No fishing over the weekend as I have just spent a few days in Torquay, the gamble paid off as the weather was great!
I've heard and read that Avalon seems to be going through a few tough weeks of fishing, whilst Cider Farm Lake has been very good in the last couple of weeks and I know Glenn Bailey is trying his luck their again on Sunday. As I'm going to be away again I think that that is my lot for commercials for a while, as Superleague, Commercial House and ATWL are all kicking off in Sept. So just to keep Tony Rixon happy (at his age he finds it hard to remember what rivers are) here's another bit of the past....
Sunday 15th October 1989 Round 2 of the ATWL and I found myself drawn by my front door at Jackie Whites, which I was more than happy with. I was on the section downstream of Siston Brook on what I called the lily pad pegs which there were lots of on the inside of these pegs (pegs are by the pylon wires). I set up a waggler at 6ft deep with 3 no10s down the line, a crowquill and a groundbait feeder, back then I didn't have many rods so I had to choose my tactics carefully! Starting on the wag feeding maggot I caught a few small dace and 3 chub around the 1lb mark but after 2 hours it was time to look on the feeder. Back then I used to use a lot of Van Den Eynde "Secret" groundbait with brown crumb and brasem, although these days I find myself almost exclusively using Sensas products. I took some skimmers and a couple of bream on the feeder and weighed in 15lb 11oz. This was 2nd in the section, beaten by ounces by the Bathampton angler, he also put me out of the frame as I came 6th and first out the money. The team came 3rd whilst Bathampton won, meaning our first match lead had been reduced.
It was the following weekend on the Saturday when Newbridge fished probably the best it ever has (and I didn't go!) If I recall Ian Spriggs won it with 57lb, not the biggest weight ever but there were bream weights everywhere with people catching them from pegs they were simply never seen caught from before! Not only that but roach bags of up to 26lb (Martin Barrett on the stick) and chub weights too. It was a simply extraordinary day and it seemed that everything in the river fed! On the very next day I was fishing the Commercial House at Newbridge, and it fished rock hard!!! I drew just upstream of the pump house and a combination of stick float and waggler brought me 5lb 8oz and 2nd in the section.
Round 3 of the ATWL was back on the Avon upstream of Bath, I was gutted when I found out I was at Limpley Stoke, a few pegs below the sewer outfall, and was told to avoid a blank and given some bloodworm! I had no idea how to use this stuff (OK still not much idea now) and mixed up a bit of Van D Eynde Special gbait, and threw a few balls in a few metres out for later. Basically I had no bites on standard float or feeder tactics, but managed a few bits on the bloodworm for 1lb 2oz, that was only good enough for 6 points and the team bombed out big style coming 9th, oh shi5e!
The first two matches in November were much better for me, the Middle Avon Champs was a match I had some fear of fishing because Limpley was in again, but I avoided it and drew Meadow Farm. I had drawn peg 2 (bottom end) but after many minutes of looking I could not find my peg, eventually I found it under some wires and could not believe this had been pegged. As I started to take the rods out of the holdall they "hummed" with electricity, "feck this, I ain't fishing here!" and off I went to find the next angler. I eventually found a peg to fish downstream, this was agreed with the lad on peg 3 due to the fact we walked about 300 yds and still did not find peg 1! As time was now short I set up one rod with a stick float, it was 9ft deep and I placed all the shot in the bottom 3ft of the rig, the idea was to get the bait down and keep the rig stable. A size 20 and 1.7 Bayer combined with my favourite maggot and hemp brought a mixed net of nearly 13lb, I did have a couple of 1lb roach and a 1lb perch late on when I upped the maggot feed and stopped the hemp. I came 4th overall and had a pick up of £45.
The following Sunday was the Poppy Match, and of course I had won this match last year so was not expecting lady luck to be on my side this year. The river was up and coloured but easily fishable with a feeder and I was looking forward to the match. I drew a couple of pegs above the New Fence, a good area, and below me was Leigh Gumbleton and a couple of pegs above a fat curly haired bloke called Tony Rixon. I fished a gbait feeder 1/3 out and got bites fairly quickly from roach, double caster on the hook was by far the best hook bait and I also had to put a lot of caster in the feeder to keep bites coming. I recall Paul Lumbard watching me and saying I was doing well, but he felt I was going to run out of bait. Leigh was fishing bread (he was a bread head) and had taken a few skimmers and roach, but I managed to snare 3 chub, 2 hybrids and about 5lb of roach for a total weight of 12lb. Leigh weighed 10lb, but Tony had done us all and easily won the match with a decent weight of bream (cannot remember the weight, 30lb+ I think). My weight had been good enough to get me 3rd overall and I'd given a decent defence of my title.
Next up was a trip to Northern Ireland and the Bann, more about that, and how I beat a certain angler off the next peg after giving him a near 2 hour head start, next time!