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.















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