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What A Difference A Day Makes!

Even Richard Chave cannot believe how well last week's Winter League Semi Final practice match fished.

After the Arctic conditions of the first Kennet & Avon Canal Winter League Semi Final practice match two weeks ago, the weather had warmed up a little, so the second match was always going to fish a bit better. But, wow, did it fish! In the car on the way up Rob (Randall) and myself were trying to predict the frame weights. We thought that 18lb may be enough to win, with 10lb good enough to make the frame. How wrong we were! Five hours and 15 double-figure weights later we were well out. Of the 90+ anglers fishing, the average weight was an incredible 6lb 4oz!

Welsh International Lee Edwards followed on from his rugby team's grand slam to thump the rest of the field with a mighty 39lb 5oz of bream, skimmers and big perch from the first peg on the Beeches section. Three other 20lbs from Gary 'Oh is this another end peg' O’Shea, Chris Telling and Gary Williamson and a couple of other 18lb weights meant that the top six all had more than we both thought would be enough to win!

But if you looked at the results more closely, you noticed that one thing stood out more than anything, and that is that all the top eight were on end pegs! This vindicates semi final organiser Nigel Franks decision to peg the big match in a way that every team will get two end pegs, two next to end pegs and so on, hopefully making the team event a much fairer match.

So how did I get on? After only getting two miniscule roach on the first match, I made up for it this time with 180 for the ever so slightly over average weight of 6lb 10oz. Unfortunately the two perch I caught this week weren’t the ‘normal’ 2lbers but only 3oz each. Doh!

Drawn on Peg K3 on the roadside, I fished squatt and pinkie under a 7x12 Richard Lattimer Fine Squatt float on an inside line and caught very little from further across the canal. Andy Mead of Maver Image won my section from Peg 10 with 9lb 7oz. It really does seem to me at the moment that you cannot beat being on the ends.

Daiwa Dorking picked up a good percentage of the money this week, as Drennan Oxford did last, but I don’t think a team will be as dominant on the big day due to a fairer allocation of the pegs. Watch this space...

Richard Chave fishes for Garbolino Blackmore Vale and loves bagging up on his beloved canals and rivers in the southwest of England.

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