After 3 weekends missing fishing (albeit enjoying Florida) it was good to be back on the bank, especially so being on the river. I had managed a little preparation on the Saturday and groundbait and rigs were ready, though I didn't get round to tying any hooks.
The draw was at the rugby club at Saltford and it was the first time I had seen some of my Thatchers team mates for a few months. Once again England International Des Shipp was in attendance and during breakfast he wound me up saying I was always on a flyer on the river and nothing had changed since the days we fished together, methinks he has a poor memory (he probably has forgot more about fishing than I will ever know). The draw was finally done and I found myself pegged in the middle of Rotork on peg 13, Des found himself on the peg that won last week, POTS AND KETTLES!!! As far as my draw went I was happy that I would catch a few but the end pegs tend to dominate, and with Dave Micklewright on peg 2 and Steve Long peg 27 I set my target for 10lb and 3rd in the section.
The peg I drew was much like the one I pleasure fished in the first day of the season, in as much as it was a good 6 foot off the water. The flow was poor and that wouldn't help trying to catch roach I thought, but I still set up with them in mind. A 1grm pencil float, and a 2grm PB Silvers both with 20 to 0.1 were my main long pole rigs, I fished these at 11m as out at 13m there was a big deviation in the bottom. A 1.5grm rig with a 14 to 0.14 was set up for fishing worms on my top 5 (although perch had not showed here I was told), and lastly a 3AAA waggler with a 20 to 0.12 was my gambit. No feeder today, as I felt chances of bream were zero.
To start the match I threw in 12 balls of gbait containing some hemp and casters at 11m and dropped in with the 1grm rig. I caught a few small roach and then bleak prevented the rig from settling. Picking up the 2grm rig I was still getting the odd bleak hold the rig up despite pushing the olivette within a foot of the hook. After an hour I was less than happy thinking I had about 2.5lb when you'd normally expect to do 5lb. I then hooked a lovely 12oz roach and a few more roach put in an appearance including another about 10oz. 1hr and 45 mins the pole line died, and it died big time, even the bleak were gone! For the next 45 mins I never had a single bite on the pole or the waggler, during this time I fed some worms and casters on my inside line. When I dropped in on dendra hookbait I was really chuffed when the float went under and a 4oz perch was swung in. Over the next hour I had more perch from 1oz to 8oz but the biggest of around 10oz was taken by a bloody big pike just as I was about to net it, bugger!
The worm line never really produced again and the pole was still devoid of anything, thankfully the waggler was now working for bleak and the odd 1oz chublet, and I was happy to catch anything. Unfortunately at this stage my maggots died due to the heat and that didn't help things!! With an hour to go I threw another 8 balls on the pole line as I really had nothing to lose, but running the rig through for 10 mins brought no more bites. I switched between wag and worm line for the odd fish on the wag mainly, and with 10 mins left I snapped the line on the wag in a bramble. As the worm line was dead I thought I might as well try the pole line again and with the light rig I caught a bleak, and then 4 roach in 4 casts and the match ended!!!!
I was more than happy with what I had caught, but I felt I missed out on a few more fish by never really getting things going. The scales got to me and Dave Micklewright was top with 16lb 10oz (he won the match, fair play) the next two anglers had 4lb+ and then I weighed 10lb 13oz. The next 3 pegs had 6 to 7lb and then the last two pegs weighed 10lb and Steve Long 10lb 13oz and so we ended joint 2nd in the section.
Back to the results and the team had good results with a couple of section winners and lots of 2nd or 3rd, but Diawa Gordon League had done even better and won the day and won the league, Thatchers finished 2nd overall.
The river had fished much harder than last week, and only 1 angler had a couple of bream and he came 2nd. I actually came joint 5th overall, about 9oz behind 4th place Gary Etheridge who was last in the money, that bloody pike cost me, lol! I should mention Des of course, he found the bream not feeding but still caught a high 5lb for 2nd in his section.
It was really good to back on the river and in among the fish, I really enjoy catching on a moving water and working hard to keep bites coming. Did I enjoy my 5 hours more than Glenn Bailey did winning Lodge lake with 99lb on the paste in 6 hours? As I always say, if you enjoy what you do do it, don't moan at others who enjoy what they do even if you don't. Perhaps finally Mike Nicholls might stop asking me "I don't know why you still fish the rivers?" It is because I enjoy it Mike!, lol!!!!!