Today saw me back on the Bristol Avon at Sutton Benger for the first round of the North Wessex winter league fishing for Pewsey team 2. After last week’s practise I was sort of confident I could put a few fish in the net and help the 6 man team out with regards to points.
This must have been the first time I have fished in a team for a winter league as I have always gone it alone in the past but with the chance to get some team fishing under my belt it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up and I thank Pewsey & District Angling Association for the chance.
After a quick half hours car journey down to Lynham I seemed to be the first one there (must have been too keen) but it wasn’t long before the rest of the team showed. Having paid my entrance fee for the league and pools for the match it wasn’t long before the draw came around. Having managed to gain snippits of info throughout the week there were certain areas I wanted to stay away from and I preferred to be placed below the weir.
With the draw done and Leo Pocock using his magical drawing arm we were placed on the end of every section which was a bonus. I had drawn E8 and with D section being from the weir down I was fearful I would end up on a bend where I didn’t want to be.
With a quick 10 minute ride in the car I was at the stretch, with kit out I made the 10 minute walk to my peg and noticed I had drawn just off the bend but in an area which didn’t produce the week before with anglers packing away and not weighing in. With a slight sigh I started getting my kit out understanding the fact that I was team fishing and the name of the game was to put as many fish in the net for points so was determined to give it a good go.
First mess up of the day saw me throw my keep net out and decide not to hold onto it, so in slow motion I watched as the whole of my keepnet hit the water and started to sink slowly. With the bank being 4ft drop down to the water I quickly got the landing net handle out and prodded around to see how deep the water was. Another 4ft deep with a slight ledge close to the bank about 1 ft great I thought so with a quick balancing act I was of the bank and in the water trying to retrieve my keep net when the ledge gave way and I ended up to my thighs in water, still got my keepnet back and just about got back up the bank. Taking my wellies off and pouring out the water you could see the other anglers going to their pegs chuckling to themselves, oh well.
With me finally settled it was time to look at the swim. It had a slow flow with a nice colour in it and it looked deep (this was confirmed when I started plumbing around) I couldn’t really fish down the sides due to the vegetation and with me being 4ft up in the air on the bank I was sky lined from the start which didn’t help. I opted for 3 swims a 5m pole line 11m pole line and a 14 ½ meter pole line right up against an overhanging tree on the far bank, with the waggler setup as backup. There was a nice gap in the tress just up to my left which I could have reached with 16 meters but with the rule of no fishing up stream then it was out (shame as it looked as a good chub holding area) Looks like I would have to try and tempt them out and onto my 14 ½ m swim which was always going to be hard as they enjoy having overhead cover.
With all my lines they were 8ft deep so set up a 1gram, 2 gram and 2.5gram Sensas Jean Francois pole float starting with the lightest float near with the heaver floats moving out where the flow was at its best. All bulk was set 18 inches from the hook with the plan of changing it as I saw fit depending on the bites. The 1gram float was fished slightly over depth and this would be my worm line and wanted the worm planted to the bottom of the river. Feed for the other 2 lines would consist of lose feeding hemp, caster and bronze maggot with caster and red maggot being the hook bait of choice.
I did mix about half a kilo of groundbait but didn’t want to use it unless I was in trouble and the fishing was hard, as even though it does bring in the smaller fish I was after the larger stamp and plenty of them. Still with the peg not having much form it was something I had in the back of my mind that I might end up using it.
With the all in called it was out with the worm on the short line fed via a bait dropper and a pouch of caster and hemp fed across. My match started slow with no initial run of fish coming to the net. I managed to catch fish of all 3 lines in the first hour but it was slow and it seemed the fish didn’t want to settle, yet the fish I was catching were of a good stamp.
With half the match gone I was getting slightly worried I was being left behind in the section and with me not being able to see the rest of the section I opted to feed my groundbait on the short line to see if I could get the fish to move in and settle. This brought a quick run of fish before the swim died yet again. Still with the odd fish coming from the other 2 swims and the odd fish of the waggler I opted to put my 16 meter section on and try and push the rig further towards the far bank over hanging tree and let it trot down. This brought a nice run of 5 chublet and a sigh of relief (a few more fish in the net and a good stamp at that) It was clear to see they had been feeding on my caster and hemp as their mouths were full of it. With an hour left I noticed one of the anglers to my left pack up and disappear (at least I wasn’t last in my section I thought to myself) A few more fish in the last hour and with the all out being called I thought I had blown it within the section and for the team. With Paul Giddings on the peg to my right in F section he was admitting to 4lb and I was admitting to 2lb it wasn’t long before the scales were on route round to me first.
The general feeling was the section had fished poor and most had struggled and with the scales zeroed it was time to pull my net out and see what I had. A few eye brows were raised with the remarks “their quality fish” and considering I had to scratch around to find them I presently surprised to put 4lb2oz on the scales. With others saying they had struggled I followed the scales around the section as I had already packed my kit away. As I followed them around it was clear to see most had struggled with very few quality fish in the net but at the same time quite a few small fish had been caught. With 3lb11oz the nearest to mine I had won my section and gained a valuable 8 points for the team.
With Danny Jones taking F section and the rest of the team gaining mid section results it was interesting to see where we would finish overall. Back at the pub and with the scores being finalised Pewsey team 1 had come 2nd, Pewsey team 2 had finished 3rd and Pewsey team 3 had come joint 4th. Overall a good day had by all with stores of lost chub above the weir being the talk over a pint. Still a strong performance by th October.Pewsey & District Angling Association over the first round with some good results. The next round is being hosted by Clanfield on their home water on the river Thames on the 5
Before that though I find myself back on the K&A canal for the next round of Pewsey’s canal championships’ before shifting my attention back onto the commercials for a day at Willinghurst Fisheries for a charity Help 4 Hero’s match on the 4th October. Winters coming and things are starting to get busy.