Well, my fishing bonanza of the last couple of weeks came to an end with a trip to Chew Valley. I have to confess to not being a great fan of Chew, that said it has always been very kind to me over the years. Due to family commitments, I could not practice, as a blunder by the lodge saw the Army team with no boats for practice anyway. Dean Rudd had to drop out due to a bout of Pneumonia, swift recovery pal. Robbo stepped in at the last minute freshly returned from sunny shores. A couple of the boys turned up at Chew on the Friday on the off chance they might get afloat. They eventually got out around 1100hrs, but their day proved to be hard work, Robbo also got out around tea time and did manage to gather some useful information for the following day.
I arrived early at the water and there was still that flat calm you get before the day wakes up. The fish were rising everywhere, Mark Miles was also there a Chew regular and he reported that it had been fishing really well. I had asked for some help from my Facebook friends and was grateful for some pointers from anglers that had fished there recently. The rest of our guys started to rock up most I had seen at the spring match the week before but Paul Lee had made the trip as well as Robbo. We all got fuelled up with a breakfast, and I arranged to brief the guys at 0915hrs, it was very short as we just did not have much to go on. I told the guys the two methods that should be employed, DI5 blobs and boobies with a couple of nymphs in-between or straight line on a midge tip with buzzers and nymphs. I set up with the midge tip initially but after getting in the boat I changed my mind as the wind had blown up. My partner for the day was Stan from Hanningfield, a real gent who was happy to let me have the engine. Although Stan had practiced he had a tough day on the water and was happy to start on the Morton bank. We fished half a drift for not so much as a touch we did see the odd fish being taken but it was not what you would call on fire. I rarely feel like fishing a DI5 is the wrong choice but it did not feel right. The lack of a practice the day before had knocked my confidence a bit. I started to delve into Stan’s day of practice and although they had not managed much fish it was worth looking into. He had fished the other side of the sailing club, on the way over I changed to the midge tip and four buzzers.
When we arrived there were lots of boats drifting from the dam all the way up to the sailing club. I thought it would be best to start well back so I could see what was going on. We were still a couple of hundred yards from the bank when I had my first take, I resisted the urge to strike and the fish came again another lightning jab but no fish. As we approached the bank we could see anglers getting into fish. I had another pluck but no lockup. It was time to get down to business and concentrate it was twenty past eleven and not a fish to the boat. My concentration was rewarded the fish were coming right at the end of the retrieve on the hang. You had to watch the line like a hawk as the takes were very subtle your only clue would be a slight movement on the braided loop. If you did not hit it then you would be none the wiser that you had any interest. By the end of the drift I had four in the boat and Stan had managed one as well. As always happens in these matches when I looked to go back around the productive area there was a small armada bearing down on me. So back and round the long way, I spotted Steve Collins from BBFFC catching a fish and moved to his inside. Another fish fell to the hang again, Steve let me know that he was only waiting on one more for his limit. As I was going back round I saw Steve net his last fish, good angling! Stan and I continued to stick on the productive drift but the number of boats going over the shallow water had killed the sport somewhat. Patience is a virtue and anglers get bored quickly the boats soon dissipated and the fish came back on. The last fish came fairly quickly after that so after a shaky start, it had come good, a 1343hrs finish and a reasonable bag of fish. My partner Stan was still toiling on one so I turned my attention to improving his day. The first port of call was the blob and booby approach but this was not going to work in this case, so it was on with my bung set up. Stan had little experience with the bung so I explained the basics of fishing it. Stan took to it like a duck to water and was quickly into sport netting a further five fish. In the last hour, he lost a fish and missed two other huge takes, very frustrating when you’re sitting watching. The match over it was back to the lodge for kippers and medals!
Both the group 3 and group 1 teams had done OK considering, we had all caught a few fish and more importantly had enjoyed a great day out. It was really great to see lots of old friends in attendance all the old guard from Bewl and the lads from the RAF Fishhawks who went on to win Group 1, well done to them. The meal was very good with steak pie and chips the order of the day. The meal is a great chance for a bit of banter and a catch up with fellow anglers, it was a real shame more guys did not stay on for it. The AMFC is a good and friendly way of getting into competition fishing, I would recommend anyone thinking about giving comps a go to try this.