Winter League on the river Soar is the fastest growing attendance angling competition in the UK with 9 teams of 10 it could take a lot more but thats next year :)
With the success of the Soar masters series this summer the Winter league continued in the same way with the 90 anglers committed over the 6 matches . Each team has about 15-20 anglers so effectively the league could realise double that up to 180 anglers !
Recent rains seen the Soar rise a few inches in middle of the week but it returned to normal come Sunday and was starting to clear but the effect was to inspire the fish to feed better as the river sections were covered in bleak , roach , Perch , small chublettes , gudgeon , skimmers , hybrids , bream , Dace etc …
The teams gathered at the Anchor pub at Hathern as usual and this week the breakfast was not too bad , its showing signs of improvement , will the fishing follow suit ?
Early morning waiting for the breakfast doors to open was the man from AT and Stu , co-manager of Bennets of Mountsorrel , a highly successful shop currently selling 50 plus gallons a week in maggots , that is the sign of revived angling on the rivers and canals and lakes.
Stu and John , brothers in conference as the teams section pegs are dished out.
On the greens , peg 14 , previous week fished by our man , Wayne Swinscoe . Did he leave one of his rods ?
To my left is the bridge and just the other side is the end peg of the other section.
Diagonally left is the canal section , target for the feeder ?
Opposite , 30 metres of water with an average of 6' depth , close in to me was weed and only 3' in the side dropping gradually to 3-4' at 4metres then 6' the rest . 3 metres from the boats was a lot of rubbish on the deck as made some 20 casts trying to find a clean bottom.
The sun was now at full bore and the river showing signs of clarity , will it still fish ?
Sensas canal Black and river leam , 50-50 with chop and caster ….they must be up for a feed ?
Match kicked off and i had 4 see-thro skimmers on single red on a 0.10bottom to a 1.25gr Maurizio Schiepattie Mars Blu. Then a couple of gudgeon then a small perch then quiet for 10 minutes . I started to change the rigs round as the wind got tougher , so started placing a heavy 2.0 gr float and holding back hard but got better results when changing to a 1.5gr Maurizio Schiepatti Sirio fished to a pimple on the bristle and letting it run thro .
The peg had gone quiet for a reason and that was the dinner bell for the Pike as i was beaten up through the rest of the match by successive freshwater sharks than knew no mercy . They even attacked my net and kept returning even though i would charge after them with my plunging landing net . I did not have it as bad as the Notts lad to my right who owned up to some 25 plus pike . Each time i looked round he was fighting a pike with 6m of pole up in the air .
However he did fair better than i and took good roach in the last 2 hours to hemp and feeding it , nothing else and how he held it a 14m in the wind i will never know !
My Notts friend managed 3.5 kilos in the end and could have technically doubled his weight as the Pike had 20 of his fish , they had 16 of mine !
Dan Ashington of Starlet fished for bleak at 11m pinging hemp only ! then landed a few specimen roach and perch later on Hemp !
The weights progressively got bigger as the pegs went up stream and the winning peg was won handsomely with 3 Bream and a good mix for 6.5 kilos .
Great weights overall this day and considering it was a uncomfortable wind that limited bait presentation then this was a success with many weights over 3 kilos . Think the series will put the Soar valley back on the map and the former glory days will return and continue to grow in popularity as the Commercials take a dive and the anglers return to their roots . Note that the Trent is also returning to former glories and this can only be very good news for the tackle trade in general as the shop continue to sell more live bait .
Practice this Sunday 26th on the Osiers ,Abbey , Proctors etc… to be confirmed , Meet at the Anchor pub as usual at 07:30 AM ……don't forget you get an extra hour in bed , put your clocks back an hour.