I woke this morning to the sharpest frost of the year so far, minus 3, I was driving to the match expecting to see cat ice around the edges, but I needn't have worried. At the draw only 18 anglers were booked in, its not very long ago this match was a 100 peg sell out, how things have changed, being a Saturday didn't help, next year the organiser is on about fishing it on a Sunday in the hope that the turnout will improve.

The Kennet and Avon canal has fished really well of late, low doubles figure weights have been winning the matches, with bread and bloodworm the best approaches. I drew peg 9 on the day, an area of the canal known as the 'brambles', years ago it used to be good for quality roach, fishing caster tight across to the overhanging brambles, but now it was more of a consistent peg for small roach and the odd skimmer.

When the match started I cupped a large ball of liquidised bread at 5m, then a couple of balls of joker in double leam against a boat to my right at 5m. I then fed a ball of sticky joker at 11.5m in front of me and potted some caster at 13m against the brambles to my left.


I started the match by fishing bread at 5m, usually on this canal the float goes under on the first drop in, but not today, it took about 10 minutes to get the first bite and it was not the usual bite a chuck fishing, the frost had certainly had its effect. As I was swinging in my second fish of the day a kingfisher that was perched opposite, dived down and tried to get the roach, but he wasn't quick enough. During the next hour the kingfisher must have had a go at about 20 roach I caught, I have never seen anything like it, kingfishers are normally shy birds, I guess he must have been very hungry, he eventually gave up and flew off to try elsewhere.

I caught on the punch for most of the first hour, then my uncle Kevin came along the bank and said that peg 2 had about alb and either side had 4-5lb, that really cheered me up, not. This has been a feature of this canal recently, if you are going to catch skimmers you get them straight away on bread, then you can't catch another for the rest of the match.

When my bread line dried up, I went across on the 11.5m joker line and caught small roach regularly for the next 3 hours, fishing 11.5m on this canal is a real pain, it has to be one of the worst stretches of canal I have ever fished for boats, dog walkers and cyclists, there was more than a few few words exchanged during the match.

During the match I had been feeding a few casters on the far side, and during the last hour, when the bloodworm line had dried up, I caught 20 roach on caster, not big roach but slightly better than the bloodworm fish.

At the weigh in I had 5-8-8 enough for a section win, all the main money went to the people who caught skimmers in the first hour, they were generally on feature pegs or had a lot of room. It was a very enjoyable day, except for all the towpath activity, I don't get to fish this canal much, even though its on my doorstep, I must make an effort to fish it more.

The fishing on this stretch of canal is controlled by Bathampton AA and can be fished on a day ticket, that we sell in the shop tel 0117 9508723