Sunday, 21 October 2018

Upper Thames Winter League Bristol Avon Chippenham / Melksham

As you may have realised I did not fish last weekend, that was because my wife and I were in Benidorm for the week with a lot of other people for Shaun Townsend's 50th party celebration. Let's just say what goes on in Benidorm stays in Benidorm, lol.

I drove up to Shrewsbury on Saturday, I wanted to watch an open match on the river Severn so I would gain an insight into where the river actually was and how it was fishing. One thing I learned is at the moment it is very peggy with some anglers blanking, while others were catching nearly 20lb of dace and roach. Depths seem to go from 4 feet in a few pegs up to 16 feet. I saw anglers catching on the whip, pole, bolo, stick float and waggler.... Apparently at some stage every year dace migrate into this part of the river from other shallow areas. It seems that they are moving into the river at either end at present and come the final good draws are going to be required!

Sunday and I woke up with a bit of cold and felt a tad under the weather, still not far to go from Bristol to Melksham for the draw. James Carty was enlisted to do the draw again, he came back with the pegs and once again I had no idea where I was or anyone was, except James who was on the tins at Chippenham and a good peg for roach and chub. I followed Ruben Guerra of DGL and was very glad that I did, as we had to park in the ground floor of a multi storey car park just opposite the swimming pool. Got to my peg (E3) and found I was on what they called the island with five others and two were upstream above a bridge. I cannot say that my peg looked great, no flow, a lot of leaves on it, and once again I had no far bank to fish to as there was weed / snags sticking up from the far bank, and with the leaves a waggler would be a waste.

I was suprised as I plumbed up on the pole and found 12 feet of water, not really what you want when the river is stood on its head and gin clear. I set up 1.5g pencil float, 2g and a 3g round bodied these were all meant to be aimed at catching roach, and the heavier versions in case bleak were a pain. A chopped worm rig was put up but I never had a bite on this. A 4m whip for bleak.  I also foolishly set up a crowquill for casting around but it was never used as the leaves and wind put paid to that.

The match started at 11am and I cupped in 6 balls of gbait containing some caster, pinkie, hemp and chopped worm. I started on the 2g rig which had a 20 to 0.09, I never had a bite on caster and went on to a maggot, I had 3 roach on this but it was dead after this. A switch to the pencil float with 22 to 0.08 and this was no better, a couple of small roach but I was going nowhere. There had been a lot of small fish topping in close under the trees so I tried the whip, I never caught any of the little roach or chublets I had seen but I did get some bleak. It wasn't solid though and after about 15 of the blighters they vanished. Back out on the long pole and a roach on the drop, and then a missed bite, and then nothing. Back on the bleak, no good, so I cast the rig randomly and found a few more.

A pattern was emerging, catch a few bleak, then get 1 or 2 roach, sadly none of the fish were a good size so I was not getting a good feeling. The bleak finally disappeared, and even going longer and deeper I could not find them, or they did not want to feed. In the middle of the match I started to get a few more bites on the long pole, and at one time topping up with a little ball of gbait seemed to help get the roach back. It was though very hard and the wind was now blowing all the leaves from the pegs below me upstream, I was really pissed off watching leaves be blown upstream into my float as I tried to get it to move a little downstream. To make matters worse the sun moved round and made it really difficult to see my float, and this also started to mess up my eyes. The picture tells it better than I can.

I hoped the roach might start to come on the feed later but alas my peg got worse with an hour to go, and then the lad below me had two decent perch on his roach rig and I thought he was beating me. With little happening I fed a couple of rich balls of gbait with worms in, hoping for a bonus of some sort. It didn't happen and I had just two roach in the last 40 minutes. Not sure it was a bad thing to gamble as I was going nowhere and it was easier to see the float on the larger 3g rig.

As I packed up I started to get a headache come on, the light was obviously taking its toll and I couldn't wait to get weighed in and go home. I weighed in 5lb 7oz, which was better than I thought I had, but not enough for decent finish in the section. I had 5 points out of 8 today. Ruben did well to win the section with 7lb+ a similar bag of fish to me but more bleak, he said that the bleak switched off for him too. The downstream end peg and upstream end peg were 2nd and 3rd.

I did not go back to the results as I was worried I was going to get a migrane and wanted to get home and get some tablets. Therefore I am sorry to say that I do not know the top individuals on the day. I do know that DGL were top team and my Thatchers were second, and that means after two matches DGL and Thatchers are tied in first place.

Footnote... An open match fished at Newbridge today was won by Shaun Townsend from peg 61 with 109lb of bream on the crowquill I believe. There were quite a few double figure bags too, I am beginning to miss fishing that bit of river in the w/l...

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Upper Thames Winter League Round 1 - River Thames Radcot to Lechlade

As you may recall my local SWWL folded this year and as a result Thatchers had to join the UTWL something of a challenge on venues we don't regularly fish. Travelling to Radcot meant I was up at 5:30am to get myself ready and on the road, had to scrape the ice off my car before I could set off. I stopped off at the McDonalds near Shrivenham and within 5 minutes all of the team were there.

The draw was at the Swan pub in Radcot and just after 8am James Carty pulled out our set of pegs, he managed to tell Martin  Barrett he was on the wrong peg, but luckily we got to Martin before he left, lol. I was at "St Johns" and all I could find out was nobody in my ream new what it was like. Luckily I spied Shaun Bryan who told me it was an iffy section and that peg 1 was the favourite peg in the section, I was on peg 2. I had little idea of where this bit of river was, but was told head to Lechlade and then it was by a pub called the Trout. Thankfully I found the right area by asking an angler just as I was about to go the wrong way, but the parking was all gone by the entrance and so I had to park in a layby a few hundred yards away. A Thames legend was in the layby Paul Passmore, and he was in my section too. He said this was only the section he did not want to draw and it was fish in some pegs and not in others.

I pushed my gear up the river with stalwart Brian Melksham, it was mice to be able to open gates and not have to climb over them. My section was looking tough, John Bohane on the downstream end peg, Richard Chave next to him on a peg with a lovely bush on the inside, noted for perch and odd barbel. On the upstream end peg was Derek Jarman of Lobbys. The peg didn't give me great vibes at all, I was sat on a point with the river going away from me, and beyond halfway it was not moving,

Picture of my peg, after around 100 canada geese had landed on it, luckily none of them dropped a load on me lol.

Looking down to my right Brian Melksham was a long way down, he had a tree downstream and opposite him but said he had a lot of weed in the peg.

I got some rigs out and plumbed up one to find out the depth, It was deep at 4m about 7feet, but then as I went out it just sloped off deeper and then starting sloping up shallower. As the water was effectively flowing through the peg at 45 degrees it seemed this dept variation followed the flow, that meant I could not find any flat areas other than in the bottom of the "V". I was a bit miffed as I felt it limited my options, but you've got to get on with it. With the river being about 9 feet deep but hardly flowing I set up a 0/8g bodied float with 0.08 to 22, a 1g pencil rig with a 20 to 0.09, and a 3g rig for holding still with 18 to 0.10. I also set up a 1g float for fishing chopped worm down the peg, and a feeder for chucking across.

The match began at 10:30 and I fed 5 balls of groundbait mixed with soil at 11.5m slightly downstream. I put a few pinkies, casters, and minced worms in the mix but not much as I was worried this could be a hard match. I started on the pencil rig, but after 10 mins I hadn't had a bite on it, onto the 0.8 rig and not a bite on this either. It took very nearly 30 mins for the float to dip under and I came back with a very small dace. I got the odd bite after this and by the end of the first hour had 10 little dace, a gudgeon and a 2oz perch. 8oz would have been my guess. In the next 90 mins I caught a few more little fish but also had 4 roach which were welcome and a 4oz perch. After this the peg just got harder and harder. There were no bleak in the peg, certainly none on the pole line or closer in as I never had one all day. As a result I fed casters over the pole line thinking that they would be best in the hope of getting roach  or a bonus, but the pole line just went away from me, and Derek who probably had similar to me then hit a bream on the pole, he estimated it at 5lb and had caught it on a pinkie trying to catch anything. A bream rolled by his float about 5 minutes later, but despite his best efforts he could not get another.

From what I could see I thought I was beating the three lads below me, but was sure I would need a lot more than my estimated 1lb 12oz. I think this is where my match went wrong, I should have chucked the feeder across, short of some weed, in the hope of a bonus, but I tried the chopped worm lines on the pole, and they threw up zilch.

With about an hour to go roach started topping in my peg, the first fish I had seen top all day, I put all my effort into the 11.5m pole line to try to catch some of these roach. The pencil rig and heavy float failed miserably. The 0.8g rig was all I could get to work, I even caught a few roach on a caster, but then stayed on that bait too long, when I went onto a maggot I had regular bites in the last 15 mins. I had some nice 4oz roach, but to little to late I thought.

With the match over I was not looking at a good result I thought, it could have been worse as Brian hooked a bream on the pole below me but he lost in the weeds.

When we weighed in Derek had 7lb 10oz, so the bream was a big help, and he won the section with that weight (well predicted Shaun) my turn and 4lb 1oz, some nice roach in the end, just came on the feed too late. Brian had less than 8oz and I also beat the next two guys who really struggled. Sadly for me the three lads in the next field all beat me, Paul Passmore had 4lb 13oz, Chavey 6lb+ of decent perch, and John had 4lb 12oz. Just 4 points out of 8 for me. Not knowing the peg or stretch was a bummer, I certainly should have looked for a bonus across I feel, but can't say the peg really got my juices flowing.

Back to the pub and other than James Carty (who had drawn himself one of the worst pegs on the river) who had 2 points everyone else had done well it seemed, with Lee Trivett being joint first in his section.  Teams on the day went like this:-

1st GBV          51 points
2nd Thatchers  45 points
3rd DGL          44 points
4th Sensas Lobbys  36 points

Top rods on the day :-

1st the very consistent Rob Randall 14lb 8oz
Joint 2nd Mark Williams and Alan Jones 14lb 3oz
4th Kev Bennett  13lb 5oz

As far as Thatchers are concerned to come second was a great result for us in the first round and it was just the start we needed. No fishing for me next weekend, could do with drawing a real flier to make things easy for me lol.

An open was fished at Swineford today, Results on this match are below, the long walks were worth it!

1st Glenn Bailey 40lb 8oz, chub on Bitton Brook
2nd Rex Kick 25lb two pegs below Glenn (bream and skimmers)
3rd Kev Dicks 19lb 6oz Peg 15
4th Rich Lacey 15lb 13oz on the beach.