Sunday, 9 December 2018

Commercial House Xmas Match - K&A Canal Bath

This match used to be on a Saturday on the canal (though many years before that it was on Frys ont he river) and I've always tried to fish it if possible. There were around 25 people fishing it today and I was hoping for a better day than the same match last year when I drew in section that was dire.

Mike and Nicola Goodhind were running the match and Andy Britt had pegged it. The town was not in as some of the pounds were dry due to restoration work, peg 1 was in the tunnels and Darlington was in as was up past the George. the canal has not been match fished for a while so I wasn't sure where I wanted to draw. I paid my pools, picked up my bloodworm and joker from Darren Gillman who had kindly ordered for many people. After Kev Dicks had drawn 4 pegs for the organisers I stuck my hand in the draw tub at the same time as a number of others. Peg 6 stuck to my mit, up at Darlington.

Drove to the canal and passed the peg on the duck ramp (peg 3) Steve Skelton, and then two in the bay Jack Jones and Jeff Surmon. I was probably 100 yards past Jeff which was a shame as I always fancy the peg just past the bay where it first narrows up, but moored boats meant it wasn't pegged. Forgot to take a picture but I was basically on the concrete in the middle of the two sets of steps opposite. Although lots of room to my right Ben Rendall on 7 was pretty close to me on my left. Ben asked me for some advice as we set up, as he said he doesn't fish the canal much, so I told him how I would approach his peg. I got organised and set up my rigs, a 4X14 with 18PR311 for bread at 4m, a 4x16 with 16 PR311 for fishing over the bread line and at 11.5m at 11 o'clock, it was a bagging rig if skimmers showed. For the far bank I set up 3 rigs; 4x12 with 0.07 to 20, 0.3g with 0.09 to 18 PR311 and a chopped worm rig with 0.12 to 16. Being an open match, and with the mild weather I was hoping to fish positive and get among some skimmers.

When the match started I fed a ball of bread at 5m. Some casters and a bit of chopped worm 13m across to my left, and some joker and casters 13m across to my right. Dropping in on the bread line with the biggest punch I had, it was bites straight away from small roach. To my right Jeff had a 2lb skimmer 2nd drop on bread, then after 15 mins Ben had a 1 1/2lb skimmer on bread and then lost one. Me... roach, small roach that started to struggled to engulf my punch. A few boats went through but the fishing didn't suffer. I finally gave in and tried a smaller punch and then hit more bites from these small roach. Just after the hour mark the roach were to small to warrant continuing and top ups had not improved anything. With no skimmers I hoped I might get some on the other lines, and I now fed some joker in gbait on my 11.5m line.

I first went across over my long joker line, using a big red maggot I had 5 roach in 5 drops, then the bites stopped. Out with the 4x12 rig with a pinke and 4 more roach and then bites stopped. I rested this line and went left trying caster, nothing, red maggot got me a couple of roach and a little perch. Back over the joker line and all I could now catch was minute ruffe, this was not good. Halfway through and I couldn't really make anything happen, meanwhile Ben was getting fish on caster. I had enough and went for a quick walk down to Jeff and Jack, both who had 4lb+ .

Back on my peg and I decided to feed 2 big balls of gbait and joker over my original long joker line hoping the gbait might see off the ruffe. I tried the 11.5 line again, a roach, a roach and then a 12oz skimmer, at last! No more skimmers from here but some roach before it slowed and I refed. Across over the converted line and a roach and then a proper fish hooked, it pulled out a fair bit of elastic and when I netted it I reckoned it was a 1lb 1/2lb skimmer. This line was now a bite a chuck from roach, but I kept thinking I needed bigger fish and tried bigger baits on and off without reward. The worm / caster line threw up a few small perch and roach but was never great and I forced this line which didn't work. I kept taking the roach from the two gbait lines topping up as soon as bites slowed. Ben then hit me in the ribs when he took another skimmer on his caster line, but lost two more straight after.

With 10 minutes to go all lines were fading, back over the 11.5m line and a small roach on pinkie so I put a big red maggot on again, the float didn't move for a minute and then buried, skimmer on! As I tried to ship back this fish swam hard toward me and to my right, this meant it put a lot of pressure on the elastic as I could not ship the pole back in the right place due to the angle and the walkers. The inevitable happened a head shake and the hook pulled out, damn that was a big skimmer. As I went to ship out again I could a boat coming up, I left the float there until it was about 5 feet from the approaching boat and lifted the rig out but a skimmer was on, but only for a few seconds then it was off too... fecks sake. The boat had one right over the line and with only 5 mins left I knew my chance had gone.

I packed up quickly as I had the scales and started weighing in with Andy Britt. he had 7lb 14oz which included a couple of decent skimmers, perch and a roach of 1lb 6oz.  Next was Nicola who also had a couple of big skimmers and had 6lb 14oz. Ben Matthews had 5lb 14oz, but this included a 1lb 13oz roach, wow! Ben weighed 8lb 2oz to win the section and then I weighed 7lb 7oz. Clearly either on the skimmers lost would have won me the section, but such is life and Ben had lost three of them. To my right Jeff had 7lb exactly, and Jack had 8lb 6oz. However, to their right it was SOLID in the first 3 pegs.

Top 4 on the day..

1st Dave Stiff  18lb, peg 1 a lot of small skimmers on worms, and 3 decent perch across
2nd Steve Skelton 15lb skimmers from peg 3
3rd Nathaniel  Johnson 12lb up by the school past the George, couple of skimmers and lots of small roach
4th Jerry Pocock 10lb  in between 1st and 2nd.

Dave Stiff with his hamper, well done UTG.

It was good to see plenty of people back at the results and Jamie Brown had come in to see his old mates. There were about 22 prizes, and so only a few anglers missed out on a prize, most of them came from the section up past me where it was a real struggle with Darren and Shane Caswell only getting 1lb+. Other than this area (by the wooden bridge) it has to be said the canal fished well and it normally does first match, so I wasn't totally surprised.

Not sure what to do next weekend, will have to see what is on but no idea at the moment.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

October / November 1999 (plus a few details on matches today)

You can probably tell from the title that I have not fished this weekend. I made that decision on Tuesday when the weather forecast did not look great for the week ahead and I knew I was going to have a late night Saturday, I also felt I needed a bit of a rest.

Dean Harvey and Kev Dicks ran an open match at Newbridge today and despite the extra rain and swollen river a few bream showed as expected. Top 6 as follows:-

1st Benjamin Rendall 24lb 7oz  peg 47

Joint 2nd...   Derek Coles, Jerry Pocock, Nigel Wyatt 16lb 5oz

5th Jeff Surmon 14lb 4oz peg 7

6th Kev Dicks 12lb 10oz peg 36

Biggest fish prize went to Chris Ollis with a 6lb 15oz Bream (estimated at 9lb when caught lol)

That's it for river matches for a while, although Dean is running a Xmas match on the river on 23rd Dec, with £3 from every ticket going to the help the heroes charity. Contact Dean or Kev Dicks to get a ticket.

Back to the past, and October 1999 and familiar times drawn on the cattle grid at the Crane on the Bristol Avon for the ATWL, the weir at Keynsham was only just visible so not nice. I fished the gbait feeder for quite a while catching only 1 roach, 3 dace and 4 eels. I took s few very small fish on a short pole by the reeds and then in the last hour started to catch some bleak. I only weighed a paltry 3lb 9oz but that was good enough for 9 points out of 12, and the team won the day.

The following it was off to Melksham for the Commercial House. I was drawn one peg below the bridge at Scotland Road. The river was now well fishable, but I struggled all day catching a few roach on the pole at 11.5m over gbait and a few small perch over worm on various lines. 3lb 3oz was work only 4 points out of 14, and I wasn't the only one who struggled as the team came last but one!

The following was the ATWL again, and the team draw moved me up one peg up the Crane onto the deep hole. This is not a peg I like, but now and again the fish move into it, roach and sometimes skimmers. I balled it in at 10m and caught dace and the odd roach in the 16 feet deep swim for 90 minutes. After this I never had another bite! The Crane had fished hard and my 2lb 12oz was worth 7 points out of 12 so not a complete disaster, the team came 4th but we were hanging onto 1st place overall.

The next match I fished I clearly remember for all the wrong reasons! It was the next round of the Commercial House, it was at Frys and we had a lot of rain in the night and the river was rising. Worse for me I drew one below the stream which was running very high and was the colour of chocolate, needless to say this was making my peg look pretty awful. I feared the worst and it was soon clear that it was going to be tough for me as anglers around me could catch a few fish whilst I sat biteless. I managed to catch a couple of small roach on a feeder and then with about an hour to go hooked what felt like a big fish. It was an eel, and when it came up on the surface I estimated it was 3lb+. Trying to get it into the net was not easy and when I finally did I pulled the landing net pole back quick as I was afraid the eel might get out. Disaster, the top section of the pole came apart and I watched the net and eel sink back into the river and not long after the eel bit me off. I may have said a naughty word or 12.. lol. 7oz and last in section, oh dear, how sad never mind!

Things didn't get any better the following week on an open on the K&A canal near Avoncliff on the disabled stretch. I was catching small roach on pinkie over gbait quite well, when a big boat came through churned my peg up and leaves covered my peg meaning I hardly fished the second half of the match. 3lb 3oz was no good. Despite my bad luck and poor weight I was in the team for the ATWL on the same venue (we must have been short lol). It was a tougher day and I caught small roach and gudgeon over liquidized bread, and then gbait at 9m and 11m. I only weighed 2lb 13oz but that was 2nd in the section so at last a bit of coin, the team likewise did well and we won the day.

Poppy match time, and if I did bad in this match then you can sort of write off my luck and yep it was another poor day for me. I couldn't believe it when I drew in the lane up the bloody Crane, it was where the disabled anglers used to get first choice of pegs, but it would be nearly my last! The only place I could get bites was right across the river, and a maggot feeder / crowquill on a 20 to 0.10 helped me "amass" 4lb 5oz for absolutely no good. Luck has to change soon though doesn't it? Well no, next week ATWL and I blanked on a cold, clear river. I had one bite second chuck on a maggot feeder on peg 77 at Newbridge and that was it, only 4 people in my section of 12 caught a fish. The team did really well and we were now 42 points in front of second place.

Last match in November 1999 and back on the canal for the Commercial House, I was drawn 14 pegs down from Limpley Stoke bridge, still on the straight and a decent area. Again it fished really tough and it was mainly gudgeon for me to start on a 3m whip. Just a few roach and more gudgeon at 11m over gbait, I could only catch on squatt on the hook. Today though the luck returned, and going into the last hour I caught a small tench on double caster right across over my chopped worm and caster feed. (This area used to be good for gudgeon and odd tench, but since the boat traffic increased the tench seem to have died off and gudgeon catches are minimal.) I weighed in 4lb 1oz to win my section and come 6th on the day and last in the frame, yay!  Was this the start of a good run?

Late news.... Today was the last round of the ATWL where my team Thatchers were again in action on the K&A canal somewhere miles away. The boys did good, though they came 5th on the day with 42 points, would you believe three teams tied for 1st place on 43 points! Diawa Gordon League won the whole league, so well done them, and Thatchers were second and so we have qualified for the final again.

Next week I am fishing the Commercial House Xmas match on the K&A canal, last year on this match I drew up past the George and it was pretty much barren of fish and all of us up there struggled to get bites. Fingers crossed I draw on a shed full of skimmers ;-)

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Open match Bristol Avon Swineford

This was another of the winter league dates turned into an open match. A lot of credit needs to go to Kev Dicks and Dean Harvey for running these matches and doing some excellent swim clearing. A few anglers down on last weeks match, so just 16 fishing which meant that only Swineford was pegged and not the Crane. I wanted to avoid the early pegs in the first field, and if I could choose I would want 15, 17 and 18 in the second field as well as up by Bitton Brook. I was though the last one to arrive for breakfast at Willsbridge Jarretts cafe, and the draw began whilst I was only a third the way through my breakfast. When Ben Rendall drew Kev Dicks Bitton Brook and himself peg 17 straight off I was thinking oh dear, and when serial drawbag merchant Paul Purchase drew peg 18 and young Lewis Walker 15 I was rather perturbed. I had a choice of three pegs, not sure what they were but I pulled out peg 12 which is the current first peg in the second field and really not a peg I wanted, I may be going home was my comment.

Once I finished my breakfast I drove to Swineford and tried to get myself motivated. The peg needs wading in and as I didn't have them I needed a favour and thankfully Paul Purchase came to my aid. I walked past Andy Curry on peg 4, Dean Harvey 6 and Rich Lacey 7 (all pegs I didn't fancy) and Jerry Pocock on the last peg in the field. My peg is full of features, but just the wrong sort, a pontoon doesn't float my boat lol.

There was a hacking downstream wind and it put me right off setting up a crowquill or bolo as I could see the top of the river being pushed faster downstream. I only set up a 5AAA waggler which took 5 no8's down the line with 0.11 to 18, plus a lead rod with 0.15 to 16. My main attack was to catch some chub as odd ones are caught in this peg, though last time on a w/l match Warren Bates had this peg and only managed 2 1/2lb....  I had to get my box out to connect nets and bait stands etc, it was touch and go with all the legs extended.
The river was very clear but had a nice bit of flow, and to me at Swineford this always means fish a float and loosefeed, even if on bream pegs as they seem to like to move about a bit in amongst the feed. Anyway that was my plan and so I started the match on the waggler loosefeeding maggots and casters. The waggler was going through nicely and I could control it nicely and fish it from halfway to three quarters in and around the feed. Well it all seemed good but I couldn't get a bite, and then just before the first hour was ending I had a definite bite and I was hooked into something. Not a huge fish but as I gained control I caught a glimpse of a chub about 1lb 1/4. Sadly a glimpse was all I had as a pike also saw it and it pulled the chub of my hook, oh bother!

I gave the peg a good thrashing for another hour but had no signs, Rich Lacey had already been bank walking earlier and informed me 15, 17 and 18 were all getting a few. With cold feet I decided to go for a walk myself, and first I saw Lewis who had 3 bream and a skimmer, Ben had 4 chub and Paul 3 bream and a skimmer and then I saw him catch a 4.5lb chub on the crowquill. It was nice to see the fish but didn't do a lot for my confidence, so I went upstream and saw not a lot other than Jerry Pocock who was catching pretty well on a bolo, chublets. I said to Jer I'm giving it another 30 minutes and then I'm packing up.

Back to the peg and with no bait gone in for a a good 15 minutes I ran the float through hoping for a bite without feeding, it didn't work. At 1pm I was back to loose feeding and slightly upping the bait as I needed to make something happen, the waggler was way down the peg and I struck and it was solid, I wound down hard and felt a kick, ooh! I dragged the fish all the way back up and scooped up a near 4lb bream, yay not blanked! Next cast and the float went under again but closer to me, and again the strike met with good resistance. Amazingly it was another bream similar size. I was on tenterhooks on the next cast and went the float went under I was thinking here we go, but this time it was a a little 4oz chublet. Three fish in three casts, well that was that for another dozen casts. I did get two more bites on the waggler in the next 30 minutes, I never connected but both times the hookbait was gone.

With an hour and 15 mins to go I had another bite and another bream, and then next cast a 12oz chub, about 10 mins later I hooked another decent fish but after a short bump, bump, it seemed to go solid and came off, my first thought was had I fouled it, after this I had no more bites on the wag that was my lot. I tried the lead with no signs and went back to the waggler, but all signs of fish had gone. Back on the lead and with about 25 mins to go I had a decent bite and for a few seconds had a fish on and then for no reason it came off. When I wound in the 0.15 hook length had parted in the middle, so I think there was a snag there and reckon that was what also did for me on the last waggler fish.

End of match and couldn't see me winning any money this week unless others had stopped catching in my section. I thought I had 13lb and when Dean Harvey arrived with the scales he called 13lb 4oz, not enough today for sure. Best pictures below I have from Dean Harvey who is no David Bailey PMSL.
Top of the pops today were:-

1st Paul Purchase 59lb peg 18, Mainly bream on the crowquill and then waggler.
2nd Kev Dicks 48lb 4oz Bitton Brook, 8 decent chub and lots of chublets and roach
3rd Warren Bates 44lb 1oz peg 20, 9 bream with 6 off them coming on the crowquill
4th Lewis Walker 29lb 2oz  peg 15 bream
5th Ben Rendall 20lb 8oz peg 17 chub and 1 bream
6th Jerry Pocock 16lb 9oz

There were no small fish caught from peg 4 until you got to peg 27, it was chub or bream, just what I thought. My only satisfaction today is that the river did indeed fish how I expected it to, and I was on the right method, just needed a draw but that's fishing. With Lewis winning my section I was never going to get any dosh of my peg today, but it was nice to get a few out on the waggler as it is not often I get to fish like this and I do enjoy it.

Looks like an open at Newbridge next week, bit of rain in the forecast so hopefully it won't be clear.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Two for the price of one

After a busy week and still not feeling that well after a few weeks of what seems an endless sore throat and feeling rough some days, I was happy to have a bit of a lie in Friday. I planned a pleasure fishing trip to The Bristol Avon at Saltford, on the free stretch above the Jolly Sailor. It's an area which seems to hold a lot of roach, and if the conditions are right bream, and I'm told some odd decent barbel. The bonus is you can park behind your peg. I had plenty of gbait, 1 1/2 pint caster, 2 pints of hemp and some maggots. The plan was ball it at 13m, and I did throw in 6 balls there and had bites straight away from roach but pike were a menace! I had enough, I threw another 6 balls in at about 6m and fished a 6m whip so I could avoid pike I hoped. Well it was a bite a chuck here all day, and by feeding little balls of gbait packed with hemp and caster regularly I caught roach on caster and just had a few bleak problems now and then. I had team mate Jack Jones watch me for a bit, not sure he was impressed by my ineptitude (whip fishing is not something I do a lot of ) but he did see me catch plenty and he saw pike chasing roach further out in the river. Terry Ellis also joined me and fished bread on a crowquill, he had 54 roach on it and so a good day for him. I ended up with a stack of fish, we tried to weigh them in with my landing net, but there were so many we couldn't let the net settle as the fish fell out. I had somewhere between 23lb and 25lb I guess. Lovely day. Picture below taken by Terry.

Sunday morning and fishing an open match at Newbridge, breakfast in Jarrett's cafe in Willsbridge, and I have to say it was really good, dead handy as it is very close to me! There were about 21 anglers fishing today and Kevin Dicks was sorting the draw and he had done some swim clearing too, so fair play. The river had gone clear after last weeks rain had run out, I was not sure where I wanted to draw but I did fancy a lazy day on the feeder lol. However, I drew out peg 7 in the little field and this is normally a pole peg good for roach (only spawny gits draw it with water on and catch bream on the feeder, like I did once lol). This year it has not been so good and last week in the Poppy Nigel Wyatt struggled for 3lb+ and the whole section was tough. Still different conditions this week.

There were six anglers in the little field, with Andy Curry on peg 1, peg 3 angler DNW, peg 5 was superstar Shane Caswell, peg 10 (recently cleared out by EA so we can fish it again) was another superstar Glenn Bailey, and another angler below him. My peg is only about 9 feet deep, and I'm not used to drawing such shallow pegs lately lol. Time was short and so setting up was just two pole rigs, 1g pencil float with 22 to 0.08, 2gm Silvers with 18 to 0.10. A feeder rod was set up in case bream showed and an eleven BB crowquill with 18 to 0.10. View from peg 7...

I started a couple of minutes after the official 10:15 start, I threw in 9 or 10 balls of gbait at 13m. I picked up the heavy pole rig and tried caster, no bites on this. Shane shouted down he had a pike take a fish first drop in. I went onto the light pole rig with a maggot and it was not good but I could get the odd bite from small roach. I think it was after 30 minutes that Shane came down fuming as he had already had 6 pike take fish and only had 2 roach in the net! I told Shane I had no pike trouble and then one had me, grrrr! After an hour I thought I only had a dozen fish, Glenn said he had 36 and so was kicking my ass. About 90 minutes into the match and I had given a pike some serious tooth ache and that seemed to get rid of it, I then had a decent hour catching small roach steadily. Of course the pike came back, and it was a big un, I pulled hard as I could on the heavier gear with all 13m of pole up in the air, but this pike went upstream and I felt the rig grate against a snag and then everything went solid. I had to pull the elastic back by hand and I lost the whole rig. I decided against setting another heavier rig, and would use the crowquill to try to avoid the pike. Running the light rig down the peg trying to catch I ran it a long way down the peg and a bite, I struck and it was solid, a bloody snag. I shipped back and then noticed the elastic going out, what the hell! I had a fish on, a big one too and I guessed a pike, but wasn't really sure. Whatever it was I finally lost it as swan into the margin and transferred the hook into a reed which popped up. When I took the reed off I noticed a scale on the hook, so I had foul hooked something, a bream I think.

The match continued with me getting spells of fish, it was frustrating as every time I felt like I was getting the fish lined up the pike would upset them. I continued to feed hemp and caster over the top of my gbait, and with about 75 mins to go I started to get bites right up under the loosefeed. I would cast the crowquill in, feed hemp, then caster and quite often the float was already under. The pike still managed to bite me off and go for another couple of fish, but the last hour the roach were bigger and I was winching them in and swung everything! It was hectic, and I must have had 6lb in that last hour and I caught either on caster or double red maggot. I guessed I had 12lb and thought Glenn must have more as he had caught on the pole all day and had not had a pike!

Kevin Dicks came along with the scales, he started with Andy Curry who had a great net of roach for 14lb 4oz. Shane managed over 11lb of roach despite having 19 pike strikes, more than my 12! My turn next and my fish went much more than I thought when Kev shouted 15lb 8oz. Glenn was next and I was shocked when he weighed 15lb exactly, I guess I overtook him in the last hour, only a couple of fish in it. Below Glenn the angler had 13lb, so the little field had fished really good!

My net today

Back at the Crown pub and time for a good old chat and the results.. winner today (again) was Shaun Townsend with 21lb of roach from peg 28. Shaun also had a bonus rudd that was well over a 1lb. He did well considering he forgot his bait boxes, groundbait bowls, and still has my bungy that he "borrowed" from me last week lol.

In second place was Kev Dicks with 16lb of roach from peg 16. A lot of small roach on a 8m whip.

Third place and last in the money was me, yay!

Section winners were Glenn Bailey. Kev Millard 13lb+ from peg 24, and Jeff Surmon won the last section with just 2 1/2lb! In fact after peg 33 the weights were awful with some anglers even blanking. It seems the roach have packed into the river from peg 30 up to peg 1, they may well keep on going upstream who knows. Today there was not a single bream caught, almost unheard of at Newbridge!

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Poppy Match Bristol Avon

100 years ago this Sunday the guns fell silent as the first world war came to an end, a huge number of people lost their lives in order for this country to remain free and not ruled by a foreign nation hell bent on domination of Europe. The Royal British Legion raise awareness and funds to look after the defenders of our nation, and I for one am proud to wear a poppy.

Thirty years ago I won my first Poppy match (on Chequers straight) and I would have loved to have won it again today. The rain we've had in the last couple of days was unfortunately just a tad too much and pushed the river up and coloured, I took a look Saturday afternoon at the Crane and it was going through quite a bit. It meant one thing to me, bream on the feeder and a draw up at Newbridge would be required to win. I got to the draw at Frys in plenty of time, but was disappointed to be told I couldn't order a breakfast (they couldn't cope) and instead had to have a bacon roll (well a roll with one tiny piece of bacon in it). It was as ever great to see so many anglers fishing, and some people who I don't see very often, Mike Shellard, Terry Ellis, Mike Spencer, John Amatto, Mike Pierce, Nigel Bateman, Harry Muir, I could go on and on and on!  After the two minute silence the draw began and I was quite close to the front, I prayed to pull out an early number to be up Newbridge, but alas peg 88 was looking at me. I'd seen the peg yesterday and knew it was just below the boys hole where the Commercial House was won last week with 29lb of skimmers. Of course this gave me a lot of hope but the river last week was low and clear and I hoped the skimmers were still there.

A nice short walk just over the cattle grid, and past Craig Fletcher on the end peg, then John Smith, and then me, three Gasheads in a row lol! Jan Mazyck was above me. This peg is deep, and tends to go deeper as you go downstream, the flow was quite fast in close but about two thirds over the flow slows right up.

As the guy last week had caught on the pole I wanted to set that up, but when I put a flat float up (8g it just wasn't right and the depth of the peg plus the flow warranted a much bigger float which I don't have. I decided to put the pole away and leave the fast boily water alone. That meant it was just going to be a groundbait feeder today, I set up a 30g job with the usual 14 PR355 to 0.165 exceed. Job done. I had plenty of groundbait mixed up and I made up 8 balls containing, dead pinkie, casters and chopped worm. When the match started I had organisers Colin Ellaway and Paul Benson behind me, so I hoped my 8 balls would land very close as I launched them out to the slow water, all bar one ball landed decent I thought. I wasn't expecting a barrage of bites, but thought I would start with the standard 3 red maggots on the hook and see what happened. Second cast and a roach about 3oz was swung in. Sadly I never had another bite on any baits until the hour mark when I had another small roach.

I went for a quick walk, Jan hadn't had a bite but John and Craig were getting a few roach in their steady swims. I went back and tried three fluro maggots, I had a 6oz eel on this bait and so decided to stick with it, a couple of casts later another bite and a hybrid of about 6oz. The next two casts produced two more hybrids of the same size or a bit smaller. Then no more bites at all. I'd had phone calls from Glenn Bailey at Newbridge who was struggling, and Shane Caswell who was behind the pumphouse at Newbridge and struggling to wet a line because of the boats in front of him. It sounded like the match was fishing hard.

I plugged away on the feeder, keeping lots of caster and worm going in, and trying various hook baits. I never had a bite on a lobworm, but I started to get the odd bite from roach on a dendrabena with two maggots. Three hours in and I had only missed one bite, and had 1 eel, 5 roach and 3 hybrids, hardly flying. I wasn't feeling the peg was going anywhere, I was hardly getting a bite and it seemed the fish were not there / not feeding. Below me John and Craig had now had a few skimmers on the feeder and were well in front of me.

The sun was in my face and I had to move the rod and turn my head and hat at silly angles to be able to see my quivertip. However, about 90 minutes to go I had a seriously good bite which I could not miss seeing, but when I picked up the rod everything was solid. I could not feel a fish on and in the end I pulled for a break and the hooklength snapped. I guess I either missed the bite or it was a liner. Still it cheered me up a bit. Not long after Darren Gillman came up for a walk and he could see I was struggling, he told me that he had caught a 3lb+ chub of this peg last year.

Another strange indication and then nothing again. Darren walked on not having seen me catch but a few minutes later at 2:10pm with 50 minutes left I had another better bite and when I struck I knew it was a bream. It did go a bit when it got into the flow but I always had it under control and soon had it in the net. I wasn't massive, but at 3 1/2lb was more than welcome. Two casts later and for a few seconds I thought it was another bream, but alas an eel again. Thirty minutes to go and I'm still on worm and two maggots and another bite, bang this fish feels really heavy,could be a big bream (but there aren't many big ones down here) but as I played it I thought chub, and indeed it was. It looked like 3lb+ and must have been Darren's chub, lol. I never had another fish in the last 30 minutes.

With those two fish I now thought I had 9lb, with John and Craig only admitting to 5lb I thought I had the section won. Craig weighed in 6lb 5oz, and he lost a bream at the end, John weighed in 8lb 6oz of skimmers, looked like the fish which had been caught the week before. My turn and the needle swung round to 10lb 5oz, with Jan and the angler above him struggling I won the five peg section. In fact as it turned out I was the top weight of the twenty pegs up the Crane. Thanks for the picture Mr Gillman.

Didn't take long to get back to the results and get a pint and a roll. The rumour mill began and it seemed Dave Lewis had 5 bream and was likely to be top rod. Before the results though we had to get the raffle done, and once again Ray Bazeley had done well to get a great many prizes, many donated by local tackle shops. I managed to bag a couple of prizes so was happy enough, not so Glenn Bailey as both my winning tickets were next to his numbers, oops!

After the section money was paid out the main results were announced and here are the winners:-

1st Dave "the Drain" Lewis  26lb 10oz  5 bream from peg 46 at Newbridge
2nd Shane Caswell 25lb 14oz, basically 4 big bream in the last ninety minutes
3rd Paul Purchase 16lb  13oz. Peg 138 in the trees, 3 skimmers, some big roach and 14 eels (4 over 1lb)
4th Mark Leader 13lb 4oz
5th Paul Rice 12lb 8oz
6th Kev Boltz 12lb  (last year's winner)

11lb 14oz was last in the frame, and the top 8 were all at Newbridge. Think I was between 10th and 12th overall. Shame those skimmers had moved on, a few of those would have been handy.

It sounds like the match has raised over £1500 for the Poppy Appeal which is great news!

Congratulations to the framers, and especially the top three who are pictured below looking happy as they should be, well done lads. I'm fishing an open next week on Newbridge, with no rain forecast hopefully it could be a reasonable match.