It was nice to see the league increase this year, last year only 9 teams participated but 11 teams this year would make for a better league and better payout. Thatchers once again had two teams in and this year I was in the A team (last year B team) basically all the B team lads had got given the A tag this year!
This match was pegged from Swineford to Crane. This was only possible thanks to all the swim clearing efforts for the National. The peggers Lee TRIVITT (is that right Lee?) and Andy Ottoway were able to put all 66 pegs in easily and leave out Jack Whites as there was talk of very high tides. After the rain of Wednesday the river had been very high, it had now dropped to the extent that some pegs would be fishable with a float, but it still held a lot of colour. The draw took place in the ever reliable Rugby Club in Saltford and it was great to see some old faces back in the CH league. In fact I asked Steve Hutchinson if his team name was "Old Stars" lol! The two Thatchers teams were not quite as normal due to some of the lads fishing the Maver Match this team event, and our A team super sub was Welsh internation Lee Edwards. I was going to be given F section whatever the draw today, but would you believe it Martin Barrett actually drew me in F section on the end peg on the mouth of the marina, the shortest walk of the match.
I was going to make two trips from my car to the peg, and on the 2nd trip Nick the boss of Keynsham Angling turned up and carried some of my heavier gear, which was nice of him! Nick told me that pleasure anglers had been catching skimmers and bream in this section all summer, that suited me as I came with groundbait for bream! I set up a feeder rod with a 30gm open ender, with 0.14 to a 14 B611, a 3gm pole rig with 0.1 to a 18, and a 5gm flat float (later changed to 8gm) with 0.12 to a 16. That was it today.
On the whistle I threw in 14 balls at 11mtrs which contained casters, dead pinkies and some worms, this mix was not aimed at roach. I then made 10 chucks on the feeder to get some bait 2/3 over. I did not have the start I wanted, and it took me 30 minutes to get my first fish on the pole, a small dace. For the next 45 mins using the 3gm rig I caught very small dace and roach on the pole, I did manage 3 better roach around 6oz but they were a flash in the pan. To soon this died and so I picked up the feeder rod. Forty minutes later and 1 small tap on the tip and the feeder rod was back up the bank. Trying the pole again it was dead, just a gudgeon and minute dace, so I cupped 3 balls in and went for a walk to see just how badly I was doing in the section. I walked up to Andy Britt about 5 pegs up and only Andy and one other angler admitted to a 1lb, so my 2lb was OK down this end. I went back to the peg and tried the pole again and very quickly caught 10 small fish and I thought here we go, but then nothing again. The flat float was tried on and off all match with worm and red maggots, but it never moved.
With a couple of hours to go I had heard Martin Reyatt (above the boys hole) had 4 bream and Kev Dicks (on the cattle grid) had 4lb, so I needed a bonus of my own. I spent quite a bit of time on the feeder for just 1 perch, and tried the pole twice again, the second time (with 30 mins to go) produced another flurry of small fish and then died and I ended the match on the feeder with nothing. I was very dissapointed with my estimated 4.5lb as I was really expecting to frame off this peg, but it didn't happen. As it turned out I weighed a level 5lb and this was the top weight through the lane (some unlucky anglers never broke 1lb) proving this peg is better than them, though why nobody had a bream or skimmer is beyond me. Martin won the section with 18lb (and framed) and Kevin was 2nd with 8lb, leaving me 3rd in the section.
Back at the results and it seemed many teams had up and down results, and my teams 22 point haul was enough to win A div on the day. Best shout was when Maver Bathampton Invincible were announced as last, and someone shout "Invincible, more like invisible! The match was won by Nigel Evans (Thatchers B) who drew the New Fence. Nigel took just 1 or 2 feeder rods with him and it paid off with 27lb of bream, this was a nice 'pick me up' for Nige as he had endured two awful matches recently. Andy Bush continued his good form and came 2nd with I think 18lb, and 16lb was needed to frame. Fish of the day was caught by Paul Barnfield, a chub (not weighed) but all who saw it said it was well over 5lb. I did get a decent pick up in the end, and this was because prizes were given out for last years league, I ended up with 1 hat, 3 grounbait bowls, 12 bags of groundbait... oh and 5 copies of a CD "how to catch carp and silvers on commercials", think someone was trying to tell me something.
No fishing for me next Sunday as I will most likely be nursing a hangover from Darren Gillman's stag do. So I will be digging out my old diary again.