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...


  1. Hello Tim, great work with the blog, it’s my regular Sunday evening wife doesn’t understand why though!

  2. 😂😂. How’s the fishing going Edward?

  3. Non existent with an 11 month old! Hoping I might get a few sessions in over the autumn and winter. Can I pick your brains over bitton brook and the you cast over to the tree opposite the small stone bridge?

  4. Oh and any suggestions for big perch waters (river or lake)?

  5. On bitton brook yes you fish towards the tree on the far side, but you can catch them down the middle too. There are big perch in first two fields of the crane, in close. But they are elusive.