I hadn't planned to fish Sunday just gone as I was visiting relations in Cornwall, but I ended up back in Bristol Saturday and was in two minds what to do, book in on a Xmas match or have a lie in. The Bathampton Xmas match was on the canal but I had no bloodworm and joker and didn't fancy doing battle with all the tow path users. In the end I decided a lie in and a few hours on the river somewhere would do. Sat night I got a text from Warren Bates who told me he was going to Frys with Rich Green, but I thought that would be as hard as nails! However, as Dave Harrell recently said, if you're gonna learn you're better off going to hard pegs than good.
Sunday morning and I was beginning to think Dave Harrell was a bit to enthusiastic, but I didn't want to let Warren down so I came up with plan C. I decided rather than take the kitchen sink to go Matt Hayes style. So one feeder rod, one bankstick (with rod rest attached) landing net and pole, hooks feeders and line in my pockets and net bag for bait was all I took!
I walked across the two fields and never broke into a sweat, finding Warren on peg 30 who after an hour was yet to land a fish! The river was very pacey still but the colour had dropped out a lot, and it was a dark green colour, not dirty and not clear. I thought my best bet would be to fish for chub, and didn't think there was much chance of them being in this area, so I wandered down stream and settled in by the blackcurrant bush. I rigged up with 0.22 main line to 0.17 powerline to a size 11 B711, a gbait feeder with 50grms was needed to pin the bait down. I cast down the peg around 2 rod lengths out. In the feeder was plugged a decent amount of caster and maggot in mixture of half bags of Gros Gardon, brown crumb and crushed hemp, and a lob worm was on the hook. The tip was moving around as the current was boiling a bit, but after a couple of minutes tow sharp raps were a definite bite. I felt two heavy thumps before everything went solid, I was snagged up good and proper and lost the lot!
I set up again but the next few casts were no good and more snags were hooked so I moved on downstream. Peg 18 had a nice tree down the inside but the water suggested there could be a lot of snags. The next peg down had a big willow in the water and was very comfortable to fish, and despite the water still being a bit boily I gave it a go. Despite trying bread and lobworm hook baits no bites were forthcoming, so after about 40 minutes I put 5 casters on the hook. A "whopper" of a bite resulted but the fish was not hooked, every sign of caster was gone! A couple more casts and no bites so I decided they might want the smaller baits, so on went a size 13 B711 and 3 casters. First cast and a 2.5lb chub was in the net, sorted! I then had about 10 casts with 4 bites and missed the lot, I was fishing a long way down stream and needed the fish to hook themselves. I shortened the hook length and caught another 2lb+ chub. In the next 1.5 hours I hooked another 4 chub, landing 2, I lost the other 2 in snags; one straight away (cast to close to the willow!) and one halfway up the peg when I thought I was in the clear! I also missed another 4 bites which was annoying!
I wandered back up to see Warren and Rich, but they had struggled with Rich blanking and Warren a couple of Dace. My roving approach had paid off, by finding some fish and then encouraging them to feed I had at least made some bites.
So what have I learned for this weeks upcoming Frys Xmas match? Well with the outlook for cold, even very cold weather, I need to draw a chub peg to have a hope of a bit of sport. The river should be float fishable by Sunday and that helps to relieve the boredom of simply staring at a tip, and trotting keeps you a bit warmer. I need to get a bit of the drawbag magic off Tony Rixon.