The last thing I saw before going to bed on Sat night was the weather forecast (OK really it was the missus but let's not split hairs) which said it would be 4 to 5 degrees overnight. Funny then that I woke up to a car which had frozen over....
I grabbed a breakfast in the rest-a-while cafe in Keynsham and picked up some useful info, the river was fishing well up the crane for Roach, lucky I'm going to Newbridge then! Derek Coles had told me this, and also that he had caught an 8lb salmon at Frys. A 3lb Salmon was also caught on the Chew on Saturday at Dapps Hill!
The draw for this match was at the pumphouse, and it wasn't long before the track filled up with cars, a turnout of old for an open on the Avon. Kev Dicks was running this match and also ran a pairs pool, so I joined forces with Glenn Bailey. Steve Hutchinson drew peg 61 for Kev Dicks and then 16 for himself, same numbers SPOOKY! Just before I drew I was glad to see some crap pegs come out, and when 36 stuck to my mit I was happy, a peg on the straight is always in with a chance of bream. Glenn drew peg 14, next to the road bridge, not always noted for bream but last year Nathaniel Johnson had 80lb off this peg in this match.
On peg 34 was bream head Jerry Pocock and he was very excited about his peg. As I set up I realised I'd put the wrong reels in my box, 2lb maxima was a tad light, and 0.22 a tad heavy. Robbie Kepner on peg 40 Lent me a reel with sensible line and I was away. I did set up two feeder rods, one with a B711 15 and 0.14, and one with a B711 13 and 0.16 (which never got used) for bagging. I started the match casting 3/4 over with a gbait feeder with a bit of chopped worm and caster, 2 red maggots on the hook. Nothing happened for a long time!
Two hours in Jerry had a small bream, I still hadn't had a bite but I had seen a pike take a 6oz roach in close, the fish are there why won't they feed! An hour later Jer had another bream, I still hadn't had a bite. I changed hook to a size 14 B611 and tried lots of different bait combinations all to no avail! I had heard that Steve Hutch had caught 18 bream halfway thru the match, but when I spoke to Glenn above him had no idea of this! Word was it was fishing very tough all round.
FOUR AND A HALF HOURS into the match I saw Jer land his 3rd Bream, and then I immediately had had a drop back bite! I took my time and landed what looked to me to be a 6lb bream, blank saved! I had taken this fish on a whole dendra and 2 red maggots. 20 mins later and steady pull saw me land bream no2 this one was a bit smaller at 5lb. I'd like to say this was the start of a bagging session but alas it was a flase dawn, I did have a bite 30 mins to go but lost what I'm sure was a foulhooker. My two bream weighed 11lb 3oz but Jer had soundly beat me with 5 for 24lb+, the guy the other side of me had blanked.
1st Kev dicks 123lb 3oz. Peg 61 (Norfolk reeds) blank for first 3 hours then 30 bream in last 3 hours. Gbait feeder 3/4 way across on worm and red maggot.
2nd Steve Hutchinson 110lb 14oz. Peg 16 Took 33 bream in bursts throughout the match on gbait feeder 1/3 out mainly on worm.
3rd Jerry Pocock 24lb 12oz peg 34
4th Robbie Mann 22lb 4oz peg 52
5th S Lovell 16lb 1 peg 49
(With Jerry framing I got the £40 section by default, coin at last yippee!)
Pairs was won by (no surprises) Kev dicks + Dave Micklewright, in 2nd place was Steve Hutchinson and Eddie Wynne. Eddie did catch 3 bream for 11lb+ but that was stil less than Kev.
The eight pegs at Rotork all failed to catch! The eight pegs in the weir field were tough, 2 chub next to the bridge won this section with 8lb 8oz, Craig Fletcher had 6lb 14oz of bleak and everyone else blanked. The top weight in the little field was Graham Hunt with 3 bream for 11lb 3oz.
I guess that was a typical winter river match, with fish shoaled tightly, either side of Steve Hutch was 14lb (Dave Haines, most he has caught for years) and 9lb Glenn. I think there were probably more blanks than catchers shame the weather has been so cold because I'm sure the bream would have fed better for all had the weather been milder. No more rivers for now, bloody EA!
Oh well have to sort the gear out for commercials now and those greedy pigs, carp I mean of course. Cider Farm next week, seems to be fishing well at the moment.