Back in July 1997 the weather was very hot, I pleasure fished at Shearwater Lake on the 8th when the temperature was 28C! I fished on peg 12 on a normal open ended feeder and for 2 hours I had roach and skimmers to 1lb, but then it died. I packed up and moved round on to the dam wall where a huge shoal of carp were basking. They really were not interested in feeding, but managed to snare 3 on floating bread. Two days later I was pleasure fishing again, this time at Newton Park near Bath which back then was probably the best lake around. I took 2 kilos of sweetcorn with me and fished it at 6m feeding regularly fishing shallow. I caught a couple of carp but couldn't get through the 1lb roach and skimmers lol! After a while I went down the margin to take a few carp up to 10lb.
Saturday 12th July fished a match on the river Severn at Lower Lode, my first time on the venue but Mark Jefferies had been going a bit and was catching well on the gbait feeder. I caught 5 bream and 1 hybrid during the match but I was totally outgunned. The locals were all chucking well past halfway and my gear only just got me to halfway. Every section was won with at least 20lb. The following day I was on an open on the Gloucester canal and drew peg 20. I had a lovely day,not, catching just 7 eels for 2lb 11oz. I never got to grips with this venue and will never do so as it is on my "never ever ever going there again!" list.
A couple of short pleasure fishing sessions on lakes were all I could manage for a couple of weeks, including a 30lb of bream and tench at Lydes Farm. My next match was the John Smiths qualifier at Newbridge on August 9th, it was still hot, now up to 31C. I drew peg 5 in the little field and set up pole and waggler and loose fed two lines. The first two hours were steady with about 4lb of roach, but once the sun got up the bites stopped completely. I packed up and chucked them back in the end.
A week later back on the lakes and a Moorlands Farm open, in the sweltering heat I was expecting to catch shallow on casters but was bitted out. I switched to feeding meat and picked up the odd carp during the day for 30lb and nowhere. I found out after that some of the locals (who'd all framed) had been fishing a floating pole with just a piece of line and a hook for a rig, they fed on top and waited for the pole tip to disappear as a carp hooked itself. It was a strange way to fish with the pole rested on the platform between your feet, and many anglers thought it a poor way to fish. The following week I was back up here again, my pole rigs were 6" of line, 1 foot of line and 18" of line lol! I was on peg 18 on meadow lake and had a better day ending with 64lb of carp, mainly caught on triple caster over 4 pints of caster feed. A few weeks later as the weights caught on this method got bigger the venue owner banned this.
August 24th and I was back to "old style" methods on an open on the Huntspill where I drew peg 93. I caught small skimmers on a gbait feeder with 0.10 to an 18 with double maggot. The pole line was a struggle with 1 skimmer, 1 eel and a few small roach. My weight of 2 kilo 830g got me coin as I was second in the 15 peg section, and my performance got me picked for the Superleague the following week. Sunday 31st of August is a day I will always remember, I woke up and went downstairs and out to the garage, came back in and heard that Lady Diana had been killed in a car accident. There was a lot of shock at the Laburnum house draw, but we got on with things and I was drawn on a good bit, one off the end peg by the motorway bridge, but it's a good section as it goes down to the railway bridge. I was set up quite quickly and then a huge thunderstorm arrived, I put my brolly up and sat under it trying to keep my gbait dry. I chucked the feeder out on the whistle a few times, but the lightening got so close I didn't want to touch the rod so I left in for a while. I had to pick it up though as I had a proper bite and I landed a nice early bream. The Welsh on my left was bricking it and not fishing lol! The day turned out OK for me as the storm cleared through I picked up the odd skimmer and bream on the tip to finish with 16lb 14oz. I won the section just and there were some close weights, but I was surprised that I ended up winning the whole match too.
Planning to go pleasure fishing next Saturday on the river, meeting up with Chris Ponsford again. Hope the weather is kind in the week and we can get a few fish.