Back in Nov 1989 the river was pretty much the same as it is at the moment, low and clear, but on the Commercial House back in 1989 I was up at Christian Malford on a peg which had some nice flow. I was down a couple of fields from the bridge, with a narrow bit of river above me which deepened infront of me, a bit further down was a big bend with bushes a known chub peg, Andy (Bacon) Leonard was on this peg. I opted for a very light 4BB waggler with 3 no8 down the line with a 22 to 1lb bottom. The reason for the wag rather than a stick was that I wanted to avoid making to much noise on the strike. It was a very hard match, and at one stage I had two of my "Bendix" team mates sat behind me as they were blanking! I picked up odd small roach, perch and dace and had a bonus 1 1/2lb chub. Andy below me lost 3 chub in the first hour and hooked no more and he ended with a couple of bits. My fish weighed just 4lb 13oz and I was amazed to find out this was good enough for 6th and last in the frame!
The following Sunday saw me at Newbridge for the ATWL, everyone was expecting a grueller after 3 nights of freezing temperatures down to -7C. I had pleasure fished Conham the day before and had taken 12lb of roach on the stick float with mag & hemp, so I was upbeat. I drew a long walk, upstream of Saltford weir and bang opposite the Marina mouth. This was not normally a good area I was told, but I approached with mag and hemp tactics on waggler straight down the middle, again a 22 to 1lb hook length was employed. Feeding just 6 maggots and a bit of hemp every cast I was soon getting roach and hybrids, only small but it was fish! I weighed in 7lb 14oz which put me 2nd in the section, I beat Nicky Jackson off the next peg by a pound, he fished a stick float which I was suprised by. The team had 4 blanks on the day, but we managed to come 2nd and we were now joint top of the league with Bathampton. My weight was again good enough to sneak 6th and last in the frame.
Dec was a bad month for me, in nearly all the Xmas matches I caught nowt, but right at the end of the month things improved. I picked up a section win on the Taunton and Bridgewater canal with 6lb 5oz, assisted by a 2lb tench landed on very light gear! Then on the 29th Dec I fished the Dave Haines organised Rolls Royce Xmas match at the Docks. I drew cock on just below the squash courts and set up one feeder rod (a wand rod really). For company I had Dave, Pete Sivell and Vic Bush so I expected a hard fought match. We were all into small skimmers virtually straight away but as the match wore on they became harder to catch. After about 3 hours a camera crew turned up and as soon as I caught a fish they started filming me, Hainer said he had organised ITV to come and film the match, bull of course. Anyway by the end of the match I weighed in 18lb 14oz to beat all around me, although Pete Sivell was not far behind me and was cursing the flask of tea he drank which forced him to take 3 pee breaks! That got me 2nd in the match, behind Mr Pastry himself Colin Goulding. Colin had caught on the pole with 26lb of roach on caster, he used a drop net to land them all!
A few weeks later just before a night out with the lads I was watching ITV news and an article about the swans at Bristol Docks came on, the trailer included me winding in and landing a skimmer! Of course later that evening I was signing autographs!