It's winter league time again! Sunday and back on the lower Avon for the Commercial House winter league fishing for Thatchers, in this case the B team. We had 2 subs (OAPs) in the team today as 2 of the team were on holiday, so I hoped they didn't get long walks! It was great to see the lads again, and there was a fair bit of anticipation as to how the river would fish.
I was adopted as captain for the day (PC Barrett will take that duty back next time) and had the drawbag at my mercy, I fancied Swineford today for framing and wanted to avoid Jack Whites. Well I pulled neither, I ended up in the boys hole up the crane which should be OK for some roach. The OAPs had the pegs at Swineford and one of them was on the beach and lost all his colour when I told him how far it was! Well there were no mugs in my section today, other than Gary Cross that is (lol), Graham Hunt was by the cattle Grid, Mark Harper was on the peg 10 yds below me, and Sean Townsend was above me. I fancied my peg more than those either side, but thought the 4 pegs above the gantry would be the best.
I had a pretty good idea how to approach this peg, and the pole would be the main attack for roach. I plumbed my 1grm pencil rig and it was 4 inches off the bottom (not a bad guess) so that would do for starters, I went fine today on this, a 20 to 0.08 as I thought it would be tough. A 2grm rig with 0.1 to an 18 would do for overdepth, and a 1.5gm rig with 0.16 to 12 for chopped worm in close. I also set up a wag (not used) and a gbait feeder with 0.12 to 16. Glad we had plenty of time to set up!
On the whistle I fed worms and casters at 5 mtrs, then threw in 12 jaffas out to 13 mtrs. Out with the 1grm rig and I had 2 roach in 2 casts, then on the third cast the roach was taken by a pike, new hook required! Back out and I couldn't get a bite, in the next 20 mins all I had was 1 small perch and it looked bleak as both Mark and Sean were catching. I tried the heavy rig but it was also no good. I then ran the pencil rig all the way down the peg and had a bite! For the next hour and a half I caught odd roach way down the peg and out of the blue two 8oz skimmers. I also lost a couple more fish to pike including a better skimmer. It was a very difficult day, the wind was strong upstream affecting presentation, but still the lighter rig was best. If I could catch 3 roach in 3 chucks that was it, then it was dead for 10 mins, I had to change depths and try different places in the peg all the time, but caster was the best hook bait. During the middle of the match I lost a decent skimmer which I foul hooked and the peg went right off and so I decided to give the feeder a go for 30 mins or so while resting the pole line. The feeder didn't produce a fish, but I then had 6 roach in 6 casts on the pole before it was back to working hard again and trying to avoid the damn pike.
With half an hour to go the peg was properly dead, so I decided to reball it and hope! It was a good move as a few more roach up to 8oz came my way before the whistle went. I knew I had beaten Sean and Mark but Graham had been catching all day so I thought he would piss the section. Graham did win the section with 11lb 15oz, but I wasn't so far away on 11lb and came 2nd, I had fewer fish than Garahm but better quality. Mark had 7lb and Sean 4lb and so it proved they had worse pegs than me.
Overall it was:-
1st Leon Hubbard 80lb (!) 31 bream from a peg in the cornfield, not bad I suppose!!!!
2nd Jonny Atkins 46lb bream on the pole in the little ashtip (that's a first!)
3rd Leigh Trivett 16lb+ last peg on the beach
There were quite a few double figure weights and considering the clarity of the water it fished well. Although Nick Ewers on the first peg into the little ashtip might disagree as he only had 3lb+, not a peg I would have liked!
The two Bathampton teams tied for first place, and my team was 3rd, unfortunately the two OAPs only managed 3 points between them, but at least they gave it a go.
Well that's enough typing, my shoulders are aching after two days of pole fishing, and today was busier than yesterday, shame I have to wait another 3 weeks to fish the river.