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The Thames Champs

Richard Chave reports back from his first-ever Thames Champs...

Following on from the Turner 400 a couple of weeks ago, last Sunday saw me make the 90-minute drive up to fish the Thames Champs for my first time ever. Fished by 18 teams of six around the Radcott area of the Upper Thames, with the draw taking place at the Swan Hotel on the banks of the river.

This week I drew the Radcott section again, but unlike my previous visit I was downstream of the pub on B13 (permanent peg 23, if you know the river. The river still looked quite pacey, but had a lot less colour than it had two weeks previous as you could see the bottom a few metres out. I got out into the water to fish and as the bottom was quite silty I just sunk my Fox platform on the bottom and used the long legs on my Colmic One box to set the footplate just above the water, doing it this way eradicates the annoying sinking feeling you often get part way through the match as one of the legs sinks deeper than the other 5, as essentially the platform forms a massive mud foot!

I couldn’t see the anglers below me as they were through a gate to my right and in another field but above me I had Tony Skinner, representing the Shakespeare Superteam.

Following advise from team mate Steve Nadin who had 5lb off the same peg the previous week in the Swan open for a section win. I set up the following rigs:

1. A 1g sensas Jean Francois on 0.12mm to a 0.07mm hooklength and a size 22 Colmic B957 hook for fishing 5 sections out with middy 3-4 green elastic

2. A 2g Sensas Jean Francois on 0.12mm to a 0.07mm and a 22 B957 for fishing at 11m with Garbolino 0.8mm No4 coloured latex

3. A 2g Carlusso Torpedo flatty on 0.14mm to a 0.10mm and a 20 Kamasan B560 and Garbolino 0.9mm No5 coloured latex, for decking baits over the 11m line

4. A 4g Carlusso Torpedo flatty on 0.18mm-0.14mm and a 14 Drennan Wide Gape and No12 latex for fishing big baits (although I never picked this one up!)

5. A 15ft Normark Titan 2000, Daiwa 1657dm reel with 0.14mm colmic x5000 line and a 9 No4 lignum stick float with a 0.08mm hooklength and a 22 B957 hook

On the whistle I cupped in five balls of VDE G5 and soil onto the 5m line and 6 that were only just small enough to wedge into the pole cup were deposited at 11m. I started on the shorter line with a single pinkie on the hook and was rewarded first run down by a small roach, and in the first hour had another 15. Knowing Steve had 60 odd fish the previous week meant I was on target for the  5lb, which the team had suggested would be a good weight on the day.

Moving out to 11m I continued to catch, with either pinkie or maggot on the hook, I had to slow the bait down to catch and the 2g float was doing this well, but with the downstream wind it was tricky at times, and a switch to the 2g flatty improved things for a while. But it was hard to catch 3 or 4 fish from the same line so in the 3rd and 4th hours I found myself switching between lines to keep catching. An introduction of a few chopped worms in a couple of groundbait balls gave me a little perch action, with a fish of 8oz and another of 10oz, before that slowed down. I finally caught on the stick float ran on and around the 11m line and well down stream to finish the day with 62 fish.

The scalesman wandered upstream with the news that a high 3lb was the best weight so far, which meant  I was winning the section when I plonked my fish on to record 5lb 10oz 8drm. Tony upstream of me had 5lb 4oz and until we got to Peg 3 we were the top dogs. Unfortunately Peg 3 weighed 5lb 14oz, and Peg 1 a high 8lb consisting of some quality perch. But this week like last I managed to default some section money making it 2 out of 2 on the Thames!


  • 1st Mark Malin, WB Clarke 14.13.0
  • 2nd David Eales, Clanfield AC 12.4.8
  • 3rd Ian Didcote, Team Diddy 10.15.0
  • 4th Carl Eland, Drennan Banbury Gunsmiths 9.8.0
  • 5th Andy Powell, Maver Lobby’s Blue 9.2.0
  • 6th Brian Ballard, Radcot APS 9.0.0


  • 1st Team Diddy, 81 points
  • 2nd Turners Tackle & Bait Red, 80
  • 3rd Alcester Sports, 77
  • 4th= Shakespeare Superteam, 68
  • 4th= WB Clarke, 68

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