Sunday, 5 December 2021

Commercial House Xmas Match - K&A Canal Out of Bath

 I don't seem to get the opportunity to fish as many Xmas matches as I did years ago, and this one was on my radar but I only committed to fish on Monday. I didn't think I would have any bloodworm and joker, but I had a call from Andy Pritchard who had ordered a pack and was happy to split it with me, thanks Andy. I had plenty of rigs already made up and just needed to tie some hooks to replace old ones and have some spares.

I had my booster vaccination on Saturday and I woke up a few times in the night with a sore left arm, it was still feeling sore when I got up but I was not feeling any other side affects. Got to the Crown in Keynsham for a brekky and paid mine and Glenn Bailey's pools and ticket money. Glenn wanted to avoid driving through Bath and getting a bill for entering the clean zone, luckily my van is cleaner and doesn't get charged. There was a good turnout of 30 people, including a lot of "pellet heads" such as Dave Willmott, Dave Haines, Neil Mercer, Andy Gard to name a few lol. It was nice to see these guys back on a natural venue. Pegging today.

 The draw began and I drew and announced to those around me my peg (11), and then Glenn's, I couldn't believe it when I drew Glenn peg 19 at Claverton with the scales. Obviously I couldn't get the scales to Glenn as he was already driving around Bath, and I had drawn at the George. I got a another angler at Claverton to take the scales instead.

I got to the George pub and parked in their car park, chatted to Chris Parr (not Gappy) and Paul Purchase who were on good pegs either side of the wires past Bathampton bend. I was on the start of the bend on a wide peg, and not one I would run to as a lack of featured to fish to. As I walked along the canal Nigel Wyatt and Dave Haines both told me they had pleasure fished the canal and caught 3 or 4 fish only! As I got nearer to my peg I saw Neil Mercer, and looked at his peg, it was then I saw for the first time the water properly. The canal was gin clear and I could see leaves on the bottom of the canal a couple of metres out. Oh dear, this is not how I expected the canal to look at all and it meant only one thing to me that the match would be incredibly hard.

Got to my peg and found I had Dave Haines on 10 and Darren Gilman on the other end of the bend on peg 12.  I took this picture later on after a few boats had gone through and added a tinge of colour.

I set up one 4x14 rig for breadpunch with 18 PR311 to 0.07, a positive rig for bloodworm with 18 to 0.08, a negative 4x12 rig for bloodworm with 22 PR311 to 0.07, and a chopped worm rig.

Whilst setting up Dave Haines came along to have a look at my bloodworm and joker (he didn't have any) and when he returned to his peg he realised some of his pole sections had blown into the canal. As the canal was clear we could see the sections and got them out, lucky boy.

I began the match fishing breadpunch at top set plus 3 sections. After 10 minutes I had not had a bite and the writing was on the wall already. Time to feed some other baits, a small ball of leamed up joker just to my right by a little boat, a big ball of joker at 10m off to the left and some minced worms 10m straight out. I gave the bread another 10 mins to let the other areas settle, but had nothing. Onto the chopped worm looking for an early perch, no bites here at all. Came down to the close line by the boat and with a single bloodworm on the float shot under, a very small perch saved the blank, and was soon followed by another 5 before bites ended. Back to the worm and again nothing at all, back to the boat nothing this time, out to the 10m joker line and fishing overdepth for a bonus I had a long wait for nothing, but when I lifted the rig up I had a tiny ruffe on. I shallowed the positive rig up and caught another 3 ruffe and a tiny perch here then nothing again. A pattern was clearly forming.

During the day a boat came up regularly and turned round in the bay, it was some bloke dressed as Santa, with a few decorations on the boat playing Xmas music. Not sure what the familes paid to go on it, but it looked a bit shite to me lol.

With no bites by the boat I refed some joker here, and then fed another ball of joker on a new line top set plus 4 sections just off to my right. I had a little run of ruffe again out long before an odd little perch by the boat. The new joker line also produced 5 or 6 fish quickly then nothing. With about 90 minutes to go I decided to feed a bit of joker over the chopped worm as this line was a waste. It did sort of work, it produced my best perch (about 1 1/2oz lol) and a few other tiny fish. My peg just got really really hard and I had just 4 tiny ruffe I think in the last hour. I had counted 29 fish, but what would they weigh, 12oz to 14oz I hoped. Dave had 10 fish and Darren 12, everyone had struggled from what we could tell, so I was hoping to win the section if possible.

Steve Skelton had the scales and started weighing from Darren, here's my section weights as I recall them..

Darren G 2 1/2oz

Me 11oz (those fish were smaller than I thought)

Hainer 5oz

Rich Scholar 4oz

Neil Mercer 7oz

Steve S 5 1/2oz

Yes that was a very hard section, but not the hardest of the match!

The top 3 were all in a line at Claverton (not the end Glenn was at) with Andy Britt winning with 3lb, he did get a few roach on bread, then perch on bloodworm. I've put the full weight sheet on here so you can see the weights, I was 6th overall with 11oz, so a decent prize! Shaun Townsend won the section at Dundas with 9oz, a flyer of an end peg potentially, but it was ruined by a boat that got stuck in the bottom twice. 23 anglers out of the 30 caught a fish.

Despite the shocking fishing everyone back at the pub had a good laugh, Dave Willmott made the most of his end peg at the George to come 4th, but got 3rd place money as one angler did not go in the main pool. He also won three prizes on the raffle, including one when he pulled his own ticket out, now that's magic!  Not sure when I will fish next or where, one thing for sure the fishing is proving tricky on many venues at present.

Sunday, 21 November 2021

Pairs Match Bristol Avon - Swineford and Crane

A few weeks ago I had noted on Facebook that Ben Rendall was running a pairs match at Chequers, I didn't really fancy it as Chequers hasn't been great of late, I personally believe the shoals of dace and roach migrate down to Conham. However, after the Poppy match last week I found out that the match had been changed to Swineford and Crane, great news, but I couldn't find a partner as they had all been taken it seemed. Craig Fletcher (who now lives in Salisbury) was keen to fish with me, but then realised a couple of days later he couldn't. Then Ben found me a partner, but the next thing I knew I was partnered with Jerry Pocock who lives less than a mile from me. Jerry's original partner Kev Boltz decided to go sea fishing.

The deal was one angler would be at Swineford and their partner at Crane. I saw the pegging Saturday evening and sent a message to Jer asking if he wanted to fish Crane as there were some very long walks at Swineford, he agreed. I went to bed dreaming of drawing Bitton Brook and catching 40lb of chub on a waggler. I woke up the next day in good time and grabbed a Maccy D's before driving to the Crane for the draw at 8am. As I drove along Keynsham Road I got a call from Ben, the draw had been done as everyone else was there, and Jer had drawn me peg 1 which was on the outfall. Oh that wasn't on my choice of pegs I thought or something similar, used to be a brill peg but not consistent these days. I turned around and headed for Swineford.

Unloading my gear I got the usual abuse from Dean Harvey on the flyers I draw and how I moan about them. I must say Dean was looking very healthy, he told me he  had been to Centre Parcs the week before, he said he had been swimming most days, but I think he was really having spa treatments as his skin was glowing. I loaded the gear on the trolley and walked to the river with the legend Jeff Surmon, it was cold with a frost on the grass. Jeff was on the next peg (blimey we draw next peg a lot) where last week on the Poppy fellow Gashead John Smith had a brilliant 38lb, I thought he would be hard to beat today.

The outfall peg has a large pipe that brings the treated effluent into the river from Saltford sewage treatment works, over the years it has produced big bags of bream as well as small fish. My plan today was around bream and chub, so a gbait feeder with 14 N50 to 0.15 Powerline, and a 5g bolo float with 16 to 0.13. I mixed up Sonubaits sweet skimmer and brown crumb for the feeder, I know fishmeal is used a lot here, but I thought it's going cold and give them something different. I started on the feeder with red maggots on the hook, I didn't chuck in any bait, just had casts of about 5 minutes each to build it steadily and see what was happening. No bites confirmed my suspicion of no small fish feeding, and so I was sure my approach was the right one. I was casting the feeder towards the tree in the picture, but not right up against it. After about 15 minutes the 28g feeder finally got dislodged on bite, I missed it, Next cast another bite and I landed a 10oz chub. About 25 mins in and I had 2 1/2lb skimmer which was a welcome sign. A couple more casts with no signs and I changed the hook bait to triple caster, this was a good move as a decent bite brought heavy resistance as a bream kited across the river in the flow, a nice 4lb+ fish. Next cast another bite, but I am sure it was a liner as the casters were not touched, and the very next cast a 5lb bream netted. Next cast another dropback but this time after a few turns a bream came off, bugger... I then had casts then without a bite and was thinking with the river being so clear I had spooked the shoal off already. Luckily the bream came back to me, and I had another 4 or 5 bream this time all on red maggots. 30lb in the net after 1hour 30 mins....

I was thinking this was going to be my chance to get a ton on the river, but that was a false dawn as I then went two hours without an indication! The float never produced a bite, but to be fair I never ran it down the peg lots as I just used it to rest the feeder. Andy Britt had been up for a walk and told me that other than me 5lb was best at Swineford and it was fishing terrible. I plugged away with the feeder and kept trying different baits, I had to switch to a heavier feeder due to the river getting faster and lots of leaves on the river which had been blown in by the cold Northerly wind. I actually lost two complete set ups today on a terrible snag just downstream, so a heavier feeder was important. I changed to a lobworm hookbait and out of the blue I had a bite and missed that, but next cast I had a really good bite, it was a 3lb chub. Next cast I had another bite but it was a bream again. No more bites on lobworm, so tried dendras, casters, maggots, and eventually had a 1 1/2lb perch on 3 maggots. I took another 2 chub about 2lb each on the feeder, but had nothing else in the last 30 minutes.

I wandered down to see Jeff who I thought may have had some bream (they may have dropped down to him), but he had really struggled with just the 1 perch, he asked me what I had and I said I thought I had 40lb. We had to wait for the scales to come down from the gas pipe, Ryan Couch had the pleasure of weighing us all in, but it was easier than normal as Swineford was rock hard, 8lb by Mat Challenger was best before I weighed in. My fish had 3 weighs, and totaled 44lb 10oz, so for once I was quite close with my estimation.

The results were back at the Crown pub in Keynsham, my partner Jerry had been chip shop sausage, with 17lb of roach either side, but his near 9lb of roach was 5th at the Crane, so we had 20 points together, but it wasn't enough to win. Ben was paying out two pairs overall so I was biting my finger nails...

Top Pair - Mat Challenger and Rob Manns with 23 out of 24 points. Great performance lads!

Second - myself and Jerry 20 points.

Third - Derek Coles and Dean Harvey also 20 points, but lost out on weight. I didn't gloat.

Great crack back in the pub, Dean picked up the section money by double default and he beat his mate Shaun Townsend off the next peg and took the 50p bet. Shaun said he ran his float through the peg hundreds of time to get his 1 chub, I said I reckon a Robin could have perched on his float it was above water so long.

I have drawn the outfall peg before over my many years of fishing the river, but  third was my best off it, so today was nice to get that result off the peg. All the fish were in really good condition too.

Here's the weigh sheets below, well done to Rob Manns and Rich Lacey who both had 17lb of roach at the Crane, but as you can see winter does seem to be having an affect on the fishing at present. Oh yes, Bitton Brook where I really wanted to draw, Steve Cox had 1 roach off it and the pegs below him either blanked or had 1 fish. Well for once I was glad my dream did not come true lol!

Sunday, 14 November 2021

Bill Milton Memorial Poppy Appeal Open Match

 After an absence due to covid last year the Poppy Match was back, and for a change the river was going to be flowing nicely and not coloured, that meant all methods could be needed depending on the peg you drew, with Chequers, Jack Whites, Crane, Swineford, and Newbridge and the Trees pegged. However, before the match day I had an event on the Saturday, watching Bristol Rovers from the posh seats, in one of the executive boxes. There were 20 of there, including my wife and eldest daughter, as well as my regular football mates and wives, and Bill Foord who was 90. I was the only person getting up the next day to go fishing, but Paul Benson was helping run the Poppy Match so he would also have an early start. It was going to be a challenge for sure, first cider at midday, and last about 9pm I think.

Sunday morning, the alarm woke me up and I was feeling a little woozy, or maybe a lot woozy, lol. I was extra careful loading the van, and amazingly everything was loaded, I think I am getting the hang of this now. Just one problem, could not find the ticket for the match, my wife later found it when I was fishing! Got to the draw at Frys with about 15 mins to spare and ordered a sausage bap and a cup of tea. After catching up with Benz (who'd set his alarm one hour late lol) and many of the competitors it was time for the 2 minutes silence (very well observed) and then the draw, my thoughts were get 15 or 17 at Swineford. Well peg 15 went to the first angler to draw, Kev Dicks, and then I went and drew the Crane, the end peg just up from the cattle grid. Not a peg you can win from I thought, but if I can get among the roach, and may be a skimmer or chub then 15lb might get me in the frame, but then again what do I know!

The peg is under a tree, but I could cast a crowquill underam to the middle, and a feeder across to the far bank by the tree in the water. With a bit of water on this a good peg in close, but today I had to get to the middle to find the flow. Initially I had a gbait feeder set up with 0.17 to 14 N50, and the 14BB crowquill had 0.12 to 18 N20. I couldn't see anything else being used today, it wasn't a team match so just go for it. I had team mate and Scott Tackle owner Mat Challenger above me (on a peg that recently won a Com House round with bream) and just above the boys hole was Simon Alder, and then Steve Hutchinson, wasn't sure after that, but all good river anglers.

We started at 10am and I cast 6 feeder fulls of worm and caster in sonubaits sweet skimmer and lake. I did have one cast with three red maggots on to see if there was any quick response, but not a touch. Onto the crowquill, out went 8 balls of black roach, lake and river with some hemp and caster in and I fished double maggot to start. After 30 minutes on the float I had not had a bite, erm what s going on, try the feeder again and had 1 tiny tremble, and hour gone and blanking. Whilst on the feeder I changed the terminal tackle on the float to a 20 to 0.10, and after 90 minutes I tried the float again. Simon came down for a walk, he had a 1lb+ chub his only bite, and the rest of the guys were blanking! I then finally got a bite on the float but missed it, then I had a 2oz dace to save the blank. In the next 20 minutes I had another 3 dace, 1 roach, and an 8oz chublet, so about a pound, but that was the end of the bites on the float it seemed.

Back on the feeder and I had tried various hookbaits already but this time went out with 2 worms, I had a proper bite but didn't connect, it looked like a chub bite and the bait was gone, so I shortened the hook length. Out again with two worms, and quite quickly a proper bite which I connected with, whatever it was it was big, I tried to stop it from going into any snags and I was struggling to do that but didn't backwind, then the line bust, bugger. Gutted. A couple of casts later I had a 4oz perch but that was my lot. The float was tried again whilst I rested the feeder, but to no avail and I never had another bite on the float.

The gbait feeder I had used to keep my options open on the bream / chub front, but with Mat still blanking I felt the bream were not going to feed, so I switched to a blockend feeder filled with bronze maggots and put three on the hook. I think there was just over 2 hours left when I did this and I had some quick casts to get plenty of maggots in. About 1:15pm I had a big drop back, and with a few people watching I landed a chub of just over a 1lb. Around 15 minutes later another bite, a better fish this time at around 2 1/2lb to 3lb.  With 90 minutes still left of the match I was thinking another 5 or 6 chub could  get me to my target weight, but those thoughts were "pie in the sky", I never had another bite! I was mist surprised as to how hard the peg had fished, I was sure I was going to draw fish up the river, but it just didn't happen. As it turned out my 5 pegs were really poor, with Simon having the 1 chub for 1lb 6oz, the rest blanked, my fish went 6lb so I would at least get the £30 section money.

Back to the Frys club for the results and banter, and what I began to hear was quite unbelievable, that there had been a catch of 40+ bream from the trees, and as it turned out it was quite true. As you can see by the top 8 weights overall. Chris "Gappy" Parr (no longer gappy) had the day of his life catching bream for 4 hours. He told me that halfway through he walked down to the next peg to see his mate Tony Goodland, and asked him if he had a spare keepnet. Tony said why do you need one, Chris responded "I've got 24 bream already and why are you not fishing for them dopey!" Well Chris chucked the feeder out and found the bream were also in his peg, and caught 90lb in two hours! Derek Coles was a few pegs away from these guys and also had bream. Well done to those three, especially Chris on becoming Poppy Champion with a monster weight, might even be a river 5 hour record. How wrong was I in my thoughts of how the river would fish and what weight would be needed to frame. 

The top three bream baggers! All top blokes too so couldn't be happier for them.

Bream and chub made up the rest of the frame weights bar Paul Purchase who had 26lb of roach and two pike (which count) in his net. Paul was up in the long ashtip and this is where the roach were shoaled up as other anglers had them in this field. In fact the crane fished pretty well apart from where I was lol, Craig Fletcher was in the bay and had chub, and my team mate Kev Bennett on the high wall had 15lb of chub, including an absolutely huge chub that weighed 7lb 12oz! That he landed on 0.09 and a 20 hook!!!! Amazing.

This match truly was an outstanding event, with weights coming from all sections apart from Chequers which was dire again. Yes the fish have shoaled up, so it's a bit of feat or famine, but that's fishing and if you were lucky enough to draw on some fish then good luck to you. As ever Ray Bazeley, Paul Benson and Colin Ellaway ran the match superbly, and we had plenty of laughs thanks to Ray's patter. A lot of money was raised for the Poppy Appeal, I believe over £2,000 so that's the icing on the cake really. I feel honoured to have been part of this match over many years, and today was just another special match on what is a special river, well done to all who fished and helped out. I was well hapy when I got home and saw this, it was good to refuel up after a long day out. (That's orange squash in the glass by the way, lol)

Sunday, 7 November 2021

ATWL Round 4 - Bristol Avon Chippenham and Melksham

 It was good to know exactly what I fishing this week, that was because Martin Barrett kept the team the same as last week. The weather forecast was dry all week and that would mean the river would drop down and with a couple of frosts clear out a bit I guessed. Everything was pointing to the river being good for chub, so a chub peg would be very nice! Of course I would have to take plenty of tackle to the river for many different scenarios, and roach were likely to be important in many pegs. I did a bit of prep Saturday, and knocked up my groundbait, just two bags, one Sonubaits Black Roach and the other Black River. I did take a bag of sweet skimmer with me just in case I drew a peg which was noted for bream / skimmers, I must say I do like this groundbait, it mixes up really well and smells lovely.

Up at 6am Sunday morning and everything was put in the van correctly, I stopped in Chippenham Maccy D's for brekky and got to the draw by 7:35. Shaun Townsend was already there, so he must have had a quiet Saturday night I guess. Liam Braddell did our team draw today, and it seemed we only had one well known peg, that went to Ian Paulley who was right at the top of Chippenham on a 2 feet deep peg that should throw up chub. I was in the bottom section of Chippenham park, just above a wooden footbridge I was told, should be OK for roach but some good pegs lower down the section.

Got to my peg and it had steep bank and low tree cover so I had to get into the water,

I was fairly close to the footbridge but not on top of it, I guessed it would be busy with people as the weather was looking good. I set up 3 pole rigs, a 0.8g with 20 to 0.09, a 1.5g with 18 to 0.10, and a chopped worm rig which I never had a bite on! A 4g bolo with 18 to 0.12 and a feeder was it. I was going to set up a waggler, but I would have had to cast it sideways, and leaves were building up on the far side and so I didn't bother. Sat in the water I was aware of a putrid smell, clearly it was "weed" and where ever it was being smoked it was strong and lasted most of the day, I was sick of the smell I can tell you. I was just about ready for the 10:30 start, and cupped in 4 balls of gbait containing caster, hemp and pinkie. I began on the heavy rig with a caster and I had one roach on the caster, and then 3 on a maggot and then lost a better fish which I thought was a perch, but it was a much slower start than I had expected. Bites were hard to come by and I was soon picking up the 0.8g rig which was a little bit better with maggot on the hook and a few more roach graced the net. Then as happens here the flow just slowed right up and before I knew it I had no flow on my pole line at all and could not get a bite! I picked up the bolo as there was more flow further across, I had been feeding maggots across here and began with double maggot. It was not brilliant, it was one bite every 5 runs down, but I had a couple of chublets a dace and roach before this died. I will say the light was a nightmare, and trying to see my pole float was increasingly difficult as the day went on.

It wasn't until the river started to flow again that I was able to get bites, when it flowed it was really pacey and the pole line seemed to me the right place to be. All of a sudden I was able to get a few roach on caster on the light rig, catching them off the bottom was best. Sadly as soon as the flow went so did the roach, I just couldn't find a way to make bites on the pole after the flow dropped. Back to the bolo and much the same as before, not many bites at all but the odd fish and then it would die. I did hook another good fish on the pole, and this time it stayed on, and after a bit of a fight I netted a decent 12oz perch. I wanted to fish the bolo more, but at times the far third of the river was solid with leaves and it was almost impossible to get a bait in.

The pattern of my match for about 3 1/2 hours as catch on the pole when fast flow, scratch on the bolo when slow. Bank walkers gave me the impression that the rest of my section (all below the bridge) were catching roach very regularly and I thought I must be way behind. My peg went dead at this point, nothing on the pole on caster, and maggot only caught a tiny roach or minnow, maybe I had fed to much bait (I had been loose feeding hemp & caster) here I don't know, but it was shot and never  came back to life. The bolo was also really poor now and I hardly put a fish in the net for an hour, a couple of tiny gudgeon and then I hooked a roach but a jack pike grabbed it and I lost the hook. I kept feeding pouches of maggot hoping for a bonus chub that I thought I needed, it never came sadly, but I did catch two nice 6oz roach out of the blue on the last 15 mins.

When the match was finished I got everything out of the water and took a look at my fish, 6lb I thought. The anglers just below me were saying they had more than that. The scales started at the end peg which Nicky Johns was on, he had 8lb 13oz, a couple of weights lower than that and then the next two anglers who were the first two below the footbridge, both had 10lb, with Mick Gale being best with 10lb 13oz. What I noticed about these nets was that the anglers had lots of small roach, they had been busy, whereas I had caught a lot less fish then them but better quality. I was certainly out on my estimation, as my fish went 8lb 3oz, better than I thought, but still only good enough for 3 out of 6 points. Had I not had the poor last 90 minutes I could have challenged the best weights, but I didn't and that's that.

I must admit, I was keeping my eye on whatsapp Thatchers chat, and it wasn't looking very good with a lot of struggles, but back to the result to find out. We had two section winners in our team, Andy Ottoway with 11lb and Ian Paulley with 12lb, nobody else picked up money. Scotland Road fished well, Liam had 13lb and only beat 1 person, but 15lb -12 won the section so it was close. Shaun had a mare, plagued by minnows and lost a chub which spat the hook out at the net, and had to watch Gary Etheridge above him net 8 chub all in quick succession late on. Certainly this part of the river is peggy and whilst you need to make the most of your peg there do seem to be some better pegs than others at Chippenham, but that makes for a leveller and it certainly through up some different results today.

Overall individuals

1st Elvis 34lb 8oz chub on the waggler

2nd Gary Etheridge 21lb 14oz 

3rd Rob Randall 15lb 12oz

4th Mark Brush 15lb 3oz

Teams on the day 

1st GBMV and Talisman 34 points

3rd DGL 32

4th Thatchers 28

5th Lobbys 21

6 Devises 20

League to date

1st Thatchers 10

2nd DGL 12

3rd GBMV 14

4th Talisman 15

5th Devises 16

6th Lobbys 17

As a team we were very lucky today, we got a bashing, but the results went out way and DGL only pulled one point, and teams who had previously done poor had a good day. The next two rounds are on the canal out by Malborough way I think, I will not be fishing those as we have better canal anglers who fish that more than I ever have, so I'm crossing my fingers for the team now, and hoping we can stay in pole position.

Next week I will be fishing the Poppy Match, the river will be clear and steady by then I think, makes a change from the last few years flooded events. Hopefully there will be some good catches for the anglers fishing, I just need to have a clear head, as I am out the day before on hospitality for Rovers, so chances are I won't have a clear head PMSL!

Sunday, 31 October 2021

Angling Trust Winter League - Bristol Avon Bradford-on-Avon / Chippenham / Melksham - Round 3

 Another week passed by and I watched avidly the weather forecast, as the week went on it seemed heavy rain was coming our way. The Wye Champs got cancelled as they had lots of rain, but it wasn't until Saturday that we had a proper deluge here in Bristol. The Avon at Keynsham was a big mess by the afternoon, but it seemed the upper Avon was fairing OK. I awoke early Sunday morning (the extra hour helped) and immediately heard the heavy rain which had been going for a couple of hours. The drive to the draw at Melksham was a steady one as their were many huge puddles and I had to be very careful. The heavy rain persisted as we got to the draw at 8am when I was told I was off to Barton Farm. It was still hammering down until about 9am I think, and the river was already coloured and showing signs of rubbish coming down.

I set up a feeder rod with 14N40 to 0.15, a 5g flat float, 3g pole rig, and 2 bleak whips. I was well aware the river was going to get nasty and so did not want to fish that far out and lose the ability to fish there. I plumbed around with a 3g pole float and settled on 8m out. I ran the rig through and also dropped the lead in here and all seemed ok. As we got to 10:30 when the match started the river had already got a lot worse and my 3g rig didn't seem right anymore. I cupped 6 balls of gbait in at 8m to keep everything tight and went in with the flat float. I gave this about 10 mins but this was not working well, and flow was now disturbed and causing the float to move in and out an up and down. A bigger flat float may have helped but probably not for long. I cast a straight lead out over this line (no need for a feeder as plenty of grub in the gbait)  hoping to pick up some early roach. Sadly I had a mare with a snag for about 5 casts. A slightly different cast and with a worm and 2 maggots on I had a definite tremble, I left it to tremble some more and when I could resist no more I struck, it was an eel of about 10oz, saved the blank.

Next cast no bite and no snag, next cast another trembler resulted in an eel of almost the same size as the first. A couple more casts with no bites saw me changing to the feeder to get some more worms and casters in the peg. Well nothing showed itself other than more snags and I was cheesed off putting on new hooks, so I decided to try the whips for bleak, I guess this was just over an hour in. No bites at all from bleak. Back to the feeder which was more snags and no fish, and I was frustrated as I wanted to give this a good go but was being bad

ly hindered, I even tried fishing further out and whilst I did snag up a lot less I never had a sign. Trying my 4m whip into the flow I had no signs of bleak. Coming in shorter I finally caught a tiny bleak, at least  I think it was a bleak. I could now catch these small 3 or 4 to the ounce bleak, it wasn't one a bung but I was just happy to put something in the net. I kept on these for just over an hour I guess and then they vanished. To be fair the river was now boiling a lot and I am sure the bleak moved off somewhere off (found after that Mark Treasure above me in A section started to catch bleak in the last half of the match and it just got better for him).

The last couple of hours for me were poor and whilst I did have looks for the bleak it was never long as they did not come back. In fact I had my third bite on the feeder 5 minutes before the end when I had a 4oz roach out of the blue. I had no idea what had been caught in my section, but didn't think my 2 1/2lb estimate would be very good. I packed up and dropped down to the last peg in the section as I had the weighing in board. The last peg in the section had a massive slack, and the angler on there Kev Morris won our section with 4lb 2oz of small roach on a 4m whip. I weighed in 2lb 12oz for 3 points out of 6.  My board below, Paul below me had the same trouble as me, snagging up mostly.

I was of course disappointed with that result, and I think I made a mistake of actually fishing to close in, and maybe 11m would have been less snaggy. However, chatting to many locals they all said it wasn't a great peg in the conditions. Very few bleak were caught in my section, more upstream, and the section below was even worse. The river we were fishing at the end was rancid and full of weed and not much fun for most. There were of course a few anglers who had some fish in front of them and did the business...

Kev Rowles was the winner today with 15lb of mainly roach and a few big perch all caught close in on the pole on his peg at the top end of Barton Farm. 

Derek Jarman was 2nd from a peg in Chippenham Park, he had 3 bream for 10lb 13oz

Mark Brush was 3rd with 10lb 2oz of bleak from end peg at Scotland Road.

On the team front DGL won the day with 35 points, my Thatchers came second with 31 (that's the same place every match so far), and Devises were third with 30 points.

Overall Thatchers have 6 points and DGL are second with 9 points. Three rounds to go and all still to play for. The 4th round is back up here next Sunday, except Barton Farm shouldn't be in this time. The current weather forecast is for no rain this week, and so hopefully a much better river for all to fish... fingers crossed!

Some pics from last week that I couldn't upload before are below...

My bag

The pegging clowns Shaun and Dean
Crayfish caught by Kev Boltz,  bad sign