I really would like to be blogging about current matches, but I'm still a way off fishing at present. I'm now a guinea pig for the nurses who are trialing a new type of wound dressing on me, plus I'm back on the antibiotics. Ggood luck to Thatchers this weekend on the W/L final, it'll be tough on a commercial fishery where local teams have qualified but I still expect the boys to do well. Then next weekend sees the National, where again I wish Thatchers and all the local teams good luck, hope a local lad is sat on a pile of bream! I'll be out for a walk with Glenn on the day and look forward to watching, cos I need a laugh lol!
Funnily enough back in June 1993 my team was out practising for a National, the Div 3 on the 16 and 40 foot drains. These venues were between 18 and 25mtrs wide and all from 10 to 13 feet deep (nice usual mix of metric and imperial). My first practice session on the 40ft yielded an awesome 2lb 6oz, comprised of 4 eels, 2 roach, 1 hyrid and a tommy ruffe, all coming on the 10mtr pole with maggot. The following day on the 16ft I broke into the 3lb barrier thanks to 7 eels! This was tough going, but the following day we watched a 450 peg match and there were lots of blanks. Come the day of National I was pegged on the 16ft drain, and the team plan was fish the gbait feeder for an hour hoping for a bream and then go onto the pole line (which had been loosefed with caster and maggot) looking for eels. I never had a bite on the feeder, although I did see 2 bream roll and the lad on one side of me had one. The pole line was OK in the 2nd hour with 5 eels coming although I lost a decent one which bit me off. The guy the other side me had been blanking on the feeder after 2 hours and went on his pole line looking for eels and caught a 5lb bream! I never had another bite all day long, and neither did most people around me. I weighed 780 grammes for 42 points out of 85, so not very good, but most of the lads had done well and we came 10th on the day and gained promotion to Div 2.
The next match I fished a week later was back on moving water and more to my liking. It was another team match, this time a Drennan Superleague round on the Thames at Kelmscott. Now I don't know much about this part of the river, but I wrote in my diary that I was 12 pegs above the grey gate (what colour that gate is now I don't know!). I was told the pegs at the bottom of my section had bream in and were expected to frame, but that my peg was not to good. I thought the peg might hold chub as there were far bank trees though underwater cabbages infront of them meant you couldn't go tight in. I started on a waggler across with 0.1 to a 20 and in the first hour I hooked 2 chub but only landed one as the other sought refuge in the cabbages. Other than the odd tiny dace, bites were non existant, so I cast a maggot feeder literally into the cabbages and this method gave up 3 perch, not good. In the last hour I knew I was way down the section and so I fished the wag down the middle of the river up in the water, about 2.5 ft deep, and blitzed it with maggot, feeding 1 or 2 pouches every cast!!! I was gutted when I hooked another chub but pulled out of it, then 5 minutes before the whistle I hooked another chub, which when I landed it was in fact a 3lb bream! That fish was crucial, and my 7lb 6oz got me 3rd in section, and 5th overall in the match, and the team were 2nd on the day. One thing I remember on the day was the Cardiff Nomads angler above me commenting that he had never seen anyone feed so much bait as I had done in the last hour, though I don't think that was really true it definately was raining maggots.
On Sat 17th July I fished a John Smiths Qualifier at Newbridge, I drew peg 31 at the start of the straight a crap bit at the time. A bream after 15 mins was a false dawn as the fish never fed, my paltry 3lb 14oz being enough to win my section. The following day was a trip to Cardiff Docks for an open match to practice for the next superleague round. On this match I got drawn on what was called the crane, which actually was about the easiest place to fish from. I balled in grounbait containing joker at 4mtrs and started here, all the while feeding maggot and hemp at 10 mtrs (more in hope than expectation). I caught some small roach on bloodworm at 4mtrs but this died, though I stuck with it for to long as I doubted the long pole would work. I was amazed when on my first drop in on the long pole with a single maggot on 22 to 0.08 that the float went under. I had caught a roach and I continued to do so until the end of the match. I ended with 9lb 7oz that put me third in the match and a nice ton plus pick up. Come the superleague I was confident in my method, and drew 18 pegs further up the bank than last week which I was happy with. This time the weather was awful, very wet and windy straight into my face, and on the next peg Nicky Collins needed wiper blades on his glasses to see anything! The joker we had was dead, it was just a heap of stinky slime, but I still threw it in the swim in gbait! I actually caught well over the gbait on blood worm with a 26 to 0.06 by feeding regular small marbles of gbait. Nicky was struggling big time and Mike Stone sat behind me to see what I was doing, I imagine he wasn't impressed as I knew naff all about bloodworm fishing! The time had come to bag up on my long pole line, but this time it was not very good and I was struggling even though the weather had improved. I could see Kev Dicks catching well in my section and I reckoned I was on the wrong hookbait, changing the maggot to a piece of hemp was like flicking a switch. I caught really well in the last hour and ended up winning the section with 7lb and framing again, this time in 5th place. The team came 3rd which was much better than our usuall last here!