Tuesday, 26 June 2012

November 1992

A tad bored at the moment, at least yesterday (Monday) was a nice sunny day and I walked down the cycle track to see the river near Swineford, Bitton brook was full of small fish taking respite from the raging main river!

November 1992 started for me with a poor draw at Meadow Farm on the Middle Avon Champs, all I could muster was around a 1lb 8oz of tiny roach. The river fished hard throughout and only 13lb was needed to win from the peg below the white pole at Meadow Farm. (I wonder if that pole is still there?)

The following week and a double header, sarting with a Bathampton open at Newbridge. Peg 19 was my home and I started like a train with some good roach in the first 45 minutes on a stick float. However, this was a false dawn and the remainder of my match was a disaster with hardly a bite coming to stick or waggler and I threw my 5lb back. Sunday was the Poppy match and I was drawn at Jackie Whites a couple of pegs below 123. I fished for bream on the feeder as this was what I expected to win, but bream hardly showed through the whole river so I got that wrong! I had 4 chub for 7lb 5oz and no good, the match was won a few pegs below me where an angler took an 8lb pike along with 1 bream and bits for 17lb.

During the following week a lot of rain fell and on Thursday the weir at Keysham had disappeared threatening to call off the Commercial House at Frys. By Saturday it was deemed fishable and so the match was pegged out, unfortunately another deluge of rain fell during the night and the river that greeted us Sunday morning was high and rising (rose 1.5 feet during the mach). I drew about as bad as I could have given the conditions, 2 pegs above the barge with the river banging through on the inside. I needed 2oz of lead to hold bottom just off the rod end, and even then the tip would pull right around as the line, feeder and hookbait became covered in leaves and debris. This was one match where I was convinced I would blank but I kept plugging away in the hope an eel would find my lobworm before the leaves did! Then with about an hour to go I reeled in and saw the usual trail of leaves, but then some of the leaves were shook off and a small eel revealed itself, yippee! I have never been so happy to catch a fish, and it was a real surprise. The eel weighed 2 1/2oz, which was low down in the section but got me through the knockout. 5lb won the match and 2lb+ framed.

The rain continued on and off all week, and so it was the anglers fishing the ATWL at Newbridge were faced with another flooded river. I was on peg 27 and on the next peg was Leon Hubbard who I happened to have drawn in the knockout. The attack today was dead simple again, a one rod job on the gbait feeder. I wrote in my diary "I struggled for 3 1/2 hours fishing like a prat." Basically I fished too far out, I then came in off the rod end and started to get a few eel bites, by this stage Leon was way out in front. I was fishing the end of a lobworm and started catching eels when I hooked something big which swam off out into the middle of the river, and withing seconds the hook pulled out. I was really peed off after the match, I had fished a bad match and was going out of the knockout. I weighed just 2lb 3oz for 7 points and then Leon pulled out his net which should have had 4lb+ of eels in it... but he had a hole in his net and only weighed 1lb+!!!! Leon was as you can imagine gutted, and I was a lucky git. My team had a good day and we won, and Silstar Bathampton came 4th which meant my team went into the overall lead.

Even more rain fell for the rest of November, in the end 7 inches fell during the month, rivers burst their banks and Bristol suffered some flooding issues. The Silver Dace Xmas match was transferred to the K&A canal. I didn't have much of a clue on fishing the canal (I can hear some saying I still don't lol) and it showed. I fished groundbait and pinkie on the whip for 35 small fish, and loosefed caster and pinkie over for 8 better roach. My 1lb 10oz was off the pace and all the top weights came to punch bread, a bait I ignored for a long time and I can't remember why.

Actually I might as well finish writing about one more match that was in December, because I continued to catch feck all for the rest of the year! It was my team's (Bristol Sensas) Xmas open, and it was on the river at Chequers as the river was back in its banks. It was now running clear but very fast, something that only really happens after massive rain fall. I drew rubbish again, just round the top of Chequers straight and the peg was a mass of boiling water. I tried casting over into the bay with a feeder, but I could not hold with 3.5oz of lead on. Dropping a maggot feeder down the inside under a bush I extracted 4 roach, 2 perch and 1 dace for another 1lb 10oz. Something I remember very well was going for a walk to see team mate (and eventual match winner) Ian Spriggs who was in a nice slack peg. Ian was plopping an open ender just a rod length out and a few feet down the peg, he had no bend in the quiver tip so he could see bites easily. He had already had bream and chub when I arrived and he was just baiting up with 3 red maggots on a 16 barbed hook on a 14" long hook length. Ten minutes later Ian wound in after not having a bite and every maggot was gone!!! He looked at me and checked if he had baited up and I assured him he did. How a fish took those maggots without showing an indication is something I will always remember!

Monday, 25 June 2012

Superleague Bristol Avon

I took a quick walk up the river Sunday but couldn't stay for too long due to appointment with Nursey. It won't surprise you to know that the river was very high, dirty and fast! However, that was just to begin the day and most anglers told me it had risen a foot 4 hours later. Pegs which had been afforded some slack or steady water had by mid match also been turned into a mess, though a few lucky anglers did have a decent peg.

I walked from the cattle grid at the Crane, where Roy Carter nicked a few small fish from against the nettles, to just short of the New Fence peg, leaving the river bank about halfway through the match. The vast majority of anglers had caught, mainly eels and roach, and Nicky Johns, Kev Dicks and another lad had taken a bream by this stage. Word got to me that Shaun Townsend up in the Cornfield had lost what he thought might have been a barbel, and an angler in the lane was reported to have lost a barbel estimated at 12lb. In such a torrent I would have thought 15lb line and a poker of a rod would have been needed to land such fish!

I watched Andy Ottoway just above the gantry catch a couple of eels and miss a few bites, and we discussed how frustrating it can be hitting bites in flood condtions... is it an eel bite and how long do you let it develop, or is it a bite from a roach or a skimmer!! Well my usual thing is to wait for the fish to hook themselves and hope they hang on, but sometimes the bites don't fully develop. That's why I never mind fishing a flooded river, it is another challenge to work out. On the day some anglers pegs that looked good had not caught, yet others who were in fast water had done so but admitted to not really knowing what was a bite and what was weed. Quite a few anglers fished a pole feeder when to my mind a standard gbait feeder on a rod was a better bet, simply because you have more control over a fish, if a bream hits the fast water on a pole it's gone, and I did see one angler lose "something" that had dragged out 13 hollo elastic so far he could not get it back and feared his pole would snap!

Thyers angler and Dentists favourite "Gappy" won the match from the outfall at Swineford with a very good weight on the day of 17lb. On the opposite end down near the bottom of the lane sick note Liam Braddell had 14lb. Darren Gillman had 12lb (20+ eels and 3 skimmers)from the peg above Liam, and 4th place came from the end peg at Jack Whites with 10lb, the end peg is on a bend and bream normally drop back in there in flood. So as you can see the pegs with the most steady water were the places to be. Well done to everyone who battled the river today.

I believe Thyers are winning the league overall at present.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Superleague Practice Bristol Avon

Don't let the title kid you, I did not get out and fish the river this weekend, I think it could be another month before I can wet a line. However, with the river season open again and this match on from Jack Whites to Swineford it gave me an opportunity to take a little stroll.

I parked at Keynsham Marina and took a walk up the Crane and I saw that the river was holding a good colour and was a bit pacey. My immeadiate reaction was this would be a bream river and those anglers not on them would be in for a hard day. It has been many years since I have seen, or fished, an early season match, but when I have they were always dominated by the good bream pegs and roach were hard to come by. As it turned out things haven't changed much.

I walked from the cattle grid up to the first peg in the long ash tip field, also bumping into Dave Haines and Liam Braddell who were having a walk. Bream had been caught around the cattle grid to parrot cage, mainly on the feeder, though Phil Stone had taken 4 on the pole. Don Sutherland seemed to being the best in this area with 9 bream. Most people said they were catching 2lb to 3lb fish, not the big boys we know are in the river but good to see fish of this size. The next pegs from the gantry up to the bay in the little ashtip were very poor, as these are shallower pegs where roach are normally caught I wasn't that surprised. Past the bay Martin Barrett had 7 bream, but his peg had dried up, all his fish coming to the feeder as he hadn't taken a pole! It was then that I heard that Callum Dicks had taken 25 bream up in the Cornfield, I wasn't going to walk all the way up there though! What was now obvious was a serious lack of small fish feeding, and reports from Swineford were that it was bream or bust, excepting Nathan Hawke who on the beach had 6 chub and unusually 4 bream.

I walked back and took a look at Jack Whites, as I was walking there Dave Micklewright came up, he had packed up and was going home and the anglers at the top end (shallow) that were around Dave were all virtually packing up. Lee trivett had managed to snare a bream from the steps, where the water was bombing through! Graham Hunt had taken 4 bream from the cow drink and told me that 1 bream had got stuck in the reeds about 30 yards below him, forcing Graham to go for a walk down to it, and he then dragged the bream back up between the reeds and the bank, I would have liked to have seen that!

I went home after this as that was probably as far as I have walked since my op, and I had a nice Father's Day meal to look forward to. Andy Ottoway kindly texted me through the top 4 anglers...

1) C Dicks 85lb 15oz (apparently he also won at Newbridge on Saturday, with 40lb)
2) M Kimber 42lb 8oz (He was on the New Fence peg)
3) N Richards 37lb 9oz (peg 18 Swineford)
4) S Portlock 26lb 6oz (peg 74 Crane)

For an opening season match on the river that really is a pretty good frame, mind you if the colour drops out it could be a lot different next week on the Superleague itself. That said I guess we will get a sh*t load of rain at some stage!

I'm off down to Viaduct Wednesday, watching the open and then staying the night in a lodge with some lads from Bristol (Glenn Bailey, Mark Tanner, Mike Nicholls, Bela Bakos and Martyn Woodington) who are down there now. Everyone has to share a room, and Mike decided he'd share with me, so he has the room to himself for 6 nights!!!
It will be good to see Woody fishing, as it must be 17 or 18 years since I last saw him fish, I hope he has improved! Only joking Woody!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

September / October 1992

Seems like I've got my 3rd wound infection since coming home from hospital, can't blame this last one on anything as I have done diddly squatt for the last two weeks. It really is a pain and is stopping me doing anything with my life at present, it's enough to drive a man to drink!

After my lowly weight on the Huntspill I was planning to fish an open at Newbridge on Sat 19th September. However, torrential rain and thunderstorms on the preceding days put the river right up and the match was cancelled. The following day was the first round of the Commercial House at Keynsham, luckily the river had dropped overnight and was deemed fishable. I drew peg 86 which (was) 2 pegs into the Long Ash Tip field and I didn't like the look of things. I started on a maggot feeder casting two rods out with double bronze maggot on the hook, and I had 7 small eels in the first half of the match. I decided to switch to a groundbait feeder (though at the time it was not an area noted for bream) cast down the middle of the river, using 2lb maxima to a 16 and 3 red maggots. I had to put extra weight on the feeder but it still wasn't enough, so I pushed a disgorger through the holes to act as a brake! I took one skimmer and a 4lb+ bream and missed a couple of bites from the middle of the river, still I was dead chuffed as my normal day out on a flooded river ended with not much weight! I weighed 6lb 13oz and got 4th overall, a good start.

The following weekend I spent Saturday at Newton Park Lake for a spot of pleasure fishing on the wag and mag for 50lb of carp between 1.5lb and 4.5lb. They soon grew bigger in that lake! Sunday and the last round of the Super League was on Newbridge with the team no chance of winning the league we all went for it. I was gutted to draw peg 57, a very deep peg in amongst a lot of bream flyers and my league ended on low as all I managed was 5 eels for 1lb 5oz and 2 points. The rest of the team bagged and we won on the day which put us 3rd overall, only 3 points behind the 2nd team.

Saturday 3rd October and I got engaged so didn't go fishing, but I was going Sunday! It was round two of the Commercial House on the Avon at Laycock, and once again we faced a flooded river. Being the upper Avon this match was going to be peggy and anyone with slack or steady water should do well. I remember that I had Darren Gillman in the knockout, and when the draw was done he noted my peg and wanted to see what he was up against. I was somewhere in the Abbey field and started my walk across the fields and styles, I couldn't believe it, I was on the peg that I had said if I ever drew it I would win the match!!!! Today the far bank (where you normally caught) was being hit head on but the fast water. Darren told me later that after seeing my peg and then getting to his steady swim he guessed he was through the knockout. Funnily enough on the peg below me was Darren's brother Shay. So what to do today? Well I set up the feeder rod with a big Thamesly open end feeder that needed two big grip leads to hold it, with 4lb maxima to a size 14 superspade. I also set up a light ledger rod for the 2 foot slack under my feet. I started across but I couldn't keep the feeder out for long due to so much weed coming down, but at least I was feeding the peg. I took a few bits from the inside in an hour which avoided the blank but I felt I had to go back across. I had 1 decent roach over and loads of weed (!) and with just 30 minutes to go I was on for a bad day and was way down in the section and knew Darren had been catching bits all day. What happened next was quite frankly amazing, in 3 casts I had 2 chub and a barbel all around 3lb apiece and then it was match over. As this happened so late nobody except Shay had realised I had caught, and my weight of 10lb 3oz won on the day (and thankfully I'd made my bold statement come true). Darren just couldn't believe it, and it is one of those days you never forget, I remember Pete Sivell gave me a good right up in the Angling Times for it.

The following Sunday and it was the start of the ATWL which was fished from Warleigh to Avoncliffe, the river looked spot on today. I was drawn 2 pegs above Warleigh Viaduct and it was an awkward peg to get into and cows kept skylining me! The peg had two distinct flows, a steady run in close which I fished with a stickfloat, and faster swirly water 3/4 over which I attacked with a crowquill in order to keep the line off the water. I had a good start picking up around 4lb of roach on the stick but this line dried up completely, luckily the crowquill worked although controlling the float was difficult. I took another 4lb of roach here and 3 small chub, I fed this line heavily with bronze maggots. I won the section with 12lb 12oz and the team won on the day to make it a great start.

Into the middle of October and the frosts came and my results went downhill on the following weekend. A Saturday open in Bath Town on the Avon saw me draw the first peg below Windsor bridge where I had 2 roach, 1 perch and 1 dace! Further up river roach showed well on the pole with a top weight of 13lb. The next day and after 2 great matches in the Commercial House I had a grueller at Newbridge. I actually drew on the opposite side of the river we fish today, above the rowing club boathouse. I had 5 roach and 1 perch for 10oz and 3 points (only beating two blanks) meanwhile the pegs opposite the boathouse had a bite a chuck on any method! I think I was a tad peed off that day, but as you get older you realise that is fishing and we can't always draw flyers (well unless your name's Tom Thick).

One more match to finish October, 2nd round of the ATWL on the lower Avon at Keynsham. I drew downstream of Jack Whites, just above the wires (where they put a gas pipe through years ago) and I had to decend down the cages of rock! The wind was horrendous and the river was covered in leaves making things difficult. I had a terrible start to the match, snagging up on the waggler fishing across and ending up losing everything, then snagging up on the feeder and losing everything. I ended up fishing half way across the river, but the problem this gave me was that my line from the feeder rod was going into the river right where the leaves were coming down at their worst, and I couldn't put the rod lower as they were all on my side of the river. During the match I struggled to tell what was a bite from a leaf, or the wind, and a number of times I wound in to find I had missed a bite. I lost 3 bream but snared 4 small ones and 2 chub for 15lb 15oz and came second in the section despite not knowing what was a bite! The team won again and the river fished well, I think everyone of the team had over 10lb in weight.

Coming back to present day, and with the National on the Avon this year there are going to be some matches on the river, first one is at Jack Whites on the 16th June.