Alan Scotthorne is really enjoying his river fishing at the moment – especially after two great recent performances on the River Thames and the River Trent.
Having got through to the last 30 anglers for Match Fishing magazine’s Drennan Knockout Cup, I felt it was important to go for a practice on the Thames at Culham and Abingdon, which was to hold this Round 3 qualifier. With five anglers progressing to the next round from each 10-peg section, I felt that a method that was ‘safe’ was my best option if I wanted to guarantee getting through.
I caught lots of roach and could also catch bleak on a whip line, fished up to five metres out, plus I had a roach a chuck over groundbait on a long pole swim. That gave me three ways I might catch enough to get through to the next round. Having caught close to 20lb and consensus of opinion being that 14lb would do the job this was my train of thought for the next day match.
At the draw I picked out peg 11 at Culham. This was the first end peg on the downstream section, with peg 30 being the furthest walk. I must admit I did fancy it as it sounded like the end five pegs down to 30 could be dominated by bream. I was glad I avoided what could have been a stumbling block with bream caught there only a week earlier.
I rigged a lot of gear to cover all eventualities. A feeder rod, which was to be my starting method, plus a long pole and lots of whips to cover the short line. I was very disappointed on plumbing up to find 12ft of depth on a 5m line. I felt this was much too deep to catch roach and the long pole line was just as deep, so a change of plan was in order. I feel the optimum depth for roach is 7ft to 8ft and just didn’t feel confident catching enough of them. However, I still rigged up four 5m whips with slim pencil floats from 1g up to 2.5g, just in case they were there.
I also set up three shallow bleak whips – 3m, 3.5m and 4m – all with 4×16 Sensas Titou floats that I had found were best on my practice session.
On the long pole I fed 400ml of chopped worms and 400ml of casters with just enough groundbait to form balls with this amount of bait in. My mix for this furthest line was Sensas 3000 Lake plus 3000 Magic and brown crumb with bream in mind. I set up two rigs with 2g Drennan AS7 floats with the only difference being the hook sizes of a 16 Kamasan B560 and a smaller 18 B560 in case there were some small skimmers to catch.
I started on the feeder for 20 minutes for no bites. All the while I was feeding maggots on my short whip line, plus small hard nuggets of groundbait in case the roach were on the bottom on my 5m line.
I could see odd bleak touching the surface amongst the loose maggots so decided to see what was there and if they where of a stamp worth catching to build a weight. Fishing a 3.5m whip I could just reach past the loose feed area and started catching at a nice steady pace, fishing between 12 inches and 18 inches deep to keep the bites coming.
This is a method that requires strong gear and perhaps surprisingly I fished a 0.129 mm Drennan Supplex main line to a 0.12mm Supplex Fluorocarbon hooklength and a size 14 Kamasan B620 long shank caster hook with a threaded maggot for bait. I got through several pints of maggots, throwing just eight to 10 constantly to keep the fish in the swim.
I fished this for the rest of the match to catch 533 fish. They weighed 20lb 3oz for a satisfying section win and a place in the Semi Final to be held at Weston Pools.
Nick Speed won the match with 50lb of bream; a great catch that was way above what regulars on the Thames had expected, so well done to Nick. With 15 anglers now through to the Semi and just the top four from there going through to the Final at Docklow Pools it will be a tough match – but I will be going all out to try to make it!
Triumph At The National
What a great performance from my Drennan Barnsley Blacks team in the next day’s 1st Division National on the River Trent. We had practiced well and even a 40mph wind on the day didn’t scupper our well-laid plans.
This was a simple feeder match, but there were several key facts to catching our target fish of roach, perch and small silver bream. We all feed at least four pints of casters plus two pints of hemp and chopped worms in some sections through a groundbait feeder. To get through this amount of bait required casting very regularly and with most bites coming on the drop once the feeder was on the bottom it was retrieved after just 30 seconds. Busy fishing, but rewarding and a method I particularly enjoy!
We also feed a few pints of hemp on a float swim and I caught roach on this line on the straight lead to win my 28-peg area at North Clifton with 3.22kg with just 1.6kg second.
Winning this event now qualifies us for the World Club Champs next year. This time it will be held in France where we will have chance to emulate the great achievement of the mighty Diawa Dorking team that won this event in Italy this year. Well done to them!
I would also like to say well done to Lincoln & District for running us close on their local water. If the conditions had favoured float tactics the result would have been even closer I am sure!