No fishing for me this weekend as I had 2 parties to attend this weekend and didn't fancy getting up Sunday morning! As it turned out the weather took a turn for the worse and I had a quick walk down Frys where 7 anglers had 5 bites between them, with Leon Hubbard winning with 2 bream for 9lb, and a 6oz roach being enough for 2nd!
My first match of 1992 was an open at Conham on the Avon, I drew poor and it took me an hour to get a bite on the stick float. I took 15 dace and 1 roach in the next hour and then not another bite. The footbridge swim dominated this match with 22lb of hybrids, but 17lb of chub, and a 17lb of dace showed in other areas. The following day I was trying my luck on a Docks open match and once again managed to avoid the bream pegs by drawing Avon Street. I had a lowly 3lb 6oz of roach, dace and perch on the pole and caster. My poor start to the year got worse the following Sunday when I blanked from peg 67 at Newbridge on the ATWL, my section was won with 8oz. The river was coloured and pacey but hard frosts had killed it, and half my team blanked meaning we had a disaster and came 10th on the day!
A week later and Conham once again was not being nice to me, 2lb 6oz of dace and a sea trout on the wag was all I could muster. Sunday was the Commercial house and I had a nice walk to about 3 pegs below the New Fence up the Crane. I stuck to a waggler approach for most of the day and had 2 bites for 2 small chub which weighed 2lb 4oz. That was worth 10 points out of 14. I remember this match well as walking back down with the scales one angler in the whole section had caught a roach, in fact he had about 10 of them. I remarked "How the f*ck did you catch them?" as back then a roach above the long ashtip in winter was almost unheard of. The angler in question was a young lad about my age from Yate, a certain Des Shipp. 30b of bream at Swineford won the match and 25lb of them came off the New Fence peg.
The weather got colder during week commencing 20th Jan, down to -6C at night and another grueller on the ATWL looked likely when I drew the 1st peg in the Long Ashtip. For nearly 2 hours I never had a bite, but fishing a little maggot feeder with 22 to 0.1 I caught 7 roach and 2 gudgeon for 1lb 7oz. 8 section points was OK, and everyone who beat me had a chub, the team only came 4th on the day and were now down to 3rd overall. What a crap month Janury was, and then on the 1st Feb I blanked in a Conham open match, oh boy! Finally things perked up on the last round of the ATWL which was fished up at Limpley Stoke and Avoncliff. I drew 3 pegs below the sewer which was not normally a great area but bream were a possibility. The river was clear and I decided to start on a crowquill with punch bread feeding white crumb, this produced a dozen small fish for less than a pound. I then fished a feeder over the top of this and had two bites, both resulting in 4lb bream. I weighed 9lb 1oz which was 2nd in the section and 6th overall, I think Keith Firks won the section off the sewer I asked Keith what he had caught on and he replied "punched chittling". As a team we finished on a better note winning the day and ended up 2nd overall.
My winter of discontent continued on the following Saturday when I threw back 2 roach after 5 hours on a peg a few pegs above Saltford weir, whilst 50lb's came from Kelston point. Sunday and the Commercial House on Frys, can't say I was really looking forward to this one! I drew peg 13 and had 1 skimmer and 2 tiny roach for 1lb 10oz. However, this was pretty good, I wrote in my diary "Everbody in the bay caught skimmers, everywhere else everyone blanked, near enough!" My team Bendix A won the league and I was 3rd Individual over the whole league. As the rest of February was absolutely dire for me I will mention just one more match. The Upper Avon Champs on 23rd Feb which was won by Andy Floyd. Andy had a day that he and most others who were there will never forget. Andy drew at Scotland Road and fished a feeder to begin with, but he had no bites and noticed his hookbait and feeder was covered in gunge. So he fished the waggler over the top feeding caster with 2 red maggots on the hook he caught ......17 bream, 3 perch, 2 tench and 1 chub for 76lb. Now that is proper river fishing!