I won't go on about wanting to draw at Swineford this week cos you and I know that it wasn't going to happen. I got to the draw nice and early and was soon greeting a number of faces that I only seem to see on this match, Topper Haskins, Jeff Surmon, Julian Pinkett, Mark Haskins, Mike Shellard, I could go on! I was very shocked when I saw commercial expert Chris Davis come in though. It's good to see all these people support this match, but it is a shame that there are just no young anglers coming through. Bill Milton lead the 2 minute silence and then it was on with the draw. So with 120 pegs in the bucket I somehow drew the same bloody peg as last week, peg 20 at Newbridge, oh dear, how sad, never mind!
It didn't take me long to set up as the pole rigs were obviously all the same as last week, I set up a feeder rod with 16 to 0.13 but that was it. The river was now a nice colour, on the clear side, and I thought the roach would show today. I was going to set up a waggler for over but the wind was very bad and with the amount of boaters and leaves on the water I gave it a miss. I balled it at the start but with only 10 balls today and little grub in it, and then cast a big gbait feeder across 7 times. Onto the pole and it was hard work with a vicious downstream wind, and I could hardly get a bite! After an hour I had a 4oz roach, 7 blades and 1 small perch, not really match winning potential! Onto the feeder and first chuck I missed a whacking bite, the maggots were smashed and it must have been a chub. An hour later on and the tip had yielded 1 perch and something which was taken by a pike.
Time for a walk. It was fishing very hard, and my section was being won at the time with about 2lb, so my 10oz was really shite. I gave the pole one more go and picked up 4 more blades and a perch and that was the end of that. Feeder all the way now. I had a couple of bites which I missed and I knew it was from chub so I shortened the hook length down as I was pretty sure I wasn't going to see any bream action on this peg. I took two chublets soon after and thought I should change over to a maggot feeder, it took me 30 minutes to get another bite but then for the last hour (bar the last 15 mins) it went bonkers with chublets hitting the bait sometimes before the line had tightened up. Normally I use bronze maggot on the hook, but fluro maggot was much better today. I was lucky that this period of activity came when the wind had dropped and the leaves had lessened, meaning I could see the bites a lot better. It was a nice end to what had been a poor 4 hours before. I weighed 7lb 8oz which won the section as the next weight was only 3lb 12oz. It seemed the river had once again been a tough nut to crack when it looked in fine fettle.
Winning on the day was Paul Haines with 32lb of bream from about 2 pegs below the outfall at Swineford (I said I wanted to be there lol). Well done Paul a great result. 2nd and the hottest bream angler on the river at the moment was Kev Boltz with 21lb from peg 10 at Newbridge. 3rd was Leon Hubbard with a lovely net of roach on the stick float from peg 29 at Swineford that went 20lb. Dave Haines made a good day for the Haines, catching 3 big bream for 18lb.
4th Andy Ottoway 16lb
5th / 6th Shawn Townsend, Andy Power with 14lb weights
An angler at Jack Whites had a barbel 8lb on the stick float, but lost two others, one he managed to get the head in his landing net but it fell out, wonder how big that was!!!!!
The results were a lot of fun with Bill Milton and Ray Bazely on fine piss taking form. Despite the tough fishing there were lots of happy faces, good laughs and everyone had contributed to the poppy fund. It should be noted that Bristol and West and Bathampton do not charge peg fees for this match allowing for more money to go to the fund, so well done them and well done to all the sponsors. Roll on next year, please keep attending!