I had hoped that we would have a fair bit of rain in the week, but what we had came early and I expected a flat clear river Sunday. I had a hell of busy week at work and was out in town Friday night being taxi driver for my youngest, had a lovely meal but it didn't like me and I was in pain and on the loo till 2am. Saturday I felt rough in the morning and did just a little fishing prep, in the afternoon I did a 14 mile bike ride with Geoff Francis and Mike Nicholls. We had a few pints and I felt much better, so much so I drank a bottle of red wine that night and was 3 sheets to the wind lol!
Sunday morning and just a little jaded and I was one of the last to arrive at the draw. Thatchers decided to let our Welsh international angler John Harvey do the team draw, and to be fair the pegs he got looked good. I was off to the trees section on peg 122, the angler above me was Kev Dicks (4 pegs above lol!) and the angler below me Nigel Wyatt was about 6 pegs below, plenty of room for all then. The river wasn't clear really, it just had a tinge in it and that gave me a good feeling that we might catch a few, as long as I could get a bait in in between the rowing boats....
Rigs today, 1gm pencil float with a 20 to 0.09, a 2gm PB silvers with a 18 to 0.09, also a 1.5g pb Inter for perch with 15 B711 to 0.14. I set up a feeder and a waggler but they didn't see much use really. I was just ready for the start, and threw in 10 jaffas to 13m, and for good measure threw 5 apple sizes balls of gbait 2/3 across for a feeder line. I started on the 2g rig but was really surprised that after 5 runs through I hadn't had a bite, I then tangled the bloody hook length so bit it off and picked up the pencil rig. Thankfully this rig went out OK and I started to get bites from 1 ounce roach and perch, not the size of fish I wanted. Caster on the hook slowed bites up and I just caught the same size little perch on it, red maggot was clearly the best hook bait. I was getting a bite a chuck and now and again I'd get a better size roach, but I wasn't bagging. I had to fish about 6" to 9" off bottom to get bites, this despite me not loose feeding anything. I was amazed at the amount of perch I was catching, and after an hour I was still catching small fish. The boats were a pain though!!!
I managed to keep catching on the pole for the 2nd hour, even though the fish were small I was loathed to come off it. I was topping up with the odd ball of gbait which was working, but by the end of the 2nd hour it was slowing so I fed a bit more. Time to feed some chop worm at 9m, and have a look on the feeder, a bite a chuck on the feeder but I only hit 1 of them and it was a 1oz perch so left it alone. I took 4 perch on the worm line and looked back on my 13m line but it really wasn't happening, so I started to loose feed hemp and caster over the top (I'd not bothered earlier in case bleak were a pain). Two more perch on the worm line, more missed bites on the feeder left me hoping the pole line would come back to life.
With 90 mins to go I dropped back in at 13m with the pencil rig and blow me it was a bite a chuck again, but this time the roach were between 2oz and 4oz and I was much happier with my catch rate. I still couldn't catch on caster, and I was still having to fish off bottom. The fish would move around, and if I nailed 3 fish in the same place I was lucky, it was a case of dropping the rig in different spots. I kept thinking about trying the 2g rig again but waited until the last 15 mins when bites just got iffy. I nailed caster on the bottom and held the rig still, I had 2 roach and then on the last chuck a nice roach of about 12oz. A lovely way to end the match and I'd had another day on the river with plenty of bites and fish, I thought I had 10 to 12lb. I walked up to see Kev and he had a smile on his face saying he had 3 bream in the last 20 mins and said he had 20lb, that was me beat then.
After a long wait the scales arrived 7lb 10oz was the beat weight with just me and Kev left to weigh. I was happy to see the scales register 13lb 4oz, a similar weight to that I caught last week. Kev then weighed 30lb which was enough to win the match, he put two big bream and small bream on the scales for 17lb+, plus plenty of small fish and a few small skimmers, he had done well. That's another 2nd in the section for me then.
The river had mostly fished well, I think only three sections were won with less than double figures.
Top weights today
1st Kev Dicks 30lb 11oz
2nd Dean Harvey 24lb 15oz (6 bream from the Norfolk reeds)
3rd John Harvey 22lb 2oz (roach and hybrids on pole from peg 49)
4th Lee Trivett 15lb 7oz (mainly roach on pole peg 76)
Thatchers won the day and Bathampton were 2nd again, so a 2 point lead for my lot and a good start. I'm back up at Newbridge next week for the commercial house, but with no rain in the forecast again it could be a much tougher affair. I don't mind though as I've really enjoyed being back on the river again.