The freezing cold weather has kept me away from the bank this weekend and will do so the coming weekend as the Commercial House match has been cancelled. Looking at other local match results it's not really much fun at the moment, and I've just watched Richard Angwin forecast the potential for 20cm of snow Tues night and for even colder weather at the weekend!
It has been a while since I recalled the old times, and I last left off going into June 1990. I'd like to say the weather was better, obviously it was warmer, but my diary states "Horrid weather for the middle of June". A few evening sessions on the Avon at Chequers brought roach, skimmers and hybrids (which used to abound in our river)on the crowquill and bread. The first match I fished was the Super League on the 24th June and it was on my least favourite venue the Exeter canal. I drew on the end of the Lime Kilns section and fished the groundbait feeder from start to finish. I ended up with 2 skimmers for 2lb 10oz and last but one in the section. I made a big mistake on this match, I had taken a soft feeder rod which I always used on this canal, but in the Kilns it was not strong enough to chuck the feeder the distance required! Still I was not alone in the bad results stakes and the team came 10th, oh dear!
The following weekend I was back on more familiar terroritory fishing a Bristol & West open on the Avon. I was drawn at Jack Whites on what is now two pegs below peg 123, not a good draw back then as the pegs upstream were better. Fishing a mixture of crowquill and feeder I caught 11lb to come nowhere. The best method by far was the feeder, with caster in it and red maggot on the hook; 3 chub, 2 skimmers and my first river carp of 4lb all came in the first 3 hours and then the peg died. 26lb of bream won this match and if you wanted to win on the river in the summer you had to catch bream on the feeder.
In July there was a team match called the Skanderborg Challenge at Newbridge, I had a quick 2 1/2 hours practice on the waggler at peg 90 (1 below the stream) on an evening. Fishing 3ft deep and feeding 2 pints of maggots I quickly amassed 9lb of small chub, dace, bleak, and most surprising was a 1lb eel caught at this depth! Andy Floyd was also with me and he caught well on the whip. On the actual Skanderborg match I drew 5 pegs below Newton St Loe bridge. I set up two wagglers, one deep and one shallow and started deep feeding maggot and hemp. I caught odd roach and small chub but spent the last hour shallow blitzing it with maggot catching the odd chublet. My final weight of 5lb 12oz was good enough for 2nd in the section, beaten I recall by Clive Branson who had fished the pole and fed large amounts of hemp and maggot to catch roach and eels. The team must have not qualified as I did not record how we fared!
The first match I framed in of that season was right at the end of July in round 2 of the Super League on the river Axe. I do not recall the section I was drawn on, but I was on permanent peg 69! I suppose you could say I fished to my strengths, yep waggler and maggot and hemp with a 22 hook to 14oz double strength. I fished the waggler right across and feeding 2 pints of maggot and 1 of hemp I weighed 4lb 10oz; this was mainly roach, but 3 skimmers and 2 eels were welcome bonuses. That was good enough for 2nd in the section but also 6th and last in the frame. Looking back now, I wish I had fished the Axe more when I was younger as I picked up there more often than not.
Off the fishing line for a bit, what a star Phil Taylor is! I love watching darts, and to see a man dominate his sport as Phil Taylor does is quite extraordinary. I know there are those people who say it's not a sport, but that's not the point I'm making here. What he can do with those 3 arrows is better than any man before him, and nobody is as yet able to match his consistency, truly exceptional. In fishing we have more variables that can help stack the odds in our favour, and so making it not a forgone conclusion who will win!