Round 5 of the South West Superleague at Newbridge was my destination this Sunday. I had a major task on Saturday trying to get my kit ready for rivers and if I'm honest I wasn't 100% prepared! This was my first outing on the Superleague and I was guesting for Cardiff Nomads would you believe.
I met my Thatchers team mates in Matty's cafe in Bath, this place has certainly gone in up everyones estimation and the service is excellent (see for yourself). Good to see the lads again, and along with me both Liam Braddell and Leigh Trivett were guesting for Nomads. Rich Candy did the draw and handed me peg 97, about 10 pegs up from the arch in the trees and not an area I've really drawn before. Liam drew peg 74 just below Newton St Loe bridge, this after Leigh and myself had said it would be a good peg to draw! I was glad of the short walk as my arms were aching from assembling furniture the day before, and you do seem to carry a lot more gear to the river than to commercials. I needed to a little bit of pruning of some overhead branches but it was minimal effort and other than that the peg was fine, although I would be sat about 3ft above the water.
The river was clear, as expected, but I had nice tree cover inside and across and thought it might hold a few fish. I set up a 2grm Desque float with a bulk and 3 no10 droppers, a 20 to 0.10 for starters. A 3grm flat float (tried but never caught owt) and a 1.5grm with a 13 B711 to 0.168 for chopped worm (also caught nowt). I also set up a groundbait feeder with 0.14 to a 14 B611, I clipped this up to fish a few metres short of the far bank willow tree.
On the whistle I made about 8 casts on the gbait feeder then threw in 14 balls of gbait at 13 mtrs. Picking up the 2grm Desque float my first cast with single caster was rewarded with a 4oz roach, as were the next 3 casts. Unfortunately the run stopped and I was forced to alter depths and hook baits to try and sneak out the odd small roach and perch as well as going down to an 0.08 to 22 hook. Just as I was giving up on the pole I hooked a perch of about 12oz, but this also signalled the end of the pole line after an hour and a half. I decided to try the feeder and started positively with 3 red maggots on the hook. The tip remained motionless for 5 mins then slowly pulled round, my reward was a 10oz skimmer foul hooked! Forty more minutes on the feeder only provided 2 small perch and so reluctantly I came off this. I then tried all 3 pole rigs without any sign of a fish. I was now very concerned as Andy Britt had walked up the bank earlier and told me all bar one other angler in my section was admitting to 5lb, so I was guessing I was now well behind in the section.
I rang my next peg neighbour Guy Manton and he had taken 5lb on the pole and a bream on the feeder and then Steve Hutchinson told me that other bream had been caught further down. That settled things for me and I was going to fish the gbait feeder until the end. I couldn't believe it when my first 6 casts on the feeder gave me 6 bream! No just dreaming... but I did get 6 chublets which were all welcome! The feeder was now providing some interest with the odd perch to 8oz and a 1.5lb skimmer, maggot was best on the hook as worm only got me small perch. With 40 mins to go I had a proper pull round and just managed to fit a 5/6lb slab in the landing net, which was nice! One more chublet and small perch was all that came my way afer that bream and now it was wait for the scales. I had a long wait as I was the end peg in the section and it turned out that the first 3 pegs had weighed 32lb, 41lb and 27lb of bream! My weight of 15lb 12oz was the best of the rest, beating Thatchers team mate Guy by 3lb, all bar one person in the section had double figures.
Back at the results and the river had fished well, Liam Braddell won the match with 61lb of decent skimmers on the pole, he reckoned he had 45lb in the first two hours and fish were rolling all over the place. Every section was won with double figures and I must say even I was surprised by the good catches on such a clear river. Thyers won on the day with 35 points, and it was a close affair as three teams tied for last place (Maver Veals, Thatchers and Cardiff) on 30 points!
Well I have to try to find the time to prepare for the Angling Times Winter League final on the Nene this Sunday. The venue has moved slightly this year, and the North Bank is out with Orton in, apparently last week in an open there were five 20lb catches of roach! With no practice I will be relying on my river skills to see me through, and I hope we get lots more rain this week to colour it up so I can chuck the feeder out, lol!