Close But No Golden Ticket

A nice weekend on two different rivers. Yesterday I was 3rd overall on the Thames Riverfest qualifier with 11lb 10oz of roach, but just a ‘little’ bit behind the zone-winning 89lb of bream!

It was at Reading Fishing Club’s brilliant stretch of river at Beale Park and I drew peg 14 in the first zone, a few pegs further along from where I drew last year. Just 8lb won this zone last year and after seeing the entire length had fished hard on the previous week’s charity match with no bream feeding I went with an all-out roach attack, hoping it’d fish hard and 8-10lb would be enough. After a slow two hours I felt I fished a decent match when the roach eventually switched on.

I caught on maggots and pinkies over Sonubaits Black Roach and River. Really happy to catch 11lb of roach, so I just needed the bream to still be hiding. No such luck! Must say a huge well done to Liam Page-Smith on a huge 89lb catch from peg 7, just 15 bream so they’re big old slabs. And that’s fresh from him winning the Division 1 National with a similar big bream weight!

The other two zones were won with 5lb and 8lb, so I felt a bit unlucky, especially as it’s traditionally the middle zone that throws up the bream weights! Still a lovely day’s fishing… and some lovely big blackberries to scoff behind my peg afterwards!

Today I was on another qualifier, this time on the Nene at Oundle. Always fancied a go at Oundle after driving over it so many times and growing up reading Match Fishing articles with the likes of Roger Mortimer and his Keenets Central team. Getting all nostalgic now…

Anyway, I drew peg 5 on the plantations and was immediately told I’d struggle to beat the first couple of pegs, which turned out to be dead right. The big bream failed to show on peg 1 but Dave Williams fished a great match to comfortably win the zone with 24lb of skimmers on the pole.

I knew I had to be positive, so I sat it out most of the day hoping to snare some non-existent skimmers. My paltry 2lb 8oz was just enough to win a shiny £1 off Dave Sholtz next door – although I would’ve happily given it him back (and a lot more) as he and my neighbours helped rescue my van when I was hanging off the side of a hidden ditch! Thought I was in serious trouble, so I definitely owe them all a drink or two!

I must add a huge well done to Mike Bedding on winning the match and making another Riverfest Final. Thoroughly deserved mate!

So an up and down weekend, but nice to be sat beside the river, even though neither were flowing! Hope you all caught a few if you managed to get out on the bank.

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