I'm writing this as I consider my options for tomorrows ATWL at Newbridge, and it looks like I will need to take all my wet weather gear. Knackered today as I have been working in Munich since Tuesday and didn't get back until 10:30pm Friday, Bavarian beer is damn good so it was worth it!
Things were rather tough back in October 1994, and after my previous ATWL 2oz I was hoping for a better catch on the Avon above Bath. I drew at Avoncliffe, 1 below the railway bridge which was a fair old walk, and the peg looked poor as the river was up a bit due to extra water. I managed to catch 2lb 14oz which comprised 2 perch, 1 roach and 1 chublet on the maggot feeder fished across, 1 roach and 1 eel on a straight lead over caster in a slack. 9 points for the team and we won the day, nice. More rain followed this match and the river was now in flood, but with my next match a Bathampton open at Newbridge I wasn't worried as it is a good venue when in flood (usually). I drew peg 141 and whilst I thought the 130's better I was happy being in the trees section. I attached the swim with a gbait feeder fished just a few rod lengths out with a 16 to 2lb maxima. I had a lot of bites on maggot and worm, but the swim was really snaggy and I lost a lot of hooks and fish, I suspect eels as that is what I caught mainly. My 7lb 2oz won me nothing as bream showed up, with 30lb winning from peg 54.
My last match of Oct 94 saw me entering the middle Avon champs, with the river still in flood I wasn't going to take much gear and a couple of feeder rods would have done me I suspect! I drew the end peg 1 at Bathford and started by fishing a maggot feeder down the peg which brought 1 dace, 1 roach and 2 perch. A bream rolled in front of me and it looked huge, so out went the gbait feeder over where it surfaced. During the rest of the match the bream rolled another 5 times (i'm convinced it was the same fish as it looked huge) but a roach and a 1lb+ eel was all I caught. I weighed 3lb and won my ten peg section giving me £25, but I can still see that bream rolling in my mind to this day!
On Friday the 4th November I was in Avon Angling after work collecting my bait for the Poppy Match, Pete Sivell was also there and was moaning because he had a team in league and had been let down by angler at the last minute. He talked me in to fishing with him, the match was the next day at lake I'd never heard of called Moorlands Farm, rather famous now! Pete told me I would love it and gave me some pointers how to fish it and I made a couple of rigs up at home. On the day I remember how amazed I was at the sight of this venue, driving in down the hill seeing the lakes spread out before you. Team draw done and I ended up on peg 40 on Meadow lake, Pete said it was crap for carp and to fish sensible for skimmers. It was probably a good thing I didn't draw on carp as I'm sure I would have been hammered! Fishing with a cane topped float, and 0.10 to a 24 hook, I fished at 10m out and fed just 6 casters and 2 maggots ever few minutes. The first couple of hours were not bad and I some skimmers and crucians, but then wind dropped and the bites became hard to get. I remember an angler opposite moaning he couldn't catch whilst I was was, it was the late Dave Hinton, and so I thought I must be doing OK. A bream of nearly 4lb was my best fish and helped my weight up to 17lb 9oz. I won the 24 peg section and picked up £50. I was grateful to Pete talking me in to going as I ended up spending a lot of time there in later years.
The Poppy match the next day and with the river a foot up I was looking for a bream peg, what I got was a peg just below the top of the long ash tip. This day ended up a real laugh! I never had a bite all match, but the peg above (back then) was noted for chub and on it was a work colleague of mine Shane Caswell (I was next to him last week remember?). Shane fished the feeder all match under his feet and I told him he wasted the peg as he should have fished across, he was pretty unhappy and he as soon as the whistle for the match ending went, he walked up to see how others had done. I was very naughty, I got in Shane's peg and fished the feeder across, by the time he had come back I had taken a large roach and a 3lb chub and I gave him loads of stick! When I got back to Frys for the results I told my team mates about what happened and this story spread. Shane got back late (he always polishes his rods after a match) and was asked by everyone he saw about how he "fooked up"! Let's just say he wasn't to happy with me and call me a James Hunt, but he forgave me (eventually) and he's still a great mate to this day, with a brilliant sense of humour I might add!