Sunday, 28 July 2019

Riverfest Qualifier Bristol Avon

Last couple of weeks were busy and not much fishing involved. I did manage to get out for a few hours last Saturday on Saltford Straight, though only just as is it solid with boats. I got to use my new Preston XS90 pole for the first time, but I only fished 10m as the wind was horrendous and I wanted to keep shipping the pole back easy. Probably had about 9lb, roach to begin with but these petered out, one skimmer and lots of dace, bleak were a pain at times, also a few small perch. No photos as my new phone bought last week has died today! Actually I have no clue about how Riverfest has gone for everyone as I have no contact with the outside world without my phone lol!

I met team mate Jack Jones on the morning of the Riverfest, we had breakfast in Wetherspoons Hanham. The draw was not until 10am in Saltford, so for me at least it was a very nice easy start to the day. At the draw there were lots of locals as well as some long distance travellers, plenty of very good anglers on show. I was not too far from the front of the queue, but the downstream end peg had already gone. I dipped in and pulled out 124, down in the trees with about four pegs below me. I didn't fancy it, not with a low flow river, but you never know. Last years winning peg 59 was favoured as bream had been seen rolling in the days before, team mate Mat Challenger had that one.

Nice easy walk to the peg and with a start time of 12:30 I had lots of time to get set up. The wind was blowing upstream and was going to prevent any rod and line top and bottom fishing, I debated a waggler but thought it wouldn't be right. I did set up a gbait feeder with 0.13 to 14 N30, and three pole floats, a 1.5g pencil float with 20 to 0.09, a 2g bodied float with 20 to 0.10, and lastly a 3g with 18 to 0.12. All hooks were N30's.

The angler to my right was from the midlands and he was going to start on the feeder, the angler below me was Dave Roberts, one of the best river anglers in the country and he excels on the Wye and Severn. When we began I cast out the feeder 8 times to get some worm and caster in, I cast quite close to the far bank as I thought as well as a few skimmers there might be some chub. I then threw in 12 balls of gbait on the pole line at 13m. Out I went with my 2g rig and a caster, not a bite on this so on with a maggot which got me 2 bites and two small fish fell off. I then had a positive bite and netted a 8oz hybrid, a couple of runs down later and I had a 6oz hybrid, a few of these would be handy. No more bites on this rig, so onto the pencil rig which I was convinced would do the business. Alas no, I could not get any roach and for 30 minutes the only fish I caught where odd bleak and tiny perch. Fifty minutes in and caught my first roach, and had two more and a 4oz hybrid. Unfortunately the bites on the pole just died and no matter what I tried I never had another bite on it.

I cast the feeder out and had 30 minutes on it and never had a touch, this was looking piss poor quite frankly. A try on the pole line for nothing, so I fed some chopped worm at 11m and down the peg and put a bigger hook and hook length on the 2g rig, well that was a waste of bait as I never had a bite on that either.

Back on the feeder with 3 red maggots and just as Shaun Townsend came along for a walk, I told him I was struggling and so were many it seemed. However, two anglers in my zone were admitting to 8lb and had a bream or two. After a couple of casts the tip knocked and I had a tiny roach, next cast and more knocks and missed it, next cast the same. Weird now a bite a chuck on the feeder with 3 or 4 red maggots but I can't get a bite on the pole. After 30 mins of this I put a bit of worm on and still I got bites, but now it was from 2oz chublets, not easy to hit in 13 feet of water right over. I was at least getting plenty of feed into the peg and was happy to carry on hoping for a bit of late bream action (dream on). I did manage to snare a skimmer of about 10oz and a couple of chublets about the same size, but I also had three fast bites but when I struck the feeder was snagged up, on one occasion I lost the lot. I fished double dendra for the last 30 minutes, that stopped the  bites but sadly no bream showed for me.

I was well aware I had done no good but thought I would still weigh in. The scales showed a 6lb on the end peg, then Dave Roberts had 6lb 5oz, he had 4 eels on worm and some perch and a few late roach, he fished the worm much further out, so I think I made a mistake there. My net went 5lb 1oz and the lad to my right had 4lb+. My ten peg section was won by Craig Fletcher who had 7lb 11oz, a decent bream and a couple of skimmers early. I don't know what won my zone of 20 pegs but there was an estimate of 9-10lb on peg 90 which included a 4lb chub caught in the last 5 minutes.

As my phone had died and it was very late I decided to go straight home and get my phone charged and sorted and to find out what had happened. Well the phone has proper died and will not charge or switch on, so I am clueless as to what has happened today!!! Off to get the phone sorted tomorrow and hopefully get a replacement. No fishing next weekend as off to watch Rovers first game of the season at Blackpool. Hopefully I'll get a chance to give the pole a good work out soon, but I can certainly say it is so much stiffer than any pole I have had before and I was able to fish 13m with ease despite the wind and it should improve my fishing I hope.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Superleague Huntspill Round 3

Glorious day Saturday, walked to the Lock and Weir pub on the river (Chequers) with my wife, walking there through the fields I saw more butterflies than I can ever remember seeing. It was fantastic, and the fields where anglers and cows used to tread are now overgrown and birds, flowers and many insects have returned. There are a number of platforms on the Chequers stretch where carp anglers and pleasure anglers in the club fish from, as well as some small opens. After a nice meal and a few pints we walked back home, a 5 mile round trip, and then I sorted out my gear for the superleague.

Sunday morning, up at 6am and got away on schedule, then as went to get on the M32 it was blocked off by a police car, detour to Cribbs Causeway to get on M5 then. The rest of the trip was without issue and arrived at the 37club in good time. Due to my drawing last week and the team winning I was asked to do the draw again, fatal mistake. Anyway I pulled out peg 2 this time, so one peg away from team draw last week, I was down on the North Bank this time, peg 10, with peg 8 being the end peg.

I was drawn in this section last year, and a lot of bream came off the first two pegs, but it is pegged a bit differently and the bream don't seem to be here in numbers this year, only a handful were caught here last week. Got to my peg and I had a little but of space to my right due to the bank being eroded, but to my left peg 9 was really close to me. Nigel Wyatt was on that peg, and Andy Powell was on peg 11 to my right. Again a standard view of the Huntspill, though there was quite a bit of weed growing further out into the peg as you can see.

Setting up was once again a simple excersize, the gbait feeder as ever with 0.11 to 16 PR355 today, a waggler but was hardly used. Three pole rigs, a worm rig that again was a waste of time, a 0.4g silvers float with size 20 N40 to 0.09 Accu Power, and a 4x12 with with the same hook line, first rig bulk and droppers, latter strung out.

As last week the match started at 11, and I was going to cast 10 feeders out into the middle, then bal the pole line. Well the plan was blown... first chuck and I cracked off the feeder, not sure what happened as it didn't go on the tip, think there was a loop or knot as it snapped about 15m out, weird. Of course I got plenty of abuse from the anglers in the section, especially Stretch and Neil Richards, but I didn't bite. I decided to now ball the pole with my 12 made up balls, a mix of Sonubaits black roach, lake and brown crumb. I then quickly threaded the line back up the feeder rod and made my 10 casts. Nobody had caught anything of significance so it seemed no harm done.

The first hour on the feeder passed without incident for me, a couple of tiny indications and one end of the maggot sucked. A bream did roll, on my pole line and I dropped the feeder over it but to no avail. After the hour Nigel and Andy both had a couple of fish and nobody had caught a bream, so it was looking tough. I picked up the pole and went out with the heavier rig with a maggot on the hook, straight away I caught a couple of very small hybrids and roach that were welcome. Andy next to me changed to the pole but was struggling whereas I was getting bites. However, I had switched to a pinkie on the hook as maggot was not working as in the previous matches, and this was a great move as it was a bite a chuck. The wind this week was much lighter than last week, it was right to left and sometimes off my back. Feeding a little bit of hemp and pinkie was possible with the catapult.

Basically I stayed on the pole line, 11.5m for the next hour catching in bursts, mostly off the bottom or on the drop, though I did best on the bulk rig spotting the tiny bites. I kept my eye out on other anglers it seemed everyone in my section was struggling so I kept on going on the pole even when it went a bit iffy. At one stage bites just stopped, and I was wondering what to do but thought my loose feed might have been dropping short so came back a metre and had a good run here. If I could catch roach they were a little better stamp than the perch and hybrids. I did try hemp but I couldn't make it work and soon reverted to pinkie.

About halfway through Andy Powell on my right started to get regular bites on the feeder, he was pulling his hair out at the number of bites he was missing, but with many anglers not getting bites he was doing well with odd little skimmers / hybrids. As the match wore on I thought it was close between us, and it was difficult to know if my 3 or 4 fish to his one was the same or better. With about an hour to go my pole line proper died, so I cupped in 2 balls of my mix with some pinkie and squatt in. I considered chucking the feeder out but thought better of it. It was a good move as the fish responded well to the feed on the pole, and from then on in if bites died I fed a ball of gbait and got fish straight away. The match ended at 4pm, I was very hot and sweaty as the sun had shone all match and god knows how many times I shipped in and out with a little fish, I thought I might have 5lb to 6lb.

Nigel had the scales and I had the board so we started on the last peg in our section Neil Richards, he had 2lb 12oz. Next to him was Rob Randall, now Rob is one of those anglers that always seems to catch a lot of fish, a great angler, so when he tipped 4oz on the scales nobody could believe it, Bad luck Rob, sorry I just had to mention it.

Stretch had no bream so weighed 12oz, Then it was Andy's turn, and his net of little skimmers went 5lb 6oz. I thought it would be close, and my net of sprats went 6lb 10oz, that was enough to win the section as Nigel had 1lb 14oz and Brian Slipper on end peg 8 had 1lb 15oz. I was happy enough, I just had a feeling that the sun would put the bream off and going negative on the pole would do the team job, of course a bream or two would have messed it up, but hardly any fed today.

Back at the results it was clear it had fished hard. Top 4

1st Charlie Vallender 12lb 12oz all small fish on the pole end peg at Gold Corner
2nd Nick Chedzoy 10lb two bream early then smoked a cigar for the rest of the match
3rd Martyn Howard 9lb 13oz  roach on hemp
4th Kev Boltz 9lb 12oz other end peg at Gold corner and small fish again

On the team front we had a few struggle today, including young superstar Andrew Cranston who after two section wins had the last in section treatment with 6oz. Such is the nature of this venue sometimes just getting a bite is a challenge.

DGL won the day and Blackmore Vale were second with my Thatchers third. That mean overall the top three are after 3 of 6 rounds:-

1st DGL 127
2nd Thatchers 123
3rd Blackmore Vale 104

That's another year on the Spill over, I can reflect on it happily, even though I didn't land on an end peg or flyer I had bites and some decent fish, and enjoyed my three matches. I cannot fish next weekend so a week off the blog, Tuesday this week I am off to Old Trafford to watch India v New Zealand in the cricket world cup, all thanks to my daughter Lucy who won a couple of free tickets.