Despite the winding up by Nick Chedzoy I am still a Preston Thatchers team man, and after a long break from team fishing I was back with the lads for this match. Earlier in the week the weather forecast got my hopes up of a decent river, but Bristol and Bath escaped the torrents and what we got on Friday mostly got absorbed by the dry ground. A low and clear river would be awaiting us anglers, no real surprise as it seems to be the way most summers now.
Saturday was all about Sunday, I spent the day making rigs, changing elastics etc, and I must say I had to question myself over the line diameters I was using, 0.10 looks pathetic after months of 0.16 to 0.20! Actually things came into focus for me when I put my "reading" glasses on, yes old age has caught up on me and for the first time in my life I now have glasses for close up. Certainly made tying hooks a lot easier! Good news my far sight is still perfect.
Sunday arrived and I arrived at the Rugby club at Saltford in good time, a couple of rolls filled my belly and I spoke to Darren Gillman who was guesting for Maver Cadbury. Liam Bradell organised our team pools and did the draw, got to be honest it didn't look very good to me, whereas the Blackmore Vale draw looked a cracker. I was on peg 52, a nice long walk but nothing to faze me now I'm at full fitness. The peg though did faze me as I drew peg 51 last year on the last superleague match and I struggled for 4lb+ and Glenn Calvert on 52 came last with 2lb+. Oh well maybe the roach would be there this time? Pretty wide this bit of river, and a good place for bream when the river has a bit of colour.
On the way to the peg I got to Andy Britt on peg 49 which is generally a good peg, Andy told me he had the shits so I lent him some wet wipes,if he spent more time with the squirts than fishing I may have a chance lol! Ian Sheppard of Diawa Gordon League was on 50 and on the bream hole peg 54 was Don Sutherland. Setting up was pretty straight forward today, a feeder rod with 14 PR355 to 0.14 Exceed, a waggler rod 4AAA wag with 20 to 0.10, then 3 pole rigs; for chopped worm at 7m 1.25g job which never got me a bite today! A 1grm pencil float with 20 to 0.10 and later 0.09, and a 2 grm with 18 to 0.11. The long pole line was at 13m and on the whistle I threw in 12 jaffas, and threw 6 balls right over for a feeder line. I picked up the pencil float and stuck on a red maggot and when the float the settled it went under and I had a roach of no more than an ounce. Next chuck the same, so on with a caster and that stopped the bites so back to maggot. It was a bad sign to be catching such small roach from the off, in my experience you tend to catch a decent stamp of roach straight away if they are in your peg.
Over the next hour I worked hard to get and hit the bites from small roach and odd small perch, and then the float started to get held up by bleak or ting chublets. I had to change to the 2gm rig and even then I had to push the bulk down and put 4 no 8 six inches above the hook to occasionally get past the bleak. Trying caster again I had a 4oz chub, and then a couple of roach of similar size and when I then hooked a 6oz roach I thought I was in business. However, the 6 ouncer spat the hook out before I netted it and the rig flew into the bankside vegetation and I lost the hook. Tying on a new hook length I cursed my luck, but was soon back fishing, but the fish had gone, not a bite and even on the light rig the bits had gone!
Time for a change, I knew there were lots of small fish up in the water over, but I thought I should have a sneaky look on the feeder. Starting on 3 red maggots was a bad idea as 1oz chub took that, another then took a dendra! After this I had 3 or 4 small perch and I didn't feel it was right to stay on this as Don was getting a small fish a chuck on the wag. I switched to the wag and before I could feed the float went under, bleak, so I fed and cast out, bleak, small chub, missed bite. Basically it was solid with fish of less than an ounce, and I was missing too many bites, so I shallowed up to about 2 1/2ft and that was better. I would cast out and catch about 5 fish on the same maggot and then feed and change the bait. It was good for about an hour, but then much like on the pole the bites just stopped. Meanwhile Don next door was still catching on the wag. I stopped feeding and caught a few more, then found I had to cast further and further across the river to get a bite. I was not catching fast enough now and decided to rest it.
The pole line was still dead despite my feeding it regularly with hemp and caster, so with and hour left I reballed it which did not work! Another small perch on the feeder and and a fruitless spell on the wag saw my match petering out. Desperate I tried fishing a small worm on the pole over my 13m line, 3 perch and a roach probably going 12oz in total were welcome but I still felt not enough as the match came to an end.
Stretch had the scales and he started on the flyer peg in our section the Norfolk Reeds where Nicky Johns had just under 10lb, a 6lb, then 5lb was weighed before Don put a good 8lb 12oz of mainly chublets on the scales. My turn and I had 8lb 2oz which was a bit more than I thought, Ian had 4lb and then Andy easily won the section with 14lb+ of proper roach mainly caught in the first couple of hours. Not sure I could have caught 10lb today, but I may have made a mistake coming off the feeder as I was getting small perch. Don had small chub hanging around the trees and after the match we were watching 4 to 6oz fish swimming on the surface, he not caught any that big.
I didn't get the winners name today, but he was in the last section in the trees and had a good 26lb of skimmers on the pole, that beat Darren Gillman who was lucky to draw the end peg of the match in the trees and had a lovely 18lb of roach. Overall the river fished well with a couple of 15lbs, some 14lbs, and other doubles. Certainly the chublets on the wag have added 3 to 4lb on the weights, if these fish survive and grow on then we could have some seriously good chub fishing in a few years.
Team wise Blackmore Vale did their good draw proud and paralysed the match, my Thatchers team came 2nd which I really thought was a good result, Liam and Nathaniel were our section winners today, Overall DGL are untouchable, and now BMV are in second place with Thatchers and Thyers tied 6 points behind them. Last round next week on the same venue.