You can probably tell from the title that I have not fished this weekend. I made that decision on Tuesday when the weather forecast did not look great for the week ahead and I knew I was going to have a late night Saturday, I also felt I needed a bit of a rest.
Dean Harvey and Kev Dicks ran an open match at Newbridge today and despite the extra rain and swollen river a few bream showed as expected. Top 6 as follows:-
1st Benjamin Rendall 24lb 7oz peg 47
Joint 2nd... Derek Coles, Jerry Pocock, Nigel Wyatt 16lb 5oz
5th Jeff Surmon 14lb 4oz peg 7
6th Kev Dicks 12lb 10oz peg 36
Biggest fish prize went to Chris Ollis with a 6lb 15oz Bream (estimated at 9lb when caught lol)
That's it for river matches for a while, although Dean is running a Xmas match on the river on 23rd Dec, with £3 from every ticket going to the help the heroes charity. Contact Dean or Kev Dicks to get a ticket.
Back to the past, and October 1999 and familiar times drawn on the cattle grid at the Crane on the Bristol Avon for the ATWL, the weir at Keynsham was only just visible so not nice. I fished the gbait feeder for quite a while catching only 1 roach, 3 dace and 4 eels. I took s few very small fish on a short pole by the reeds and then in the last hour started to catch some bleak. I only weighed a paltry 3lb 9oz but that was good enough for 9 points out of 12, and the team won the day.
The following it was off to Melksham for the Commercial House. I was drawn one peg below the bridge at Scotland Road. The river was now well fishable, but I struggled all day catching a few roach on the pole at 11.5m over gbait and a few small perch over worm on various lines. 3lb 3oz was work only 4 points out of 14, and I wasn't the only one who struggled as the team came last but one!
The following was the ATWL again, and the team draw moved me up one peg up the Crane onto the deep hole. This is not a peg I like, but now and again the fish move into it, roach and sometimes skimmers. I balled it in at 10m and caught dace and the odd roach in the 16 feet deep swim for 90 minutes. After this I never had another bite! The Crane had fished hard and my 2lb 12oz was worth 7 points out of 12 so not a complete disaster, the team came 4th but we were hanging onto 1st place overall.
The next match I fished I clearly remember for all the wrong reasons! It was the next round of the Commercial House, it was at Frys and we had a lot of rain in the night and the river was rising. Worse for me I drew one below the stream which was running very high and was the colour of chocolate, needless to say this was making my peg look pretty awful. I feared the worst and it was soon clear that it was going to be tough for me as anglers around me could catch a few fish whilst I sat biteless. I managed to catch a couple of small roach on a feeder and then with about an hour to go hooked what felt like a big fish. It was an eel, and when it came up on the surface I estimated it was 3lb+. Trying to get it into the net was not easy and when I finally did I pulled the landing net pole back quick as I was afraid the eel might get out. Disaster, the top section of the pole came apart and I watched the net and eel sink back into the river and not long after the eel bit me off. I may have said a naughty word or 12.. lol. 7oz and last in section, oh dear, how sad never mind!
Things didn't get any better the following week on an open on the K&A canal near Avoncliff on the disabled stretch. I was catching small roach on pinkie over gbait quite well, when a big boat came through churned my peg up and leaves covered my peg meaning I hardly fished the second half of the match. 3lb 3oz was no good. Despite my bad luck and poor weight I was in the team for the ATWL on the same venue (we must have been short lol). It was a tougher day and I caught small roach and gudgeon over liquidized bread, and then gbait at 9m and 11m. I only weighed 2lb 13oz but that was 2nd in the section so at last a bit of coin, the team likewise did well and we won the day.
Poppy match time, and if I did bad in this match then you can sort of write off my luck and yep it was another poor day for me. I couldn't believe it when I drew in the lane up the bloody Crane, it was where the disabled anglers used to get first choice of pegs, but it would be nearly my last! The only place I could get bites was right across the river, and a maggot feeder / crowquill on a 20 to 0.10 helped me "amass" 4lb 5oz for absolutely no good. Luck has to change soon though doesn't it? Well no, next week ATWL and I blanked on a cold, clear river. I had one bite second chuck on a maggot feeder on peg 77 at Newbridge and that was it, only 4 people in my section of 12 caught a fish. The team did really well and we were now 42 points in front of second place.
Last match in November 1999 and back on the canal for the Commercial House, I was drawn 14 pegs down from Limpley Stoke bridge, still on the straight and a decent area. Again it fished really tough and it was mainly gudgeon for me to start on a 3m whip. Just a few roach and more gudgeon at 11m over gbait, I could only catch on squatt on the hook. Today though the luck returned, and going into the last hour I caught a small tench on double caster right across over my chopped worm and caster feed. (This area used to be good for gudgeon and odd tench, but since the boat traffic increased the tench seem to have died off and gudgeon catches are minimal.) I weighed in 4lb 1oz to win my section and come 6th on the day and last in the frame, yay! Was this the start of a good run?
Late news.... Today was the last round of the ATWL where my team Thatchers were again in action on the K&A canal somewhere miles away. The boys did good, though they came 5th on the day with 42 points, would you believe three teams tied for 1st place on 43 points! Diawa Gordon League won the whole league, so well done them, and Thatchers were second and so we have qualified for the final again.
Next week I am fishing the Commercial House Xmas match on the K&A canal, last year on this match I drew up past the George and it was pretty much barren of fish and all of us up there struggled to get bites. Fingers crossed I draw on a shed full of skimmers ;-)