Nice to see the sun out and the temperatures up again, alas I was not able to sit in it this weekend after a hectic couple of days travel and watching my daughter dancing on stage today. (I was also resealing the bathroom / shower but that didn't get finished.) Before I dip back in the diary I will just mention that Thatchers came 5th in the ATWL Final fished on the Trent yesterday. Lee Trivett was unlucky to lose a bream a couple of rods out, and that cost the team 3rd place, but Liam Bradell was more than happy with his 3 barbel and 2 bream as he won the match, well done!
After a close season of inactivity in 1994 the river season started with my team Bristol Sensas travelling up to Peterborough for practice for the Drennan Super League final. The two days practice for me on the river Nene produced 1lb 4oz and 4oz! We watched an evening match on Grendon Pond at Castle Ashby and that was all we could do, as the next day was day one of the final. On the Nene I had another startling day weighing 910 grammes and beating just one person in the section. I caught 1 hybrid and a few dace on the waggler, and 4 hybrids on the pole. I was way off the pace as the method was to ball in gbait (I didn't) and fish it 13m+ in a strong wind, my pole was bent double and I needed a stiffer pole. The team managed 6th on the day. Day 2 was on Grendon Pond, and before the start a local guy / organiser told everyone to take it easy and we'd catch..... On the whistle everyone balled it in on the pole line! I had 1 bite all day long on a waggler with maggot, missed it and that was it I blanked. Virtually all carp caught were done so on the feeder. The team came 6th again and that's where we finished overall.
The following weekend I fished the Embassy Pairs on the Gloucester Canal, I drew Splatt (rhymes with crap) and blanked! Even people who had bloodworm blanked on this cess pit, I still have nightmares now!
The following Sunday I sort of blanked again, it was the biggest cock up in fishing I have ever known! We all turned up for the Drennan Super League at Cardiff Docks only to find a concert for the BBC was being organised and we were not allowed to fish the venue. What a balls up, lol!
My season of "success" continued the following weekend when in the Fish O Mania qualifier on the Avon I drew somewhere in Bath Town. It was 16ft deep, not moving and after a few hours and a few fish I packed up and was glad to see the back of another rank draw. I needed a pick me up, and so decided on a couple of pleasure fishing sessions. The first at Shearwater lake on the roadside where I guessed I had about 70lb of carp, skimmers, bream and a few big roach fishing an open ended feeder. It didn't matter what hook bait I used, what length hook length I used it all caught fish! A couple of days later I fished the middle lake at Longleat and had about 40lb on the pole. I fished a 20 to 0.1 with either caster or red maggot hook baits over groundbait and caster. I had roach to 12oz, skimmers, and 3 carp.
My next match was on the 16th July at Sabre Lake, a new venue for me, with the Silver Dace crew. I fished a waggler and maggot approach and got through 5 pints of bait for just 9 small carp for 17lb and nowhere. I did manage to fire a burst maggot into my eye on the day, it hurt like hell and my eye swelled out like an onion. I remember it was a nice hot day though!
The following Saturday I found myself in the draw queue for Silstar Pole qualifier on the River Axe at Bleadon, a place I knew little about. I drew my peg and the locals running the match told me absolutely diddly squatt about the peg, so I assumed it must be a decent draw! To start the match I balled in 3 jaffas of groundbait at 11m and loosefed casters over the top in the hope of some skimmer / bream. While I let that settle I went on the whip and in 20 mins had 1 roach! Onto the long pole with a 1grm rig and 20 to 0.1 with maggot / caster hookbait and after a few minutes the float went under and the elastic came out! A bream of nearly 4lb plopped into the net and had me very pleased, and when I hooked another straight away I was in heaven! I remember that Charlie Barnes and Woody were pegged next to me and were struggling at this point. I then took another 3 bream by the end of the first hour before the fish switched off, I caught 1 eel for the remainder of the match. I even went for a walk and had a little sleep behind my peg, much to my neighbours annoyance as they thought I was winning the match and should try harder. As it turned out I did win the match and the locals told me after that they knew I get bream there!!!
The last match to mention to here today was one of those that I doubt will ever happen to me again, I didn't win any money but it was a day I'll never forget. It was a Bathampton open at Newbridge, and I drew peg 73 the first one below Newton St Loe bridge. Martin Barrett told me he had struggled on the peg recently but caught 6lb of gudgeon in close. I set up a waggler for my main attack, and a 1grm pole float with 18 to 0.1 on a 3m whip. Below me that day was a real river angler legend Brain Webb, a truly great angler. We both started on the wag but I was finding it tricky in the awkward flow, so I picked up the whip and had a gudgeon first chuck. Within an hour I had shortened the whip to 2m as the gudgeon were right up in the shallow water. Goodness knows how many gudgeon were there that day, but I ended up weighing 12lb 6oz of the blighters! Brian beat me with 14lb, but he was helped by a 3lb tench he caught 3 ft on the waggler! I actually came 6th on the day and I remember at the results it raised a few eyebrows. A better day's gudgeon bashing I have never had since!
Next week I'm back on the team scene on the Huntspill, apparently it has been fishing a bit rank!