I popped into Avon Angling on Friday and got a very nice reception from Tony and the other lads in there. Whilst there Eddy Wynne said he hadn't seen anything on my blog and wondered how I was, so I thought I'd better write something! First and foremost fishing seems out of the question now for at least a month, this is because my wound just isn't healing and in fact another hole has appeared in my belly. On doctor's orders no lifting, straining or stretching which pretty much rules out most things except walking! I'm getting worried about missing the national on the Avon, I know there will be a lot of shite pegs in but it would be nice to fish it.
Back to Jan 1993 when I was happily fishing the Avon without a care in the world! I fished at Conham for a couple hours on New Year's Day catching just 3 fish, the rod rings were continually freezing it was that cold! The following day I was at Newbridge on an open and drew peg 43, and if I recall correctly Steve Mayo was below me and Andy Floyd was on peg 46 which back then was the best chub peg. With it being so cold, the river clear and my peg not that good I expected to struggle. I set up a 4AAA waggler with 7 no6 shot down the line and fished down the middle of the river. I fed maggots and hemp and despite the rod rings freezing until midday I was catching the odd roach, but I did have to fish well over depth to slow the bait down to get bites. I had a nice day and ended with 9lb 7oz which was good enough to win my section I think by default as Andy framed with Chub. Steve had an early bath that day!
The following Sunday I was back at Newbridge for the ATWL facing a now dirty river and one that rose nearly 2 feet as we fished! Amazingly I ended up on peg 43 again but all I could do was fish a feeder a rod length out. The river fished very bad, probably as all the salt from the roads had been washed into it. I had one 8oz hybrid but did lose another fish during the match, still that 1 fish was worth 9 points out of 12, and my section was won with 1lb 2oz, a real grueller!!! The team came 2nd on the day and held a 4 point lead in the league with 2 rounds left. Rain continued to fall all week after that match and the river burst its banks, the Commercial House was fished on Bristol Docks which can hold a fair bit of water! I was drawn outside what was then GWR, where it was about 12 feet deep. I fished a feeder but only for the first half of the match, after this a massive raft of rubbish got stuck in front of me making it impossible to fish. I only weighed 1lb 9oz but was amazed to get 11 points from 14 and get through to the knockout final.
The following Sunday and the penultimate round of the ATWL was on Frys and the Crane on a flooded river. I drew the 1st peg into the long ashtip field (been on this one a few times) and struggled all day ending with just 6 tiny eels for 7.5oz. As in the previous round I scored 9 points and the team won the day and now held a 5 point lead over Silstar. This now meant Silstar had to beat us by 6 places in the last match for us not to win the league, and so we were pretty much assured of winning the league, so much so that we decided to visit the semi-final venue the following weekend, the river Nene at Orton. We walked an open on the Saturday and then practiced the following day where I had 3lb of small roach on a 6 no4 stick with a 22 to 0.08, and my 3lb was the best weight!
Going into February I pleasure fished the high wall peg up the Crane (on Saturday 6th) and had 12lb on the stick float in 4 hours. I fed maggot and hemp and took nearly all roach, this is still a great area to fish for roach. Sunday and the last round of the ATWL saw me 10 pegs up Limpley Stoke on what looked a nice river. I based my attack around the crowquill and fed maggot and hemp and in close and hemp and caster 3/4 across. I caught really well in the 1st hour in close, but after this had to nick fish off each line. I won the section with 7lb 10oz and the team finished the league in style winning with 120 points, and we had dropped just 1 point all league. I was 5th individual overall.
The local winter leagues were wrapped up on Valentines day with the final round of the Commercial House. I found myself pegged 3 above the lone tree on the Frys stretch, the river was a bit pacey but I had a nice long trot so went with the crowquill. Feeding sparingly with maggots I had a 1lb chub after 10 mins and thought here we go! Nearly an hour later I hooked another but pulled out of it at the net, grrr. No more bites were forthcoming and so I went on the gbait feeder. I starteed by casting right over, but fishing across to the trees was far too snaggy and so I fished down the middle instead with double caster on the hook. I had 1 bite on this for a 2lb chub and that was it, but all the bank talk had been the match had fished very hard. My two chub weighed 3lb 2oz, I did not write in my diary where I came in the section. However, this was a great day for me as I came 4th in the match, won the knockout cup, was team champion and top individual in the league. The late great Melvyn Holbrook came and congratulated me and I felt on top of the world.