Sunday, 23 July 2017

Riverfest Qualifier Bristol Avon Newbridge

Well the day finally arrived where I would have a chance to get to a big money final, the Riverfest. However, there was the small matter of 59 other anglers who also had a chance too, and some very good anglers would be fishing; Hadrian Whittle, Dave Harrell, Mark Downes, Steve Hemmingray, Clive Branson, Andy Power and many others plus a lot of local lads. I took breakfast at Wetherspoons in Hanham again, and when I got to the draw at 9:25 the car park was rammed! The draw was 10am but it seemed a lot of anglers thought it was 9am and had been there early lol.

Chatting with Warren Bates, Graham, Hunt, Mat Challenger and others we all knew where we wanted to draw and that would be a bream peg, 49 to 61 was going to be good, plus the end of the straight 36 to 40, but with a bit of colour in who knows where they might show. I was in the draw queue quite early and saw Callum Dicks get 52, one away from where he was last week and next to peg 50 that won, he would surely do well there today. I pulled out peg 30, not great, only 3 1/2lb came off it last week and it's not really the bream peg it used to be. However, there might be a few bream around and with decent bream pegs in my zone (the end of the straight) I would have to go for bream.

I drove to the pump house and sat in the car for 30 minutes as it was pissing down with rain. The start of the match was not until 12:30 and it would not take long to set up so I tried to stay dry. When I finally got to the peg the rain started again and so the phone was kept hidden and no photos again today. Peg 30 has a lovely flat bottom in the water so nice and easy to get the box in. I set up the obligatory groundbait feeder with 14 PR355 to 0.148 exceed and hoped that would be the main thing used today. I also set up two pole rigs a 2gm with 18 to 0.10 and a 4g flat float with 16 to 0.12. Everything was basically revolving around me catching bream and skimmers as I could not see a net of roach winning the zone. My peg had a nasty snag on the pole line, it was just down stream and during the match if I strayed to near it it was end of hook length. At midday I was still sorting things out when Steve Nadin next door on 28 threw in a ball of gbait, I shouted out immediately and no more gbait went in, he came up and and said he thought it was midday start as per the ticket, but at the draw it was announced it was 12:30. He was absolutely gutted and worried he would be disqualified, but I said don't worry about it just get your head sorted and carry on.

At 12:30 we all balled it in, and I put plenty of casters and chopped worm in the 14 balls, I then had 15 casts on the gbait feeder to get some bait in over there. I thought I would have an early look on the pole to see what was about, but it was not that great with hybrids, perch and roach but all less than 2oz. I tried bigger baits and worm but all to no avail, so not wanting to carry on with bits I gave the feeder a go. It was a bite a chuck on this from small chublets and perch, not the fish I wanted but I was casting in regularly and getting bait in. Then on the hour the tip did a bit of dance and I struck to feel a better fish, it was a skimmer nudging 2lb and that got me encouraged. No more followed and it was back to small fish. I then was told that Steve below me had a 5lb bream on the pole, and then I heard his pole snap.  I went back on the pole but just like before it was just the odd small fish, the flat float would sit nicely but wouldn't go under.

The wind got up and blew as usual up the straight, at the same time the river stopped flowing and lots of floating debris got stuck in front of me, meaning I had to stick with the pole until it cleared. Eventually it cleared and back out on the feeder but nothing was doing, just a long wait for a bite from a chublet or perch. I tried going out with really big baits but never had a pull. The angler above me was Kev Bennett and he came down and said he had 2 bream on the feeder in the first hour, and nothing since, and he said Steve had another bream on the pole and had lost one. I was getting beat both sides and seemed to be using anti bream gbait lol.

I really cannot say much more cos it never happened for me, I never had a sign of a bream and just kept getting small fish despite ploughing the bait in. In the last hour the rain returned and was torrential, I was soaked right through by the end of the match. I pulled my net in and chucked back 7lb+ which was a long way short of a good weight today. I packed up and chatted with Dave Stiff and a few other anglers who were walking about or going home early like Callum who not had a bream again, I was soon home and drying things off.

From what I can tell Hadrian Whittle won the match from peg 50 (he drew this peg the last two matches for Kev Dicks who won both times!) where he had about 9 bream on the flat float. I think the angler on peg 3 in the little field who had 33lb would have won my zone and come 2nd. The zone in the trees was won by Mark Downes I think with just 8lb. Warren Bates passed this info on to me as he had gone to the results, he had 19lb from last peg in the little field which won him the section by default and he was 6th overall, good from that peg.

Well the run is over, not surprising really, but fun while it lasted. I made the right decision going for bream and would have needed 6 or 7 to do any good. Next week could be another struggle as I am fishing a team match on the Warwickshire Avon at Evesham. That places gets hammered and in some sections 3lb is mega..... Not really expecting much as I've never fished it before but as ever I'll give it my best shot.

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