For a number of years Kevin Dicks has run an open match at Newbridge on the last Sunday of the river season, think it might be known as the Lower Avon Champs. This match has in the past thrown up some exceptional weights of bream, and depending on the conditions it can be fun for many, or fun for few! This year with the river clear it was most likely to be fun for just a few!
As I can now drive again I decided to watch the end of the match, and as I knew Darren Gillman was pegged on Rotork 24 I thought I would see him first. I already knew the going was tough and when I sat behind Dar he had just 2 perch in the net, though I did see him quickly catch a bleak and a chublet on the feeder, and 3 fish topped in close. After a nice chat with Dar I drove on to Newbridge to park behind peg 14. Steve Hutchinson was "resting" in this peg, I think I may have woken him up! Steve hadn't had a bite, though he said he had been happy with the draw as on the previous years match he had taken 100lb+ from peg 16. Whilst chatting to Steve we saw a fish top, that was the first fish Steve had seen! Glenn Bailey then rang me and said his 2 bream were not going to beat pegs 51 and 54 that had caught 25 bream each, I didn't want to walk that far to watch and so I trundled up into the little field. This area was devoid of bream with mainly just the odd roach and chublet taken, although Andy Britt on peg 10 had lost a lump which snagged him. The person doing the best in the little field was Graham Hunt on peg 3, he ended up with 7lb which was 3 chub of 1lb each, a very few roach and lots of bleak all of which were caught on the crowquill. I won't mention that Graham was bemoaning his rod for him cracking off on a chub on the strike!
It was surprising that from peg 14 to peg 32 only 10oz and 8oz was weighed, in previous years, and indeed this season, there have been plenty of bream and skimmers somewhere in this area. The rest of the 30's (the straight) was better in that the anglers there had 2 to 3 bream each although they varied greatly in size, Lee Trivett weighed 3 for 8lb+ whilst Rich Lacey weighed 3 for 20lb+. Rich won £50 for the biggest fish, his largest bream weighing 8lb 7oz, just beating another anglers fish by 1oz! The angler on 51 had caught over 30 bream fishing standard groundbait feeder tactics with dendrabenas, he cast about 3/4 over, and his weight of 145lb was just enough to win the match. This is because the angler on peg 54 (weird how 52 was not pegged, can you imagine what that peg would have caught?) had also had over 30 bream but his "only" weighed 140lb. This angler also fished the feeder, but I am advised that he fished a very large feeder, and put in more than 1 kilo of micro pellets, lots of worms and caught on 4 red maggots with paste wrapped round the hook. Richard Lacey was a distant 3rd and in the end only 10lb was required for 6th place.
It was certainly a typical clear river end of season match, roach not wanting to feed (despite topping in the little field in some pegs), and the bream either ludicrously easy or hard to catch. Once again I am sure the river will be in perfect condition within the month when we can't fish it!