Happy New Year everyone. There has not been any opportunity for myself to get out fishing so far in 2020, this is simply due to other commitments. I am planning on going next Sunday, probably get up to Hillview lakes as the Bristol Avon is still too high and with more rain forecast it is pretty much shot for another couple of weeks. A few anglers did get out to Newbridge before the last rain came, and swims with a bit of shelter from the flow were producing roach and a few bream.
Back to the winter of 2000, first up a round of the Commercial House on the Avon at Conigre. I caught everything on a stick float with a 20 to 0.10. Despite feeding hemp and caster I only caught fish on maggot hook bait. The first half of the match was OK with small roach, bleak and minnows coming fairly steady, but I was near biteless for the second half. Only 4lb 4oz but that was worth 12 points from 14 as the river fished very hard.
The following Sunday October 14th was another ATWL round, on the Crane (at least I was pegged there as usual) but the river was high and the weir at Keynsham was only just visible. I was on the last peg in the lane which being deep meant I was happy with and fished the groundbait feeder hoping to snare a bream or two. I fished 3/4 the way over and could hold here OK with extra lead. The match was not going well for me, and I had only a few roach and a perch, I think Paul Benson was below me and he had a bream. I had missed two fantastic drop back bites that were chub bites, and with 5 mins of the match left was looking at a bad result. I then had a decent bite on tripe red maggot and coaxed a 3 1/2lb bream into the net. A total weight of 4lb 11oz was enough to win the section and get a bit of abuse from Benz lol. At this stage of the league my team were leading.
A week later on the Commercial /house and on Frys. a fickle venue which generally required a bonus fish or two to so well. I was towards the bottom end of the venue, and set up a crowquill and a gbait feeder. I started on the float and it soon became obvious it was gonna be tough with hardly any bites, so I upped the feed on this line in the hope of chub and gave the feeder a go. After an hour I had 1 roach and 1 small chub on the feeder. Back on the float and I soon hit into a decent chub only for it to snag me halfway up the peg, damn. I hooked another 4 chub on the crowquill and pulled hard to get them up, I got two small ones out and pulled out of two somehow. A couple of roach and another chublet on the feeder was all I could manage. 4lb 14oz was though second in the 14 peg section, and with the team winning on the day and leading overall it wasn't a bad day.
The last mach of October 2000 was a change of scenery as I fished an open at Viaduct fishery. I drew peg 13 on Spring and was told it was not great but might catch in the margin. Well that was sort of right as I had nothing in front and only had four bites in the margin. I landed two perch and a carp for 14lb 4oz and no good. However, I lost a monster perch that day. After having the other two perch in the margin I tried a lobby tail, and hooked what I thought was a carp. It was only as I got it in close I saw a huge perch on the end, and then the dreaded slack line. Gutted, it looked over 4lb to me, but I'll never know. We had horrendous weather come in after the match and I was glad to get home, and on Monday winds were 70-90mph and the river was the highest level I had ever seen up until then, with Keynsham Marina and the river being as one. No surprise the following weekend the ATWL was moved on to the K&A canal, I was just below Dundas and endured a torrid day. I caught 16 perch and 2 gudgeon over tiny bits of chopped worm for a whopping 8 1/2oz, and just 3 points. Luckily the rest of the team did well and we stayed in the lead.
November 11th and the Poppy Match, on Saturday the river looked OK, on Sunday there was no weir visible at Keynsham! I drew a really good peg, I was on Kelston Straight just above the danger weir sign. On the danger weir sign peg in a lovely slack was my team captain Mark "Podge" Jefferies. My peg was going through but being so deep I fancied it for a few but thought Mark would beat me. It was a one rod job, gbait feeder with 16 to 0.14 and within a short time I was getting bites with a maggot hook bait from eels, I worked out that 3 bronze maggots seemed to enduce more bites from them. Of course I had to keep trying 3 red maggots for a bream, especially after Podge had landed one. I finally hooked a bream, and boy did it go in the flow. It kited in close and with thick reeds in close I stood up lent forwards and held on to the very end of the rodd butt with Shay Gillman watching on. I got lucky, the bream stayed on and was landed. I finished with 16 eels and 1 roach and my weight of 9lb 10oz was just a few ounces more than Podge. Back at Frys and I found out I was 2nd overall, Les Williams I think won the match from a peg above Kelston Point.
My last match in November was another ATWL round, this time up at Newbridge. I drew peg 130 in the trees which with a bit water on was OK, but at the time you would be lucky to frame as the bream were regularly caught far upstream. Still it was a gbait feeder approach and I had a bit of a wobbly bottom with not a bite after the first hour and a half. Fishing mid river with red maggots on the hook I had set my stall out, and mid match the fish turned up. A couple of roach, seven chublets and an all important bream. The last hour and a half much like the first was biteless. My 8lb 12oz won the section and helped the team to win the day and stay in the lead.