12oz and was third on the day and leap-frogged Rob into third place in the league.
The club would like to say a big thank you to VES Precision for their generous continued support, Steve and Cindy at the Royal Oak and Rob and Pete for organising another excellent league! Well done to Martin Heard, the 2012 VES Precision Winter League Champion!
Final Round Result
- 1st Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 13lb 5oz
- 2nd Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 5lb 6oz
- 3rd Pete Lonton (Ilminster) - 2lb 12oz
Final League Positions
- 1st Martin Heard - 9 pts
- 2nd Jamie Rich - 11 pts
- 3rd Pete Lonton - 13 pts
Jamie Rich is a regular Pole Fishing reader and has been fishing since the age of 10. He mainly fishes club matches and prefers natural venues but doesn't mind the odd bash on carp puddles either. Check out his blog here.