What happened to August? That month seem to fly by, it was a busy month but September looks just as busy. I was asked if I was available to fish a couple of matches on the Thames, only this Sunday was free so happy to fish in the Thatchers team for the Turner 400 fished around Clanfield and Radcot areas. It was going to be an early start as I had to be at the Swan at Radcot for 7:30am, so alarm was set for 5:30am. I had fished this part of the river once before, that day I drew at Radcot by the pub so I had not really seen the rest of the river. We had two teams in today, A team was Lee Trivett, Andy Ottaway, James Carty and Tom Morreti. B team was Ian Pauley, Luke Sorokin, Andy Cranston and myself.
The draw took a while as there were 30 teams fishing today, and Ian came back with our pegs telling me I had an end peg. I was at Rushey, one above the bridge above the Trout inn. I remembered people saying you could see a lot of chub from the pub as they knew they were safe and couldn't be caught. I followed Tom to the river as he was up the top of my section and I found I could park right behind my peg, nice! The river here is not that wide some pegs just 12m, others about 25m and some are absolutely feature ridden. My peg looked OK but I was feeling very optimistic having a nice long run.
There seemed to be a bit of flow in close to 2/3 over, the river was clear when you looked in close (aren't they all) but also seemed to be a a bit of a blue /green colour, not sure if it was algae or my eyes. It was only shallow here, no more than 6ft at most. I set up a few options today, a 4m for fishing to hand, a 0.5g rig with a bulk and droppers, and a 4x14 strung out rig, both with 22 to 0.08 and and for fishing at 10m. A 3g flat float for fishing worm down the peg and lastly a 2 1/2 AAA waggler.
The match stated at 10:30 and it was already raining by now and the wind had also picked up and was gusting downstream after being flat calm. I cupped four balls of gbait in at 10m, two balls at 5m and began on the 10m line looking for roach on the caster. The first four attempts were thwarted by minnows which held the float up, so I pushed the bulk down. I had some quick bites but did not connected and suspected minnows, but after 15 mins I finally had a proper bite and netted a 6oz roach. I would be happy catching that stamp of fish and was hoping for a few more, but alas I was not to see another roach for a few hours. All I could muster on the long pole was a bleak, three gudgeon and a chublet. I dropped in on the short line with the whip looking for gudge, nothing other than the odd hold up from minnows.
A poor start, and whilst I had been fishing the pole I had been feeding hemp on it, and feeding a few maggots across and down the peg for the waggler. Out on the waggler and I fished it a foot off bottom with 3 no10 shot down the line. Thirty minutes on this yielded two chublets, a tiny dace and a couple of minnows. The next couple of hours were piss poor, I couldn't any bites bar the odd minnow bite but did manage two small perch on the wag. With about 2 hours to go I cupped in 5 balls of gbait stuffed with hemp, caster and worms hoping for a bonus, though my worm line had not produced a sign. I let it settle and then tried the waggler casting tight across into the dead water, I had a couple of small fish here but was going nowhere. I began to feed a whole pouch of maggots down the peg in the hope of waking some chub / draw them up from the bridge. I had to gamble as I had so little in the net.
Trying the pole with the bulk rig overdepth, I eased various hook baits down the peg which got me a 4oz perch, but when I tried the light rig with just less than hour to go I hooked a roach, which I pike grabbed. I held on and it let go and a 4oz roach was in the net. I took another two roach in 15 mins but again that was my lot.
Last 30 mins on the waggler and nothing doing, but then I spotted a few top a long way down the peg, I took the waggler off and put on a 5AAA model. I cast it as far down the peg as I could and with double maggot on the hook I had 3 chublets in my last 3 casts though one was nicked by a pike. Should I have done that earlier or was it the time of day? Forty five minutes later after packing up and chatting to Tom (who had already weighed in) we noticed that chublets started topping down where I caught them late.
Tom had done well catching nearly 7lb of perch on worm and would do well with that. When the scales got to the straight I was on the weights were poor, I think I beat the 6 lads above me, and I only weighed in 3lb 8oz. Shocking. I beat 15 anglers with that weight in the section, most of those were my side of the bridge as below it I was told most people had 5lb+.
Back at the results and all of the team had done average, with 4lb weights and no one getting on a shoal of fish. Talking to a very good local angler he told me how he would have fished my peg, and it was virtually how I did today, he also said the 3 or 4 pegs above me can be very good and this match last year produced well, they were probably some of the worst pegs today though. I waited around for a while but the results it seemed were going to be late, so I shot off and it seems the rest of the team did too as we knew we would not do any good today. As it turned out both teams were divided by just the 1 point, and we finished in about 13th / 14th place.
Cold, wet and hungry I was glad to be home and tuck into a roast made by my lovely wife.
Busy week now, London tomorrow, Northern Ireland Tues to Thursday, Plymouth Friday and then it is the weekend again lol! Commercial House next Sunday, glad to be back close to home, I really think I am due a decent draw on the river.