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New Year Eve Match

Going back to our Cardiff Nomad roots at Hendre Lake Cardiff was bitter sweet. Seeing the rubbish and unattended lake was a hard pill to swallow knowing that the local Cardiff City Council has turned their back on this once fabulous venue. However the fishing is still as good even though it’s a free for all with unscrupulous anglers taking the once prolific carp fish away. The day started with no wind and sunshine, drawing peg 8 in the shallow car park end and using my trusted waggler method I was soon into small roach on the red maggot out at 3 rod lengths. After two hours the roach slowed up and so I introduced knobs of groundbait in now windy conditions and the skimmers responded with a string of net fish. The news along the bank that bream were being caught from the deeper top pegs by the sluice and so I stepped up my feed to try and catch quicker when the wind and rain came so strong that I ended up fishing under my rod tip. Putting 17lb 4oz I finished a credible 3rd and some beer tokens, Luke Richards on the Sluice peg 2 was runner way winner with 38lb of feeder caught bream and on the top peg Gary Charles (Pontyminster AC) also caught bream for 19lb

My 3rd place 17lb 3oz bag

Boxing Day Weekend

Sunday saw me fish the silverfish match at Riverside near Caerphilly South Wales, as a prelude to the upcoming winter league series Tony Birt the organizer decided to peg a few swims around the Island area. Unfortunately as predicted these swims are much shallower than the open lake hence a lack of bonus skimmers and more smaller roach. I drew peg 5 in the shallow area so I opted for waggler method rather than the whip to hand that I was successful with last week coming 2nd. After starting on a 3 meter whip it was very slow so I quickly changed and caught in 5 ft of water on the drop catching small roach on red maggot and loose fed hemp. As the match progressed it was clear that I was fishing for a place as the top of the island near the open water was fishing much better where Tony Birt and Larry Salter were drawn. With Dennis o’Leary on peg 4 and Skidzy on my other side it was a fish for fish battle, unfortunately last week’s winner Martyn Challenger and Clive Roberts were draw in the corner and was out of the race. Richy Candy end peg seemed to be doing well on the whip and Dave Mann was catching a few skimmers on the pole. Nevertheless as I predicted Larry was outright winner from peg One with 26lb of skimmers and roach on the pole and whip with Tony Birt the organizer also near the open water on peg 3 was 2nd with 24lb on the long whip. With a run of better roach in last hour on the caster I was closing on the leaders but time was running out and I ended up in the prize list with 3rd place of 18lb of waggler caught roach. A lesson learnt that the league would have to be fished from the open water for a fairer match in the upcoming Individual League starting next week..... Come back and see how I get on.....

My 18lb 5oz 3rd place

The annual boxing day match at Lamby Pond Cardiff attracted a smaller than usual field this year, however drawing the end peg was a bonus and starting the 4 hour match on the a 3 meter whip I was into small Rudd at the start. Halfway through the match I started to catch smaller skimmers followed by a few roach then followed some very unusual fish for this Country, small Scadolis fish that have bread and intermingled with the resident Rudd. These were introduced to Lamby Pond over 20 years ago when A few of these fish where imported from Italy and still thriving today. Catching a single perch in the last hour followed by more Rudd I finished the match with 9lb 14oz just beating local angler Deakon who landed a 5lb Carp to go with his couple of pound of Skimmers for 6lb 15oz


Winning 9lb 14oz net                                                 2nd Deakon                 5 Species of fish

Last Midweek Sweep

A message from one of my fishing pals Mike Martyn Davies regarding fishing a midweek sweep on the Warwickshire Avon at Bidford run by Leon Blundell just before Xmas and with nothing planned I decided to travel the 90 miles as the forecast was looking good with the river running clear. Arriving at the draw only to find the river coming up due to overnight rain was very disappointing however drawing a flyer Peg 53 which was last week’s winning peg with 3 chub for 10lb I was not so disillusioned.  Starting on the pole I soon realized that the river was running fast and rising while getting more coloured by the minute, so I opted for feeder tactics in mid river. Within 3 cast I struck into a 1oz dace on double red maggot, scaling down to a single maggot followed another dozen small dacve over the next 3 hours hoping for a chub. Unfortunately the chub wasn’t feeding and the reports that only bleak and the odd bigger roach was showing. Changing tactics to a bleak whip with an hour to go was very slow with just 4 fish in 10 minutes so changing back to the feeder for the remaining rest of the match was fruitless and I ended up with just 1lb on the scales. Steve pallet winning the match with 9lb from the fancied area near the bridge and local angler Tolley Dean with 7lb 9oz for second, for me it was a day out and a nice break from the Xmas rush...

Peg 53 at Bidford

  Riverside Weekend Match

With the River Wye winter league called off due to rising floodwater a hastily organized sweepstake was set up by Tony Birt and Dean Knott at Riverside Fishery near Caerphilly South Wales. Having only fished the smaller of the two lakes before I set up a 3 meter whip 11 metre pole and an inserted waggler thinking this would cover any eventualities on the last but one peg on the larger lake. Starting on the whip and sloshing in 5 cricket size balls of soft Sensas Lake groundbait mixed with some brown crumb I fed loose hemp and caster over the top. Starting on the maggot I soon realised that the fish were small so I quickly changed to double caster and started to catch a much better quality stamp of roach. This continued for almost four hours when suddenly the swim dried up, I soon changed method to the 11 meter pole, loose feeding caster I was back catching when I noticed the fish were coming up in the 10ft deep swim so I quickly changed to the waggler up in the water with just 3 number 10 down the line and started to catch every chuck until the end of the 5 hour match. In the meantime on the end peg Martyn Challenger was slowly catching 2-3lb bream on the sweetcorn and ended up winning the match with 35lb 14oz and I ended up 2nd with a nice net of roach for 32lb 9oz Tony Birt the organizer alsocaught some bream on the long whip and ended up 3rd with 29lb. It was a nice change to fish a stillwater and a good practice for the new year when there will be an end of the season winter league on the same venue. Hopefully the River will be back to normal next week....   

My 32lb 9oz of Roach

Weekend Matches

Sunday saw me back down Port Talbot Dock in Neath South Wales. Drawing peg 13 was lucky for me last time I drew this peg and this match was no exception after losing a roach to a pike on my second chuck on an open ended feeder I quickly changed to a 3 meter whip. Starting with 5 grapefruit size balls of sloppy groundbait I was quickly into small roach. Loose feeding red maggot over the top I was into a rhythm of catching one a chuck until after an hour the smaller rudd moved in. Switching to double red maggot I was picking up slightly bigger fish including a nice 12oz perch. Making the decision to fish for small fish as the bream in the venue have stopped feeding as well as they have in the past although Mal Entwistle did start to catch a few 2lb fish in the last hour. With the smaller rudd up in the water I kept introducing small slops of groundbait closer in while loose feeding two swims, one over the cloud and one further out keeping an eye on Richy Candy who was on the next peg who was also flying with small rudd. Switching to caster and sweetcorn in the last hour was a master stroke as the roach became slightly larger and soon I was going ahead of the field in the small fish race. Catching a few on sweet corn and double caster I ended up winning the match with 24lb 5oz. 2nd was Richy with 19lb 8oz and 3rd was another Nomad member Clive Roberts with another all small fish catch with 18lb 5oz

My winning weight 24lb 4oz

Saturday was our Cardiff Nomad annual Xmas match fished on the lower River Taff in the heart of Cardiff. Normally full of dace in the summer time however in the winter there are more grayling to be caught with the occasional chub. Drawing the first peg below the Penarth bridge in 14ft of water was not the best draw as the shallow pegs above the bridge normally produce more fish, nevertheless I started on a small black cap feeder casting under the bridge in mid river and I was into a small grayling on the 2nd chuck followed by another the same size 2oz. As the match progressed I picked up another small grayling on the boly float on the hour taking another larger 10oz grayling 29 minutes later then followed by another small one 10 minutes later. As it was a Xmas match I decided to see how the other lads were doing above the bridge and Peter Golsing had caught seven small grayling but doing best was with three larger ones was Anrez Tabario who just recently came back to match fishing after a long lay off. Skidzy (Paul Hembridge) was also doing good with some larger grayling, but the surprise of the match was Richy Candy on the end peg who caught a 4lb 12oz chub on his last cast and combined with one grayling won the match.


1st Richy Candy 5lb 9oz 2nd Andrez Tabario 2lb 11oz 3rd Skidzy 2lb 10oz 4th myself 1lb 3oz

The Nomad Xmas Crew                                                               My Peg                                                           Richy Chub winner

Wye Winter League

After flood conditions last week and with the river running 4 meters above normal level yet dropping Tony Birt the organizer decided to go ahead with the 3rd round match. Our A team laying joint 1st with Shakespeare it was all to play for. Drawing peg 38 on the top of the ash path and one below the pump house I knew I was in an area for barbel, however as a team match I decided to fish for small fish on a small open ended feeder and an over shotted bat float. Starting for bleak showed nothing for the first 5 minutes so I quickly changed to a 30 gram open ended feeder lowering it under my 13ft feeder rod with a direct running line. Baiting up with double red maggot I was soon into a small chublet followed by a run of small dace when I struck into a decent roach about a lb which I landed. The swim slowed up so I changed to the bat float set at 14ft and over shotted and suddenly I was into another 1lb roach that took a little longer to land due to the fast current. As the match progressed I heard that a couple of barbel had been caught in my section and was in two minds however for the team I carried on trying to hit the sharp bites from the dace. After missing a string of bites I threaded the maggots up the hook and soon I was catching bleak on the feeder. With an hour to go I changed bait to lobworm to avoid those missed bites from the bleak when I was into a good 1lb perch followed by a missed bite and then another one about 12oz. On my last cast I caught another perch about 6oz and the final whistle went. Drawing the scales I had the task of weighing in the section. The first to weigh on peg 45 was Danny Ashington (Woodys tackle) who caught 3 barbel for 20lb 5oz as I continued to weigh the section with 3-4lb normal weigh in I was pleasantly surprised to see me weigh 9lb 15oz. With some close weights behind me I was laying 2nd in the section until the last peg 26 and the Shakespeare lad weighed in 10lb 12oz so I just missed out on a section prize. With the team all doing well throughout the match it was a close call and we ended up 3rd overall with local team Woody’s winning. With 3 rounds to go we are now laying in 2nd position behind Shakespeare and Woody team close behind 3rd  


My 3rd position in section 9lb 15oz                                               3rd Round League table

Wye Team Championships 2015

With the river coming up fast this weekend I knew that a good team draw was paramount to land the title of Wye team Champions. Unfortunately the draw wasn’t very kind to us and with myself drawing the un-fancied section of Bartisham and the end peg I was hoping for some sort of slack. After walking over a mile to get to my peg I was pleasantly surprised to find some slack water behind a large bush. The river was slightly coloured and rising slowly so I knew the first hour was important to find a fish and using a size 24 hook squeezed together making a size 32 I tipped the hook point with half a pinkie that my team member Clive Roberts gave to me before the match calling it the escape bait. Within 5 minutes I manage to land one saving me a blank in this team match. For the next two hours I fished a swim feeder packed with caster and red maggot, changing baits from Lob worm to bunches of maggots and then luncheon meat and no sooner had I changed to the meat the rod bent round hard, finding a good 2lb chub on the end. Having a quick ring around to see how the others were doing it was as I suspected that the Belmont section was doing best with roach and bleak being caught and the news came that a few barbel were now being landed. With the banks being slippery and the river rising and I was just about to move my box I stretched out to retrieve some pellets from my bag when my footing gave way and I was slipping into the river and my tackle box and all the draws followed. Up to my waist I was scrabbling to save my bait and my terminal tackle when the keepnet came in too, hoping my fish didn’t swim out I secured the net. Throwing my saved tackle up the bank I managed to scramble out of the river soaking wet, emptying my boot of water and then the tackle box, sorting it out I was back fishing after 25 minutes although I only had meat and pellet left to fish with. As it was a team match I carried on even though I was cold and wet knowing that the fish I had in my net was going to give me good team points as the angler above me was blanking and the field above me all struggling. Hoping the time was going fast and looking forward to the final whistle, with ten minutes left my rod sprung back and I was into a hard fighting fish, I knew it was a barbel as it took me into the fast current trying to shed the hook. Giving it line and back winding fast I was soon in control taking just 5 minutes to land I was looking at a 4lb 8oz barbel in the net. The final whistle couldn’t come quick enough and weighing in 7lb 6oz was best weight along two fields however the top pegs and the favourite tennis courts all caught and I ended up 5th in the 15 peg section. I just hope the rain stops soon and the river drops for next week’s winter league....

The good news was that the A team all caught however only Clive Roberts faired best with a 4th in his section while the B team came a very  credible 3rd place see result sheet... 

My Chub and Barbel also minnow                                             Click image to enlarge

Sunday Match

Back to the popular winter venue at Port Talbot Docks in Neath South Wales. A fantastic winter venue when other venues get hard with the cold snap. The dock always seems a degree warmer probably due to the steel works foundry water cooling system. Opting for small roach at 4 meters and using a sliding float on the whip I caught almost nonstop throughout the 5 hour match ending up with 20lb 4oz and 3rd place and last in the money. Team member Clive Roberts also opted for the whip and fishing just 2 meters out he out caught me by 10lb ending up with a fantastic 30lb of small roach and rudd. Winner on the day was Welsh international Nigel Evans who drew the fancied point peg 8 and caught bream on the feeder and long pole to win with 42lb. For me it was a nice change from the big matches I been fishing lately and coming back to grass roots however even the small matches can be hard to win these days. Back to the Wye and the team championships next week, come back and see how I do.....

My 3rd place 20lb 4oz of roach and rudd

Riverfest Final

Fishing in the finals of the Riverfest match has been a great experience however the decision to carry on with the event was left to organizer Tony Birt; as the river was starting to run high due to overnight rain and yet still more to come the following day. The organizing body Angling Trust were concerned about health and safety so leaving the decision for Tony to draw on his experience of the river he decided to go ahead instead of using the reserve dates of the 21st and 22nd of November which I felt was a safer bet. Nevertheless drawing peg 73 on the first day the top peg behind the railings I knew was a good draw in A section on the day thinking that B section below the bridge was a banker for a better catch the second day. As the river was slowly rising I opted for two plans of attack, firstly I bait dropped chopped worm and caster on 8 meters and 6 balls of molehill and Sensas river mixed with hemp. Starting on this line with a pole to hand I was into two roach at the start followed by two small chublets and as expected the bleak moved in. Quickly changing to a 3 meter whip I started to catch bleak at the rate of 150 an hour and was soon building a nice weight. As the river was slowly rising I came closer with a two meter whip and although the fish were smaller I was catching faster at the rate of 180 an hour. On the final whistle I was very pleased with my performance knowing I had a fair weight, however disaster came when pulling out my new net the scales man Peter Pembridge noticed a hole in my net and a bleak had lodged himself into thus blocking the escape route for many more nevertheless ruing how many had escaped before. I however amassed a total weight of 19lb 5oz which I left me 5th overall in the 72 strong field. As predicted A section had fished hard and most of the weights came from B section which I knew was going to be favourable to me and by odds from the bookie came down from 20/1 to 14/1.

Arriving early at the second day finals was very disappointing to see the river now in almost full flood only 3ft from the bank nevertheless the match was going ahead at all cost as the forecast was the river to peak and then drop during the day. Knowing I had to draw a good peg possibly with a slack to stand a chance of building on my first day weight I was pleasantly surprised to draw peg 79 the first peg below the railway bridge and especially a peg that produced 2nd best weight 21lb the day previous I thought I was in with a big shout, until I arrived at my peg and found hardly no slack water but full of boils just like a washing machine. Using similar tactics as the day previous I started with a few more balls of molehill and half a kilo of chopped worm as I guessed this could be my main attacking line. Looking for bleak I started on a 2 meter whip, it took about 10 minutes for me to catch my first one followed by another then nothing as the boils dispersed any bait I threw into the swim and with no constant flow I always knew I was going to struggle, my hopes was that most anglers would struggle too. The news along the bank was as I expected most anglers were struggling however some anglers were catching from decent slack areas including the pegs above the bridge in section A. Trying to put a weight of bleak together I managed at least 90 within the first 3 ½ hours then as the water reclined the swim became even more unfishable and news along the bank that some roach and barbel were starting to be caught. Changing to a heavy 50 gram feeder to hold bottom I tried luncheon meat and worm and with 45 minutes to go my tip shuddered and I was into a lb plus roach that I netted, quickly out on the same line I waited in vain for the tip to move again, alas with no joy I finished with a total weight of 4lb 8oz giving me a total two day weight of 23lb 13oz unfortunately missing out on a top ten placing and the main prize list. My consolation was the first day weight that gave me a section win and £250 prize money that helped my cost. Although the finals was a disaster for me I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and considering over 1,400 people entered the contest I was privileged to be there having possibly been one of the oldest contestants in the final. I believe the youngest contestant won the match; Tom Lane (The great Billy Lane’s grandchild) with a fantastic 9 barbel catch of 41lb from the favourite tennis court section even though Tom only caught 1lb the day previous he beacme the 3rd winner of the event, it just goes to show the unpredictable game of our wonderful sport.... Roll on next year

My 19lb 5oz Bleak catch with new net!!                    Result Sheet 1st day                             Winner of festival Tom Lane

Second day peg 79

Pre Match Riverfest

This Wednesday I decided to fish this quickly arranged match and with a good turnout of class anglers all with the view of preparing for this weekend Riverfest final and with the river up by 6ft it was going to be a bleak match. Drawing peg 58 the same peg I caught 20lb of bleak from the previous week in the Wye festival I was quietly confident, however with the river still rising slightly my confidence diminished as boils developed in the swim. Starting off straight for the bleak I was soon into a rhythm and the first hour seemed the best especially as I was only fishing 2 meters out. As the river rose the boils in the swim became unpredictable and the bleak fishing slowed up, meanwhile those anglers with a slack caught throughout the match and figured in the final result. Opposite me on peg 84 was local star and possibly one of the favourites: Hadrian Whittle and just like me his swim rose and his bleak slowed down too, however Hadrian quickly changed his tactics to the feeder and duly caught a large barbel that boosted his weight to 30lb. For me I opted for an inside feeder and 12gram pole to hand in the last hour and caught two roach and 6 dace giving me a total weight of just 18lb 6oz. Not enough for the section as Chalky won the section from the same peg 55 that I won from the week previous with 21lb. It is looking ominous for the weekend as bleak look as if they will decide the main prizes and as all the top weights today came from class angler I will have my work cut out, so let’s hope I get some decent draws over the two days.......

Hadrian Section win 3lb and my peg opposite

Port Talbot Docks

Sunday saw a change of venues for me and I decided to fish the Port Talbot docks at Neath in South Wales. With the dock up due to rain over the week I thought the bream would feed, nevertheless I drew the end peg 3 next to the bulrushes and knowing this was a good roach area I opted for a long whip and pole to hand. Fishing downwind I caught steadily throughout the match and ended up with 14lb 8oz and as I predicted the winning weights were bream and Nigel Evans from Swansea drawn next to me won the match on the feeder with 28lb of bream

Wye Festival

The final day at the River Wye Festival was nearly a disaster when travelling to Hereford the motorway road from Newport to Monmouth in South Wales was closed down due to a major crash near Monmouth. After diverting to Chepstow then Usk town onto Abergavenny then arriving 2 hours late at 9.45 to the venue and thankfully Clive Roberts who also got caught up in the mayhem telephoned Peter Golding who allowed our peg to be drawn prior to us arriving. 
My draw peg 99 on the tennis court section was a reasonable draw however the peg below mw 100 running onto the Victoria footbridge was favourite and a peg I won from last year using the Bread flake. So with that in mind I started on the bread using one of my new white loafer float 10gram trotting down the far side I was into a chub on my 3rd cast down, a nice 2lb chub followed shortly afterwards by another 1lb 8oz chub. The next hour I may have missed a few bites as the float disappeared and I struck into thin air, my thoughts were smaller chubblets having ago. During this time I was feeding red maggot just short of halfway, realising that no other dog chub was having a go on the bread I switched to a 8 bb stick float trotting it down my second line of attack amongst the maggot feed I was into a dog roach about a lb then followed another at this time the angler below was just landing a barbell followed by a chub, so upping my feed rate with a double pouch full suddenly the float dipped and I was into one of my first barbell. Taking me 20 minutes to land I managed to keep feeding and the very next cast I was into another one that took about the same time to land on my size 16 hook and 1.8 bottom. Unbelievable I was into my 3rd barbel the very next cast and again taking time to land it however the next cast produced a grayling then after that the swim died on me. Half way through the match I estimated about 15lb in the net then I noticed the water starting to rise so I had to move my tackle box and stand closer to the bank and resumed fishing standing up when with just two hours to go the roach moved back onto my feed and after netting half a dozen the dace moved in. Fishing as fast as I could I was swinging in 6-8 oz dace to hand followed by a few 12oz chub then the final whistle blew. I was delighted with my performance but also disappointed as I left feeding fish in the swim and weighing in 34lb I was 4lb short of winning as the bleak came good further up the river I finished 4th and collecting £180 was my pleasure.

The overall festival winner was local angler Hadrian Whittle who fished a fantastic festival winning two of the 3 days and former Nomad member Spud Murphy 2nd. For me I was just out of the main prizes with 8 penalty points as 7 points was in the main prize, it was a great event and I will certainly look forward to next years event….

Peg 99 on the tennis court                                                             My 4th place 34lb mixed bag

2nd Day on the Wye Festival I drew peg 58 in the middle section a noted good area for dace as the pegs here shallow up and the day before peg 59 produced 34lb of dace. So with anticipation I balled in 8 orange size molehill and groundbait, mixed with hemp and caster and this time no chopped worm as I feel the worm would attract perch and these could spook any feeding dace. Probably a mistake as big perch are showing up anywhere on Belmont at the moment however the bleak are there in abundance and last time a bleak explosion happened on this venue was over 20 years ago and often then, most matches were won with 30 –40lb of them nevertheless today I was into a dace first chuck followed by another. Then the bleak moved in and trying to get through them was impossible so I quickly changed my tactics to the whip and I was soon catching them one a chuck, the only problem was the height of the stages from the water level and as the water is still running clear the bleak were staying further out. Fishing a 4 meter whip with full length of line I was catching the bleak at 8 meters to say my arm was aching at the end of the match was an understatement however I ended up with 20lb 14oz and 4th in the zone satisfied I done my best. 34lb won the zone from end peg 65 with a mixed bag of roach and perch Spud Murphy was 2nd with a fantastic 28lb of bleak that he caught close in. So with a 3rd and a 4th I will need a section win tomorrow to stand a chance of any coin lets hope for a good draw………  

       Picture of catch to follow

Setting the alarm at 5am for an early drive to avoid the early morning traffic for The 3 day River Wye Festival arriving just in time for the 8am draw after stopping on the way to collect fresh mole hill. A sell out field again and a well-run match by Peter Golding and with 3 sections to fish (One different each day) for the honour of the Wye festival Champion, I drew the un-fancied top section peg 26 just below the cables on the first day, it was high off the bank and no way of getting into the water so realising it was going to be a hard working match again. My zone was peg numbers 26-2 and I had the privilege of the scales.

Knowing in the past that chub live in this area and the pegs above I set my stall out with a bread chubber, big stick and bleak whip, nonetheless when the match started I opted on a bleak attack as I saw a few pimping on the surface before the match. Trying to get the whip line to work cost me an hour before the bleak arrived into the swim. For the next 3 hours it was a bleak a chuck on my newly made Italian Whip floats, then the last hour it died again and I ended up struggling for a bite. Hearing that the top pegs didn’t fish I thought I may be in with a chance for the section however Spud Murphy took advantage of the first hour before the bleak arrived and caught some pound plus chub on the waggler that gave him a total weight of 25lb 4oz meanwhile the angler above me also caught a late chub on the feeder to go with his bleak cursing my luck not to have fished for the chub across so I ended up 3rd in the zone with 15lb 11oz. So it’s all to fish for over the next couple of days let's hope I don't make the same mistake ......

Peg 26 Belmont 5ft off water                                                          3rd in one with 15lb 11oz Bleak

Wye Winter League 2nd round

Drawing peg 55 two below the bridge just below the ash path was a fair draw especially when I found I was on one of the new wooden stages nice and comfortable, the only problem I was five feet off the water so any type of fishing was going to be difficult. Setting up a forest of rods that included a Boly, Stick float, Waggler, Feeder rod, and 4 whips I knew from the start what I would be doing. As I adjusted the float and plumbed the depth the bleak started to attack my floats. So my mind was already getting prepared for a bleak match. The starting whistle and 6 solid molehill, hemp and black lake packed with floating caster went in. As the caster steadily floated to the surface I was catching two bleak a minute at 4 meters, this steady continued for three and a half hours getting through 6 pints of maggot and I was guessing I was on track for 20lb similar to last week when the angler above me started to catch quality roach and perch on the boly float right under my feet. Quickly switching to a boly I was into a roach five rods out which set me on the wrong path as I struggled for the last hour with just half a dozen dace and small chublets into the net. Thinking I may have blown a section win especially with a very hot line up of anglers in my section including Spud Murphy the new Wye champion, local expert Hadrian Whittle and our own past Wye champion Richy Candy plus some of the top Shakespeare team anglers and midland lads. However I done just enough to win the section with 16lb 10oz of mainly bleak and helping our Cardiff Nomad A team into 2nd place on the day. Richy Candy was 2nd in the section with the help of a good 3lb perch in his 15lb net also helping the Nomad C team into first place. Richy’s team also provided the Winner with guest angler Steve Clark 32lb catching mainly 28 perch and some chublets from peg 74 on the railings Helping Steve with tactics before the start as I knew the area well from last week. New member to the squad Trevor Chalk coming 2nd with a very good 31lb of the tennis courts with whip caught chublets.

16lb 10oz Bleak bag

Wye Championships 2015

Drawing permanent peg 75 at Belmont behind the railings wasn’t my ideal draw although during the week I had a coaching day With Jan Mazyck on the bleak opposite on the Ash path peg 40. During the coaching session Jan caught 15lb of bleak in 3 hours knowing that this wasn't a good draw on the day my thoughts were to fish for bleak from this swim hoping for a section place, however the flow was further out on this swim so I had to use a 4 ½ meter whip to get to any flow. Hoping that the big perch that live on the peg above would drop down I balled in 6 balls of chopped worm at the start. Within 20 minutes the bleak moved on to my waggler line so I then fed shorter and when they were close enough changed to the whip. Using my Italian whip float I was catching 2 and 3 small bleak per minute which continued throughout the rest of the match. Keeping focussed on the job at hand Brian Rigby who was pegged opposite on peg 49 also switched to bleak fishing and this gave me a guidance on how I was doing. Catching two to his one I thought I had him beat until the last hour he changed to the rod and line and snagged a few bigger dace and a quality roach just beating me by 6oz. Brian weighed in 20lb counting his fish he said he caught 489 bleak whereby I had over 1000 unfortunately my bleak were so much smaller ending up with 19lb 6oz and 2nd in the section beaten by Club member Martyn Challenger 23lb of chubblets on peg 82 below the bridge. The favourite perch peg 74 above me failed to produce and the angler below peg 76 failed to weigh in however it was a great match and an incredible 74 of chub for 174lb won the match by former club member Spud Murphy. 2nd on the day was one of my travelling partner Clive Roberts catching 14 Barbel for 93lb all caught from the fancied carrots section. Next week I’m back on Belmont to fish the 2nd round of the Winter league come back and see how I get on............
My Swim peg 75 Rigby opposite    One of Clive Roberts 14 Barbel             Result sheet Click on image to enlarge

Bristol Avon

This Sunday saw me fish the Commercial House league (58 Anglers) for Cardiff Nomads on the Bristol Avon at Newbridge near Bath. Drawing peg 114 in the trees and in the deeper water at first wasn’t my choice of pegs as I fancied a shallow swim where I could fish the waggler however arriving at my peg I found a 6ft drop down to the water so quickly catching up to my travelling partner Mike Davis for the keys to the car to get my waders so that I could at least fish on the water level for comfort.

Plumbing up the pole line at 15ft I set up one of my running line pole floats see Using this float I won the South of England Pole Championships a few years ago with 17lb of skimmers from the same area when the water was in colour and was hoping for the same today. As I was setting my tackle up I noticed a skimmer surface in mid river so my tactics changed from balling in on the pole line and I started on the feeder across. The boat traffic was a nightmare so feeder tactics was best anyway and within my third cast I was into a smaller skimmer about 1lb soon followed by another three all caught on worm. After a few more small perch and a couple of roach I hooked into something big that took me a few minutes to retrieved and just as I was about to grab my landing net the hooklength broke and thinking it may have been a big pike I switched to the pole line as I had been feeding it during the first hour. With a few small roach and perch the pole line dried up, so back onto the feeder I went and unfortunately that swim had dried up too but the good news was the early morning rowers had finished their racing and I could at least fish the waggler up in the water looking for those resident roach. With just one dace for my effort I switched back to the feeder and worm and with an hour and a half to go my tip moved and I struck into thin air in fact it twitched again next cast so I decided to scale down to a 16 and double red maggot and again it pulled round and nothing on the end. Being frustrated about this I reached for my pole to look at the pole line again and I noticed the elastic in the pole had caught up in a branch so climbing up the bank with the foot holes I made earlier I kept an eye on the tip rod as I untangled the pole, when suddenly my tip rod went round and stayed round and with a mad rush and sliding down the high bank I grabbed my feeder rod and was pleasantly surprised to feel a lump on the end. After a few minutes I was slipping a good 5lb bream into my net and thinking those bite s I had a few minutes earlier were in fact line bites as a shoal of bream must have moved into the swim. My next cast I was into another about 3lb and five minutes later another that tipped the scales about 6lb and finally just before the finishing whistle I landed another about 3lb for a final catch weight of 20lb 15oz and third in the match. Unknowingly the angler Richard Lacey from Bristol on peg 118 had been catching bream for most of the match and caught over 14 of the slabs and a fantastic 81lb to win the match. A very interesting match for me as feeder fishing is not one of my favourite methods and realising those pulls on my tip were in fact line bites but a lesson to learn for the future, our team Nomads unfortunately were well down the field. Next week I’m back to my favourite River Wye for the Wye Championships, find out how I get on next week....................  


My 20lb 15oz and 3rd Place                              Winner Richard Lacey 81lb 9oz

Good Weekend

Fishing the River Severn at Upton on Saturday was my 4th attempt to qualify this year for the 2015 Riverfest Final on my favourite River Wye at Hereford and coming close in the previous matches I was quietly confident as I just missed out qualifying last time I visited this venue and knowing that Bleak was going to be a targeted fish as local angler Ian Didcott qualified last time with 10lb of those silver fish where I sussed it out to late last time catching 5lb of them in the last hour and half. However drawing peg 5 on St John’s section and being told that Peg 2 just below the River Teme would probably win the section plus the end pegs in the section where the Barbel live and last year’s winning peg. Undeterred I set out my stall and was pleasantly surprised to start catching small dace from the start on an Avon float and for two hours I was catching almost every trot down, loose feeding hemp and maggot in 7ft of water. With half the match almost over and an estimated 7lb of fish in the net the bleak moved in so quickly changing to a light waggler over the top of my swim I started to catch at the rate of two a minute for the next half of the match finally ending up with 13lb 2oz. Sometimes you need a little luck in match fishing and it seemed my luck was in as Peg 2 weighed in 13lb exactly and the end peg weighed in 11lb whilst losing a barbel and a chub. Winning the Zone and qualifying for the Riverfest final was fantastic and just missing out on winning the match as Shakespeare captain Jamie Robinson won the middle Zone and match with 13lb 14oz while Lee Gardner also from Shakespeare team and a regular Wye angler won the bottom section with just 3lb of Roach. The Final is starting to look like a good field of anglers and with 20k on offer I am looking forward to it.

My Peg 5 at Upton with Pleasure Anglers opposite      My 13lb 2oz Mixed Bag    Click on result section result sheet

River Wye Sunday

Sunday was the first of the River Wye Winter league series and my luck was still with me when I drew a fancied area peg 58 (D8) the Polish Camp field. Arriving at my peg after a long walk with just an hour to go I quickly set up two float rods. One with the Bread float and one with a shallow balsa waggler, starting with the bread on the shallow peg that run down to a tree opposite was fruitless for the first 20 minutes so I quickly changed to the Balsa waggler just dragging bottom. After 30 minutes I was into my first fish, feeling like a decent one I slowly played the fish up the 30 yards from the sunken tree, just under my rod top when suddenly the huge Barbel realised it was hooked it took off like a train back down the river, after a 20 minute battle the line broke. Cursing my luck I carried on trotting down to the tree where I was told the fish live, an hour into the match I caught a dace. A local angler who was walking the bank told me the swim has been battered all week and only last week in the charity match the angler blanked off the same peg. So changing my line of attack I cast into the slack slightly up stream and within 5 minutes I was into my first of 9 chub. For the next hour I was catching steady combined with a few chublets and a couple of dace the swim died a death. For the last 3 hours all I caught was a few trout and Salmon parr, nevertheless I ended up with a total weight of 27lb 4oz and enough to win the section of 12 and fourth in the match. All in all a very good weekend picking up a few hundred quid and looking forward to the same venue in the Riverfest Final...
My Bag of Chub 27lb 4oz                                                                             A Red Letter Day and Great weekend Sunset on the way home

Wye Charity Match

This year’s match attracted over 80 anglers and getting a decent draw was important as the river is in desperate need of some rain and with the river running clear and at summer level the fish are shoaling up in areas. I was one of the first into the draw bag and my heart stopped when I drew peg 16 on Breignton springs Just one peg below the favourite block house swim. Arriving at my peg I was frustrated to find a shallow swim exactly what I wanted but full of streamer weed and flowing very fast, a swim not normally pegged due to the shallow fast rapid swim whereby the peg above (15) similar but with more depth which holds the current British River Record of over 300lb. Paul Bick from Shakespeare super team drew and fished a very good match winning it with 23 chub for 93lb. Myself I was blanking after two hours so I took a chance and introduced half a bucket of sloppy groundbait into the swim and within five minutes I was catching small 2oz chublets, blasting in 6 pints of maggots and casters I was catching a fish every chuck down. With over 120 in the net the bleak moved in the last hour so switching to double caster I was back catching small chublets again. Ending up with 12lb 8oz I winning my section by default. A great days fishing and some big weights with Trevor Chalk a new recruit to our winter league team 2nd with 84lb while local Star Hadrian Whittle with 54lb from the Tennis courts and Team member Luke Richards making the prize list with 38lb for 5th Roll on next week Winter League...

My Section winning Bag of Chublets       Paul Bicks winning bag of 93lb being weighed by last years River Fest Champion Steve Sadler

Weekend Matches

Saturday saw me down the river Taff Cardiff with a little sorrowfulness as natural venues are becoming a thing of the past and only attracting a couple of anglers, however I had a great 3 hours catching dace on the waggler and stick winning with 11lb 4oz

Sunday I was back down the Port Talbot Docks Neath South Wales, attracting a good line up of anglers including local and Welsh international angler Nigel Evans who drew favourite peg 8 on the jetty. Drawing peg 11 one away from last week I was quietly confident however drawing between two of the best venue anglers Mike Towler who was once crowned king of the Dock and Mal Entwistle the match organizer who has also one of the best records on this venue, I had my work cut out. Starting on the sliding whip at 4 meters I balled in four orange size balls of mashed bread and brown crumb laced with sweetcorn, casters and maggots hoping that the bream and mullet would be attracted to the feed. Within 5 minutes I was into small roach and blades and soon catching one a minute; however the fish seemed much smaller than the week before perhaps because Mal and Mike opted for a feeder approach therefore I had the small fish to myself. Keeping my head down I was into a good rhythm and at times catching 3 a minute on the second hour I had the fish on the drop while the third hour slowing down. Mike on my left started to catch bream and skimmers and was closing my lead on him, with his seven bream and nine skimmers in his net I had to take a gamble and so I started to feed more sweetcorn into the swim and it paid off as I was into a slab that took just 30 seconds to land, however my luck run out when I pulled out of another slab soon after followed by losing two big mullet on a trot. With the swim going quite I upped the feed and put two balls of sloppy mix every chuck and the fish responded, baiting with double maggot I was catching some larger roach and with the final whistle I felt I may have done enough. However Mike Bream were 3-4lb apiece and Shaune Parsons on his left had a late rally, and Mal couldn’t get the fish going, my team mate Clive Roberts on the end peg also had a great match catching a fish a chuck while last week’s winner and man on form Anthony Hogg caught over 400 fish and also a bonus slab from peg 6. The weigh in was very close Anthony leading the way again with 32lb I was happy with my 2nd place of 28lb 10 oz just beating Clive Roberts by 3 oz (28 7oz) Mike had 20lb + as did Shaune Parsons with 25lb Nigel also had 25lb with 8 anglers weighing ovber 20lb and most of the field double figures this has to be one of the best venues around  

Port Talbot Dock                                                                 My 28lb 10oz   2nd Place                          Clive Roberts 28lb 7oz 3rd
Sliding whip float                     Mike Towler 20lb Bream Bag

Port Talbot Docks

With Winter just around the corner and Port Talbot being one of the best winter venues around I thought I would enter the first match this Season. With still mild temperatures there was a chance that the roach would outnumber the resident bream shoals and I wasn’t disappointed. Opting to fish for the small roach and blades, I set up a deep dock sliding float that I developed last year. Having the advantage of when striking and missing a fish simply let the weight down the line to sink again consequently not wasting time out of the water. The method fished like a dream nonetheless as I used mashed bread and brown crumb with a couple of pints of caster and maggot I was hoping to attract the sea going mullet that average a couple of pound a time into the swim that are bonus fish. I was caught out on the starting whistle when match organizer Mal Entwhistle started the match 3 minutes early nevertheless balling in a couple of orange size balls of groundbait on the four meter line and setting the slider at 4ft sliding to full depth 12 foot I was slowly into small roach. Next to me was Shaune Parson and on his right side was local expert Anthony Hogg, who started on time and had the start on me they were both into catching small fish. As the match developed it seemed like a three horse race as we were all catching a fish every put in and with three hours into the match I felt I was going into the lead with the amount of fish as Anthony counted over 200 and Shaune with a similar amount then suddenly my elasticated whip shot out with a large mullet on, after playing the sea going fish for a few minutes it decided to take off like a train and at the same time completely snapped my line on the knot of my whip attachment losing the whole rig. After a valuable few minutes I managed to put a new float on and set the depth, perhaps falling behind the silver fish race. Within a few minutes I was back catching regular again and it happened all over again a massive fish which I presume was another Mullet took me out into the deep water and snapping my line again. This cost me another few vital minutes and to make things worse the angler on my left was also catching skimmers and catching me up. Losing my momentum and the feeding shoal it took me a good 20 minutes to get going again yet in the meantime Shaune decided to go on the tip searching for Bream however that gave me the opportunity to catch him up and go in front, but Anthony kept to his task and kept catching the small roach. The final whistle came and the word along the bank that as I suspected the Bream didn’t feed and so it was close between the anglers on each side to provide the prizes, I eventually ended up putting 22lb 2oz of roach on the scales yet cursing my luck about those lost bonus mullet as local expert Anthony Hogg put 24lb 6oz and and beat me into 2nd place the angler on my left was 3rd with 18lb and Shaune Parsons 4th with 17lb It was a great match as most of the sell out field caught double figures and it looks very promising for the coming winter sport..  

Dock Slider                     Shaune & Anthony                      My 22lb 22 oz                                               pegs on my left

Riverfest on the Wonderful Wye

Fishing one of my favourite rivers The Wye on a Riverfest qualifier was always going to be decided on the draw. With the river running low and clear the fish as I suspected are shoaling up in pockets therefore a good draw was always going to be important on the day. Drawing Breinton peg 8 was a half decent draw and hoping to be somewhere near the famous blockhouse which holds the river record of over 300lb. Unfortunately I was about 6 pegs away and upon arriving to my peg I found a very shallow swim indeed about two and a half foot deep, not being dismayed by this as I know that shallow swims can produce fish at this time of the year. Tackling my swim with a 10 gram trunchin waggler and a 5 swan loafer I started by loose feeding maggots a third out from the bank as this was where the slower flow on this very fast swim was. In only my second trot down with the trunchin waggler I was into a good 2lb chub followed by another 4lb chub 10 minutes later. Using a size 14 hook and double red maggot I started to pick up some 4oz dace then suddenly on the hour mark I hooked into a decent barbel, after a hectic 20 minute battle on my light 2.6 line I slipped a 4lb fish into my net. With my arm still aching from the fight I was into another 4lb chub that also took 10 minutes to land. Knowing that I was soon catching most of the fish in this swim that was governed by a rapid below and one above I took my time and changed to a big 14 x 4 stick float that produced a string of small chublets and a couple of large perch. By half way through the match I guessed I had near 20lb in my net, however the news along the bank that the record breaking block house swims were catching well so I upped my feed rate to try and improve my catch rate and soon I was into another whisker that took my 20 minutes to land. The swim died after that episode and I was hunting for small dace further down the swim and after a dozen they also dried up. With an hour to go I mixed up some groundbait and started to introduce an orange size ball every chuck and it seemed to encourage a string of small chublets into the swim then suddenly I was into a big fish that took me down the swim and into a snag, trying to play fish in a powerful river on light line is very difficult and in fact I lost another soon after. Changing to a larger hook didn’t produce any bites at all except for a 10oz barbel however changing back to a small hook I was into another big fish that also gave me the slip and in my estimation I recon I put back over 10lb of fish and when the final whistle ended I was more than satisfied I caught what I could from the swim and put 31lb 12oz onto the scales yet only enough for my small section and a £50 payout. As I expected the zone winner came from the blockhouse with 54lb of Barbel while 82 lb was needed from the Eign section and 72 from Bartasham section The wonderful River Wye must be the best river in the country for huge weighs roll on the We Champs and the charity not forgetting the festival and winter league...

My Section winning 31lb 12oz of Two Barbel 6 Chub and a mix of samll chublets and dace including 2 perch

River Thames Festival

This week I travelled to an unfamiliar venue the River Thames near Oxford to fish Paul Glenfield Thames Championships. Hearing that it could be a roach fest I looked forward to the three day event and with section placing to decide the winner.

On day one I drew Abbingdon section peg 16 opposite the boat yard not a fancied area I was told yet I opted to fish the waggler and loose feed in this very slow moving river meanwhile local angler John Beesely opted for long pole and balling in above me. After fishing a very productive first hour catching 6 oz roach with an estimated 5lb in my net the swim dried up yet John above me kept catching small roach, dace and perch. Scaling down in hook size (22) and 7oz bottoms I did manage to catch a few small roach and ended up with 6lb and 5th in the section John who kept catching small fish ended up with 9lb and 3rd in the section and as most league matches the end pegs produced the section winners.

Day 2 I drew Appleford B section a continuation of Abbingdon however this time I drew a fancied area peg 3  just below the Marina Not making the same mistake I balled in a five balls of groundbait on the 14meter line and for the first hour kept catching small roach on the long pole however on peg 2 just above me was last year’s joint winner Neil Richards from Swindon who opted for chopped worm after being left behind me in the speed fishing. Half way through the match Neil’s tactics worked and four massive Perch averaging 3lb a piece he forged ahead of me Changing to waggler to catch larger roach and try to catch up didn’t work and so with an hour to go I balled in another five balls on the four meter line my swim came alive again and with a small roach a chuck eneded up with 11lb 12oz and 4th in the section. Neil above me ended up with 18lb and a section zone winner.

Day Three saw me draw peg 23 at the bottom end of a new section Culham having the knowledge that only 2lb of fish came from my swim the day before I wasn’t looking forward to the long walk however undeterred I was disappointed to find myself on a high bank with long streamer grass in the swim. After digging a few steps down into the river I opted for whip and waggler. Starting with four balls on the 4 meter whip I started to catch bleak knowing that I was going nowhere fast I quickly switched to the waggler catch two roach before the bleak moved in nevertheless I was being bleaked out I opted for a bulk down with a 4 gram Avon float avoiding the bleak I managed to catch a couple of small perch and roach. The last hour I realised that I didn’t have enough in the net to worry the scalesman so as an exercise I changed back to the waggler and concentrated on catching those bleak and bagging over 2lb I was cursing myself for not fishing them for 5 hours as the section was won with 9lb by local expert Neil Richards I weighed in 4lb 9oz and a mid way finish.

Having fished this event I realise that local knowledge and drawing end pegs has such a big advantage however it was a good festival and I was glad I fished it, meeting old and new friends and fishing festival’s seem to be the future and certainly good fun. Coming 4th 5th and 7th in my sections and 16th overall out of 69 wasn’t that bad and will look forward to next years event

Day 1

              Abbingdon pegs                                                   Myn 6lb bag of Roach                                       John Beesley 9lb

          Peg 3 Appleford                                                       My 11lb 12oz           Neil's 4 Perch          Peg 23 Culham      My only pick up


This Saturday I fished the latest Riverfest Qualifier on the River Severn at Bewedly Drawing a flyer 72 an end peg running into the town centre I ran to my swim. Hearing from local anglers that you would need Barbel to win a zone and qualify my tactics was made up. Starting on the small dace with the stick float and waggler changing to barbel later, however my mind was made up when the angler two pegs above caught a barbel in the first 20 minutes thinking that the whiskers were going to feed in the slowly dropping colour I switched to the feeder. After 30 minutes snagging up and losing two feeders I decided to come back to the small fish and after a steady second hour catching small bleak and dace I thought I was going nowhere fast so once again I switched back to the feeder in the 3rd hour. The news came along the river bank that the barbel haven’t fed as everyone thought so once again I opted for small fish again however it wasn’t until the last half hour I started to catch some nice 6-8oz roach on the caster and at the final whistle I was gobsmacked to leave feeding fish in the swim. The decision to fish for Barbel was a disaster as only 11lb won the qualifying zone by North Wales angler Ian Ward (Speedy) who caught perch and dace; moreover I only put 7lb 4oz on the scales my lowest weight since fishing the River in fact speaking to a few anglers in the zone all making the same tactical mistake and pinning their tactics on Barbel, oh well next weekend qualifier will be on my favourite River Wye watch this space........  But in the meantime I will be fishing my first River Thames Festival this week so more great fishing to look forward too.....

Float Only Match

The popular Float Only Matches Run by Dave Foxhaul of Kidderminster AA on the River Severn at Bewdley started his polular matches this Wednesday and Mike Davis and I attended. With the river holding a chocolate colour from recent rain but still running low I drew peg 106 the same peg I fished two years ago in a Riverfest match, on that occasion I struggled to make 4lb of fish however my travelling partner Mike assured me there are fish to be caught and peg 105 had 20lb last weekend. Setting up a whip with an internal elasticised tip and a two gram float at 5 meters plus an Avon float and a stick all set at 4ft deep. Starting the match I plonked four molehill and groundbait golf ball sizes into the swim and soon I was into a bleak a chuck, unperturbed  I kept catching hoping that the dace would move in and after an hour I started to catch small dace with the odd bigger one now and again. Switching from Whip to stick and back to the whip on the two hour limit suddenly I struck into a big fish that swam toward me and I could see under the water a 4lb barbel then suddenly he took off into the main stream however I managed to steer him back again using my internal size 12 solid elastic and just as I was about to net the fish my pole snapped in half and the worst bit losing the fish. For most of the match after I stuck with the stick float just in case I hooked another as I probably had a better chance to land it on a running line. With two hours to go I cast short of the main flow which was 5 meters out and suddenly I had a run of perch that bumped my weight up yet I was also into gudgeon too and catching over 100 during the rest of the match I ended up with 16lb 12oz of a mixed bag and 3rd in the competition. Colin Harvey managed to land his two barbel and also a mixed bag to win the match with 24lb while local angler Chalky had a late run of good quality roach on tares to just beat me into 2nd with his 17lb 12oz

Colin Harvey 24lb                               Chalky 17lb                                                                               Me 16lb               

Monday Team Event

As predicted the team event on the Evesham Bank Holiday Monday was dominated by the best bloodworm anglers and teams in the Country and possible the best in the World. Our Sensas Cardiff Nomad Team draw was an average one with Clive Roberts on a good peg number 4 Mike Martin Davis on peg 17 myself on peg 33 Kevin Albury on Peg 48 and Richy Candy on peg 63.  Unfortunately it was a disaster for us coming last with 20 points Clive Roberts lost two big fish that may have taken him up from last in his section. Richy also came last from the peg that won the veterans match Wednesday and although Mike Martin fished a good match and was piked out he was also last in his section I did managed 6 points on my waggler and stick float methods and Kevin Alibury 11 points done best with hemp caught roach and 5th in his section The only consultation was Spuds new Shakespeare team only just beat us they had 24 points. The top team on the Day led by English Manager Mark Downs was Starlets with an all bloodworm approach.   

Starlets Winning Team

Sunday I fished my local River Taff with the lads in a small knock up and a much better chance of catching some decent bags of fish. Putting in some new pegs I drew the steep bank and the fishing started slow with just two Grayling 10 oz each in the first hour. The 2nd and 3rd hour was also a bit slow with just one dace and two more mini grayling and a Brown trout that I put back alive. After some disturbance from the rowing boats my swim started to come alive and soon I was into a 4oz dace a chuck on the stick float, feeding short I was catching them under my rod top and was going hell for leather as Clive and Richy below had much more fish than me at this stage. After a great last hour I put 15lb 4oz onto the scales unfortunately not enough to catch Clive Roberts on the end peg who
weighed in 16lb    

My 15lb 4ozcatch

Evesham Weekend

The highlight of the year The Evesham Festival Weekend was an anti climax after weeks of preparation and months of concentrating my efforts on this River it really all came down to Bloodworm fishing and tactics to stand any chance of catching a decent bag of fish and compete.

Drawing peg 51 on the Saturday match was a fancied peg; however the pegs below number 52, 53 and 54 in my opinion are much better as I have caught double figure bag of fish last year. The bombardment of groundbait and joker was inevitable and I also had to follow knowing without this natural bait then I would struggle. Nevertheless after 6 hard balls and 6 softer balls into my swim at 11 meters I was into a few small roach at the start but that soon died a death and after an hour I had less than 5oz in my net so my 2nd line of attack was a flat float over the top with chopped worm and luckily that produced 5 perch on a trot. Meanwhile I was pinning my hope on loose fed hemp at 13 meters of which I fed religiously and after two hours I changed only to get one missed bite in the next hour. Desperation was starting to set so I opted for a waggler across that brought me a dozen small chublets and bleak and with a total weight of 1lb 4oz I was well out of any prize money. Below me on peg 52 Shaun Ashby also opted for a flat float and chopped worm and duly won the section with 4lb of eels. However on a brighter note Andrew Murphy (Spud) one of my old team mates managed to snag a 11lb Barbel also on the flat float while fishing for eels off peg 44 and he became one of the few double winners of that event. Not looking forward to Monday Team event as Bloodworm favourite looks to dominate....

Me on Peg 51                                           Result (Click on Board for larger image)                                    Match winner Spud

Midweek Matches

This Tuesday evening we had a small knock up on the River Taff Cardiff a great river that runs through the heart of the Principality this is where I learnt my fishing in my younger days. After a main pollution in the 6o’s and the EA dragging the bottom and making flood banks combined with the barrage the river is a different venue these days however the fishing can be very good. Fishing the 3 hour match I opted for a 6bb alloy stick float, loose feeding white and red maggot and baiting up with a flag (Red & White combination)  I was into small 4oz dace every trot down, then half way through the match I hooked a fish that just took me into the middle and snapped my hook length. Quickly tying a new one I cast out and again I was into another big fish, this time I played the fish very carefully and within 5 minutes I netted a beautiful 4lb 14oz chub. Finishing the 3 hour match with a fantastic 32lb2oz

My Bag of Dace and 4lb 14oz Chub

Evesham Veterans

A great turnout for the annual Veterans (Over 60s) match on the Warwickshire Avon at Evesham and with over 85 older anglers fishing much more than a normal match it is a sad issue when you consider this fact that less youngsters are coming to natural venues these days. That said it was nice to see old friends again, but not so good was my draw, peg 82 at the bottom end of the match. Opting for loose hemp on the pole was probably the wrong method as the river had a new influx of cold water putting the fishing off slightly. Half way through the match the news filtered down the bank that the fishing was very poor indeed therefore to get some fish into the net I switched to a small stick float and started to catch small chublets and bleak on fluorescent pinkies. Catching over 50 small fish I decided to look over my hemp line again however the wind made it almost impossible to present the bait correctly nevertheless I did manage to get a couple of bites and eventually a small roach. With arm aching fighting against the wind I soon gave that method up and finished the match with 1lb 2oz Knowing that I had beaten at least ten anglers above me It was disappointing to find that I was in a six peg section below me and was beaten by Rob McKenzy (Gloucester) on peg 85 who had some shelter from the wind and won the section with 2lb of hemp roach. With local angler Alan Stephens winning the match from un fancied peg 63 with some eels and perch for a very poor winning weight of 4lb. At the Presentation Alan remarked that the Bloodworm that has been allowed in the last few matches have taken their toll and the fish are not responding to normal baits thus the low weights in the match. Ah well I hope hope it picks up this weekend for the festival of which I am fishing the Saturday Match... Come back and see how I get on.....

Weekend Matches

This Saturday I fished the last of the Wychavon Qualifiers at Evesham on the Warwickshire Avon. Drawing peg 44 I ran to my peg knowing this is an area than can produce Roach on the hemp and with the river running clear I fancied my chances however this was also a bloodworm match and in my experience if you don’t put some in there is a chance you may get stuffed by the angler on the next peg who does. After the 8 baby heads of joker filled and leam groundbait into the swim I was disappointed to get ragged bloodworm every put down until I hooked a 4oz perch and that was it after an hour so I decided to switch to the waggler across and I was catching a mini chublet a chuck realising I was going nowhere fast I came back over the bloodworm line but this time I fed hemp over it. After 10 minutes I had my first bite knowing that the roach were very weary I had to use a very light Hemp Float that I designed especially for this type of fishing. During the last two and a half hours the fish came and go yet I ended up with a dozen and a total weight of 2lb 15oz and another section win that helped pay for the days fishing. Unfortunately I was in a bad area for the day as the weights below in the late forties and early fifties caught much more and Wye expert Hadrian Whittle on peg 49 managed over 8lb of bloodworm caught fish and 3rd in the match. So unfortunately this year I won’t be fishing the Wychavon Event on the Bank Holiday festival the first time in a few years, however I will be fishing the Evesham Final on the Saturday and the team event on the Monday....

Hadrian Whittle Bag                                            Result Board (Click on Picture)

Sunday I was back over the Bridge fishing the last of the South West Super league matches on the Bristol Avon at Newbridge. Drawing peg 39 I was disappointed to see no numbers on the river bank in my area and a few anglers picking their swims left me nowhere to fish, after a quick two step down to see the Lee Trevit the guy who pegged it last week and with his help he managed to sort it out so I could fish by moving the anglers on my peg and below down a few spaces. With the river running clear I decided to ball a dozen baby heads of groundbait into the swim as this appears to work best on this venue, and soon I was into small roach and perch. However the rain was lashing it down and soon the river started to colour up and out of the blue I landed a good 2lb skimmer nevertheless I was a bit slow on changing my method of loose feeding hemp and caster over the top as the anglers below and above switched to chop worm and they were into big slabs and very soon I was being banjo’ed by them I did change to feeder tactics but with no joy and at the weigh in 33lb above me and 24lb below to my 8lb 14oz I was truly done!! Oh well let’s hope I get it right this coming Bank Holiday Evesham Festival starting this Wednesday on the Veterans Match....    

Weekend Drought

This weekend matches Saw me fish the Both Avons, Warwickshire and Bristol. Saturday at Evesham I drew Town peg 26, normally a peg I fancied but with extra water running this swim was very fast and shallow. The Bloodworm was allowed and I decided to not fish it this week and see how it would fair amongst the hemp seed. Big mistake as the Bloodworm dominated the match and Tom Scholey on the peg above (25) proved it by battering me, catching 5lb 2oz to my 3lb 6oz. In fact nine out of the top ten was caught on the expensive bloodworm bait, the only exception was a Barbel off peg 9.

Sunday on the South West Super League at Newbridge I drew a good bream area Peg 96 however with the river still running low and clear except for a drop in temperature it was announced before the match that every angler had plenty of room, so that was going to help me in my hemp loose feed approach, however when I got to my peg I was disappointed to find that peg 97 was only 10 yards below me and therefore I knew I was going to struggle. With the all in the angler below balled in the groundbait and very soon I realized I had to change my tactics to the waggler, within 20 minutes I was catching a fish a chuck, small chublets and Bleak. Hoping that I could catch larger chub I fished a double maggot but unfortunately it didn’t make much difference in fact the bleak on most times were much bigger than the chublets. I kept feeding the 11 meter hemp line and tried it every half an hour but to no avail. Concentrating on the waggler trying to build a weight I amassed over 250 fish during the match and ended up exhausted with 8lb 4oz However it was just good enough for mid way in my section as the balling in method by anglers seemed the best method on the day Out Team also coming last on the day, very disappointing weekend but Hey that’s what match fishing is about Highs and lows............   

The Avon Bleak   Much bigger than the                         Avon Chublets..............

Evening Summer Series

The penultimate match in the Cardiff Nomad evening series was an anti climax and with the evening weather being still with no wind the entry was down to just 4 anglers fishing. Having to contend with a newly arrived Gypsy Camp in the car park we had to walk the long way round. Being pestered all night by the little tinkers asking for hooks, weights and bait was a distraction however Clive Roberts made good his connections with them and was runaway winner with 19lb 14oz of hemp and tare roach. I was 2nd with hemp roach for 9lb 14oz that concludes me as the overall winner of the series, Mike Martin Davies came 3rd with just 15oz and poor Andrew Spud Murphy who was on an end peg suffered the most by the gypsies interference and was casting into his swim all night long biggest audience of the evening

Leading Positions with one match to go including dropping the worst four results over the series

1.      Clive Branson 108 points

2.      Clive Roberts 88 points

3.      Martyn Thomas 82 points

4.      Rob Wiltshire 81 points

5.      Shaune Wilson 68 points

6.      Richy Candy 59 points

7.      Chris Murphy 51 points

8.      Lee Edwards 47 points

Just the Sunday Match this weekend a practice match at Newbridge on the Bristol Avon near Bath ready for the South West Super League there next Sunday. With the river running low and clear my thoughts were how similar to the Warwickshire Avon and hemp roach. Drawing at 10am fishing from midday I drew peg 16 not a fancied draw considering I was up against the favourite Donkey field and the pumphouse swims. Plumbing the depth on 13meters I found 14 feet of water, setting up one of my new Hemp Float I set the depth just 12” above the river bed. When the match started I bait dropped a hand full of maggots under the near bush to my left hoping for a few early perch, I started on the waggler in the middle and well off bottom. Firing just half a dozen maggots out I started to loose feed my hemp line with just a dozen grains to begin with, similar to how I have been fishing the Warwickshire Avon. After catching some bleak and a roach on the waggler I decided to try my perch line under the bush meanwhile kept feeding the 13 meter hemp line. Within the first put in under the bush I was into a good 8oz Perch that I netted off the high bank (At least 6ft off the water) this followed another couple of smaller ones when the float dipped again I was into another larger perch that slipped the hook. After 30 mins of trying these methods and slowing up I decided to go a little early on the hemp line as normally I leave this for at least an hour especially as the angler below me balled in the groundbait at the start. Leaving the hemp line for a while allows the fish to get confidence feeding off these seeds, nevertheless in my first run down my float dipped and was into my first roach. This followed a steady stream of bites of which I seemed to hook one in every three, thinking a change of hook size from a 20 to an eighteen may produce more hooked fish. As most hemp anglers will tell you that one in three hooked fish is a good ratio, nevertheless trying to improve this is always on the agenda of any angler. However the change of hook stopped the amount of bites probably due to the heavier weight thus not producing a natural presentation. After a good 20 minutes of slower bites but hooking a far better ratio I felt the catch rate much slower so I decided to go back to the lighter hook and a noticeable increase of bites increase. However at times I had to alter the depth of the float as the fish wandered in the swim. Trying various alternative depths I would find the fish and perhaps the huge amount of pike in the venue also depicted the level of which the roach fed I was constantly altering. The match went very quickly when getting bites and soon the all out was called, I finished up with a nice 11lb 10oz of mainly roach bag and enough for 3rd place overall. The Pumphouse peg 22a just beat me with 12lb 4oz and the end peg 36 won the match with 16lb I felt I could if everything went well and not losing a few fish on the high bank I could have won the match nevertheless it was looking promising for next week watch this space.....   

Peg 16 Newbridge

Mid week Matches

Evesham on the Warwickshire Avon I drew peg 33 in the Town which can sometimes be a good peg and with a Barbel coming off this peg last week I spent half the match on the feeder looking for one of those whiskers. Unfortunately it was a day that none were caught unlike the weekend when three were caught. With the river running low and clear it was a typical hemp day for roach however the wind made the presentation very difficult. When the wind calmed I managed to put half a dozen hemp caught roach into the net and losing a good pound fish on the net, slipping the size 20 hook.  Catching a few perch on the feeder and one on the waggler I ended up with 2lb 9oz and just enough for joint first in the mini section, that’s six in a row on the rivers, it all helps to cover the cost......

Tuesday evening series is going drastically wrong for me at the moment, with the waggler only catching very small roach Bream weights on the feeder is the winning tactics and Spud Murphy won again with 23lb from peg 2 and I was pegged on number 6 ending up with 10lb 4oz and 5th place on the waggler. My lead in the series is getting shorter, thankfully only 2 matches to go