I had a bit of a disappointing weekend, the Saturday, I drew peg 33 opposite the caravans. This one of the pegs where you have a chance to catch a barbel, the last qualifier on the previous Sunday, Tony Davis won it from peg 32 with a barbel and a couple of roach, so I didn't take a lot of convincing to set up a barbel rod and spend most of the match on it, this peg has no history of roach being caught on it, in fact the only result off this peg all season was when Nick Young caught 6lb of mainly chub on a waggler and I had 2 people fishing opposite me so I ruled that out.
I set up a chopped worm rig for down the edge and a straight lead with heavy gear on it, so I could land a double figure barbel if I hooked one. When the match started I fed a bait dropper full of chopped worm down the peg towards an overhanging tree, my first cast was with an 8mm halibut pellet and a small pva bag of 4mm halibuts. Down the middle of the river is a lovely gravel bottom, and its easy to see why barbel would frequent this peg.
I would love to say that I caught a few fish, but I never had a bite on the barbel rod or on chopped worm, so I was packed up and gone before the salesman got to me. If I had fished the bloodworm and joker I would probably had a few bites, but not enough to beat Sam Wildsmith, who won my section with 4lb plus, if it had been a team match, I would have taken a completely different approach. On the Sunday, Chris Derrick drew this peg and fished bloodworm and joker, he never had a bite on it.
On the Sunday match, I drew peg 72, this is one of the deepest pegs on the stretch, its nearly 14ft deep and full of willow branches from the trees around me and opposite. 5lb won the section the day before from peg 75, which is a shallower peg, but I felt I would get a few bites on bloodworm and if I was lucky enough to get a big fish, who knows.
I balled in at 13m when the match started, gros gardens and terre de riviere with 350ml of joker in it and fished a single or double bloodworm over the top, I was hoping for roach but deep down I knew the deeper snaggy pegs are more suited to perch than roach. First run down I caught a small roach which was chased by a pike, but it escaped its jaws, then second run down I caught a small perch followed by another.
My first 2 hours of the match was quite enjoyable, I was able to make a bite most run throughs, if I could get the presentation right in the gusting wind and avoid the many willow branches on the bottom, the fish were mainly small perch, but at least it was bites. After 2 hours the peg dried up and I couldn't get anymore, I tried for bleak, caught 3 or 4 then couldn't get another bite, I cast a small block end over to the willow opposite, but I snagged up every cast, I fished a flat float at 16m, but never had a bite and kept snagging up. I fished the rest of the match in the hope of a big fish as that was the only way I was going to win anything.
Simon Wilsmore won my section with 5lb 8oz, he was on peg 74, he had a similar match to me but with 20 minutes to go he caught a big tench on the lobworm next to some pads.
I was sharing with Will and Des, we had agreed to split all our winnings over the two days, I would love to say I went home with a few bob in my back pocket, but we never won a penny between us over the 2 days!!!!
The team match on the Monday, which I never fished, my Dorking team mates had a fantastic day, they only dropped nine points out of 70, beating Shakespeare by 9 points.