Sunday, 25 November 2018

Open match Bristol Avon Swineford

This was another of the winter league dates turned into an open match. A lot of credit needs to go to Kev Dicks and Dean Harvey for running these matches and doing some excellent swim clearing. A few anglers down on last weeks match, so just 16 fishing which meant that only Swineford was pegged and not the Crane. I wanted to avoid the early pegs in the first field, and if I could choose I would want 15, 17 and 18 in the second field as well as up by Bitton Brook. I was though the last one to arrive for breakfast at Willsbridge Jarretts cafe, and the draw began whilst I was only a third the way through my breakfast. When Ben Rendall drew Kev Dicks Bitton Brook and himself peg 17 straight off I was thinking oh dear, and when serial drawbag merchant Paul Purchase drew peg 18 and young Lewis Walker 15 I was rather perturbed. I had a choice of three pegs, not sure what they were but I pulled out peg 12 which is the current first peg in the second field and really not a peg I wanted, I may be going home was my comment.

Once I finished my breakfast I drove to Swineford and tried to get myself motivated. The peg needs wading in and as I didn't have them I needed a favour and thankfully Paul Purchase came to my aid. I walked past Andy Curry on peg 4, Dean Harvey 6 and Rich Lacey 7 (all pegs I didn't fancy) and Jerry Pocock on the last peg in the field. My peg is full of features, but just the wrong sort, a pontoon doesn't float my boat lol.

There was a hacking downstream wind and it put me right off setting up a crowquill or bolo as I could see the top of the river being pushed faster downstream. I only set up a 5AAA waggler which took 5 no8's down the line with 0.11 to 18, plus a lead rod with 0.15 to 16. My main attack was to catch some chub as odd ones are caught in this peg, though last time on a w/l match Warren Bates had this peg and only managed 2 1/2lb....  I had to get my box out to connect nets and bait stands etc, it was touch and go with all the legs extended.
The river was very clear but had a nice bit of flow, and to me at Swineford this always means fish a float and loosefeed, even if on bream pegs as they seem to like to move about a bit in amongst the feed. Anyway that was my plan and so I started the match on the waggler loosefeeding maggots and casters. The waggler was going through nicely and I could control it nicely and fish it from halfway to three quarters in and around the feed. Well it all seemed good but I couldn't get a bite, and then just before the first hour was ending I had a definite bite and I was hooked into something. Not a huge fish but as I gained control I caught a glimpse of a chub about 1lb 1/4. Sadly a glimpse was all I had as a pike also saw it and it pulled the chub of my hook, oh bother!

I gave the peg a good thrashing for another hour but had no signs, Rich Lacey had already been bank walking earlier and informed me 15, 17 and 18 were all getting a few. With cold feet I decided to go for a walk myself, and first I saw Lewis who had 3 bream and a skimmer, Ben had 4 chub and Paul 3 bream and a skimmer and then I saw him catch a 4.5lb chub on the crowquill. It was nice to see the fish but didn't do a lot for my confidence, so I went upstream and saw not a lot other than Jerry Pocock who was catching pretty well on a bolo, chublets. I said to Jer I'm giving it another 30 minutes and then I'm packing up.

Back to the peg and with no bait gone in for a a good 15 minutes I ran the float through hoping for a bite without feeding, it didn't work. At 1pm I was back to loose feeding and slightly upping the bait as I needed to make something happen, the waggler was way down the peg and I struck and it was solid, I wound down hard and felt a kick, ooh! I dragged the fish all the way back up and scooped up a near 4lb bream, yay not blanked! Next cast and the float went under again but closer to me, and again the strike met with good resistance. Amazingly it was another bream similar size. I was on tenterhooks on the next cast and went the float went under I was thinking here we go, but this time it was a a little 4oz chublet. Three fish in three casts, well that was that for another dozen casts. I did get two more bites on the waggler in the next 30 minutes, I never connected but both times the hookbait was gone.

With an hour and 15 mins to go I had another bite and another bream, and then next cast a 12oz chub, about 10 mins later I hooked another decent fish but after a short bump, bump, it seemed to go solid and came off, my first thought was had I fouled it, after this I had no more bites on the wag that was my lot. I tried the lead with no signs and went back to the waggler, but all signs of fish had gone. Back on the lead and with about 25 mins to go I had a decent bite and for a few seconds had a fish on and then for no reason it came off. When I wound in the 0.15 hook length had parted in the middle, so I think there was a snag there and reckon that was what also did for me on the last waggler fish.

End of match and couldn't see me winning any money this week unless others had stopped catching in my section. I thought I had 13lb and when Dean Harvey arrived with the scales he called 13lb 4oz, not enough today for sure. Best pictures below I have from Dean Harvey who is no David Bailey PMSL.
Top of the pops today were:-

1st Paul Purchase 59lb peg 18, Mainly bream on the crowquill and then waggler.
2nd Kev Dicks 48lb 4oz Bitton Brook, 8 decent chub and lots of chublets and roach
3rd Warren Bates 44lb 1oz peg 20, 9 bream with 6 off them coming on the crowquill
4th Lewis Walker 29lb 2oz  peg 15 bream
5th Ben Rendall 20lb 8oz peg 17 chub and 1 bream
6th Jerry Pocock 16lb 9oz

There were no small fish caught from peg 4 until you got to peg 27, it was chub or bream, just what I thought. My only satisfaction today is that the river did indeed fish how I expected it to, and I was on the right method, just needed a draw but that's fishing. With Lewis winning my section I was never going to get any dosh of my peg today, but it was nice to get a few out on the waggler as it is not often I get to fish like this and I do enjoy it.

Looks like an open at Newbridge next week, bit of rain in the forecast so hopefully it won't be clear.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Two for the price of one

After a busy week and still not feeling that well after a few weeks of what seems an endless sore throat and feeling rough some days, I was happy to have a bit of a lie in Friday. I planned a pleasure fishing trip to The Bristol Avon at Saltford, on the free stretch above the Jolly Sailor. It's an area which seems to hold a lot of roach, and if the conditions are right bream, and I'm told some odd decent barbel. The bonus is you can park behind your peg. I had plenty of gbait, 1 1/2 pint caster, 2 pints of hemp and some maggots. The plan was ball it at 13m, and I did throw in 6 balls there and had bites straight away from roach but pike were a menace! I had enough, I threw another 6 balls in at about 6m and fished a 6m whip so I could avoid pike I hoped. Well it was a bite a chuck here all day, and by feeding little balls of gbait packed with hemp and caster regularly I caught roach on caster and just had a few bleak problems now and then. I had team mate Jack Jones watch me for a bit, not sure he was impressed by my ineptitude (whip fishing is not something I do a lot of ) but he did see me catch plenty and he saw pike chasing roach further out in the river. Terry Ellis also joined me and fished bread on a crowquill, he had 54 roach on it and so a good day for him. I ended up with a stack of fish, we tried to weigh them in with my landing net, but there were so many we couldn't let the net settle as the fish fell out. I had somewhere between 23lb and 25lb I guess. Lovely day. Picture below taken by Terry.

Sunday morning and fishing an open match at Newbridge, breakfast in Jarrett's cafe in Willsbridge, and I have to say it was really good, dead handy as it is very close to me! There were about 21 anglers fishing today and Kevin Dicks was sorting the draw and he had done some swim clearing too, so fair play. The river had gone clear after last weeks rain had run out, I was not sure where I wanted to draw but I did fancy a lazy day on the feeder lol. However, I drew out peg 7 in the little field and this is normally a pole peg good for roach (only spawny gits draw it with water on and catch bream on the feeder, like I did once lol). This year it has not been so good and last week in the Poppy Nigel Wyatt struggled for 3lb+ and the whole section was tough. Still different conditions this week.

There were six anglers in the little field, with Andy Curry on peg 1, peg 3 angler DNW, peg 5 was superstar Shane Caswell, peg 10 (recently cleared out by EA so we can fish it again) was another superstar Glenn Bailey, and another angler below him. My peg is only about 9 feet deep, and I'm not used to drawing such shallow pegs lately lol. Time was short and so setting up was just two pole rigs, 1g pencil float with 22 to 0.08, 2gm Silvers with 18 to 0.10. A feeder rod was set up in case bream showed and an eleven BB crowquill with 18 to 0.10. View from peg 7...

I started a couple of minutes after the official 10:15 start, I threw in 9 or 10 balls of gbait at 13m. I picked up the heavy pole rig and tried caster, no bites on this. Shane shouted down he had a pike take a fish first drop in. I went onto the light pole rig with a maggot and it was not good but I could get the odd bite from small roach. I think it was after 30 minutes that Shane came down fuming as he had already had 6 pike take fish and only had 2 roach in the net! I told Shane I had no pike trouble and then one had me, grrrr! After an hour I thought I only had a dozen fish, Glenn said he had 36 and so was kicking my ass. About 90 minutes into the match and I had given a pike some serious tooth ache and that seemed to get rid of it, I then had a decent hour catching small roach steadily. Of course the pike came back, and it was a big un, I pulled hard as I could on the heavier gear with all 13m of pole up in the air, but this pike went upstream and I felt the rig grate against a snag and then everything went solid. I had to pull the elastic back by hand and I lost the whole rig. I decided against setting another heavier rig, and would use the crowquill to try to avoid the pike. Running the light rig down the peg trying to catch I ran it a long way down the peg and a bite, I struck and it was solid, a bloody snag. I shipped back and then noticed the elastic going out, what the hell! I had a fish on, a big one too and I guessed a pike, but wasn't really sure. Whatever it was I finally lost it as swan into the margin and transferred the hook into a reed which popped up. When I took the reed off I noticed a scale on the hook, so I had foul hooked something, a bream I think.

The match continued with me getting spells of fish, it was frustrating as every time I felt like I was getting the fish lined up the pike would upset them. I continued to feed hemp and caster over the top of my gbait, and with about 75 mins to go I started to get bites right up under the loosefeed. I would cast the crowquill in, feed hemp, then caster and quite often the float was already under. The pike still managed to bite me off and go for another couple of fish, but the last hour the roach were bigger and I was winching them in and swung everything! It was hectic, and I must have had 6lb in that last hour and I caught either on caster or double red maggot. I guessed I had 12lb and thought Glenn must have more as he had caught on the pole all day and had not had a pike!

Kevin Dicks came along with the scales, he started with Andy Curry who had a great net of roach for 14lb 4oz. Shane managed over 11lb of roach despite having 19 pike strikes, more than my 12! My turn next and my fish went much more than I thought when Kev shouted 15lb 8oz. Glenn was next and I was shocked when he weighed 15lb exactly, I guess I overtook him in the last hour, only a couple of fish in it. Below Glenn the angler had 13lb, so the little field had fished really good!

My net today

Back at the Crown pub and time for a good old chat and the results.. winner today (again) was Shaun Townsend with 21lb of roach from peg 28. Shaun also had a bonus rudd that was well over a 1lb. He did well considering he forgot his bait boxes, groundbait bowls, and still has my bungy that he "borrowed" from me last week lol.

In second place was Kev Dicks with 16lb of roach from peg 16. A lot of small roach on a 8m whip.

Third place and last in the money was me, yay!

Section winners were Glenn Bailey. Kev Millard 13lb+ from peg 24, and Jeff Surmon won the last section with just 2 1/2lb! In fact after peg 33 the weights were awful with some anglers even blanking. It seems the roach have packed into the river from peg 30 up to peg 1, they may well keep on going upstream who knows. Today there was not a single bream caught, almost unheard of at Newbridge!

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Poppy Match Bristol Avon

100 years ago this Sunday the guns fell silent as the first world war came to an end, a huge number of people lost their lives in order for this country to remain free and not ruled by a foreign nation hell bent on domination of Europe. The Royal British Legion raise awareness and funds to look after the defenders of our nation, and I for one am proud to wear a poppy.

Thirty years ago I won my first Poppy match (on Chequers straight) and I would have loved to have won it again today. The rain we've had in the last couple of days was unfortunately just a tad too much and pushed the river up and coloured, I took a look Saturday afternoon at the Crane and it was going through quite a bit. It meant one thing to me, bream on the feeder and a draw up at Newbridge would be required to win. I got to the draw at Frys in plenty of time, but was disappointed to be told I couldn't order a breakfast (they couldn't cope) and instead had to have a bacon roll (well a roll with one tiny piece of bacon in it). It was as ever great to see so many anglers fishing, and some people who I don't see very often, Mike Shellard, Terry Ellis, Mike Spencer, John Amatto, Mike Pierce, Nigel Bateman, Harry Muir, I could go on and on and on!  After the two minute silence the draw began and I was quite close to the front, I prayed to pull out an early number to be up Newbridge, but alas peg 88 was looking at me. I'd seen the peg yesterday and knew it was just below the boys hole where the Commercial House was won last week with 29lb of skimmers. Of course this gave me a lot of hope but the river last week was low and clear and I hoped the skimmers were still there.

A nice short walk just over the cattle grid, and past Craig Fletcher on the end peg, then John Smith, and then me, three Gasheads in a row lol! Jan Mazyck was above me. This peg is deep, and tends to go deeper as you go downstream, the flow was quite fast in close but about two thirds over the flow slows right up.

As the guy last week had caught on the pole I wanted to set that up, but when I put a flat float up (8g it just wasn't right and the depth of the peg plus the flow warranted a much bigger float which I don't have. I decided to put the pole away and leave the fast boily water alone. That meant it was just going to be a groundbait feeder today, I set up a 30g job with the usual 14 PR355 to 0.165 exceed. Job done. I had plenty of groundbait mixed up and I made up 8 balls containing, dead pinkie, casters and chopped worm. When the match started I had organisers Colin Ellaway and Paul Benson behind me, so I hoped my 8 balls would land very close as I launched them out to the slow water, all bar one ball landed decent I thought. I wasn't expecting a barrage of bites, but thought I would start with the standard 3 red maggots on the hook and see what happened. Second cast and a roach about 3oz was swung in. Sadly I never had another bite on any baits until the hour mark when I had another small roach.

I went for a quick walk, Jan hadn't had a bite but John and Craig were getting a few roach in their steady swims. I went back and tried three fluro maggots, I had a 6oz eel on this bait and so decided to stick with it, a couple of casts later another bite and a hybrid of about 6oz. The next two casts produced two more hybrids of the same size or a bit smaller. Then no more bites at all. I'd had phone calls from Glenn Bailey at Newbridge who was struggling, and Shane Caswell who was behind the pumphouse at Newbridge and struggling to wet a line because of the boats in front of him. It sounded like the match was fishing hard.

I plugged away on the feeder, keeping lots of caster and worm going in, and trying various hook baits. I never had a bite on a lobworm, but I started to get the odd bite from roach on a dendrabena with two maggots. Three hours in and I had only missed one bite, and had 1 eel, 5 roach and 3 hybrids, hardly flying. I wasn't feeling the peg was going anywhere, I was hardly getting a bite and it seemed the fish were not there / not feeding. Below me John and Craig had now had a few skimmers on the feeder and were well in front of me.

The sun was in my face and I had to move the rod and turn my head and hat at silly angles to be able to see my quivertip. However, about 90 minutes to go I had a seriously good bite which I could not miss seeing, but when I picked up the rod everything was solid. I could not feel a fish on and in the end I pulled for a break and the hooklength snapped. I guess I either missed the bite or it was a liner. Still it cheered me up a bit. Not long after Darren Gillman came up for a walk and he could see I was struggling, he told me that he had caught a 3lb+ chub of this peg last year.

Another strange indication and then nothing again. Darren walked on not having seen me catch but a few minutes later at 2:10pm with 50 minutes left I had another better bite and when I struck I knew it was a bream. It did go a bit when it got into the flow but I always had it under control and soon had it in the net. I wasn't massive, but at 3 1/2lb was more than welcome. Two casts later and for a few seconds I thought it was another bream, but alas an eel again. Thirty minutes to go and I'm still on worm and two maggots and another bite, bang this fish feels really heavy,could be a big bream (but there aren't many big ones down here) but as I played it I thought chub, and indeed it was. It looked like 3lb+ and must have been Darren's chub, lol. I never had another fish in the last 30 minutes.

With those two fish I now thought I had 9lb, with John and Craig only admitting to 5lb I thought I had the section won. Craig weighed in 6lb 5oz, and he lost a bream at the end, John weighed in 8lb 6oz of skimmers, looked like the fish which had been caught the week before. My turn and the needle swung round to 10lb 5oz, with Jan and the angler above him struggling I won the five peg section. In fact as it turned out I was the top weight of the twenty pegs up the Crane. Thanks for the picture Mr Gillman.

Didn't take long to get back to the results and get a pint and a roll. The rumour mill began and it seemed Dave Lewis had 5 bream and was likely to be top rod. Before the results though we had to get the raffle done, and once again Ray Bazeley had done well to get a great many prizes, many donated by local tackle shops. I managed to bag a couple of prizes so was happy enough, not so Glenn Bailey as both my winning tickets were next to his numbers, oops!

After the section money was paid out the main results were announced and here are the winners:-

1st Dave "the Drain" Lewis  26lb 10oz  5 bream from peg 46 at Newbridge
2nd Shane Caswell 25lb 14oz, basically 4 big bream in the last ninety minutes
3rd Paul Purchase 16lb  13oz. Peg 138 in the trees, 3 skimmers, some big roach and 14 eels (4 over 1lb)
4th Mark Leader 13lb 4oz
5th Paul Rice 12lb 8oz
6th Kev Boltz 12lb  (last year's winner)

11lb 14oz was last in the frame, and the top 8 were all at Newbridge. Think I was between 10th and 12th overall. Shame those skimmers had moved on, a few of those would have been handy.

It sounds like the match has raised over £1500 for the Poppy Appeal which is great news!

Congratulations to the framers, and especially the top three who are pictured below looking happy as they should be, well done lads. I'm fishing an open next week on Newbridge, with no rain forecast hopefully it could be a reasonable match.

Monday, 5 November 2018

Riverfest Final - River Severn Shrewsbury

If you have read my blog before then you will probably know that I had been lucky enough to qualify for this prestigious Riverfest final match. For the previous five years the final has been held on the river Wye, but this year saw a change to the Severn at Shrewsbury. I know there was some debate if this was a good decision by organiser Dave Harrell (both before and after the event), and although I cannot compare to the Wye I thought it was a great choice for a number of reasons, the fishing (mostly good) the access to your pegs, and the very close proximity of the town itself.

My preparation for this match started not long after I qualified and peaked a couple of weeks prior to the event. I firstly have to give a big thank you to Hadrian Whittle who despite qualifying for the final gave me a good run down on the main tactics, rigs and bait, that was really good of him. I had all eventualities covered, flat floats from 4g to 50g and plenty of Preston pole floats, a big thank you to Des Shipp who lent me these! I had winders full of stick floats, bolo floats, and whip rigs. Andy Ottoway and Martin Barrett lent me some long rods, whips and a reel to ensure I had spares and could have multiple set ups, again thank you guys. I took a days holiday and went to Saltford on the straight to make sure all of the rigs were shotted perfectly, practised my casting and caught a few fish too (some nice roach on the whip especially).  Everything was going well. Then Just over a week before the final I had a little operation, after this I was struck down by a virus and also suffered some issues related to the op. I was still unwell Thursday but improving and come Friday was definitely going after some more hooks were tied. My wife Wendy was joining me for the weekend and I was really pleased she did as it made it even more special. The journey up took four bloody hours and I was glad when we got to our small hotel, Wendy unpacked the case whilst I mixed my groundbait lol. We had a meal out and a couple of drinks in the Wetherspoons. It was an early night as I was still a bit ill and I set the alarm for 6:25am.

Saturday morning... "Tim, Tim!! It's five past seven!"  Err what? I'd only gone and set my alarm for a weekday, what a plonker! It was now a big rush, but we managed to get to the draw about ten minutes before the draw. Then it dawned on me the scale of the task as I surveyed the anglers in the room that we often see in the angling press. I will admit this had given me some sleepless nights a few weeks ago as I questioned my level of skill against top class lads, but in the end I just thought well let's find out. I was into the draw queue fairly late and pulled out peg 53. It was met with many grimaces, and after speaking to Dave Harrell and local ace Ian Hughes they said 5lb to 6lbs would be good and Ian said fish down the middle of the river.

I got to the peg and could park right behind it, that was a result for both Wendy and I. I then scanned my saved images of the recent open matches on the venue to see what the peg had caught, oh dear it had been left out in all bar one match and on that day it was DNW. I was just below a walkway bridge and was glad the peg next to it was left out, above the bridge was Shakespeare angler Brian Rigby, a lovely bloke and top river angler who I have bumped into a few times this year. Below me was a guy called Gary Fuller, and I also had Adam Richards, Kev Jones and Paul Glenfield in my section.

The peg had a lot of trees opposite, and it was rumoured to hold barbel / big perch over there, although nobody could say when anyone had seen them last caught. I had a general plan for the final ( unless I drew the county ground pegs 1 to about 30 where it was probably waggler and worm hoping to catch chub or perch) and it was gbait on the pole, and waggler / bolo as far over as I could fish, plus a chopped worm line which was a must. Plumbing up on the pole it was shallow at 13m, and the same at 14.5m, and there was not much flow, I decided it was not right and never set a pole rig up. The river is varied here, and below me Gary had 12 feet on his pole line! I set up a deep 5AAA waggler, a mid depth wag, a 6g bolo and a blockend feeder. It was deep, about 13 feet. On the all I threw 6 balls of gbait/soil with some caster, hemp and pinkie just short of the middle of the river. I ran the bolo rig over it 6 times and had no response, and so picked up the feeder and spent 20 minutes feeding the far side with maggots and chopped worm, nothing hung itself but I had got a bed down. Back on the bolo and still no bites, but Gary below me was catching dace on the pole. Finally about 40 minutes in and a dip on the float and a dace, phew I could relax now. I carried on feeding maggots and hemp on this line and just got the odd bite here and there it seemed. The wind was strong and mostly behind me which spread the bait a bit. As the match progressed I felt I was getting more fish in the peg, I might get 4 or 5 dace in as many casts but then would go another 10 casts without a bite. The dace were generally two ounce, I did catch a roach of 6oz and pulled out of another bigger at the net. I hat a visit from Chris Ponsford and he stayed with me a while which was great, he told me he thought I was doing OK. I had bites on the waggler but struggled to hit them, and the bolo caught me nearly everything, I had gone down to a 20 and 0.09 early on when bites were scarce but going into the last hour I felt the peg was improving and I went up to an 18 to 0.10 with double maggot, this picked out a few better dace including another 6oz roach. Meanwhile Gary below me struggled in the last hour. Match over, I thought I had about 7lb, Gary said he had 10lb and Brian 8lb.... As I packed up I reflected on the odd fish I had lost and wondered if I should have switched to double maggot earlier, these are the things that make a difference. The scales came down from the pegs above where it turned out there were a stack of not only dace and roach but also some big perch and odd chub. Brian weighed in 9lb 4 1/2 oz, then my turn and I had 9lb 10oz. Gary beat me with 12lb 1oz. Paul Glenfield had 9lb 14oz. The stand out weight was Adam Richards on peg 50 who had 24lb, and Lee Wright above him had 20lb, dace, roach, percjh to 3lb.

No catch shot as it was all a blur and I got carried away with the crowd following the scales, I was congratulated by a few for catching what I had which was nice. Later that night after a lovely meal it was back to the pub which was full of anglers, most who were slurring their words. Brian was in there and he felt he should have had 13lb, I had a good chat with Clive Branson and some other really nice welsh lads and they said with nearly 10lb I was still in with a chance of top 10. I also got to meet an England legend Sean Ashby who wanted his photo taken with me... yeh right! It was amazing to be there.


Alarm went off on time, yay! Today I would be pegged in the lower zone and so at the draw the lads in A zone were asked to draw first as they have to walk to some pegs. The top end of this zone was really poor, though it did produce the winner there were a lot of blanks and I was lucky to avoid it, but unlucky to draw one of the worst pegs in the best bit of the zone. Onto my zone and in theory I was now going to the best zone where there were many chances to get on a few fish. General consensus was that you would need 25lb to 30lb to get into the top 10, so I needed 20lb today which hadn't come out the day before in this zone. I had good chats with Ian Hughes and Hadrian Whittle on the morning both had chances of top 10 with a decent peg. Into the bag of destiny I go and out comes peg 68, oh dear more grimaces. I couldn't believe I had managed to pull another poor peg, and again it had been left out in the practice matches as had 67 and 66 above me. Looking at yesterday's result another well known local Pete Morris had my peg and had 8lbm but there were a few poor weights and the top of my section had much better weights, hope it would not be the same today.

At the river it was park behind the peg again, and first thing I did was put the sign up I was given the day before.

The peg had no features opposite, well none to attract fish I thought.

I could at least use my plan today as it was deep on the pole line, about 13 to 14 feet this peg. There was not much flow on the peg, and so a 2g rig with 18 to 0.10 was made up and my old faithful 1g pencil float with 20 to 0.09 was ample. A 4g flat float for chopped worm, another 6g bolo, and the wagglers again. Would you believe it but on the next peg 67 was Brian Rigby, he was not happy with his peg and I said we're a couple of shit magnets!  Picture of Brian still smiling, we had some good banter.

Match underway and I balled it in with 8 balls heavily laced with loosefeed as I was fishing for a big weight, I started on my chopped worm line though as occasionally some anglers caught perch straight away. Not me though, and after 10 mins I went over the gbait with the 2g rig and double maggot, I missed three bites and then caught a tiny dace and then nothing. Out with the pencil float and I caught 4 tiny dace, probably would need 25 to weigh a pound, trouble was I could hardly catch them. Brian was getting them faster than me, and despite going to a 22 and 0.08 it made no difference and I wasn't going to bag a decent weight like this. Out on the bolo where I was loose feeding maggots and hemp and I had very few bites and it was just from the same tiny dace, it was very disappointing. I was though cheered up by the arrival of my eldest daughter Lucy who had popped down from Manchester to support me.
There were lots of anglers watching the match and they all said it was fishing much harder than yesterday, but the angler on the first peg in my section Lee Wright was catching well on the pole. It's hard to say a lot about the day, I suppose I knew it was not going to be great when a dog pissed on my rod hodall, I hit a lot of snags on both pole and bolo lines, only had one small perch on the worm. I did get 3 small perch on the pencil float and lost one probably 8oz. I managed to winkle out three small roach and two better roach one about 8oz on the bolo, think they were looking for their mates. These roach are the resident fish in the river, the dace actually migrate into the town for the winter. The roach are 6oz to 14oz and if you can get among them a good weight can be amassed, but on a low clear river they were shoaled fairly tight it seemed. I ended the day with a lowly 3lb 1oz, for last in my six peg section, the 5 pegs above me weighed, Brian 3lb 14oz, Lee Harries 7lb 14oz, Steve Maher 5lb 6oz, Matt Maginnis 7lb 12oz and Lee Wright 18lb 2oz. Definitely wrong end of the section. My second day catch...

I ended the competition in 43 place out of 72, but with Brian ending a few ounces more and in 41st place it proved we had drawn badly. Reflecting on this I have to think I was at least able to keep up with him and so I was not far off the pace. It wasn't a bagging match (it can be if stacks of dace are in 70lb has been caught in the past!) and whilst I don't do a lot of dace fishing the methods were not alien. It would of course have been a better test on better pegs, but I take comfort from my result being almost identical to Brian's.

I packed up in almost darkness, and forgot to take home the board with my name on it as a keepsake, never mind still got the memories of what was a special weekend. I did not go back to the results as I was really tired and didn't want to be home really late, so I said my goodbyes and drove back to Bristol. As you may now know Lee Wright won the event taking home £13,000. Jamie Robins came second and got £6000 which pleased Brian Rigby as they are best mates and he was on 10%, first day winner Lee Harries ended up in third place. Well done to all of those in the top ten.

Dave Harrell and Angling Trust have got a really good event in Riverfest, and I would love to get back into to final again one day. Getting into the final is not easy, ask Dave he entered about a dozen qualifiers himself and never got in. Everyone I met was really friendly, and the local lads were helpful and offered their advice on the pegs. I spent a lot of money preparing and staying up there, but despite not winning anything back I think every penny spent was well worth it. Thanks to everyone who wished me well, if I get back again I must draw better!

Poppy match this Sunday.