Sunday, 19 August 2018

Division One National - River Trent

This post starts with the practice I put in a week before the national, I drove up on the Wednesday and met up with the lads, who had fished an open, in a pub in Newark for the results. None of the guys did amazingly well but ideas and sharing of information began, what was clear already was that end pegs were a major advantage. We were in two different hotels as a team and I shared a room with Andy Ottaway Great hotel, lovely bar but it didn't stay open late. We had a few beers and a very good Chinese meal.

I felt good the next morning despite a shortish sleep, we had a 30 minute to drive to Southwell for the draw of today's open which was at Fiskerton and Rolleston. I drew a peg at Rolleston and was waiting for a local to tell me to fish for bream or barbel..... err no, the best they could say was fish for silvers. It was another drive to get to my section, along the way we drove down a track and I could not see the car in front due to the dust, suffice to say the car was covered.

I got to the peg and first job was to get a platform in (borrowed from Glenn Bailey) as this river is very rocky in close. Peg looked like this, shame the trees were out of distance as I forgot my big feeder rod.
My match went like this, a roach first chuck on the gbait feeder and not another bite, so after 45 mins I had to go looking for silvers as nobody around me had caught on the feeder. I had decided to try a 5m whip and a waggler further out. The whip was a bite a chuck, not that I could hook any bites, and putting a pinkie on I caught what must have been at best 10 to the ounce roach. I fed the whip all match but the size never changed. The waggler was slightly better, the fish were now 3 to the ounce! All around me the feeder anglers had nothing and some good anglers were scratching, I decided to fish the waggler for the rest of the match just to see what weight I could get. I had the pleasure of Paul Newell watching me fish for 20 mins, and he gave me some good tips. I ended up with 4lb 8oz, which was halfway in the section, thought the lads two to my left and right DNW. After the match we learnt a lot talking to the local guy who ran the match, he told us of a peg that could win the national, he said a blind man with one arm could catch off it, and also a 20 peg private stretch at Fiskerton with lots of bream.

Another good night out in Newark, the pubs up there have a big variety of ale, but not much cider.

Think I must have had a few more beers as was a little slower Friday morning... We were just fishing in a line today, the only place we could go was Fiskerton which was OK with me. I fished next to Jack Jones, we set about fishing a little differently to see how things went. I wanted to fish the pole and blockend feeder today. I balled it in on the pole, but I began on the feeder and it took a few casts before I started to get some bites. I had some dace, a couple of a roach and a perch, and then hit what I thought might be a big skimmer. Halfway back the fish tore off, I shouted out to Jack that I had a barbel on, but 30 seconds later I didn't and with one head shake or kick it snapped me up, damn. Not long after this a thunderstorm hit and I sat in the car waiting for it to pass. Once we got back fishing we hear Andy Ottoway had lost a barbel, so Jack and I kept going for one. Jack then thought he had one on, but as it came in he realised it was a decent eel, unbelievably just had Jack landed the eel I hooked one, a good pound eel. Bites died and I went on the pole and caught some nice roach but they came in fits and starts, the river is so clear I think they spook. My net below when the sun decided to come out and dry everything out, happy with that.

The stand out performance today was Lee Trivett who had 20lb of roach and perch on the pole, and the pleasure angler who caught a barbel straight away out of the peg Martin Barrett had fished, lol.

I spent the following week buying feeders, tying rigs etc, and dreaming of drawing the flyer at East Stoke or the first 20 pegs at Fiskerton on the private stretch.

I drove up Friday afternoon before the national, it was a tortuous journey but got to the hotel at 6pm. We had a night out in Nottingham, with a very good curry and plenty of beer. great team bonding, but when the alarm went off at 6pm I was slightly regretting the late night. Fast forward to the draw done as ever by Mark Harper. Mark came back with the barbel flyer E1 at East Stoke on the list, but it was not for me, it had Ian Paulley's name against it, good luck mate! I was drawn in A section, Clifton, and as it turned out I was two above the flyover.


My peg was down a steep bank with steps, home from home you could say, but I had to get into the water as far as I could as there were trees right above me. I was told the main species here were dace and some roach, but I did set up a feeder rod though it never got used. A 4AAA waggler with 18 to 0.12 was put up as was 3 pole rigs for 11.5m and a rig for chopped worm at 6m. I've not mentioned the pole rigs in detail as basically I only caught on one as I'll explain later. The river was very shallow here, about 4 1/2 foot and that was a bit of a surprise to me and the shallowest peg I've had up here.

The match started at 11am and I threw in 12 balls of gbait on the pole line, I didn't intend to start on the pole but thought I would have a cheeky look. One fry was all I had in 10 runs through, but not to worry as I hoped it would draw fish in later. Out went the waggler, I had to cast it a long way downstream to try to combat the awful downstream wind. It was hard work, and presentation was only good for a short distance, but I got the odd bite on it but was going nowhere at this stage. Another look on the pole and no bites, hmmm. I tried my worm line and bumped a perch, then lost one (not big) and finally had two out, then this died.

An hour gone and maybe I have got a pound, the wind just got worse, the conditions were really a battle and it was seriously tough match. Gradually I got more bites, especially on the waggler, but I was lucky if I could hit 1 in ten bites from these dace. The pole was even worse, the only rig I could get a bite on was a 4x16 strung out rig, but once the fish were there it was hard to hit the bites. The float would want to go with the wind, and trying to get any presentation was hardly possible, most bites came if i lifted the rig a bit and dropped it in.

With about 90 mins left I had only taken 2 more perch on worm, but by switching between wag and pole I tried to find a rythmn. I did snap up on the strike on the wag once, but I doubt it was a big fish, I just hit the bite hard with no slack line. Then disaster, I caught the top of the rod in the tree on the cast, after being so careful all day. It was a right off, no way was the waggler coming out or the rod, so I left it there. It was pole all the way now, I battled the wind and tried all the permutations of hookbaits. A single bronze maggot was the best it seemed, on hemp I had one roach, on a tare two tiny dace. I had been feeding hemp all day, but with 45 mins to go the bites dried up, maybe because I hadn't rested it. I fed some casters in with the hemp and managed to get a few bites again.

When the match finished I was a tad frustrated, I had lost a few fish shipping back for some reason and dropped two off. I also believe a better angler would have hit more bites on the waggler and had a couple more pounds. That said I had a right legend behind me watching for a bit Pete Warren and he said he thought I had done OK. I couldn't believe my luck meeting Pete, I used to have a load of his stick floats, he still fishes the river and still uses the stick, but said he gets hammered by the pole anglers.


The stewards got to me to weigh in and said the river had fished hard for many, when I was weighed in I had 3 kilos 140g, about 7lb. Best shot I could get of my fish is here.

Kevin Green of Preston Black Horse above me weighed 2 kilo 160g and Paul Robinson of Wigan had 1kilo 720g. Just below Paul, Ed Warren of Starlets had 3kilo 60g, so I guess I had done well enough, but sill think I could have had 4 kilo. In the first 15 pegs I was 5th, and out of the 47 anglers in my section I was 15th so 32 points. My section was split with about a dozen pegs put in a new section, Des Shipp drew the end peg and did well to blitz the section with 9 kilo.

Back at the results and our team had not done especially well so no medals today. However, Ian Paulley on the flier had done the business, 14 barbel and 7 chub for a whopping 45 kilo 800g, which must be 100lb in old money. Ian had caught on a block end feeder fishing across to the far side of the river next to a bramble bush. Ian was not a runaway winner though, as in the 20 private pegs at Fiskerton the bream had fed and a 44kilo 300g was second to Ian. Well done Ian a great champion you are.


The team finished 19th overall, with Barnsley Blacks winning from Diawa Dorking. I love the Trent, it is hard work at times but it has lots of fish in it but its mood changes and this week the roach and dace were tough to catch compared to last week.

Today the team competed in the last round of the Superleague, I had asked not to fish as I needed a rest, the team had two bad draws and came last off those. They drew on the day with DGL and that meant DGL won the league by 1/2 point, so congratulations to them. Sadly for some reason the venues for next season have changed slightly, with Staverton on the river being dropped, and a second round being put in on the Gloucester canal. I struggle to understand that decision, but each to their own, and my own choice is I will not fish the Gloucester canal.

Time for a rest, recharge and get a few jobs done around the house and spend some time with my wife, so no fishing on the bank holiday weekend, and then September gets really busy with lots of stuff.


Sunday, 12 August 2018

Superleague Round 5 - Bristol Avon Newbridge

First off for those waiting for a blog on my couple of days on the river Trent you will have to wait, I am short on time and I will do the blog on this before my blog on the National itself. Suffice to say I didn't bag up but I had an enjoyable time.

I got back late Friday night from Newark, and would have like to have stayed in bed Saturday morning, alas I was up early to peg the river for the superleague. I met Warren Bates at the Pumphouse and together we spent nearly three hours putting pegs in. It was not straightforward, and I had to put some pegs in that I would have rather nor fished, but with some pegs overgrown and boats moored up in the trees we had little choice. It was later that day that I went to sort out my gear and realised I was rather short on pole rigs, especially 2 and 3g, worse still I could not find any floats to make rigs up. Luckily the young man in the team Andrew Cranston came to my rescue and said he would bring me a few rigs Sunday, he was also getting my bait, a big cheers mate, thanks!

Sunday morning, I had not slept well and didn't like what I saw in the mirror (who would I hear you say lol) it was not alcohol related I might add. This was reinforced when I got to the draw at the Crown in Keynsham to be told by Dean Harvey that I looked like shit! I passed on the list of pegs to help all the teams know where there pegs were and then got myself a breakfast. The Thatchers team today were myself, Mark Harper, Andy Power (guest), Andy Cranston, Nathaniel Johnson, Luke Sorokin, Rob Jones and Nick Chedzoy. Chedz was enlisted to draw for the team, and he came back with a set of pegs that I thought were OK, but Mark Harper was on one I would not like. I was on yet another end peg, but this time the upstream end peg, peg 3 in the little field. This is a peg I have drawn quite a few times over many years, and I've won money off it more often than not. However, this season it has been really poor with excellent anglers Lee Trivett and Kev Dicks only managing 6lb weights, add to this peg 7 has been bossing this section I really wasn't confident, but I hoped the fish might come back to see me lol.



Setting up I had plenty of time and got my brolly up to keep my bait and a few other things dry. I put a feeder rod up and a waggler, but the waggler was really only there in case I was really struggling. Pole rigs were a 2g with 18 to 0.10 and 4g with 16 to 0.12. I was going to put a flat float up but there was not much flow at this stage and I didn't put it up. With the match starting at 11:30 I Was ready on time, and in went 14 balls of Sonubaits finest groundbait (River, Lake and Black) with a good helping of casters and hemp, and a pinch of pinkie and chopped worm. I began the match on the 2g rig with caster on the hook, I had six roach quite soon, but all of a sudden things went pete tong, bleak were a problem and if I did get a bait to the bottom it was hard to get a bite from a decent fish, I was soon on a maggot and my woes continued, and when the first hour ended I doubted I had 1 1/2lb and I was thinking the peg was still poor. I continued to feed hemp over the top and tried both rigs and differing hookbaits but was still only getting odd small fish.

About 90 minutes in I hit a bite on the lighter rig and lots of no5 elastic came out, as I played the fish I really was thinking it was a pike, but after a few minutes I caught a glimpse and saw it was a bream. It was a right pain on the light elastic, and I couldn't get the pole up without the elastic going in a tree, then the bream shot upstream and everything went solid, it snagged me. For about a minute nothing moved and I was now peed off, I had no choice but to pull hard as I assumed it had left the hook  in the snag. Luckily before the line parted the bream came free, and eventually I netted it, but then had to untangle the elastic from the tree, what a plonker! I was also having fun with all the slugs, they were everywhere, nets, rods, poles, luggage agh!



I dropped the feeder in over the pole line looking for another bream, but the tip remained still. Back out on the 2g rig and I had a couple more roach and small perch and then hit another bream, this tore off and the hook came out, it was fouled for sure. I decided to top up with a ball of gbait, and shipping back the pole cup fell of, doh! I got the 4g out there and put two red maggots on, soon after I had a decent skimmer, but then small roach took the bait. Time to put a worm and maggot on, and this worked as I struck into another bream, with heavier gear and elastic this one was much easier to land and a nice fish at nearly 4lb. I topped up again wondering how many more might I catch? Well I can tell you the answer to that, none, no more bream or skimmers showed for me.

I spent the rest of the match catching in fits and starts, when the fish were there (roach) it was good, but for some reason they would go, and changing rigs and hook baits was necessary. I think Pike had something to do with it, and in the last two hours I had more trouble from them than in the first three hours. Steve Priddle on peg 5 came up to see me, he had been struggling and was piked out worse than me it seemed. I landed one about 4lb, and lost another that was huge. The last 25 mins of the match I couldn't get a bite, and this was I am sure down to the big pike being right over the gbait. My smaller pike I landed.


Talk on the bank during the match from James Carty and Jack Jones who had come for a watch was that the river was fishing hard and I was probably winning the match, but I know only too well that bream can show late. However, most of my team mates were saying the same during the match. I had the scales and so once packed up with Steve Priddle I weighed in, the needle swung round to 18lb 4oz which I was happy with. Steve had 3lb 9oz, and then Charlie Vallender on form peg 7 had 13lb+ and that turned out to be second in the section and so I was top in the section. A picture of my fish thanks to Steve.


Back at the results and as more and more anglers came back it was confirmed I had indeed won the match, happy days. Even better my Thatchers team had done exceptionally well winning 4 sections, coming 2nd in three and a third in the other. This meant we won the day and now with one match left we are just 1/2 point behind DGL!

Top 5 today

1st Tim Ford 18lb 4oz
2nd P Nichols 15lb 15oz (chub from below NSL bridge)
3rd Nick Chedzoy 15lb 8oz (roach from behind the pumphouse)
4th Neil Richards 15lb 4oz
5th M Gaylard 15lb 3oz

Well a bit more prep for the national is needed this week, but a good draw is needed for sure, fingers crossed.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Superleague Practice - Bristol Avon Newbridge

First of all an apology, last week in my blog I said the winner was on peg 49, sorry that was a typo, it was peg 59 which I knew, thank you Terry Ellis for alerting me to the mistake. If you went and fished peg 49 in the week, sorry!

Saturday was a right off as far as prep was concerned, as I went to Peterborough to watch Rovers, the best part of the day was seeing my daughter Lucy, as on the way the coach broke down and with Rovers letting in an early goal and losing, and then part of the motorway being shut on the way home it was a long day!

Woke up early Sunday to mix mt groundbait, then on to the Crown in Keynsham where eventually I had a breakfast as they seemed a little slow to begin. Wasn't sure where I wanted to draw today, but didn't think the bream would go today with the river now clearer, hardly moving and not to mention the sun and high temps... Neil Richards drew for match organiser Dave Micklewright and gave him peg 59, Neil then drew peg 7 in the little field for himself which is a peg I really like. I pulled out peg 22 but this was not the permanent peg, and I was told I was up by the bream hole. I got to the pumphouse and started pushing the trolley towards my home for the day. I found I was on peg 49, errr hope nobody had fished it in the week lol! I've wanted to draw this peg for years, though would like to be on it in winter with a bit of water on, last week this peg came 4th I think so a few bream about.


Peg 49 is very wide, and most of the flow is on this side of the river, that means options are a bit limited and I expected (hoped) to catch the majority of my fish on the pole line. I plumbed up at 13m and there was a nice depth there of about 12 feet, I set up three pole rigs; 1.5g pencil float with 20 to 0.10, 2g Preston Silvers with 18 to 0.11, and a 3g flat float with 16 to 0.13. I also set up a gbait feeder with a 16 PR355 to 0.13. I did not set up a waggler as there was no flow for this and I couldn't see any fish on the surface.

The match started at 11:30, I threw in 13 jaffas containing the usual casters, hemp and pinkie. I picked up the 2g rig and and dropped in with a caster on the hook, I was pleased when the float went straight under and a 2oz roach was swung to hand. I was even more pleased when for the first 30 mins the float went under every time with a roach a chuck. A pike then decided to grab a roach, I hung on and it snapped /bit me off. I put on another hook length and went back out but the pike had stopped the bites, I tried the pencil rig which was set a bit shallower but that never went under either. I fed another ball of gbait and starting feeding hemp.  Back on the 2g rig and bites came back, I started to catch roach again, plus a couple of little hand sized hybrids.

I was in quite a nice rhythm catching roach when the pike grabbed a fish again, I got to see it for a bit, probably about 8lb, and I pulled hard and it snapped me again, but I hoped I given it tooth ache. I decided to try the pencil float (deepened off) before putting another hook length on, and this time it worked as I had a couple of roach, and then I hit a better fish, but I was sure this was not a pike. On number 5 elastic it was a challenge, but I could see it was a bream, and after some 5 minutes managed to get it into the landing net, about 3lb I thought. I put the pencil rig down and grabbed the flat float, but I didn't get anything other than a perch and a roach. I fed another ball and went out on the 2g rig, I caught more roach and a few more perch, though only small. However, after about 2 hours I had a 1lb skimmer and not long after one about 8oz. I was more than happy with my catch rate and carried on catching roach, but then after 2 1/2 hours the peg came to a dead stop, and the pole line was gone. Nigel Wyatt came up for a walk as he was struggling, and as he arrived I had a bite out of the blue, it was a roach that was close to a pound.  I tried and tried to make the pole work but nothing worked and it was dead.

I tried the feeder over the pole line, no good, I cast it down the peg a couple of roach and a chublet and that was it. I'd gone from catching well to catching nothing. The next hour or so I caught not one fish, and went for a quick walk, Jeff Surmon on peg 50 had about 6lb of bits, and Luke above him about 5lb. I went back and tried the pole and worm again, first drop and the float went down, I connected and it felt like a good skimmer, when I got it in close the fish rushed to the bank, I thought it was a chub, but then saw it, bloody jack pike! Not long after this a guy walked past me with a camera,he asked me if I was sponsored by Thatchers, pardon I said, he asked again, I said yes I am. "Wish I bloody was" he said. I realised he meant Thatchers cider lol, but let him go believing I was.

I cast the gbait feeder across and this time the tip rattled, for the last 30 minutes I had a bite every cast, but only from small roach and gudgeon. I tried the pole thinking the fish had come back on the feed, but sadly it was still dead. Match finished at 4:30 and I was tinged with sadness as I really thought I was on for a decent weight, and I thought 20lb would be enough to win.

Scales came down from the end peg, Rueben Guerra on end peg 63 had 12lb 6oz which included some big roach, one would have been near 2lb he said. Dave chucked back in peg 59, and the next few anglers had 7lb+, my turn and I was a little disappointed to see the scales register 11lb 9oz, as I thought I had at least 12lb, so I was second in the section. The peg below me was in the next field and that was fellow blogger Ivan Currie, he had 5lb+ see his blog for details.



I was really glad to get back to the Crown, I ordered a pint of Thatchers and a pint of water and ice, heaven! Results as follows

1st Neil Richards 20lb of bream, skimmers roach on the pole in the first 90 minutes.  peg 7
2nd Rob Jones 16lb 6oz skimmers and roach on the pole all day, peg 122
3rd Phil Bendall 16lb 5oz same as Rob, peg 88
joint 4th Warren Bates and Dave Clapton 16lb 3oz. They were pegged next to each other, around 26 / 28 and Warren had mainly roach and some skimmers, Dave had a big 6lb slab to go with his roach.

I think the river fished quite well considering the conditions, but we do need some rain!

I got £20 for second in the section, so got my pools money back.

Wednesday I a off to Nottingham to fish the Trent for a couple of days as practice for the division one national, then it is back on here Sunday for the Superleague.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Riverfest Qualifier - Bristol Avon Newbridge

I was once again trying my luck on the Riverfest qualifier, a 60 peg match where three zone winners of 20 pegs qualify for a final where the top prize is £13,000!

Friday, didn't get into work, had bad bowels and was up a lot in the night.. managed a bit of river prep later in the day. Saturday felt a bit better and went to watch Rovers play a friendly at home, good to be back at the mem.... errr we got smashed 4 nil by Exeter! Got home and checked the gear again and mixed up my groundbait, Sonubaits Lake, River and Black plus some brown crumb. This would be my pole line gbait, I also had some F1 and brown crumb for fishing the feeder for the bream.

Saturday night and up about five times in the night, bah, didn't wake up till 8am which was OK as the draw today was not until 10am! Loaded my gear in the rain and had a breakfast in the Wetherspoons Hanham with team mate Jack Jones. I really wasn't sure how the river would fish, but when I drove past the river at Keynsham I could see it hadn't changed a lot, not much flow, a bream peg was going to be needed to qualify I guessed. Got to the Crown in Saltford and sat with Warren Bates and Matt Challenger, and Ben Rendall. There were a few locals present but a lot of anglers had travelled a fair distance. Kev Dicks was the organiser and got us underway, I was probably about 8 anglers from the front, in front of me was the legend Dave Harrell. Dave drew 140 in the trees and asked what that was like, you might get bream said Kev Dicks. My turn and blimey peg 146, next peg below Dave and end peg! Kev Dicks said you won't get bream, and I knew he was right. The end peg in the trees is a flyer for roach, and over the many years I have fished that is what you catch. I was gutted that I was not on a bream peg, but had now to get my head on a roach match.

After the walk from the rugby club I was soon sat on the peg surveying the water in front of me. There was a definite tinge of colour which made me think the bream would feed, and if it carried on colouring up the roach would not. My thoughts were I would have a good day on the pole catching roach but would need the bream not to feed in my zone. Jack Jones was on peg 88 and he was the first peg in my zone, not the best for him. There were some superb anglers in my zone, Hadrian Whittle, Brian Rigby, Richard Chave, Dave Harrell and many more, this was not going to be easy.

I had a boat to my left, but nobody appeared to be on it.


The standard view of a peg in the trees. I elected to fish from the top of the bank as this would make shipping back easier.


The wind was a bit of a barsteward, and on the pole I went for just 11.5m in length. I set up a 1gm pencil rig with 20 to 0.10, a 2g rig with 18 to 010. I did set up a flat float but the wind was so bad that even with the pole roost I could not keep it still, so that went back on the winder and instead I put on a 3gm rig. A 3AAA wag for shallow fishing, and a 5m whip were set up, both aimed at chublets / bleak if I was struggling. Last out of the bag and literally I was not going to bother, was the feeder rod, I tied on an open ender but no hooklength.

About 5 mins before the whistle I had formed 14 balls of gbait full of hemp, caster and dead pinkie. Then a dog off the lead went into my top sets, broke a number 4 and trashed my two heavier rigs, WTF!!! The all in was called, what to do... I balled it in and picked up the pencil float. I had a couple of roach and then bleak started to hold the float up, I pushed the bulk down but this was only a little better. Twenty mins in and I was already looking at a bad start and not getting the caster roach I needed. Out of frustration I put a bit of worm on the hook, it was left alone by the bleak and I caught a roach! It was somewhat strange fishing a pencil float with a bit of worm, but it was working quite well, a few more roach and then a couple of little hybrids and a 6oz skimmer. I bumped a couple of fish and knew I had to get a heavier rig on. I took one of my trashed rigs off and replaced it with a 4g job, far to heavy for the flow, but with a worm might be OK, I set it up with a 16 to to 0.11 powerline.

The heavy rig was OK, bites were less frequent but the quality was better, roach were 4oz and I had some more small skimmers. I also managed a skimmer of 1lb. This was all quite strange though as I had seriously never considered catching skimmers on this peg. I was fishing the heavy rig overdepth with either double caster or a worm, and the pencil float was set for fishing off the bottom with a caster. The skimmers would come and go, and as soon as they went I would catch a few roach, even on the heavy rig was best. This may have been because of the downstream wind which meant I had to hang onto the float to get presentation

I had a visit from Craig Fletcher, he said I was doing well with my estimated 7lb after 2 hours. I had another visitor, Dean Harvey and I had a few fish when he sat behind me, a 1 1/2lb skimmer and roach. When he left to go for another walk I reckoned on having over 11lb. I carried on getting bites mainly from roach and I was happy to keep putting fish in the net. Then Dean rang me to say that Steve Vernon on 109 had 5 bream for 22lb, shit that was it I was nowhere near that. I decided even though I was catching roach that I had to catch more skimmers / bream. I cupped in three balls stuffed with worm and caster and fished the waggler whilst I let that settle. The waggler was a bleak nightmare, so I was soon picking up the pole again. I tried the worm and had two small perch so went back onto double caster and had a 12oz skimmer. Maybe I was going to bag, hmmm, back to roach. I tried three red maggots but that was no good, so back on the worm. After a few tries I finally saw the float disappear a fair way down the peg, and this time a lot of elastic came out and I knew I had hooked a bream. Ten seconds later and I knew I had lost a bream...  a lump of slime was just above the hook and the bait was gone, damn!

I had to put that loss out of my mind, but it was nagging away at me that will cost me.... I tried the feeder over the pole line, but I had a roach and perch on it. Back on the pole and with double caster, less bites now, but then another decent fish hooked, managed to land an 8oz eel just as it snapped the hook length as twisted up. I chucked the feeder back out again whilst I put a new hooklength on. Richard Lacey came down and watched me and I had a small fish and then a decent bite. The rod bent over and Rich shouted bream, but I knew it was an eel. It was probably 12oz so a handy fish. Rich left me with 30 mins to go, and after this I really struggled and the peg had died and I had nothing else. I thought I had 15lb, and was just hoping I might win my section.

As I was nearly finished packing up Rich Lacey rang me, the good news was Rich Vernon's bream were small and he only had 15lb, but the bad news was there were two 16lb weights of skimmers. I really honestly thought I didn't have 17lb so was a bit gutted. I met up with the scales at Dave Harrell's peg after Rich Chave had weighed a good 14lb, Dave had 9lb+  of roach and chublets. Then it was me. When I pulled my net out Rich Chave and Lacey both set you've got more than 16lb, so when the needle settled on 18lb 4oz I was more than happy. I had won my ten peg section, but to get to the final I needed to be the best weight of the other ten peg section above the arch.

My net of fish.



I walked back to the rugby club with Rich Lacey who was really kind saying I hope you've done it. Back at my car and Jack Jones was just going to weigh so said he would call me back, but he said someone had 25lb and so did I guy in the car park so that was the dream over. However, a few mins later and Jack sent me a message on whatsapp that I had won the zone, the 25lb was a rumour and no more. I'll be honest I was elated, I have not felt a buzz like that for a long time!

Key today were, I did not loosefeed due to all the bleak, I fed balls of gbait as top ups. But most importantly I altered my rigs (not much choice lol) and hookbaits towards skimmers when I never expected to catch any.

The match was won by Derren Harper with a magnifcent 153lb 12oz!!! 42 bream from peg 59

2nd Warren Bates from next door on 61 with 49lb 10oz.
3rd Steve Sadler with 32lb 7oz of bream from peg 33.

The three qualifiers were Derren, Steve and myself. I now have to get my around around the fact I have to fish the river Severn in Shrewsbury for two days in November, a place I have never seen let alone fished. But with £13,000 up for grabs I will have to find some info out and give it my all, as these opportunities are few and far between. Thank you to everyone who has been kind enough already to congratulate me, I am on cloud nine, and even if I shit out in the final at least I get to be part of it.

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Super League Round 3 - River Huntspill

This is not the blog I was expecting to write..... I was all ready to fish a match at Newbridge as a practice for the RiverFest qualifier there next Sunday. Got a call Tuesday from Martin Barrett to say the team was short and needed me to fish, I protested but Martin said I didn't need to practice for a match at Newbridge, and so I was fishing the Huntspill. I like the Huntspill, generally a few fish to go at but end pegs can dominate.

I had another very busy week and no time to prepare (much) for the Spill, primarily because I was in charge of a day out with 20 people at Donington Park watching Truck racing on Saturday. I organise a sponsorship of a driver, and he is currently winning the championship, go Ryan Smith! It was a very long but fun day out.

Up early again Sunday and grabbed all my bait and gear and stuffed the car, Mr Barrett was bringing my gbait for the feeder, ready mixed. I got to Laburnham House and had a couple of sausage / bacon sarnies and a cup of tea and paid my pools. Martin did the draw and told me I was on 37 on the North Bank, "spawny git", "You Jammy Bastard", etc, etc. were shouted at me, this peg had won the last match and another little knock up with bream. About time I had a flyer! Then I heard "redraw".... you effing bastards! Back comes Martin with peg 42 in the same section, that's OK they said it is the other end peg!

I drove towards Gold Corner and parked up in the little carp park, first person I saw was Mark Williams of Nomads, he said he had peg 43, ummm, so you're end peg not me then... f.. sake. Day was starting well, lol. Paul Purchase had drawn 37 and I could not see him messing that up. A steady walk up the bank and got to my peg, well I could not fish right in front of it because of reeds, so I had to fish 2 metres to the left. I told Charlie Valender who was next to me that I would cast to the right.


As far as I was concerned this section was going to be won with bream, and for me to do any good for the team I would have to catch some. I set up a feeder rod for chucking down the middle of the river, had 0.13 powerline to 16 PR355 on this. The only other thing I set up was a waggler, 4AAA with 0.104 Exceed to 18 PR333. That was all I set up! I had a couple of senior moments, left some gbait behind for the pole, but Dan Squires had brought a barrow full and he gave me some ready mix, cheers Dan! Then I thought I had left my had and sunglasses at the draw, Charlie got me a cap, just as I found them fallen in my bait bag!

On to the fishing, 11am start and I cast out seven big feeders with chopped worm, casters, dead pinkie and squatt in. Meanwhile I threw little balls of gbait out regularly about 18m ready for the waggler.  I started on the feeder, and second cast had a twitchy bite and swung in a 2oz rudd. Thirty mins in and Mark next to me has two bream in two casts on the feeder, so I stuck with it. On the hour I had nothing more, Charlie had one small fish on the tip and tried the pole, after a couple of roach he had a bream, and 20 mins later he had another bream! Roughly 90 mins in and I've got 2oz, two bream either side, Paul and Andy Ritchings next to him look to have a couple of bream and the lad next to Andy has one. Two hours in and still nothing, so I tried the waggler to try to get a little more in the net and "rest" the feeder. I had a few small roach and a little skimmer on this, I had to fish well overdepth to keep the bait still as the wind was blowing down the river and causing a tow. However, as the wind increased the tow went from being with the wind to against it. When I went back on the feeder the quiver tip was now bending round quite a bit due to the tow. Many people seemed to struggle to catch fish at this time, although Paul still had a few.

Two hours to go and I had still not had anything on the feeder, Mark had caught another bream and a skimmer, Charlie was catching the odd eel and roach on the pole, Paul and Andy were miles in front of everyone else. I took a few more small fish on the waggler and a bonus 12oz skimmer which meant it was tight between me and Dan Squires for last in the section lol! In reality I was only using the waggler for short spells, probably had three tries at it all day as I spent most time of the feeder. I had taken a few calls from team mates, Andy Ottoway was struggling at Gold Corner, Mark Harper was in a crap section, and Martin Barrett was last in his section, and I said this groundbait wasn't looking a good choice! (It was Sonubaits F1, and some Bloodworm fishmeal).  With about 45 mins to go Mark rang me again and I had to tell him I was still doing shite, as I put the phone down I saw the tip going round properly, struck and I was into a bream. I took my time and was soon putting the net under a 3 1/2lb bream, as I did Mat Parsons walked up. I cast out and within a few minutes had a drop back bite and another bream was on, it fought a bit harder and was probably 4lb. Mat said I would get 5 in 5 chucks now, I wish! I had a couple of casts with indications, maybe liners, but still I thought the bream were still there. Then another cast and I just had a little tap and nothing else, and I left it there, nothing happened, after a while I picked the rod up to wind in and a bream was on! This was a good fish and fought very hard all the way in, over 4lb. A couple more casts and iffy bites, and then Mat went to help Dan again, I wound in and noticed that the main line was tangled around the link swivel. I think this had been like this for a few casts and had prevented bites from developing, damn. The tangle was so bad I had to set up again, and when I got back out there the bream had gone and I had just 1 perch and the match ended.

I was of course gutted that the tangle had cost me a bream or two I think, but my main aim was to hope to finish third in the section, but not sure as I thought it was close between Charlie, Mark and I.

The scales started at Mark, his bream were on the small side, he weighed 9lb 4oz when I had him down for at least 13lb. My turn next, and thanks to the size of my bream I had 14lb 5oz.


Charlie had 12lb and so I had managed to overturn the deficit on those two. Dan struggled for 2lb and the next lad had 6lb, Andy Ritchings then had about 38lb, but Paul put 66lb of bream on the scales, he had 17 bream in total. Paul told me that he missed lots of bites / liners and clearly had a lot of bream in front of him at times. Well done Paul.

Back at the results and Paul had only come second, Tony Goodland in the next section up from us on the opposite bank had 70lb, wow!

On the team front my lot managed to the win on the day, thanks to section winners, Nick Ewers, Nick Chedzoy, and Martin Barrett who just like me had some late bream, so the gbait did OK. Mark Harper and Rob Jones were second in section and I was third which I was happy with. After three rounds the league is very tight and Thatchers lead by just 1/2 point! The team are back on the Spill next week for round 4, but I'm making way for Ian Pauley so I can have a crack at the Avon on the riverfest.