My local club run a series of 6 evening matches every summer starting in June, I have managed to win the overall trophy for the last 2 years doing very well managing to frame in every match, This year after missing the first match while I was down in Devon I will have to get a first or second in every match to retain the trophy.
I arrived early at the draw so I could have a chat with the guys fishing; tonight it was to be fished on the Barming section of the river. We haven’t had as much rain down here in the South East and the river looked spot on with a bit of colour and flow. In these conditions the bream normally feed well so I expected them to win, the down side of this is that they are only around in numbers in a couple of swims on the high bank although it is possible to pick up two or three from any swim.
I pulled out peg 11 that put me on the first swim to the right of Barming bridge, not a bad draw for roach but not really noted for bream, it also holds a few chub down the far side but I didn’t expect them to feed well in the coloured water.
My normal tactics here are very simple, ball in groundbait at the start on the edge of the nearside flow, then start lose feeding hemp, tares and corn over the top giving you a choice of hook baits, the fish will often show a preference for one of these then you can switch to just feeding what they prefer on the day. This tactic has won me lots of matches on this section of river getting me a bit of a reputation as a Medway expert!!!
For a change though I had set up a feeder even though I was not on a good bream peg, not sure why though? I still had the pole set up just in case the feeder didn’t work; this was a 1g Drennan Carbo, with a bulk and 3 number 10 droppers evenly spaced down the last 3 ft of line. This was attached to a 0.08 trace and a size 16 Kamasan 511 hook.
At the start of the match 5 balls of groundbait laced with hemp went in, the mix consisted on a third Sensas Lake, Roach and brown crumb. Added to this was a generous helping of ground hemp. I will losefeed the hemp, tares and corn combo over the top of this while starting on the feeder.
The feeder was a bit of a non event just catching a few small roach and a bleak in the first hour of the match. I had to do something to put a few fish in the net so a quick switch to the pole and tares hook bait was in order. With 90 minutes left I though I had blown my chances of a decent result as I expected a few bream to be caught, the next half a hour saw me putting about a dozen roach in the net but I wasn’t too worried as the last hour as the light start to fade can be one a bung. The swim got stronger as the match went on and by the time the all out was called I recon I had around 60 roach.
The scales turned up and surprisingly the top weight so far was only 4lb odd, it had not fished well! My 60 roach went 5lb 14oz which surprisingly enough was good enough for 2nd place, as I predicted the winner was on the high bank and managed only 3 bream on the feeder, but they went just over 10lb so easily winning.
There was talk after the match about leaving the high bank pegs out to even out the results as they always win, but I’m not sure if it is a good or bad idea to do that. Having said that we always used to leave them out until I won about 6 matches in a row on the river, someone suggested they were put in last year and since it is difficult to win a match without drawing one of them!