September is Thames Month, and it started last weekend with the annual Turner 400, situated around the Swan public house at Radcott. The Format for this match is a teams of four event with anglers pegged on Radcott Up, Radcott Down, Clanfield and Rushey. Originally a 100-team event, this year there were 26 teams of four fishing. My team, Garbolino Blackmore Vale was one of them. Myself, Gary Etheridge, Steve Long and Jamie Cox turning out for the team.
Jamie did the draw and handed me ‘A’ section, Radcott Up, I might as well leave my tackle up there! As in the last three years I have drawn that section every time I have fished a match which isn’t the winter league. And, I have always drawn at Lechlade for the Winter League matches!
This year, however, rather than walking from the pub I had drawn an early number, A5, and could drive to Grafton Lock and walk back. On finding my peg I had a some nice slack water on the inside til about 11 metres where the river then picked up pace, so my plan was to feed groundbait here and fish the pole.
I set up four rigs and a 4 No4 stick float. All corresponded to a top four of my G-Max pole:
- Rig One: 1g Sensas Jean Francois on 0.10mm main line to 0.08mm hooklength and a 20 Colmic B957 hook to fish on the bottom and slow down a little
- Rig Two: 1.5g Garbolino DS4 with the same line and hook, for decking the bait
- Rig Three: 0.6g Sensas Pra loup Pencil with strung shot 0.10mm to 0.07mm, 22 Colmic B957 for fishing off the deck and on the drop
- Rig Four: 1.5g Cralusso Bubble for the chopped worm (not used)
On the whistle I balled in 10 big balls of Van den Eynde G5 and soil with pinkies and casters in and started on Rig One. Twenty roach in the first hour gave me a target of 100 for the 5 hours for which I felt I may be on for 10lb? But as always it began to slow despite me trying all the rigs to find out how the roach wanted it.
The best presentation I felt was laying about 4in overdepth and easing it through on the 1g Jean Francois, with either caster or maggot on the hook. I had also switched to a 22 hook and 0.07mm as I felt the fish weren’t quite taking the bigger hook resulting in a few coming off on the way back. A smaller hook and thinner hooklength will always remedy this, as the roach take the bait more confidently. Give it a try, people often put bigger hooks on if they are losing fish but believe me, your losing them because of the weight of the hook!
A second helping of groundbait - this time three balls cupped in - kept the catch rate ticking over, although after halfway I was adding more gudgeon to the keepnet than roach, but I was still catching - and some of the gudgeon were almost barbel!
At the final whistle I had 115 fish, but fell short of my 10lb target due to the roach shutting shop and gudgeon moving in. I tried all sorts of presentation, and baits: pinkie, caster maggot, hemp and tares but I couldn’t keep the roach coming.
The scale confirmed 8lb 7oz which was 2nd on the board from the early numbers. Daiwa Gordon League’s Neil Richards having the best weight of 9lb 11oz which included four 6oz roach on his last four chucks! Why doesn’t that ever happen to me?
Back at the Pub, Gary the roach magician had waved his magic again and caught on the tares to win Radcott Down and come 2nd in the match with 11lb, but unfortunatly C and D sections were very poor and Jamie and Steve suffered down there, both with just one fish each! So we had to share Gary’s 2nd placed winnings and my double-defaulted section win between us, as I had come 3rd in the 26 pegs at Radcott Up, but luckily for me both anglers framed!
1st John Hasler (Fox Match Isis) 12lb 9oz
2nd Gary Etheridge (Garbolino Blackmore Vale) 11lb
3rd Steve Townsend (Drennan Banbury Gunsmiths) 10lb 11oz
4th Neil Richards (Daiwa Gordon League) 9lb 11oz
5th James Carty (Devizes Match Group) 8lb 13oz
6th Richard Chave (Garbolino Blackmore Vale) 8lb 7oz
1st Drennan Banbury Gunsmiths Red, 91pts
2nd Daiwa Gordon League Gold, 76
3rd Fox Match Isis, 73 (superior weight)
4th Turners Tackle, 73
Next weekend, Sunday the 9th, it's the Swan Open, with the Teams of Six Thames Champs on the following weekend, on the 16th, and another open, a winter league practice match, on the 23rd. Tickets for these matches are available from Paul Passmore on 07919 335434. Hopefully by then the extra water in the river will have fined off leaving some excellent roach action!