Friday, 30 October 2009

Sundridge Super League All Winners Final 1990

As previously mentioned, this match was supposed to be on the Trent, but an early decision was made to switch it to the Trent & Mersey Canal near Shardlow. The team went up for a practice and we went to a local tackle shop where we met Ivan Marks and he gave us some bloodworm and joker, the best we'd ever seen! Ivan gave me his home phone number and told me to give him a ring in the week after he'd spoken to another couple of local anglers for us. This was after Ivan had his first heart attack, and although he got out of breath walking from the car to his front door he still did all he could to help anglers.

We drove to a couple of sections to have a look and at one section there were what looked like some "travellers". Andy Britt got it in his head they would know something about the fishing and, much to our disbelief, decided to engage them in conversation! He then returned and told us they saw a lot of fish caught and saw people throwing lots of bait in, I think it might of been Kev Winstone who shouted "the Gypsy said ball it in!". Well we were all in tears of laughter and that phrase was repeated not only for the rest of the day but a good few years! The practice and chats with Ivan Marks brought a plan, feed one or two decent balls of joker inside and cup smaller balls further across, caster was to be used for any pegs with boats or bushes for chub.

The day before the final we met up in a small hotel, it was a long way from a pub, but we made the hike (I think Andy Britt had more stick for this as he booked the hotel on a recommendation from his Derby AA friends). We already had plenty of alcohol on board when we got back to the hotel but were still thirsty! Eventually the owner wouldn't serve us anymore beer but gave us a crate of bottled larger and he went to bed! That's when things started to get a little boisterous, someone decided to let a fire extinguisher off, soaking someone who was in bed (was it Mike Kent or Nick Tutty?) and then the thing went all over the hallway and ceiling. The owner turned up and was a tad unhappy, but he thought the wet walls were due to the beer chucked everywhere and I didn't think it was a good idea to tell him otherwise!

On the morning of the match there were lots of very sore heads, and breakfast was a hard thing to keep down, in fact a couple of them resurfaced in the car park! I had travelled with Kev Boltz, and we somehow got lost on the way to the draw. Kev was driving like a maniac, and we nearly lost it on a tighter than expected corner, then on a 30mph road doing at least 60mph a copper appeared with a speed gun. Kev slammed on the brakes and very luckily the copper just dogged us up and let us go. When we got to the draw the rest of the lads had the pools money sorted and gave it to me to draw a peg (they still thought I drew flyers!). I approached the organiser, Roger Mortimer, and he advised we were the first team to draw and didn't know what the others were doing! I pulled out peg 15, one off the end peg I thought, "you jammy git, that's the end peg!" said Roger, turned out it was 15 teams fishing not 16 as I thought. All of a sudden, this team of drunken river anglers had a chance and the adrenalin sobered a few of us up and we shot off to our pegs.

My peg looked great, with bramble bushes across, but the wind here was bad. At the all in I threw in two apple size balls of joker at 3mtrs, and cupped in 2 golf balls at 12mtrs. 12mtrs was as far as I could fish on my Silstar pole borrowed from Vic Bush. For me it was a tough match, catching just odd tiny gudgeon, perch and ruffe, but the runners had good news; Kev Winstone, after a shaky start and falling off his box due to the beer, was doing well and Mark Podge Jefferies was catching chub next to a boat (though Glenn Bailey helped his cause by walking around and asking the owner to switch off the engine). One of the funniest things actually happened to the runners, Paul Benson decided to swing on branch over this "little stream", the branch snapped and Paul fell in. Only the little stream was actually the River Derwent and Paul went right under and resurfaced way down stream, he was soaked head to foot.

I never did have a bite next to the brambles and more by luck than skill (the wind was blowing my rig around inducing bites) I weighed in 13oz, but I was amazed to learn that was worth 10 points out of 15! Kev Boltz picked me up and he had come 2nd in his section with 1 perch, and he told me Martyn Woodington had won the next section with 3 perch for 2 1/2oz! These were the only 2 really bad sections, and killed off many teams chances, but for us these 2 results were crucial. Podge framed and Kev Winstone won his section, and if I recall 9 points was our worst result, we absolutely pi55ed it off the lucky end peg! The winning team was (memory OK I hope) Kev Winstone, Mark Jefferies, Martyn Woodington, Kev Boltz, Andy Floyd, Mark Holbrook, Myself, and number 8 was I think Gary Bowden.

I have a picture of the squad around this time, although black and white we were actually in our famous blue and yellow quarter jackets. See who you can recognise!

Monday, 26 October 2009

Commercial House Round 4 Lower Avon

First of all it seems some of my words on my last post were misinterpreted. Anyone who knows me will know I had no intention to vilify Andy Floyd or bear a grudge, and I said those things about Andy because he's a mate for over 25 years. If you can't take the mick out of your mates who can you! He won't change his estimations, he can't help it!

This match was fished from the top of the Cornfield at the Crane, down to the mouth of the marina, Jack Whites and Frys. With the rain we had in the week some people were expecting a coloured river, but all that had happened was the river had picked up some pace. I had been asked before where did I want to draw, but I honestly didn't know, although I knew pegs where I didn't want to draw. Funny how things work out some times, I was the first Thatchers team member at the draw, so I started to write the names out on the sheet, and then when Mark Harper drew peg 1 for us that put me the peg above the blockhouse at Jack Whites. Lee Trivett had caught 16lb of dace and roach from this peg last time so I was looking forward to a busy day. Just as I was leaving the car park in drove Dave Haines, how anyone can be so late on the day you get an extra hour in bed is beyond me, but Dave's your man for being late!

As I pulled in to the marina car park it was full, but I spied a dog walker returning and took his vacated parking space, a lucky start for me! Shane Caswell was moaning because he had yet another long walk, and he was even more upset when he realised I had a nice short walk! I made it worse by saying I had the time to go and have another breakfast...

Unfortunately for me there was a carp angler in my peg (he told me he had taken carp to 28lb and barbel to nearly 16lb from this area in the past) and I had been warned by Andy Britt this could happen, so I moved downstream and got in the next available peg which was right on the fence. There was a lovely looking willow opposite but lots of leaves over there. I set up a 7no4 stick float, a waggler and a feeder. 0.12 to a 18 B611 was terminal tackle for the floats, with 0.18 and 13 B711 for the feeder. As I was setting up I noticed 3 crows trying to mob two much larger birds, as they got closer I realised these large birds were ravens. I have never in all my years seen ravens in this area, quite amazing. The sound of church bells was soon drowned out by bike scramblers and they were in for the day!

To start the match I had 10 chucks with a big feeder over to the willow just to get a bit of bait in, I wasn't sure I would need to fish here but it was a bit of insurance. I started on the stick and feeding maggots and hemp I was into dace from the first cast. The first hour was steady, but I was missing bites and losing a few fish of the hook. By altering the shotting pattern and changing depth I started to hit more bites, I also had 2 no 8 above the float to sink the line as there was a nasty downstream wind. I stopped feeding the hemp as no roach were showing and concentrated on maggot, in the end feeding around 2 pints.

The next 2 1/2 hours were great and I was catching really well, with some dace up to 6oz, but most around 2oz to 3oz. I also took a 1lb chub and a 1lb perch in this time. Then with 90 mins left the fun started with a very big pike taking every 2nd or 3rd fish. Interestingly the dace never spooked, but then when the pike took about the 8th fish the hook transferred into its mouth and I was in to the biggest pike of my life. I played it for about 12 to 15 mins and had it up wallowing on the surface mid river, I honestly believe it was a near 20lb fish, it looked over 4ft long!! Trying to drag this huge dead weight toward me I straightened the hook and pulled out, not sure how I would have landed it the beast if it had come in! Anyway playing the pike had the desired effect and he never showed again, but the dace had gone too and I only took 6 in the last 30 mins.

I weighed 21lb 1oz to win the section, Steve Skelton had 18lb of chub also on the stick 3 pegs below, Bob Sheppard had 4 late chub for 14lb and Guy Manton on the next peg to me on the steps had 10lb of Dace. The match had fished hard in places, and bream didn't show, and I was chuffed to find out I was 2nd overall, but I know the pike cost me the match because the winner Andy Ottaway (with 7 chub at Frys) had 22lb 11oz. Quite a few pike were caught, with Kevin Dicks landing his 2nd successive Commercial House pike to frame again, fair play though this one was 13lb and took some landing.

Something went wrong on the team front, as my team came last on the day, with Mark Harper having blanked in the Cornfield which apart from 2 pegs was dire. So Avon Aquatics win on the day keeps them up at the top.

Lastly I was obviously asked what weight did I think I had by my next peg neighbour Guy Manton, I said 15lb (tricky to know when catching dace) and so he was a tad upset when I doubled his weight and had underestimated by 6lb! Andy Floyd you're a great teacher!

Monday, 19 October 2009

AT Winter League Round 2 - Bristol Avon Newbridge

The good news before this match was that some of the Bathampton lads had cleared swims on the section below Saltford weir, and this was to be pegged instead of Rotork. That was a good bit of thinking and pegs 3 and 4 in this section were, I was told, full of chub! Although despite this excellent work Kevin Dicks did not peg the match out an instead wrote the pegs in a matrix, good idea eco friendly. Seems like the organisers didn't think so and wouldn't pay Kevin the "peggers" money has he hadn't "physically" pegged the match out, whoops!

At the draw I handed over my money to Tucks for some of the best Russian joker I have ever seen, I hoped it would be worth it! I never used to take B & J to river matches but in the last couple of years I have caught with it and it does no harm. It was certainly likely to be needed today, an already gin clear river had now been subjected to a frost. Gary O'Shea brought back the team draw and I was the 1st peg in the weir field section with peg 2 empty, that will do I thought. Getting to this part of the river is tricky with a trolley, as you have to negotiate steps down from the cycle track. I didn't to a good job and ended up snapping a mud foot of one of the legs! By the time I got my gear over the gate I was already rubbing my hands trying to warm them up!

My old 'team mate' Andy (shitbag) Floyd was on the end peg next to the bridge, one that usually always throws up some fish, Jeff Grant and Andy Ottoway were on the chub pegs. As I surveyed all the pegs on the way to mine I had noticed bleak topping in Jeff and Andy's peg, but no others, I thought that 20lb of chub could win this section so I was going to go for that. Despite being below a weir the flow here was still slight, proving how low the river is. I decided on 3 lines of attack, pole at 11 mtrs, waggler down the middle and feeder across to the boats. The pole line was no more than 6.5ft deep, but there was a lot of silk weed around which made running a rig through tricky, 1.5 grm was OK here and I tied a size 20 PR34 to 0.08. The waggler was shotted with a couple of no 10s and no 8s and a 20 B611 to 0.11 was my starting bet. I set up a gbait feeder as I have known bream and chub come off this peg and this way covered both options.

I was ready bang on time and deposited 12 balls of gbait and joker on the pole line, and fed maggot on the wag line. I ran the pole rig through hoping for the initial burst of fish, but it didn't happen and after 15 mins I picked up the waggler. 45 mins of running the wag through produced nothing, so another look on the pole line, nothing. Well I think I'd better get some bait in on the feeder line so I gave this 45 mins and ended up with no bites. Flippin heck I wasn't expecting it to be this hard! It was about now I decided to see if it was me or the peg, so a quick walk to Jeff and Andy was in order. They were catching odd roach and perch but being pestered by bleak. The anglers below them were either blanking or had 1 fish.

I think it was about 2 hours in when I saw a perch by my keepnet and dropped a pinkie in front of it to break my duck, it was only an ounce but a fish! On the gbait feeder I caught another couple of small perch on worm, but there were no signs of anything decent. With just over 2 hours to go bleak started topping taking my maggots on the wag line, I thought that might be with a few ounces but it would be hard work, so I looked on the pole line first. The float did not settle and a bleak was hooked, and so were another dozen, where had they come from? Then amazingly I caught a couple of small roach. I pushed the bulk down further to get through the bleak and was now getting a roach a chuck, small at an ounce but it was bites. The fish were off the bottom (even though I had not loose fed here) by some way, just below the bleak it seemed, perhaps they were above the silk weed?

I fed more gbait and joker and the fish just kept coming and I started to get the odd 2oz fish. It did slow down once when I fed, so I had a few chucks again on the feeder but a couple of small perch were all that showed. Going into the last 30 mins I would get bites as soon as the float settled from roach, although the bleak were still a nuisance. Pinkie was by far the best hookbait, anything bigger and the bleak saw it and had it. I reckoned I had 4 to 5lb which I was hoping could get me 3rd in the section, as Glenn Bailey phoned to tell me Andy (lying b'stard) Floyd had also finished with a fish a chuck and was admitting to his team mate to have 3lb. I weighed 6lb which was not bad for just over 2 hours of sprat catching, certainly warmed me up! Jeff won the section with 10lb+ and Andy was 2nd with 9lb, they didn't have the expected chub but still plenty of fish. Andy (brain dead) Floyd was 3rd in the section with 8lb+, if ever Andy tells you a load of bull about his weight don't take it personally, he's been doing to his mates for 30 effing years!

So how did the river fish? Well the bream did their usual cold and clear water appearance in some pegs, with two 40lb weights, both of those weights were caught on the pole line. The winner was on peg 65, same peg that won a super league, and the pegs in the 30's produced bream, some over 7lb. The little field was dire, with Shawn Kitteridge winning the section with 9oz and Guy Manton catching 2 roach for 2.5oz for second. That summed up the river, some sections needed only a couple of pounds to win them, while others threw up fish in a few pegs.

On the team front Thatchers pipped Bathampton to 1st place by a single point, a great result on a patchy river. Martyn Reyatt helped the cause by avoiding a blank and snaring a 1lb 8oz perch in the last hour! Thyers were again close behind in 3rd. So after two matches Thatchers have 2 points, Bathampton 3 and Thyers 6.

Commercial House this weekend and rain is now forecast this week for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, let's hope they've got it right and it tips down! The two thatchers teams have been struggling to get the numbers for this match, it is the thought of being pegged at Frys!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

A new decade begins

Lately some people have told me they read my blog for the old matches, whilst others only like to read about the recent stuff, well I'll carry on as is and you read what you want!

At the start of 1990 I spent a lot of time pleasure fishing the Bristol Avon at Conham (this was on Saturdays) and fishing the odd open there. My diary tells me that in 3 visits in January I had around 8lb of dace each time on the stick float, with maggot on a size 22 hook to 1.1lb line. The main issue I had was only catching in spells, a good first two hours often was all I had. I think looking back I should have employed a waggler and stick approach feeding two lines, but I was stuck in a rut on the stick!

On the 5th round of the ATWL I once again found myself above Saltford weir, but this time opposite the boat house (wouldn't want to be drawn there these days, too many rowers!). Now unusually, despite having wrote about this match in my diary I cannot clearly recall it, age must be catching on me. Apparently I fished a waggler down the inside (must have been windy) for some roach, and took 2 skimmers and 3 good roach on the groundbait feeder. That gave me 11 points from 13 and my Bristol Amalgamation team came 2nd on the day, we were now 2 points in the lead with one match left on the river.

The week after on Sunday 21st January I fished the last round of the Commercial House and this was a match where I had a chance of doing well in the league individually and my team (Bendix) were pi55ing the A division. The venue was Swineford to Crane and I drew the New Fence, which I guess I must have been happy about! At the time this peg was noted for Chub, although there were of course bream in the area, and as the river was a bit pacey I decided on a maggot feeder approach. I was using my standard size 18 to 1.5lb maxima hooklength with 2 bronze maggots as hookbait. The first hour was slow but then I had a great big drop back and I played a decent fish in carefully, it was a bream! So I changed to the gbait feeder and 30 mins later I landed a chub. For the rest of the match I swapped between the two types of feeder on the same line and ended up with 4 bream and 1 chub for 16lb 13oz. On the day this was good enough for 5th overall, and I was 3rd individual in the league. Bendix won the A division and we had only dropped one point all league, I can recall some of the team members were Ian Spriggs, Bob Sheppard and Andy Floyd.

The Thursday following this was when the great storm took place, with hurricane winds. The farm where I lived was damaged, with stable walls blown in, garage roof gone and porch ripped off the front of the house and found 60ft away. With this storm a lot of rain had fallen causing the river to flood. I came 4th in a Bathampton open on Newbridge a couple of days later, I had nearly 5lb of bleak from the cow drink below the shallows (boy could I draw back then!). Unfortunately the ATWL next day, and further down the river, was cancelled and the last match would now take place on the canal a week later. Also the Sundridge League all winners final that we had qualified for was transferred from the river Trent to the Trent & Mersey canal. The team were gutted about this as we felt we would have had a chance on the Trent, but we would now have to try our hand at bloodworm & Joker fishing!

Monday, 12 October 2009

Commercial House Round 3 - Newbridge

I'll start off by saying that my last blog obviously touched a few Bathampton boys nerves as they were having a bit of a go at me at Jerry Pocock's 50th party. Can't recall what they said because after 8 pints of Bath Ales Gem the brain seems to go blank! They're so easy to wind up, especially Lee "swampy" Trivett!

It was not going to be an easy match on the river as it was so clear and the rain we have had has done nothing to improve it. For that reason I had some bloodworm and joker off Tucks as a bit of insurance. I was given F section, which is the bottom of the trees and found I was drawn 1 peg below where I had been in the last super league match. Once again it was going to be tough to beat the end peg and in total I had 4 anglers below me and 6 above, so I was at least toward the better end!

I set up my now standard 2grm rig, but with a light 0.08 hook length and a 20 PR31 hook which would be employed at 13 mtrs. I had a nice shelf at 7 mtrs at an angle for chopped worm, waggler and maggot feeder were also set up. This peg has a nice row of bushes across and I hoped the feeder would work later on, 0.14 to a 15 B711 would do for starters.

Thatchers B team had drawn on the peg below, and I had Liam Braddell for company, also in the section were Nicky Johns, Andy Floyd, Dave Wride and Andy Britt all good river anglers. Dave Haines was also in the section, so I thought I would get at least 2 points! One thing of note, Peg 124 was unfishable as a boat had moored and set up camp, it had also put some netting up on the bank and enclosed about 4 chickens and a hen house, Andy Britt said that's Cluckers Peg!

Start of the match and I threw in 12 balls of gbait and a bit of leam with joker and caster in, and went straight in on top of it. I had bites straight away on the caster from 4 oz roach, about 3 of them! Trouble was there were so many flaming rowing boats and fallen leaves on the surface it was a precise operation to get the rig in position! It was a steady but not spectacular first 2 hours, catching odd perch and roach, not many fish but mostly 2oz+ fish and a couple of 6oz roach. I had hardly been able to feed any maggot for the wag line due to the amount of boats but these started to dwindle. As the pole line went dead I refed with some more joker and also fed chopped worm for the first time. Back on the long pole and I could get bites but now only with bloodworm on the hook. I had no stupidly small fish, but quite a few 2oz perch and even managed an 8oz roach. When it died again I tried the choppy but never had a bite, tried the wag but never had a bite. Back on the bloodworm but no bites, so I fed again and with an hour to go chucked the maggot feeder. Conditions were not nice with rain and a wind that had picked up strongly, but my second cast landed spot on where I wanted it so I clipped up! In 10 mins I picked up 2 small chublets (2 to 4oz) but nothing in the next 10, back on to the pole nothing, choppy nothing. Last 30 mins on the feeder then, bang it was a bite as soon as the feeder landed, and the same next chuck! Trouble was I missed them both, so I shorten the hooklength and hit the next couple of bites. Mr Pike then made his one and only appearance snaffling a chublet just before I was about to swing it! It took hold of it and I let him have it, but it bit me off immediately. A couple more chublets and the match finished.

The section fished nearly to form, the last 2 pegs both weighed 7lb 1oz, but Andy Britt beat them with 8lb 1oz including a near 5lb pike, how come him and Vincent always seem to get pike in? Andy told me he had been playing a 8lb pike, when it let go of the perch Andy had originally hooked, as he reeled the perch in the 5lb pike came for the perch grabbed it and swam straight into his landing net! I weighed 6lb 9oz which was the next weight, just beating Dave Wride by an ounce and Liam had 5lb 3oz.

The river had fished terrible, and the 2 B division lads on 7lb 1oz were last in the money, and as Andy had also framed I got the A division section money £30. I must say that I had not realised I was so close to the frame and I wish I had gone on the feeder a bit earlier. Would you believe Rotork had been won with less than 3lb, and I wanted to be drawn there. Gary Cross won overall with 20lb of Bream from the little field, and Leon Hubbard proved he can still catch fish coming 2nd from flyer peg 10 with 9lb odd (2 bream not skimmers Leon!) On the team front Karoke Nites won (helped by Andy and Vincent Lunn's Pike) and Thatchers A and Bathampton blew out! The division is very tight halfway through; 14 points for the leaders, then 13, 12.5 and 12, although I think Maver are a bit behind and still last!

Martyn Rayett continued his good form for Thatchers by getting the dreaded 1 pointer, still he drowned his sorrows as usual! However, Martyn was still picked for the next match, it seems many of the Thatchers team have "something on", I think the river is starting to do their heads in! Of course, we have to go back to Newbridge again this weekend for the ATWL, still no rain in the forecast so it will probably be even harder.

Monday, 5 October 2009

ATWL Round 1 Swineford/Crane/J Whites/Frys

This was a day when it seemed that everything seemed to go against me (except the draw) but in the end turned out not to bad! For starters I had slept badly due to an aching shoulder (no idea why), and was a bit slow getting all my gear together first thing. I thought the draw time was 8:30am, and it was, but they wanted the money in by 8:00 so I had a call asking where I was and Gary O'Shea paid my pools!

Waiting for the draw Steve Tucker was doing his best to wind me up but I don't take the bait! Tucks was doing the draw for the team, and I was praying not be at Frys. I was more than happy to find out I was drawn one below the outfall at Swineford. Tucks was at his most favourite venue Frys, ha ha lol, but he was the downstream end peg. I was nearly the last one to leave the car park draw when I saw a lot of debate going on with organisers Ray Bazely, Paul Benson and a few of the Bathampton lads. Turned out the draw had been messed up and four teams were going to the wrong pegs, the right section just the wrong number!!! I then rang Tucks to tell him he was not on the end peg and the rest of the teams new numbers, we managed to spread the word in time and luckily for me my peg was unchanged. As I drove past the Crane I spotted Guy Manton doing an impression of a windmill. "How far away do you live Tim?" he said, "why Guy?", "I've left me nets at home". Ten minutes later the wife and kids were most surprised to see me back home....

I finally got to my peg at 9:20, thank goodness I didn't have a long walk! The outfall was really pumping out in front of peg 1 (Shaun Townsend) and my peg had a lovely flow running down the inside, whilst further out it stopped or went backwards. Andy Britt had caught 14lb from this peg the week before and he confirmed he caught mostly on the whip and then on the stick float, just what I was setting up. I also set up the gbait feeder as bream are always in the area, I set this up with 0.16 line to size 11 B711. I had to wade in this peg and fish standing up (can you remember doing that Mike and Tony?) but was badly hampered by a big tree for casting out the feeder.

On the whistle I threw 6 balls of gbait just past middle (as far as I could), well actually I threw 7 but one disintegrated when hit the tree branches! This was for the feeder line, normally I do it with a feeder but I didn't want to waste to much time today. Onto the whip (3.5 mtrs as anymore would be in the tree) and I never had a bite in the first 5 minutes so onto the stick. This was also slow, where were all the bleak? I soon realised they were further out in the slack water and whilst I was now catching them it was not really fast enough. Feeding maggot all the time the stick float line improved and I started to catch the odd dace, but throughout the match the fish came and went. Shaun was catching small roach on the wag shallow and had taken a skimmer on this, and I was sure had more than me.

With about an hour to go disaster, swinging in a dace it came off and up the tree went the rig, I got the float back but not much else. Time to chuck the feeder out! This proved harder than expected, in order to get under the branches I had to squat down and cast at an angle, accuracy was impossible but I hoped good enough. I was fishing with half a lob on the hook, this was to avoid the hordes of bleak that attacked the gbait as the feeder went in and often you would see a pike slam into the bleak! Three chucks and 1 perch was not so good, so I left the next cast in for longer and set up the stick again. I didn't get a bite on the feeder so went back on the stick, but it was now dead! Knowing I was behind I had to get on the feeder for the last 35 mins and hope for a lump, first chuck and a 12oz perch made up for the non catching period, soon followed by a 1lb skimmer. I then had another 2 skimmers and a near 6lb bream, get in there! By now Shaun was cursing under his breath about me being a lucky sod, so he chucked the feeder out, and after a couple of casts he had 3 bream in 3 chucks. I had one more skimmer and then Shaun took another bream on the whistle, git!

Shaun won the section with 27lb 12oz and I was 2nd with 23lb 14oz, This was also good enough for us to finish 2nd and 3rd overall. Kev Dicks won the match with 28lb+ of chub from Bitton Brook.

The team had some good results and some bad ones, Tucks and Gary O'Dear had 2 points each at Frys, but at least did not blank like Paul Haines. The Crane fished well again, and special mention for section winners Nick Ewers who won the section at Jack Whites with 16lb of dace from the blockhouse steps, and Martin Barrett who had 10lb to win the section in the Long Ashtip. Thatchers tied for top spot on the day with Bathampton, with Thyers a close 3rd.

One last point, I wish certain anglers from the Bathampton team would refrain from pleasure fishing Chub pegs on the Thursday / Friday before the match. Everyone knows chub do not like it up em, so all you're doing is mucking it up for those anglers that draw the pegs. I take it with a pinch of a salt if a pleasure angler has fished your peg, but when match anglers do it I think it is very selfish.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

November / December 1989

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!

Friday, 2 October 2009

Conham for a few hours

Fished at Conham Friday with Warren Bates, and there are still shed loads of dace there!

Tried to fish the wag for chub but it was dace all the way, didn't mind this as it was good to work out the best way to hit the bites. For a while it was just cast out and strike after 2 seconds, if nothing there repeat the process. I could get 3 bites at the cherry every cast this way, and it worked for about a hour and a half until the fish dropped deeper and then you had to hit the bites or count a bit longer!

I was fishing 0.14 to a 16 B611 and the dace didn't mind one bit, I tried to feed them off but all that did was drive them into more of a frenzy on the surface.

Warren gave the wag up pretty quickly and concentrated on the pole with hemp (I was stood up fishing so the pole was a non starter for me). He would get a burst of fish and then nothing, and was getting 5 dace to 1 roach, but the fish were all a good size. The Tower Belle boat came up river, we knew a big boat was on the way because the river started flowing 5 minutes before it arrived, it was travelling so fast that it coloured the river up, and when it came back down it did the same again. This seemed to bring the dace on more and in Warrens peg he could not catch deep as the dace were taking his hemp 4ft deep!

I had been casting the wag through a gap in the trees across, and eventually after a close escape I lost the lot. I quickly took a crowquill out and decided to try and see what was on the bottom. I could only get little dace across, all the better ones were on top. But I had fed 1/2 pint of hemp in close early on and I took a few nice roach here but I was fishing far to heavy for the fish.

We both ended with at least 15lb of fish each, and I'm sure if the dace would give it a rest you could get a big bag of roach.

1st round of ATWL this weekend, hope I get a good un.