Time for a look back (alright Andy).
I had a day pleasure fishing at the end of July, I fished the bay in the little ashtip on the Crane stretch of the Avon. I simply took hemp and tares to try and catch something on these baits and improve my confidence. I fished a size 10 Gamakatsu hook to 2lb smart on a 4mtr whip, and had a good session ending with 17lb of mostly roach and dace plus a 1.5lb chub. Have to try that again some time.
Saturday 3rd August saw me fishing a Drennan Superleague round on the Huntspill. I can't recall where I drew, but I only had 2lb 9oz comprised mainly of 4 eels and 1 skimmer. I fished the wag blitzing it with maggot for long spells, this was wrong as I had measely 5 points and everyone who beat me had 1 bream! Sunday was Skanderborg challenge round 2, and I found myself on the K&A near Seend Lock which was all new to me! Based upon a bit of practice info I threw in 5 balls of gbait containing squatt and caster and loosefed pinkie over the top. I had a decent match landing 2 small tench, loads of bottle tops and 2 small skimmers for a total of 4lb 12oz. That was worth 9 points out of 11 which I was really happy with having not fished this part of the canal before, unfortunately the canal fished poorly and our positive team approach failed for most and we bombed out!
A few days later my bags were packed and it was off for three days Div 4 practice on the river Welland. However, it didn't start very well when on the first afternoons practice we could only catch blades on the whip just out past the marginal cover. Luckily for us there was also a section or two on the Coronation Channel and so we practised on there the following day, I was on peg 88. We fished for 3 hours and I ended with 3lb of eels, all taken on the pole with a 22 barbless hook (they were clever them eels!). It was then back to the Welland for another bash, this time in the 300's. I persevered on wag / long pole feeding maggots to try to catch better fish, 2 eels and 2 roach for 1lb 9oz was hardly bagging! Last day of practise was pretty much another Welland struggle, just 2lb 4oz on the wag and mag in 2 hours, but 5lb on the national would be great we were told. I could get a few bites but missed loads, even when going 2 feet over depth!
A week later and I was fishing the national, I was drawn on the Welland and it didn't look good, my part of the section had not been fished before and we all had to hack down the reeds to get to the waters edge. To cut a long story short I had my worst points return in a National ever, 18 points out of 83 for my 475 grammes! What made it worse was that the team was 30 points off of promotion, had I had a reasonable day we would have gone up. The match was won with 50lb, Martyn Woodington had our best weight of 20lb, and one section of 83 was won with just 14oz, I think John Amatto was in that section and came 3rd with 8oz!!!!!!
A couple more pleasure sessions on the Avon at Newbridge were in order and produced double figure weights of mainly roach to wag and mag, but on the match scene it was still shite! I fished the embassy pairs on the T&B canal, didn't have a clue what I was doing and had just under a kilo of roach on punch. Money finally came my way on the August bank holiday fishing the Docks at St Augustines Parade. I stuck to a gbait feeder with an 18 to 1.5lb maxima, caster in the gbait and maggot on the hook. I came 5th with 14lb 10oz and won a massive £12! I think I recall being pegged next to Clayton Hudson on this match, he was on my right (not a bad memory for nearly 20 years ago!).
All of my practice at Newbridge was put to the test on the last day of August for the NFA South West Champs on the river. I drew peg 135 in the trees and endured a very dire match as I had just 1 roach in the first 3 hours. I did manage 3 chublets and 1 eel on the maggot feeder later but lost 2 proper chub in an unseen snag. My 2lb 3oz was 3rd in the 11 peg section (told you it was dire) and 2lb 11oz won it, bloody chub and snags they've cost me over the years lol. The team had a mare as the river had switched off and we came a disappointing seventh. I was glad to see the back of August and I hoped September would be kinder to me.