An early start this morning with the alarm clock going off at 0630 (now if that was a work day I would struggle to get out my bed) but with a match on the Kennet & Avon canal calling it was up dressed and a quick sit down with a coffee before heading out the door. Driving through Pewsey and towards Wilcot I wasn’t keen on the weather, plenty of grey clouds and a slight drizzle of rain I was already putting together a plan before I’d even drawn or seen my peg. With the weather being on and off over the past couple of days it was going to be one of them where I would find myself busy or scratching around for bites, Still a day out on the bank is a day not sat in.
Having made the walk along Wilcot road onto the bank and a short 5 minute up the canal to the old swing bridge foundation I was met by most of the other Pewsey & District Angling Association lads, with a bit of banter out of the way draw time came with me pulling peg 9 out of the bag. With Gary Williams on peg 8 and Si Irwin on 10 I was keen to make a mark and catch quickly within the first 60 minutes but then keep the bites coming throughout.
Looking at the peg I had the far bank 13 meters across with brambles a few over hanging trees and a few rat holes that must hold some resident fish (mainly perch). Plan of attack was 3 lines across starting from the left and working over to my right and if the fish were there fish it out re-feed then move onto the next one, but all 3 swims fed in a slightly different manner. I also set up a rig for down the track which to my surprise I had some depth in the way of 5 ½ ft. Rigs for the match consisted of the following
Left 11 o’clock swim far bank 13 meters
Exner 0.1g float (short, stable pencil bodied float with a fine tip and wire stem, ideal for fishing in up to 2ft of water on the drop) Browning Cenex 0.08mm mainline, 0.06mm 4 inch hooklength to a B511 size 22 hook. Tapered shotting pattern of no 12 shot.
12 0 ‘clock swim 11 ½ meters
Tubertini Stix 0.2g 4ft deep Browning Cenex 0.08mm mainline, 0.06mm 4 inch hooklength to a B511 20 hook. Bulk shotting with 2 droppers using no 12 shot.
Right 2 o’clock 13 ½ meters
Image dibber 3x9 2ft deep, Browning Cenex 0.12mm mainline, 0.10mm 6 inch hooklength to a B560 size 18 hook. 4 inches laid on bottom to keep the bait in place.
Track swim 2 o’clock 5 ½ ft deep 6 meters
Richard Lattimer 4x12 squatt float, Browning Cenex 0.08mm mainline, 0.06mm 4 inch hooklength to a B511 size 20 hook. Bulk Shot with 2 droppers.
My left swim would be fed with ground bait and pinkie with pinkie being fed over the top via catapult. My 11 ½ meter line would be fed in the same fashion however caster would be added to the ground bait so I then had a change of hook bait as well as something on the bottom to hold them there. My 2 o’clock swim would be fed with chopped worm and caster and would keep having a quick look over on it to see if there were any bonus fish in the peg. My track line would be fed with caster, worm in balls of ground bait to get it to the bottom, the plan was to start here and move if there were no signs of fish within 15-30 minutes of the match starting but same as with my bonus line go over it to see if anything had settled.
With the all in called it was off to work feeding my swims before setting about the track to see if I could mug and fish before shifting across to the far bank swims. With nothing in the net within 15 minutes and not even a bite indication it was over to the left hand swim. A pinch of pinkie pinged across and letting the float settle it wasn’t long before I was putting together a run of 10-15 fish. With 2 boats passing a quick small top up of ground bait saw the swim go dead (I’m thinking at this point that I’ve blown the swim by pushing it too hard to fast). Looking around me though no one was really catching and it soon became apparent that it was going to turn into a match where scratching for fish was the order of the day. Still with other swims to go at surly there would be a few fish in each. With half the match now gone and only 20 fish to show for it and with all rigs slightly refined for scratching I managed a few more fish for 30 fish in total. It seems no matter what I did with the rigs or the feeding the fish just weren’t interested or weren’t there. Spending time on my worm & caster line I thought I would be good for some half decent perch but nothing. With the boat traffic picking up it became clear that if there were fish around they didn’t want to settle and with boats moving down the track as well as the far bank it became more difficult throughout the day. Clearly the plan I had in my head on route to the canal just wasn’t playing and with most of the match gone it was clear everyone else was struggling to put fish together and come out on top. Surprising the other section past the bridge was also struggling and this is where the resident skimmers hang out, even they didn’t want to know.
With the all out being called you could hear the relief from both sides of me, it hadn’t fished great and in fact most had struggled. With the scales coming round and with Si Irwin putting 1lb 5oz on the scales I wasn’t sure if I had enough to beat that as some of my fish had been small. I had a feeling I had a pound but not much more. Still 1lb 8oz went onto the scales and with 1lb 11oz coming from the other section it put me 2nd overall with me just edging the section it was nice to know that my just rewards for scratching around for a few fish left me with the section and 2nd in the super pools.