I had a great job for a single man which I was told I had for life. Alas I wasn’t single and had two sons aged seven and four so in 1980 I decided to change jobs for something more office bound. The advantages were being able to spend more time with the family and perhaps get more fishing matches in. Disadvantage I lost the company car so purchased a Beetle which was to serve me well for many years.
I was still fishing for the Golden Carp winter league team and I had an opportunity to fish the SWWL being pegged on the Bristol Avon at Christian Malford a venue I had only visited a couple of times so was looking forward to it, it had some flow and stories of plenty of big Roach.
I cant remember where what my peg number was but do remember having to drive through a farm yard and park in a field full of cattle just before he M4 motorway bridge. I soon found my peg and recognised it from the many times I had driven east up the M4 always having a quick look over at the river. I was one peg above the deep bend I can’t remember who was on this supposed flyer – more above water than under. Matey Ray Sims was one peg up stream of me (GEarth picture right X’s showing the three pegs mine in the middle).
It was an easy peg to access and fish requiring just a 4BB Ivan Marks Pacemaker (great floats), with a new type fine wire 16 hook to 1.5 Maxima hook length and 2lb main line, ABU 607 reel and Shakespeare President 13 foot rod. Bait wise it was Hemp, Casters (home cooked) and maggots.
Ray was quite close upstream so I fed down the peg casters shorter than the hemp. Single caster on the hook and I was soon catching quality Roach to 12oz. This was short lived as I was getting Pike trouble which resulted in me lifting Roach out as quickly as I could. The Pike were jumping clear of the water trying to snatch them. And this is where the chose of hook failed me the fine wire was bending resulting in lost fish, so I changed back to the Gold Mustad hook. It didn’t stop the Pike but I didn’t loose as many. Ray Sims came down to find out what all the splashing was. He watched for a while and was amazed how many Pike were in the swim Ray had just one Roach! Unsurprisingly half way through the match the swim completely died. With an hour to go it was my turn to go to Ray’s swim again attracted by splashing. The Roach shoal had moved upstream to Ray and he was catching well and managed 6lb before the end, plus a few lost Pike!
I finished the match with 13lb 14oz. I promised myself I would go back to the swim and pleasure fish it, but never have.
Godfrey Hargreaves (pictured right) won the match with 29-13-08 of Roach on bronze maggot from a downstream peg somewhere near the Church. Godfrey then owned the House of Angling shop in Swindon and passed away in 2013 aged 65.
The angler on the bend had a 3lb I think.
Arriving back at the car I was worried when I saw lots of Bullocks surrounding my car, as I got closer I could see them licking it. The penny dropped I had polished my pride and joy the day before and they had taken a liking to the polish. I got a bank stick out and managed to get in the car and back to the results with the paintwork in tack.
- Godfrey Hargreaves 29-13-08
- Mike Nicholls 13-14-0
- Mike Farr 11-02-0
- Dave Clutterbuck 9-11-08
- Chris Copper 8-06-08
- Trevor Gunning 8-01-08