Thames Festival Runner Up!

Day 1

Tuesday was the first day of the Thames Festival and I always find something interesting in this river. Up to now, the best thing I’ve caught has been a watering can nozzle at Abingdon, hooked fair and square at 14m. I beat that easily on Day 1 after pulling a dirty great big axe out of the river after spotting a handle sticking up four metres out! Just in case it’s wanted in connection with a crime I dusted off my fingerprints and let Colin Perry take it!Oh, and I also had a great day, catching 12 bream and some bits for a zone winning 53lb. Pole and groundbait with worm and caster at 13m was the tactic. Bit of a surprise to see the bream and very hairy playing the first couple on No5 elastic, before stepping up to No6, then ended up with 8-10 Slik with a 14 N-10 hook!

A very very enjoyable match, despite all the rain and bream slime!

Day 2

I felt I was really up against it after drawing a very iffy peg 5 at Upper Moors. It’s mega deep and in a split section with six anglers on much more fancied pegs at Lower Moors where the river actually flows a bit – a rare sight on the middle Thames! Well I’ve just got my head down and caught a lot more than I expected and had a nice small-fish battle with Richard Chave next door. My 12lb 5oz of roach plus one rudd(!) was the best weight at Upper Moors and 2nd in the 24-man zone behind Simon Willsmore’s 15lb from Lower Moors. More than happy to grab two points from that draw!

So yet again I found myself up near the top with a day to go, but I normally draw horrific on the last day, so we’ll just have to see…Oh, and no weapons today… other than my sunburnt ‘guns’!

Day 3

On the third and final day of the Thames Festival I’ve won my 12-peg section at Culham with 12lb 8oz. Another lovely day’s river fishing! Caught a few fish at 8m early, then a brief run at 14.5m, but went an hour catching very little. A few bream were rolling and could be seen going through everyone’s pegs up our end, but no one could stop them> After seeing three roll in front of me I also had to have a go, but I felt they were just swimming through and knew I had to be catching roach to secure a top-10 place.

Back on the pole and it was devoid, but suddenly the roach returned and I had a beautiful 2.5 hours catching one a bung and topping up. Pinkes and casters were best, but managed a few on maggots later on too. A 1g rig fished just overdepth seemed best today, No5 elastic through a full top two and 18 N-10 to 0.08.

After an amazing three days I’ve ended up Runner Up. A very well done to Mark Kimber taking the crown with a perfect three points and also Carl Eland who was third overall and the rest of the top 10. Must also say a huge thanks to Tim Nix for all his hard work getting the festival organised so well, plus Sutton Courtenay AC, all the helpers, stewards and weighers in.

My MTX5 pole has been flawless and my groundbait mix has been spot on, too, which was a bag of Sonubaits Black Roach, plus a third of a bag each of Black Lake, Deep Water, Sweet Skimmer and my special Terre d’Arthur, fresh from the back garden!

I would normally have a few ifs, buts and maybes, but I honestly don’t think I could have done much more each day, so I’m happy with how I’ve fished and come away with a nice trophy, plus the best part of a grand for my efforts.

It’s been so nice to be back on the river. Hopefully I can go a place higher in the RiverFest Final this weekend!

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