Back again on the memory trip, as I really needed a weekend off as have felt really tired last couple of weeks.
My last match in Sept 1991 was a Bristol & West open that took in Swineford, Crane and Jack Whites. The day before had been very wet and windy and the river was up just a little with nice colour and I was sure bream would feed. I drew a peg in the cornfield it was on the end of an S bend opposite a willow tree (I think it is the split willow, but never sure) and I had Silver Dace bagger Mike Ainger on the peg upstream. Mike said we could catch some bream, I didn't know as I had very rarely drawn in this area. So it was an easy decision for me when setting up, 1 feeder rod with a 16 to 1.5lb maxima for the gbait feeder of course. Chatting to Mike before hand I told him I would whistle out if I caught a bream, I could, still can, do this stupid sort of warbling whistle which can annoy others ears! (That whistle is now perfected by Andy Bush, and I believe he has over the years driven his Dad Vic and his mates mad with it lol!)
It was a nice easy cast here and I chucked 3/4 the way across using 2 or 3 red maggots on the hook. I think it was about 20 mins when I first whistled out to Mike after netting a slab. I lost a chub under my rod end not long after but then never lost another fish all day. By mid match Mike was getting more and more frustrated at my whistles and had to come and see me at one point just to make sure I wasn't winding him up! By the end of the match I had taken 13 bream and 2 chub for a total of 43lb 14oz. Walking back everyone was saying you'll win it etc, but I did not win it, that honour was bestowed upon Andy Floyd. Andy was in the 2nd field at Swineford and had a brilliant 54lb on the crowquill and bread, although I expect he admitted to 10lb! I came 2nd, but only just as there were 2 other 40lb weights I recall. It was a brilliant match with loads of weights.
Wednesday 2nd of Oct and back on the Veals Classic league looking for continued improvement at Newbridge. Oh no not again, I struggled for 3lb 2oz on peg 28 with the waggler, so any chances of doing good in the league were well and truly over.
Saturday and a trip to the Oxford Canal for the final Drennan super league round. The team had no chance of winning or relegation so we didn't practise. The draw was in a pub on a village green, it looked a cracking place to live. At the bar we ordered bacon butties and then Paul Lumbard cheekily asked for a pint of Guiness and the Landlord said OK (this was before the existing licencing rules remember) and all of a sudden the whole team had a pint of Guinness and then another. My team already had a bit of a reputation of being animals and this just enforced it with quite a few choice comments from other more serious teams! What a good laugh it was and I went to my peg feeling rather merry. As for the actual fishing, well my 2lb 7oz (all caught on rod and lime) was worth 7 points and a good enough return for the team, we came 5th on the day and ended the league 7th.
No time to rest though, I would have had a load of beer Sat night I'm sure, then up for the Commercial house on Sunday at Laycock. This venue was peggy as hell of course, but you just had to make the most of what was in front of you and hope the odd bonus would show up. Now there is a certain angler who will remember this match very well and I hope he reads this and reminds me exactly what and how he caught, Martyn "Woody" Woodington. I got drawn on a peg just below the telegraph pole peg in the Abbey field, below me I remember was John Dursley. I didn't know what to expect here but went with my standard approach for the upper river, stick float and caster. I was on a 20 hook and 2lb breaking strain Smart. For a couple of hours I took the odd dace, roach and perch and then a weird thing happened that is hard to explain but it is the truth. I ran the float down and it went through the swim a bit different for some reason and I knew something was going to happen, bite, clunk, I landed a bream. Next chuck the float goes down the river the same way and I knew the float would go under in the same spot, and clunk bream on, John Dursley is now a bit miffed as he heard the clunks! Next chuck the same spot, clunk, now lots of f%cks from John and I was getting very excited. Sadly for me that was the end of the action, but it was a real adrenaline boost. My end weight of 11lb 11oz got me 3rd in the section and 5th overall. Winner of my section was Woody with I think 48lb of mainly barbel on the float, his biggest was nearly 10lb. We heard about his catch for a few weeks after that! Amazing that all this was 20 years ago now, but still remember some stuff like yesterday.
Hope you've all had a good Sunday fishing, looking foward to a good draw on the river next Sunday. I had a bad run at the drawbag last autumn on the river (made me feel shit as I was having to put up with the head f*ck that having cancer was giving me) but after a summer this year of good draws, well who knows. One thing for sure, no more corner pegs!