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.