As mentioned last week I am missing the 2nd round of the winter league at Newbridge Sunday due to family commitments (nothing to do with a gin clear river not flowing).
Back on October 12th 1991 I was fishing a Saturday open at ....Newbridge. I drew peg 65, and as I had pleasure fished a few pegs away in the week and caught plenty of roach was happy with the peg. In the first hour and a half I caught a roach nearly every cast on the pole and maggot, then the river coloured up badly and the bites stopped completely. I hadn't balled it (we didn't do that back then!) and not catching anymore was all down to the colour and extra flow and me feeding maggot. I didn't think bream were in the peg so I went out on a maggot feeder and struggled for a couple of puppies and eels, though I did lose one big chub. My 6lb 12oz was no good, and the bream hole pegs had 40 and 50lb, wish I had chucked out the gbait feeder!
The following day I found myself in an awful peg at Jack Whites, 2 above the cow drink opposite the concrete and as everyone thought bream would go I was expecting to be right down the section. I tried the feeder for a bit but continually lost hooks and feeders, so in the end I fished a waggler 3ft deep with maggot, 20 to 0.1 and took bleak, dace and the odd small roach. When I weighed 4lb 12oz I expected the worst, but the bream did not feed and I ended with 9 points, good enough.
Wednesday was another round of the Veals Classic League at Newbridge and if you recall I had not done very well in the previous 3 rounds. Today I drew peg 22 (behind the pumphouse) and whilst the river was clear again it had a nice flow. I started on the pole fishing 6 mtrs to hand feeding maggot, whilst also feeding casters out to the middle for the waggler later on. The pole line responded well and I was catching good quality roach on the drop, but alas this died and I had to change to the wag earlier than hoped. There were fish out there and I took the odd good roach and 2 decent hybrids all on caster. I fished a 20 to 0.1 on both rigs, and ended with 10lb 8oz of good stamp fish for 5th on the day and a nice little confidence booster. To give you some idea of the anglers fishing this league here are the ones I remember, Vic Bush, Ian Parsons, Steve Long, Mark Harper, Kevin Dicks, Clive Branson, Jeff Reasons, Gary Ethridge, Derek Coles and many many more.
On the Sunday I was back at Newbridge for the Commercial House, just a few pegs along on peg 28 and thought there might be a few chub about (odd ones caught on the Weds). With this in mind I started out on a wag but with a 22 to to 0.1 going from 3 to 6ft deep and with just 2 no 10's down the line. The wind was vicious upstream and made things difficult but I took 3 chub in the first 40 mins and missed one bite. That was the best bit!!!! After that all I had was a few gudgeon on the pole, and I managed to lose a chub on the feeder (I was good at that, still am lol). It was a tough match and I came 2nd in the section with 6lb 1oz.
Two matches left to report on in October, and both involve chub and differing emotions! 27th Oct and the ATWL, I was 5 pegs above the sewer at Limpley Stoke and told it would be rock hard where I was. I fished a wag set at depth (about 11ft) with very light shotting and (stupidly) a 22 to 0.08. After about half the match all I had was a couple of pounds of bits, then I lost a chub under my feet. So I stepped up to 0.10 (idiot) and lost another 2 chub. I then went direct on my reel line which was 2lb maxima, and lost another chub!!! The last two fish I had lost upstream and I got up and looking through the glare realised there was a big weed bed above me. I hooked one more chub and got that one out now I knew what was in the peg. My 5lb 6oz was still worth 10 points but losing 4 chub had cost me the section and a frame place. I was sick as a parrot!
So the last match of Oct was back on the Veals League at Newbridge, it turned out to be a memorable day. Drawing a few pegs further downstream again I was on peg 33. With similar conditions as on the CH match I reckoned the wag for chub would be best, and when I got to my peg and saw about 10 chub on the far bank my mind was made up! The wag was set up with a 20 to 0.1, with 1 no9 and 1 no10 and 4ft deep was best. The angler above me (on 30 I think) was Pete Sivell and he will not forget this day. After the first hour Pete shouted out to ask what I had, "7 chub" I replied. "Don't be effing stupid tell me what you've got Clucker" says Pete. "7 chub Pete!" says I. "Alright eff off then Cluck if you won't be sensible" steamed Pete. Well as you can probably imagine I was pissing myself by the fact Pete thought I was lying! By the end of the 3rd hour I had 16 chub and then the rowers came out and the chub went and I never had another bite on the wag or the feeder. Not long before the end of the match Topper Haskins walked up and asked me what I had, then he walked on up to Pete... "Clucker I thought you was f&cking lying!!!" PMSL! I weighed in 29lb and won the section but only came 5th overall as lots of bream came out from the end of the straight and the bream holes. I don't think chub ever showed in peg 33 again, they must have shoaled for winter or something then went elsewhere? Oh and Pete, I think he had a hard earned 8lb of roach.