Believe it or not I was planning to go fishing this weekend, Jack Jones and I were going to take a trip up to Hereford and pleasure the river Wye. However, the snow and ice sadly put paid to that idea and I really could not see any rivers being worthwhile visiting. Jack though was still keen and he and Andrew Cranston went to Swineford on Saturday, I did speak to Jack after a few hours and neither of them had a bite. Then this morning I saw the many anglers posting the temperatures they were seeing (-7 to -11) and I thought nah, so more garden centre visits to get my vegetable growing materials.
In February 2000 I was fishing with Avon Angling (OK Glenn?) and we had qualified for the ATWL semi-final on the Grand Union canal and slough arm. We went up for just one practise, and as I had fished this venue before when fishing with Thatchers I knew pretty much what the score was. I drew the Slough Arm, what was called the wilderness, and knew it would be a scratching match. A 0.4g rig with an 0.06 to 24 was used for fishing four different spots all fed with one small ball of joker. As expected all I could catch was very small fish, I ended up with 70+ fish which weighed an impressive 1lb 8oz, the most productive line was the inside line. I beat the 15 anglers to my right, but my ten peg section went to my left and I only beat 5 of them.
One week later 26th February and it was the actual semi-final, I got drawn on the GU canal and was told it was an average section and that at the other end of my section they would catch some skimmers. I set up the same rig as last week, plus a 4x14 with 0.075 to a 20 for fishing bloodworm. I had an inside line, and fed joker at the bottom of the far shelf, and some more a metre past this. I started on the inside line for an hour to let the longer lines settle, after the hour all I had were four tiny perch and I was behind all those around me. Thankfully the far lines were better and there were plenty of small roach over there, I even managed a small skimmer. The wind was really bad and one particular gust blew all my topsets up in the air behind me. The guy to my right had his pole snap and he lost a 2lb perch on the caster when the wind literally blew the pole out of his hands. Bites slowed with a couple of hours to go, but not knowing a lot about this fishing I assumed I'd caught everything. However, with an hour to go and nothing to lose I fed more joker and within 15 mins I was catching those small roach again, guess they had eaten all the joker I fed earlier. I was kicking myself but at least I had a few bites. My final tally was 3lb 11oz, and I was more than happy to score 14 points out of 18. Sadly the team didn't do well and we did not qualify for the final.
On Sunday 4th March I had a little venture out to Century Pond (only 1 then) on the Keynsham AA tab. Just pleasure fishing and I experimented using a fishmeal groundbait, I threw a couple of balls in loosefed maggot and caster over the top. I had 6 carp and some skimmers for approximately 30lb.
The last weekend of the season and I fished the Rod Hill memorial on the Bristol Avon Swineford to Crane, I drew Bitton Brook so a nice walk. The river was going through fast and the only way I could fish was with a maggot feeder. Fishing an 18 hook to 0.14 or 0.16 I had a 3lb chub and 10 smaller ones, plus a little perch. I remember hooking a fish which tore off downstream, and after backwinding for what seemed ages I tried to stop the fish and it bust me, I think it might have been one of the huge carp that used to be in the area. I weighed 11lb 8oz which won my section and was 5th overall.
Clsoe season and Warren Bates ran an open match on Century Pond, he and I had both caught some carp there over fishmeal gbait, and we were going to do the same. I drew peg 10 and when the whistle went I threw in 3 balls of gbait out to 12m, as did Warren, nobody else put in any gbait and when myself and Warren both hooked a carp almost immediately there were a few shouts of "tuck up" lol. I caught odd small carp and skimmers and topped up with 4 more balls to try to keep this line going. I added 3 late carp on meat fishing close in to the reeds and when the all out was shouted I was pretty sure I had won. With 35lb 12oz I had indeed won, and Warren came 2nd. A week later and back at Century and blow me I draw peg 10 again! This time though the carp didn't respond to the gbait, and I only managed one over it and a few skimmers. I spent most of the time fishing against the margin reeds waiting patiently with a piece of meat and picked up 5 carp. Only 21lb but enough to win the match again.
Here's hoping I can get out somewhere next Sunday, going stir crazy, looks like lots of rain and going to be mild so fingers crossed.