It was great to see all the old faces turn up in the carpark and Gilwern Woods, the usual taunts of "sqatt fairy" where thrown at Keith who himself reminded Chris the Butcher about a fiver he owed him from 3 years ago when they had a side bet on one match. The crack was great though, and a lot of reminissing was done about the woods when it was in its prime. Our good friend Mike Brewer who sadly is no longer with but loved the canal, was also spoken about and remembered. Mike was the only guy I know who would drive home from work on Thursday and Friday luchtimes just to check on his maggots that were turning into casters ready for Sundays match on the canal. He did produce the biggest and finest casters I have ever seen though and had it down to a fine art. I had the priviledge of travelling with Mike for many years and he taught me a hell of a lot, not only about canal fishing but watercraft and bait preparation in general.
Anyway onto the fishing, I drew peg 3 which was around the old peg 46ish. No one had fished the stretch for a while now so peg numbers had little relevance. I had prepared three lines to fish, a bread line at the bottom of the far shelf, a rig for down the track and a line for fishing the far bank.
My bread line was the starting point and consisted of a 4x10 Colmic Jolly, shotted shirt button style with number 10s on 0.10 main line to a 0.08 hooklength and a B511 size 20 hook. Now I dont do the usual liccy bread approach when I fish bread. I think this fills them up too much and can kill the swim, so my approach is a bit different. I used Pro Natural ground bait that is flour sieved to take off the particles then mixed 50/50 with brown crumb that is also flour sieved. After mixing I riddle it though a pinkie riddle so it is a lovely mix and explodes as it is falling through the water.
I then use a 5mm bread punch and prefer the steamed slices route, rather than from a soft loaf.
I started on this line and the bites were pretty instant with small Roach seeming to like the groundbait combination. However it wasn;t long until the boat traffic really picked up and got quite heavy. The colour of the water soon suggested that it was going to be a bit more of a difficult day, the maggot count was about 2seconds which is very brown water!!
We plugged on though and after the punch line died, I fed down the track with caster and also flicked a few to the far back under the trees. The rest of the match I was rotating between the track line and the far bank. Bites came all day in fairness but the fish were small, so it would be difficult to put a good weight together.
Then all of a sudden Mal called the all out and it was 3.30pm! I could hardly believe it, not in a long time have I had a match go so quickly! It had gone that quick that I only looked at my watch once, and that was at 11.30 when I came off the bread! The rest of the day had just flown by!
When we came to weigh in, it was all going to be very close! Shaun Parson ended up winning it with just under 4lb, that included a rouge small stockie Carp!!
Literally ozs seperated the next 4 it was that close, the top 5 being:
1st Shaun Parsons 3-15-0
2nd Keith "Squatt Fairy" Mathews 3-10-8
3rd Chris "The Butcher" Wilkins 3-10-0
4th Mal Entwhistle 3-6-0
5th Iain Swanson 3-4-0
Despite the relatively low weights it had been a really enjoyable day, and fantastic to get back on the Canal.
We all enjoyed it that much that they want to have another one on there next Sunday. Next weekend we could be on the carpark stretch in Gilwern, as Cwmcelyn also have a match on the canal so we'll see what is availible.