Match Fished At Avalon on Saturday 14th August 2021

First on the day from end peg 29 was Mr consistent Steve Warren who is there or there abouts every time. Steve fished pole all day and had his catch of 78 lb 12 oz mostly on worm. He had double bubble of top weight and top silvers. Good one mate.

Mr Consistent.

2nd top rod was match secretary Alan Bland, method employed from peg 39 was yes you guessed it, paste and pole, oh he did use meat as well. His catch was 60 lb 02 oz.

Alan who had 2nd place is a bit camera shy.

Eric Searle the carp guru on peg 42 found himself in 3rd spot with a haul of 56 lb 07 oz. Feeder with pellet to the island was his tactics. He did have a moan though (well he wouldn’t be Eric if he didn’t have a moan) about losing umpteen feeders which now garnish a few trees.

Eric’s of to the tackle shop next week to get some new feeders.

Young Mr Ian Grabham finished 4th with a creditable weight of 56 lb 01 oz. Fishing from peg 40 he used a combination of feeder and pellet and pole and paste.

Out of form Rob Dodd could only managed 5th where normally he is in the top 3. Mr Dodd catch was a reasonable 53 lb 01 oz from peg 44. Pole with maggot and corn over ground bait was his choice of tactics.

We find Nigel Coram in 6th from peg 43 with an all carp haul of 43 lb 05 oz. Pole and paste which had the flavour apparently of banana and apple. His words not mine.

Ian Townsend was in at 7 from peg 33. Meat was used for his silvers and feeder and pellet for his carp. This for a weight of 33 lb 14 oz.

Now good old Alan Jenkins to my left had a great day on feeder and pellet and done well on the silvers to finish 8th. He had 2 nice size carp to boost his weight to 26 lb 11 oz. Alan had 2nd top silvers weight to boot. All from peg 37. Good on yer mate.

Phil Dodd stayed on the feeder with dead maggot all day on number 38 peg and caught 23 lb 07 oz for his troubles. He took the match in his stride sat back and had a good few smokes.

Yours truly Slipped down the weights table from the last match to 10th place with a weight of 21 lb 06 oz. Feeder with worm or pellet was tried. Peg 36 was home for the day. It was 3rd top silvers for me and a £5 note.

Veteran Bob Pascoe and Silvers Maestro on peg 32 could only muster a catch of 16 lb 15 oz. Pole and corn was employed. Bob realises it’s the taking part that counts and as long as he can throw a few insults at people he couldn’t give two figs.

Way out of from and at the wrong end of the table was Dave Nash. Mr Nash who always concentrates on the silvers could only put 14 lb 04 oz on the scales. Caster and corn on the waggler from peg 30 was used.

Tony Richards was the wooden spoonist from peg 35. Tony took the pole and caster approach to eek out an all silver weight of 6 lb 02 oz. But apparently he had a good little kip.

Final results.
Top 6 Silvers weight.

The Bridgwater Docks.

Seeing the Bridgwater docks now bring a sense of great loss. The boats are now gone and a air of sadness has descended upon the place. The watercraft with their different colours, shapes, sizes and persona gave a certain type of relaxed ambience and a scene that was pleasing upon the eye. But now all that has now been trashed. A landscape of a character of industrial waste land have emerged with all the charm and sophistication of an unflushed toilet. An emptiness now prevails.

Before a place of charm and charisma.
Now look at it. A whole lot of emptiness.

But there is that subset of society that still utilises the docks. That subset we all know very well. That group which has been embedded with a certain gene, a chemical make up of which says thou shall be angler. The angling fraternity which frequents the Bridgwater docks have grown in number. The popularity of this venue has soared owing to two facts, one is that the fishing is free and the second, the catches are well above average. There is even a face book group dedicated to fishing the Bridgwater docks. But when did fishing the docks began?

Early on in the last century the docks where famed for its Roach fishing. But for a considerable period the Great Western Railway Company which owned the water prohibited fishing. It was put forward that this followed an accident involving loss of life and claims for compensation.

In 1926 the secretary of Bridgwater Angling Association a Mr Arthur Allen, negotiated an agreement allowing the association the fishing rights, but with the condition that junior members be excluded. This was accepted with enthusiasm and it was felt that there was an advantage in not having youngsters on the quays. It meant that the docks became, once more, a popular venue for anglers.

At first the Roach remained conspicuous, but other fish came to the net. They included Tench, Perch, Rudd, Pike and an occasional Gudgeon. Harry Sutton a Bridgwater Angling Association committee member and Dentist (who has long since passed away) caught one weighing four ounces! regrettably it was returned to the water before it was realised it might have been a national record.

Mullet used to find their way in from the river when the dock gates where opened to shipping. They made an exciting contribution to the sport. As it may be expected , their feeding habits were uncertain, but when they were prepared to oblige it was a highlight of the season. This usually took place during a spell of hot weather and for a few days the activity was fast and furious. the really effective bait was a small worm found in the bed of the river. Digging for them was a somewhat messy business and some members appeared in a disreputable state.

As time went by pollution in the River Parrett increased and the shoals of Mullet became less and less. After ships ceased to enter the docks a concrete wall was built to replace a pair of worn out and leaking gates. This construction thwarted any more visits of fish from the river.

Another occasional visitor to the docks was a Salmon. Presumably it was attracted by the fresh water when a ship entered or left the docks. Seeing it rise was a diversion when sport was quiet. In 1922 one was seen in the canal at Widewaters. In one way it must have managed to get through the lock in the canal which was operational at the time. Unfortunately its fate was not known.

Bream made their appearance during the 1950s. It was followed by a decline first in quality and then later in the quantity of the Roach caught. Consequently, they became a more important quarry to the docks angler. the sport appreciated and very fine specimens were taken.

More recently (1960s early 70s) it seemed that there was a possibility of very good Carp fishing. Several large fish was captured with rod and line. In 1974 a fire in a nearby building was the cause of deoxygenation of the water and fish were seen in distress. Whilst rescue operations took place some exceptional specimens of over twenty pounds were netted. Unfortunately expectations were dashed by the emptying of the main dock for repairs and conversion in to a marina.

There where certain hazards attached to fishing in the docks. Movements of ships could disturb the mud and silt and spoil a whole days sport and it was equally frustrating to bait a swim overnight and find a vessel moored on the spot the next morning. But the danger of drowning accidents was the real menace. So often the high walls made rescue very difficult if not impossible. In spite of the original prohibition youngsters would find there way in to fish. No-one wished to interfere with their enjoyment, but it was another matter when it led to members having to risk their own lives if a child fell in. For the elderly or less able the possible responsibility was alarming. In one tragic instance even a young member was drowned trying to save a child.

This is a scan from a 19 80 Bridgwater Angling license.
Note the Mullet record from the 1980 Bridgwater license.

The docks being within the town boundaries, convenience was a factor in its popularity, especially when car ownership was small. It had a retinue of habitues who assembled on summer evenings. “Nosey Lockyer was more than conspicuous amongst them. Here was a character with a notoriety only to well known, but he was an entertaining companion and by all accounts a good fisherman. A day with him could be very enjoyable and often memorable. It was one of his pleasures to regale all around him with reminisences of his various enterprises which occasionally got him in to trouble! He had a remarkable sense of sportsmanship. It was alleged that during a quiet spell in the sport his companion happened to say that he intended to catch one fish before he went home. Nosey’s response was immediate “right we will not go until we do catch a fish” the lighting on the quayside proved very useful as the required. fish was caught at three thirty next morning.

Dunwear Ponds update.

Fishing is now permitted once again in big pond owing to the algae bloom dying of. Railway will be fishable in about a weeks time owing to some remnants of blue and green algae. A works party will be active re-doing the banks which have become overgrown. South pond is due to be restock in February March time next year.

Well in true Bug’s Bunny style just to say that’s all folks.

Pete C.

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