Switch to a thick top Truncheon Waggler keeps Dave Harrell on top of the league
We follow Dave through the latest River Severn Float Champs match – and he has a result!
YOU may recall that on the last River Severn Float Champs match I landed two late barbel that kept up my challenge for the title.
Those two fish, both taken in the last half-an-hour, boosted my score from around 5lb to 16-12-0 to give me third place in the match.
The fifth and penultimate round saw me draw peg 77, a much shallower swim on the Winterdyne section, just a short walk below the car park.
With the river back to 0.75m it was a draw I really fancied, despite it not having produced much in the series so far.
Like most of the competitors I had plenty of room, which is important on fast-flowing rivers as loosefeed carries a long way and fish need a good length of space between you and the next man to stay settled and hopefully feeding. The peg 78 swim was a good 50 yards below me, so I could fish my own match and feed the swim exactly how I wanted to.
After surveying the swim for a few minutes, I decided to keep things really simple as I felt that was the best way to go about it. It’s easy to overcomplicate swims like this one, so I set up just two rods – both Daiwa Tournament RS 13F models – with TDR 2508 reels loaded with 4lb (0.16mm) Pro Float line. This set-up would allow me to use hooklengths from 0.12mm to 0.16mm and hooks from size 18 up to 12 if required.
I carefully plumbed the depth to find about 4ft of water up to the middle. This would be as far as I would fish, as I wouldn’t be able to loosefeed any further.
On the one rod I set up a DH 4No4 Dome Top Lignum Stick with strung-out No4s and No6s, while on the other I opted for a DH No.1 (Thin) Speci Waggler with just four No6 shot down the line.
Starting hooklength was 0.12mm Pro Rig line tied to a size 18 medium wire hook. I felt this was right for roach and dace, and would also give me a good chance with any chub I might hook. If I hooked a barbel I’d also have a fair chance of landing it, as the riverbed here is pretty snag-free.
I started off by feeding 10 to 20 maggots every cast but the first hour was poor, with only the odd small roach and dace taking my single or double maggot. I was honestly expecting much more, and the longer I fished the swim, the more I felt certain that I would catch chub as the match went on.
“A big barbel – and I played it really carefully to ensure that I landed it”
With just over half-an-hour gone, I hooked into something big about 20 yards down the swim. I was hoping it was a chub, but as the line tightened and the fish started to swim in the opposite direction I soon realised that I was attached to a big barbel. I hadn’t got much bargaining power in terms of line strength but I was prepared for a lengthy battle, as I wasn’t catching much and I had plenty of time left.
After a 15-minute run around, the fish was close to the far bank when we parted company. I felt gutted –that one fish, which felt at least 6lb to 8lb, would have given me a lot of breathing space. As it was, I was back to a few small fish!
I scaled my terminal tackle up to 0.14mm Pro Rig line tied to a medium wire size 16 hook with two big maggots on board and decided to stay on this for a while in pursuit of better fish.
The float was changed to a DH 5AAA No.1 Truncheon Waggler to give me more buoyancy up top and allow me to drag the hookbait along the bottom more.
I was rewarded after 90 minutes with a 2lb 8oz chub, which was a much-needed fish as I still wasn’t getting many roach or dace. Sadly, no more bites followed and with three-and-a-half hours gone, despite a change back down on hooklength, I still couldn’t catch.
I decided that I had to go for it and try to catch a barbel. I also needed to ensure that I landed it if I did hook one. The hooklength was changed again, this time to 0.16mm and a size 12 with three big maggots as hookbait.
I also changed the float to a DH 4SSG No.2 Truncheon Waggler and left this undershotted in order to reverse-drag the bait hard along the bottom to slow it down.
I’d love to report that the change brought me fish after fish, but it didn’t, and bites were still at a premium. With just 45 minutes to go I was almost at the point of thinking this would definitely be the match that I had to drop (everyone’s worst result is dropped at the end) when the float shot under and I found myself attached to a real pressure fish!
Clearly a big barbel was at the other end of the line and I played it really carefully to ensure that I landed it. Fifteen minutes later, I put the net under a great looking fish between 7lb and 8lb.
At that point in the match it was a real bonus and I was so glad that I’d changed my rig over. I don’t think I’d have caught that fish without the float change and a lighter hooklength might well have resulted in another disaster!
More than half the field had double figures at this latest Severn Float Championship match. Top weight fell to Mark Blackburn with 25-11-0 and 10-2-0 was needed for 23rd place.
With everyone dropping their worst results after the last match, there will be a lot of movement at the top when the final scores are tallied up.
With just the one match to go, I’m lying in pole position, which I’m delighted about. I’m not taking anything for granted, though, and the final match draw is going to be so important!
MATCH RESULT: 1 Mark Blackburn (peg GM2) 25-11-0; 2 Dave Hollands (peg 4) 22-6-0; 3 Tom Scholey (peg 21) 22-5-0; 4 Tony Moreton 20-5-0 (peg 66) 20-5-0; 5 Simon Christian (peg 86) 18-14-0; 6 David Roberts (peg 32) 18-4-0.
LEAGUE TO DATE (ONE MATCH REMAINING):
1 Dave Harrell, 230 pts; 2 Steve Pierpoint, 218; 3 Jordan Holloway, 202; 4 Simon Christian, 200; 5 Jim Wilson, 195; 6 Brian Rigby, 191; 7 Jim Wiltshire, 189; 8t Chris Jones, 185; jt9 Pete Edwards and Pete Morris, both 180.
From zero to hero, thanks to this late barbel.
A 4SSG No.2 Truncheon Waggler got me the result I wanted.