This match would be the last of the year on the lower Avon, and in the week the river was dropping nicely and looking like it could be really good. Sadly the rain decided to return on Friday and worse still Saturday night it tipped down, meaning it wasn't going to be great and except for a lucky few it would be a feeder match.
Today wasn't a day to say I'd like to draw Swineford, or the Crane, as it was all going to be about what your peg looked like, but one in an area where bream could be caught would be nice. I found myself pegged in D section up the Crane and was hoping to above the bay where bream had shown in the Poppy, but it turned out I was the first peg in the little ashtip. This is a kiss of death peg under normal conditions, but with water on it can be better as most of the flow goes across. I walked past Thatchers B team's Nick Chedzoy who was on the high wall peg (I didn't fancy that!) and Graham Hunt who was the peg before the style which had some perch form. My peg was boily below but not too bad infront of me (Chedz said don't you dare moan about it on your blog) and whilst I was setting up Chedz saw a decent fish roll very close in. I assembled a 5 grm pole rig, a 5grm flat float and neither of these got me a bite! Two feeder rods one with 0.148 exceed to a 14 B611 and one with .0165 exceed to a 13 B711 were also put up.
At the start of the match I threw in 10 jaffas of gbait on the 11m line, tried the pole rigs for nothing and then cast the feeder out for nothing! I did also feed some worm and caster next to a tree down to my right, and I had a couple of plucks on the tip on a lobworm tail but twice I snagged up on the strike. The third time I tried down here I hit the snag again and this time I felt like I had something on, but after a lot of effort I finally freed the rig but it was attached to some heavy line which fell back into the river. I never hit the snag again but also never had a decent bite other than a ruffe from here!
Two hours into the match and I was blanking, Martin Reyatt above me landed a perch to save his blank, Graham had a few small perch and Chedz a chub. I was not getting any bites at all and all hook bait options were refused, but minutes after Martin caught I had a decent bite on 3 red maggots. I was attached to a decent fish and a bream soon kited across the surface and into my landing net, phew! It was getting on for 4lb and was very welcome. Two casts later and another bite, but this fish fought differently and a perch of a pound popped up in close, went back down and the hook pulled out, nuts!
Bites were non existent again after this, and the river was still rising although the colour was still not that bad there were plenty of leaves and the peg was now boiling more and started to go round in circles a bit. I was hoping another bream would come out, and when Martin walked up to the first two pegs in the section (where I wanted to be) and found they had 2 bream each I knew I had to stick out. Sadly the remainder of the match was dire for most (mainly anglers who caught did so in the first 90 mins) and for me, I added 3 ruffe and a 12oz perch and that was it. I did miss a few bites but I think those pesky ruffe were the culprits. I was astonished that I had not had a roach, but then none of the guys around me did, when we expected to get plenty of taps on the tip. To give you an idea of how tough it was Martin snagged up on the tip and lost his gear, and hour later he hooked it and retrieved feeder and hook length and his maggots were still on the hook untouched!!
On peg 1 Nigel Wyatt had 4 bream for 15lb and he won the match, well done matey! On peg 2 John Fuidge had 2 bream and some bits for 10lb 6oz and 3rd in match, well done! Peg Martin had just over a 1lb, I weighed 4lb 14oz, Graham 3lb (of perch) and Chedz had about a pound and a half. I was knocked down another place by Kev Dicks who beat me by 1/2oz (oh I did laugh at that!). That gave me 9 points out of 12 and 4 points out of 6 in the A div.
Back at the results I found out that Kev would win the section by default (and win £60) so the poxy perch I lost cost me, Kev profited even more from me as I bought some worms from him in the morning forgetting I had already ordered worms from Thatchers. I then got a phone call from the wife that my eldest daughter was in A&E after being knocked over the night before at a night club, some days luck deserts you, such is life!
I've mentioned a couple of framers, but in 2nd place was recent Poppy Match winner Andy Gabb with 11lb 7oz, Thatchers Welsh wizard John Harvey was 4th from peg 28 at Swineford with 10lb 4oz, he had 1 chub and some roach on the bolo. Craig Fletcher was last in the frame with two bream from peg 16 at Swineford. There were lots of anglers who struggled today and I can only assume the recent weeks cold temps and rain knocked it on the head.
I think Wiltshire Angling won the A div today, my lot came 2nd on the day, that means we now have an 8.5 point lead going into the last two rounds on the canal in the New Year. Not sure what I am doing next week yet, but I have a trip to hospital on Wednesday where the consultant wants to examine my ... so I've got to have a general anaesthetic, such is life!