I hadn't planned to go fishing Sunday just gone as it was my wedding anniversary and decided to spend it with my wife for a change. I was booked in for the Weds open at Landsend, but I had not felt to well over the weekend and in particular my stomach was very painful and I thought I had damaged the muscles. Probably having over done it I rang Tony Rixon to cancel and he kindly advised me to take things slowly and not rush back, but it is very frustrating! Today (Wednesday) and it was established that I have an infection in the wound, this is causing me the pain and the wound has broken down, hopefully the antibiotics will sort this out double quick! Not so sure if my plans to fish over this bank holiday will now happen, better wait than delay things longer.
Anyway, thought I'd better say something, but now I'll pop back to 1992 again..........
Sunday August 30th and I was fishing a Flowerpot match on the Avon at Laycock, this would be either a feast or famine match. I drew a crap peg just above the weir in the Abbey field, and it was virtually unfishable due to high winds and the river being up. The peg further round above me was a flyer (where Woody had all those barbel) and I went to watch the angler in that peg but he was a novice, fishing a lobworm on a shirt button shotted crowquill! When the match finished I got in his peg and fished the groundbait feeder with caster, in one hour I had 3 bream and 2 big roach for approximately 14lb. When I finally got back to the car park I stated if I ever drew that peg I would win the match (me and my big mouth). As you can tell the weather was shite, and Aug 1992 was the wettest and coldest for fifty years.
I spent 3 days in September practising on the river Witham for the forthcoming Div 4 National. When we arrived Andy Finch was there to show us how to catch eels (the target species) and I sat behind him eyes glued on his every move. It was very interesting and after an hour I went and fished myself trying to put what I had seen into practice. Fishing 11mtrs, with a 1.25g float with a 20 (barbless) hook to 1.5lb maxima hook length. I fished for 4 1/2 hours and fed 1 1/2 pints of bronze maggot, using double maggot on the hook was best, and ended with 8lb of eels. That was a good weight and I really felt good about the method. However, the next day Andy took us to another stretch which was a bit deeper and held less eels but a bigger stamp. I placed my box next peg to Andy to really gauge how I was doing. Using the same rig as the day before I caught 3lb in 2 1/2 hours which matched Andy. I fed much steadier than the previous day and hit a much higher percentage of bites, that was a tip from Andy! We went out that night to hit the town, but after only a few beers bad luck struck (no Lumbard didn't get his kit off) we ran across a stretch of road and climbed over the metal bariers in the middle. Only I tried to jump it and cracked my leg on it and was limping badly. Of course I got no sympathy and was told to stop being a wimp! In the next pub my leg was really hurting, and I pulled my trouser leg up to have a look but I couldn't as the leg was so swollen. Woody went with me to A&E and I had an X Ray but luckily nothing was broken, they gave me some strong pain killers and sent me on my way. Obviously the next day I couldn't fish due to the pain and so I sat and watched the lads. This stretch was supposed to be good for eels, but it was rock hard on the day and I sat behind Glenn Bailey who had gone on fine tackle and was catching roach. Captain Mark "Podge" Jefferies came up to watch (he was catching naff all as usual) and promptly tripped up and landed right on my bad leg!!!!!!!! Well I could have killed him if I could have got up, I've still never forgiven him, lol!
On the actual national itself I drew below Kirstead bridge, peg 196. Starting on the feeder I fed the pole line with the usual bronze maggots, but I noticed the river was pulling the opposite way to practice and going a bit faster than normal. The feeder yielded 1 skimmer and so it was on to the pole but I was really struggling to get any bites, that was until the river went back to flowing the normal way. I finished with 12 eels, 1 roach and 1 skimmer on the pole, drip feeding maggot was best, and my weight was 1kilo 790grms. This gave me 68 points out of 79, and helped the team to 13th and promotion.
I was brought back down to earth the next day on a windswept Huntspill on the Super League. I only managed 1lb 7oz which actually was mainly eels, but I missed a lot of bites, for just 5 points. Clive Branson next to me had 4lb and I found out he fished 0.10 hooklength as opposed to my 1.5lb maxima. He told me the eels knew the difference, and I locked that away in the old brain cells. The team came 6th on the day and we were now in 3rd position overall.